Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Bit Of Redemption From The Knuckleheads


.... and then, every once in a while, there's a bit of shining hope .....

...................... Ruprecht ( STOP )


Derek Fisher, celebrating his fourth championship with the Lakers, along the parade route on Figueroa Street.



..... Richard Curry can tell you exactly why he was standing in the middle of a crowded Figueroa Street outside Staples Center, wearing a shiny purple Lakers jersey with a plastic Lakers medallion dangling around his neck.

"I was down here in 2000 and 2001," he said of the gatherings to celebrate earlier Lakers championships. "I missed the 2002 parade, thinking 'Oh, they'll be back next year.' I had to wait another seven years to come back down here."

The 46-year-old building engineer smiled: "And here I am."

However, it appeared to be one of those times when almost everybody was in "accord for one day," marveled Curry. "You see a lot of different ages and races and we're all kind of getting along. It's Rodney King's dream -- 'Can we all get along?' " .....

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..... "We thought, well, let's cruise on down, this is our neighborhood," said Shannon Vasquez, who lives downtown, looking at her English bulldog, Bridget Jones, who was resting and panting in the street. Figueroa was cleared of traffic for miles. The day and the streets between downtown and the Coliseum belonged to revelers doing something as rare in Los Angeles as gathering together: walking .....

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..... Fifteen people were arrested and two officers suffered minor injuries, police said. Outside the east end of the Coliseum, fans breached a security barrier and climbed onto a ticket booth. When officers on foot could not disperse them, a mounted unit was brought in. Fans threw bottles at the mounted officers, prompting police to use less-than-lethal beanbag shots to quell the disturbance. "We had knuckleheads in several areas," said Chief William J. Bratton, adding that "generally, it went very smoothly." .....

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..... Mostly, fans celebrated calmly, waiting hours for the parade and the rally to begin. Nicole Ebrahimi searched for a bathroom. "I'm 6 1/2 months pregnant," she said. "We'll see if it's worth all the trouble." .....

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..... Jeannette Hernandez, 18, and her friends took three trains from Pico Rivera for a momentary sighting of the Lakers. It was worth it, because team member Shannon Brown winked at her from the bus, she swears .....

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..... Fans descended on the Coliseum so early, in such huge numbers, that police turned away people two hours before the rally there even started. Drew Thomas, 41, of West Hills, brought his three sons to the Coliseum and parked at 10:45 a.m. They were turned away. Later, his children in tow, he sighed. "Sometimes you've got to teach them about the spectacle of things," he said .....

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..... It was a multi-generational group. Along the parade route there were brawny men in Lakers jerseys escorting tiny children in matching garb .....

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..... Laura Watson, 62, a technical librarian who works at Honda in Torrance, was dragged to the parade, her first despite being a lifetime Lakers fan, by her grandkids.

Referring to the economic woes of the day, the Carson resident said the people of L.A. needed the parade to get "their minds off their troubles for a minute, even though they'll still be there when they get back." .....


L.A. Times, Carla Hall and Ari Bloomekatz
with Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton and Gale Holland