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|If they could enshrine cities in the Hall of Fame, Los Angeles would be first in line.|
Monday was another shining day for L.A. hoops -- as if the 11 NCAA banners hanging in UCLA's Pauley Pavilion and the 10 NBA championships the Lakers won here weren't enough. Did you notice the prominent L.A. thread running throughout this year's Hall of Fame honorees? It began with the most obvious, Jerry Buss. The most successful owner in American sports for the past three decades turned the Lakers into a consistent winner and financial boon and cultural trendsetter (Laker Girrrrls), all in the city of Los Angeles. (Fellow L.A. hoops hero Magic Johnson lobbied hard among the Hall voters to get Buss in. Another assist for Magic.) The late Dennis Johnson went to Dominguez High School and played at Harbor College before transferring to Pepperdine. Cynthia Cooper starred at Locke High School and USC before she turned in some of the clutchest performances I have ever seen with the Houston Coments. Magic was one of the brightest stars on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team that's getting inducted. If Karl Malone's Hall of Fame plaque featured a baseball cap it would have the logo of the Utah Jazz, of course. But don't forget that his final points, the ones that brought his career total to the second-highest number in NBA history, came in a Lakers uniform.