From the thousands of tickets you gave out as an incentive to keep kids in schools rather than in gangs, to the genuineness of remembering the lowliest of your employees and buying lunch for those whom you ran into, you were a true man of humility. You displayed a charisma like no other towards your players (i.e. To Ron Artest: ”We haven’t had lunch in three weeks, you should call me.” To Devin Ebanks: ”There’s a very beautiful model called Ebanks [Selita Ebanks], is she related to you?” To Matt Barnes: ”Are you going to be back in time to do us some good?”) and in turn made Los Angeles a desirable place to play. Thank you for your 34 years of service and playing the most vital role in the accomplishment of 10 championships. Thank you for energizing and revolutionizing the game of basketball through entertainment and showtime. But most importantly, thank you for being a role model of the utmost character. You battled cancer until the very end and though you lost the fight, I will always remember you for this quote: ”This is going to be our time. The pride begins to set in, not the fatigue. The fatigue begins to float away and now they say, ‘Wait a minute. This is our championship; you’re going to have to take it away from us before you can call yourselves champions.” You are THE greatest Laker of all time, and a bonafide competitor whose legacy will live on through generations. Rest In Peace and you will be dearly missed by not only those who knew you, but fans of the game throughout the world. Through winning seasons and losing seasons, through triumph and adversity, I was, is and will be Purple and Gold for life.
Jeffrey Hahn (2.18.13)