DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES- The NBA lockout and the end of the Phil Jackson era didn't just raise havoc for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. It also put some serious doubts into the mind of Kathryn Schloessman, who orchestrates an annual, intimate Staples Center event for hardcore Lakers fans.
"We thought there was a chance we couldn't do it because of the dates," said Schloessman, the president of the Downtown-based Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. "We thought there would be half a season and Staples would be jam packed. We didn't have a relationship with [new coach] Mike Brown. We didn't have Phil Jackson. We didn't have a date to ask the players."
Schloessman persevered, and once the NBA schedule was set, a date for the eighth annual Lakers All-Access was secured. The event, with tickets starting at $550, takes place Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Jackson was a principal draw of the event originally known as NBA 101. In early years he gave on-court tutorials on subjects such as how the Triangle offense works. At the 2010 event, he had a frank discussion with former Laker GM and basketball legend Jerry West.
Just as Brown has succeeded Jackson on the Lakers' bench, the first-year coach is following Phil into Lakers All-Access. He'll do a 30-minute interview with Bill Macdonald, the host of the event and the play-by-play announcer for Lakers' television broadcasts.
Brown will be joined at the event by players including Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Luke Walton and Josh McRoberts.
The event opens with the chance for fans to take shots on the Lakers court. There are also locker room tours and photo opps with players, the Laker Girls and some of the team's championship trophies. The highlights are usually the tutorials and the panel discussions with players and NBA analysts.
One new addition this year is a media roundtable. J.A. Adande of ESPN, and Mike Bresnahan and Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times will participate in a panel discussion titled "Basketball Uncensored."
"That was Bill Macdonald's idea," said Schloessman. "He said, ‘I want to get these guys, they'll be funny, and I'll let them loose.'"
One thing not on the docket is Staples Center's other team. Although the Clippers have captured headlines with forward Blake Griffin and the addition of All-Star point guard Chris Paul, Schloessman noted that the Lakers have a long history with the event.
"This is the first year anyone has really asked," she said of the Clippers. "But it's great to have two good teams in Los Angeles.
Contact Jon Regardie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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