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The Biggest Name in LA Basketball You Don't Know
In early December, the Indiana Pacers were in town to face the Los Angeles Lakers. As NBA teams do, they stayed in a posh hotel -- this one in the Bel Air area. But as we Angelenos could have told them, that’s a lot of time in the car (or bus, in this case) if you want to drive out to Staples Center for a morning shoot-around, go back to the hotel for the afternoon, then back to Staples for the game that night.
So instead, the Pacers team had their morning shoot around at a house.
Well, not just any house. This home belongs to LA Gear CEO Steven Jackson. His not-so-humble little abode comes with a full-size replica of the Staples Center court, complete with replica Laker championship banners hanging in it. With a piece of the old Fabulous Forum Laker floor signed by Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was so realistic that the Pacer players raved about it giving them a good feel for shooting in the real arena.
The Pacers knew about it because their star -- Jermaine O’Neal -- worked out there during the summer with teammate Al Harrington. Also taking place there have been some key pre-draft workouts for scouts, including rookie-of-the-year candidate Brandon Roy (the Washington star now playing professionally in Portland). There are other pick-up hoops games there with NBA players, the occasional NBA insider, and even a lucky blogger now and again.
Don’t feel like shooting hoop? The house also has a bowling alley, movie theater, tennis court, and game room.
Apparently, LA Gear sold a lot of those blinking-light shoes to kids back in the 1990s.