Monday, February 18, 2013

Dr. Buss and his Ocotillo lLodge

My weekend with the Laker family dates back to the first 10 years Dr. Buss owned the club. It was July, 1986 and of course, sweltering in the little city of Palm Desert where the Lakers trained for some years before finding Hawaii. A few dozen of us were there to play Showtime basketball as we made the Laker family more money and our adult dreams come true. And there was plenty of star power. Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott, Mike McGee, Flynn Robinson, Rod Hundley, Rudy LaRusso, and of course the iconic Jerry West, who was the master of ceremonies. Magic Johnson was not there, but his agent at the time and a Dodgers executive today, Lon Rosen, picked up my 9 year old, Scott and helped him to dunk the only time in his life on a regulation basket. Lon is a special man and obviously, Magic has made him a lifetime friend and advisor. I shared my successes in the field of visualization with Lon and he told me he would love to see my work in action someday---one never knows when that day will be. The film star—Andrew Stevens was a camper and he used a clip of stealing the ball from me on the Tonight Show the following week which made me famous for a day. I wanted to tell him I used to play with the Playboy picture of his mom, Stella, but I think he would know what I was using her for. In the gym, there was Mike McGee, who had recently been traded to the Hawks, screaming for the ball, even though he was the pro and the campers were paying thousands for the weekend: Once a shooter always a shooter. The only thing shabby about this 5 star weekend was the venue. The old, weathered Ocotillo Lodge was about as un-Laker like as one would imagine. But Jerry Buss found pieces to his empire which fit his vision, not your vision. When a few campers brought up the shabby surroundings to Jerry West, West laughed. “Yeah, it’s a dump, but it’s got the comfort of an old pair of slippers and Dr. Buss loves comfort.” At that moment, a picture from that day’s Los Angeles Times was being passed around, showing Dr. Buss with two starlets, getting very chummy in some exotic locale. Without missing a beat, West grinned. “Or hadn’t you noticed?”

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