The Morning Column: August 9, 2021
When Russell Westbrook was younger, he would go to Staples Center when the Lakers would parade down Figueroa with another title. On Tuesday, Westbrook will be introduced as a Lakers at Staples Center.
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1. 🏀 Russell Westbrook’s Staples Center homecoming
When Russell Westbrook was younger, he would go to Staples Center when the Lakers held viewing parties during the NBA Finals and returned to watch his favorite team parade down Figueroa with another title during their three-peat run in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
On Tuesday, Westbrook will return to Staples Center to be formally introduced as a Laker. It will be the Lakers’ first in-person press conference at Staples Center since March 10, 2020.
It will be a homecoming for one of the greatest basketball players to ever come from Los Angeles. Westbrook was born in Long Beach, went to high school at Leuzinger in Lawndale and played at UCLA. After his friend and L.A. icon Nipsey Hussle was killed, Westbrook faced the Lakers and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only NBA players to post a 20-20-20 game. Westbrook dedicated the game to Hussle and the Rollin’ 60s.
“That was for Nipsey,” Westbrook said. “20 plus 20 plus 20, they know what that means.”
After Westbrook officially joined the Lakers on Friday, he celebrated by driving around Los Angeles and singing Hussle’s “Grinding All My Life.” The lyrics are perfect for Westbrook as he returns home in search of his first championship with the team he grew up cheering for.
All my life, been grindin' all my life
Sacrificed, hustle paid the price
Want a slice? Got to roll the dice
2. ⛹️♂️ Carmelo Anthony’s first Lakers press conference
Carmelo Anthony will address the media for the first time as a Lakers player today when the Lakers hold a virtual media availability at 3 p.m. after Anthony meets with Lakers coach Frank Vogel and general manager Rob Pelinka. Vogel and Pelinka will address the media at Westbrook’s press conference at Staples Center on Tuesday. The Lakers held virtual press conferences from the team’s facility in El Segundo on Friday with most of their newest players after they signed their contracts but Anthony was still in New York. Kent Bazemore will also address the media today at 4:30 p.m.
3. 👀 FIRST LOOK: YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at 1 p.m. for the brand-new YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium. The 6,000-seat theater is a 227,000 square foot, three-story indoor performance venue which sits under the same canopy at SoFi Stadium.
While the first event at YouTube Theater won’t be until September, The Morning Column got a sneak peak at the venue before today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
4. ⚾️ Dodgers ball girl goes viral
There were many reasons for the Dodgers to celebrate on Sunday. They beat the Angels, 8-2, Albert Pujols hit his first home run against the team that released him, Cody Bellinger homered for the second straight game and Trea Turner scored twice in his second start as the leadoff batter but the star of the game was the Dodgers ball girl.
5. 🐍 Ellington honors Kobe
When Wayne Ellington signed his Lakers contract on Friday, he honored Kobe Bryant by wearing a Dodgers hat with halos above the L and the A and Bryant’s 8 and 24 jerseys on the side. The hat was created by PHEIT, a Compton-based company founded by designer Donte Johnson.
Ellington had already honored Bryant, who he played with during the 2014-15 season, after his passing with a tattoo on his left leg.
6. 📆 Aug. 9, 1975: Davey Lopes makes history
On this day in 1975, Dodgers second baseman Davey Lopes broke the record for most consecutive stolen bases without being caught when he stole his 32nd straight base to shatter the record held by Max Carey. Lopes, who was a four-time all-star with the Dodgers, would go on to steal six more bases before he was caught stealing Aug. 24.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Derek Fisher
Happy birthday to Derek Fisher. The former Lakers point guard and current Sparks coach is turning 47 years old today. Fisher was selected by the Lakers with the 24th overall pick in the 1996 draft and joined the team along with Kobe Bryant, who was the 13th pick in the draft, and Shaquille O’Neal, who signed with the Lakers less than one month after the draft. Fisher and Bryant were the only two players to be on all five of the Lakers’ championship teams from 2000 to 2010. While the Lakers didn’t win the title in 2004, Fisher’s 0.4 shot to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals will always be his most memorable moment.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game this week:
9. 📺 On The Air Today
🏀 6 p.m. – Los Angeles Clippers vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Summer League) – ESPNU
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Friday’s show, we discussed LeBron James calling out critics who were calling the Lakers too old this season and how James is always looking for motivation entering a new season.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow!