LOS ANGELES - The referee scandal and the discussion Kings-Lakers and Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals continues unabated. Here at the Staples Center, journalists continue approaching and asking what it actually looked like to those of us who were here in the building that night.
As I continue to say, as strange as the officiating must have seemed on television, it was even more bizarre for those who were present - on and off the court.
Journeyman guard Damon Jones, who is providing analysis throughout the series for NBA.com, wandered over and reminded me that he was on the team that year. (Jones, who has a year remaining on his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has played for so many clubs, it's hard to keep track).
"That game was so tough," he said, shaking his head. "I don't know. I don't know. We all felt the same way."
The Staples experience ....
With all the distractions created by the referee situation, I forgot to blog about the amazing development ongoing outside Staples Center. The last time I was here on assignment, probably about two years, the area across 11th Street consisted of two massive parking lots. But when I drove down Adams the other afternoon before Game 3, I almost missed the turn. I felt like I was in a different country. Those surface parking lots have been supplanted by the glitzy Nokia Theatre and entertainment plaza, with an ESPN zone, restaurants and other entertainment venues under construction.
Frankly, the change is simply stunning. Having worked at the old Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, which was located a few blocks away during the 1980s, I never would have envisioned the extent of the transformation. I guess I should visit more often, huh?
Stern to speak
This should be interesting. An NBA publicist just came into the media work room and informed us that David Stern will hold a press conference at 5:45. I can't say I'm surprised. We've all been waiting to hear more from the Commissioner.