L.A. Times: The facility might not be entirely cooperative, but tonight could still shape up to be Fabulous.
The Lakers return to the Forum in Inglewood for an exhibition game against Golden State, a blast from the past in a season that holds a promising future.
The Lakers haven’t played there since leaving for Staples Center in 1999, but owner Jerry Buss has wanted to return to the Forum for years. Now seemed like a good time, the franchise’s 50th year in Los Angeles.
The Lakers have had to work overtime to get the building in game shape. The gradually deteriorating arena is owned by Faithful Central Bible Church, which purchased it for $22.5 million in December 2000 and has never had to put on a full-scale basketball production.
The Lakers had to transport their basketball court from Staples Center to the Forum. There’s no longer a scoreboard, so they will hang two large LED screens over the court. They will also bring their lighting trusses, basketball hoops and scorer’s table from Staples Center.
In fact, leaving no chance for faulty locker-room plumbing, the Lakers don’t plan to shower at the Forum after the game. Players will take a team bus bound for the training facility in El Segundo, where hot water is guaranteed to await them.
It might seem like a lot of extra work for an exhibition game, but, well, this is the former site of six Lakers championship teams.
“Ever since we left the Forum, people have been asking us if and when we’re going to return,” said Tim Harris, senior vice president of business operations for the Lakers. “It doesn’t take much to understand why the Forum is so important . . . given the success and all the memories we had there.”
Of the current Lakers players, only Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher played at the Forum. Their memories there weren’t exactly comparable to when the Lakers began their championship run in 2000.
“We got our [behinds] kicked in that building,” Bryant said. “The ‘Showtime’ Lakers had a great time, though our home is Staples Center.”