After an intense seven game series against their long-standing adversaries, former NBA basketball player Olden Polynice said it best, “When you’re in a seven game series and it comes down to the last game the better team wins.” I can agree the series was hard-fought by both teams. Game seven, played here in LA on Thursday, June 17th, was a demonstration of both teams desire and commitment to winning. Each and every player had to reach deep into their reserves to deliver the caliber of play that many of us witnessed in that final game.
I guess a li’l celebration was called for and who celebrates better than Magic Johnson? He hosted his victory party at the lush Trousdale lounge, located at 9229 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA. The red carpet was welcome to some of the biggest names and familiar faces in show business such as music sensations Master P, Romeo (previously Lil Romeo) Al B. Sure, Brian McKnight, actor Quinton Aaron ( Blindside), NBA player Rashad McCants, Lakers Assistant Coach Brian Shaw, American glamour spokesmodel and actress Cindy Margolis, actress Porscha Coleman, actor Ken Davitian (Borat, etc), and many others.
I had opportunity to catch up with Magic Johnson on the Red Carpet before we joined the star-studded festivities.
Terence Taylor: Now that you have ten rings where do you go next? What’s the pinnacle of basketball for you?
Magic Johnson: "You keep going. I want to win eleven! Every time that you are in this game you just want to win. I have a great partner in Dr. Buss, he’s about winning as well. Our number one priority is to bring championships back to Los Angeles. Nothing will change that! I will always be about winning - that’s the number one thing. WIN and WIN and WIN as much as you can while you can! Because, we have to remember that there’s a lot of franchises’ that have never been to the finals, a lot of franchises’ that’s never won a championship. To say I have ten, man that’s a blessing. I know how special it is and hopefully it will continue".
Terence Taylor: So we can say four-peat then?
Magic Johnson: "Ha...ha, let’s start with three! Three is enough. You can’t get ahead of yourself. You always gotta concentrate on what’s really the next goal which is to win number three. That’s the only thing that this team should be concentrating on - not four but three; which is our next priority.
Terence Taylor: Do you feel that your roster is pretty well set for next year and that we can look forward to another exciting season?
Magic Johnson: "Well we hope so. We don’t know who is coming back and who is not because Phil is still a situation we have to deal with--but Dr. Buss, he always makes great moves and decisions. We know we have a number of free agents; we have to deal with that as well but, overall it’s still going to be a great summer no matter what. We’ll sign who we have to sign. Hopefully we’ll sign Phil back, that’s the number one goal".
Terence Taylor: Do you have a wish list of players that you’d like to sign?
Magic Johnson: "Well you know the Lakers, we don’t get into wish lists. We know that a lot of players want to play for us, but right now the number one thing that I think we should concentrate on is Phil. Phil is the number one free agent to us. So once we take care of Phil, then we can go to everybody else. I think that it gets easier once you get Phil. Because if Phil doesn’t come back, if he retires or they don’t work out, now it gets hard because you gotta get a coach and all that. But, we don’t want to think that way. I just feel that he’s coming back and going to be a part of this unbelievable 3-peat".
It was then time for us to go inside and join the many celebrities and spirited Lakers well-wishers and some humbled Celtic fans--without mentioning any names of any former beauty queen
from Rhode Island. With the 2010 NBA World Championship tucked away, this evening was a time for celebration.
Will Sir Phil return? One thing is certain, he has built a long legacy and many will miss him if he leaves. But, as Magic said, “We don’t want to think like that.” We wait with bated breath hopeful for the announcement that the gallant gentleman that guided the Lakers to another NBA World Championship will be returning next season. Hmm, I hope there’s a Welcome Back Phil celebration being planned. Before closing, I too would like to thank the Lakers Coaches and Players for an exciting championship series:
• Phil Jackson
• Frank Hamblen
• Brian Shaw
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
• Craig Hodges
• Jim Cleamons (Ohio State)
Artest, Ron Brown, Shannon Bryant, Kobe Bynum, Andrew Farmar, Jordan Fisher, Derek Gasol, Pau Mbenga, D. J. Morrison, Adam Odom, Lamar Powell, Josh, Vujačić, Sasha, Walton, Luke
A special note and thanks to Juliette Harris, President/CEO of ItGirl Public Relations for coordinating the evening events. Her and her team, along with The Trousdale staff made the evening festive for all. Also, a special thanks to Steven Calderon for assisting me with audio back up. May we all be celebrating the three-repeat together next year!