Lakers Media Day Year 2

I arrived at the copper gates of the UCLA Health Training Facility for Lakers Media Day an hour early where I was met by a guard with a purple shirt and a clipboard, “Name please,” she asked me. I nervously uttered Lauren Jones. She signaled to the other guard obstructing the driving path, ‘she’s good to go.’ As I came around the bend to the parking, there was a line wrapped around the corner filled with media members waiting to enter the facility. News trucks from the local stations, ABC7, NBC4, ESPN, etc. occupied many of the parking spaces. As I walked up, I saw few familiar faces. In fact, I felt like the newbie. It was like watching a reunion in school after coming back from summer break, people have been promoted and the excitement level is high.

For most of the time I was in line, I just observed and quickly noticed one of my favorite writers, Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, just so happened to get in line right behind me. He was greeted by several longtime Laker writers and I just took notes. After making my way inside the gym, it was an overwhelming amount of cameras, production crew members, lights, and of course the podium where LeBron James would be addressing media first. Fortunately, I was sitting beside fellow journalist Justin Tinsley of ESPN’s The Undefeated, who I was privileged to meet earlier in the summer at a sports and entertainment panel at Howard University where he spoke. I received a notification on my Twitter and it was a picture captured on The Ringer’s Twitter page from Lakers media day.

I Tweeted out the schedule for media day. I’m not quite sure how the algorithm works, but it was really the first time that my Twitter had gained so much attention. Speaking of attention,  as King James walked into the gym sporting his Lakers uniform for the first time, the media swarmed. He remained unfazed and without expression as he took his seat. The questions ensued. Unlike last year, I was empowered to make sure I asked a question. I watched the microphone play hopscotch and finally it landed on me.

Immediately following the conclusion of James’ media session, I had a few writers approach me and tell me that they were impressed with my question. I was humbled, but I know that as the new Lakers beat reporter for the L.A. Sentinel, asking a question is only a small fraction of the job I am undertaking.

As I was leaving the facility, something in me told me to take the “long way,” back to my car. Once I turned the corner towards the exit, none other than Magic Johnson walked into the hallway. His face lit up as he saw me, “What’s up girl?” The most comforting familiar face I could have asked to seen as my media day experience in year two concluded. I was able to finally tell him that I would be covering the Lakers this season. He looked at me and said, “I am so proud of you.” With that, Laker legend “Big Game” James Worthy tapped Magic on the shoulder and they had a short exchange.

In that moment, I felt as if all of my hard work was finally paying off. To be able to witness the exchange between two Laker greats as I cover a soon to be other Laker great in LeBron James is surreal. I am so thankful to the Bakewell family, the L.A. Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times for the opportunity to cover my childhood favorite team in the Los Angeles Lakers. Stay updated with my coverage on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

 

Tracey Mills Channels Fashion and Basketball into ‘Reprogramming the Earth’

Walking through the double doors of King Drew Medical Magnet High School basketball courts, wearing his shirt unbuttoned, tattoo filled chest exposed, and vintage pieces to accommodate his vogue aura, Birdie’s Revenge coach and fashion designer Tracey Mills has been on a life-long mission to “reprogram the earth.”

He successfully defies every coaching wardrobe stereotype. Born in Los Angeles, Mills’ parents separated when he was one. His mother who was a Chicago native, packed their bags and moved them to her hometown. At the age of ten, Mills moved back to Los Angeles.

“It was tough,” said Mills. Continue reading “Tracey Mills Channels Fashion and Basketball into ‘Reprogramming the Earth’”

Candace Parker’s Double-Double Leads Sparks in Win Over Lynx

The Los Angeles Sparks opened their three-game homestand with a win against their rival the Minnesota Lynx 79-57 led by Candace Parker’s 23 points, 10 points, and four assists.

Los Angeles looked to stop their five-game home game losing skid and end their season series with Minnesota on a good note.

Continue reading “Candace Parker’s Double-Double Leads Sparks in Win Over Lynx”

Drew League Week 9 Recap: Game of The Year MVP James Harden Season Debut

And it all came crashing down. The 26-0 Birdie’s Revenge, who needed only one more victory for the all-time Drew League record win, came up short.

“It took the Houston Rockets,” as Coach Tracey Mills said, to figure out how to take the Birdie’s Revenge empire down.

The game of the year was undoubtedly a matchup everyone had been anticipating all season, with circulating rumors that the reigning NBA MVP, James Harden, would make his Drew League season debut.

Spectators made it a priority to come early to secure a spot on the bleachers to survey the long-awaited matchup between Franklin “Nitty” Session and James Harden. A line wrapped around the corner of 120th Street outside King Drew High School showed the fanfare behind the dueling MVP’s.

Harden suited up for LAUNFD alongside his Rockets’ teammate PJ Tucker. The two joined forces with newly resigned Clippers’ center Montrezl Harrell and former Rocket, Bobby Brown.

All season long, Birdie’s has made the King Drew hardwoods their playground, and their opponents as toys to be played with, with week 8’s highlights of Franklin Session vs. Denzel Valentine attesting to that.


However, Birdie’s Revenge did not go down without a fight against LAUNFD. The first quarter of the match started off on a close run, as both teams exchanged equal energy. It was only a teaser of what to expect in the playoffs. However, Birdie’s found themselves in a second-quarter predicament as Marcus Bell got himself ejected from the game for the second time this season after things got heated up between him and PJ Tucker.

LAUNFD led 45-32 at the half, which had been the biggest deficit Birdie’s experienced all season.
Birdie’s Mike James and “Nitty” put in work, as they attempted to carry the team on their backs devoid of their big man. James ended the game with 32 points and was 7 for 10 from 3-point attempts. “Nitty” added 23 points, 6 assists, and 9 rebounds, but this wasn’t sufficient to stop Harden and Harrell.

With minutes remaining in the final quarter, Harden lobbed one to Harrell for the slam. It set the dynamism for the remaining minutes. Harrell’s showcase of dunks, Harden’s 26 points, and LAUNFD’s energy were unmatched. Undoubtedly, Harden was the X-factor in dethroning Birdie’s Revenge’s 26 game winning streak.

Sixteen teams remain, but only one will take home the coveted trophy. There will be no room for any slip-ups and excuses. Teams from here on out will have to produce to earn their respect.

 

The first round of playoffs tip-off Friday, 6:30 pm at Los Angeles Southwest College.