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Hahn Feels Spurred to Bet

May 06, 2003|Peter Nicholas | Times Staff Writer

In what is becoming as much of a ritual as a thunderous dunk from Shaquille O'Neal, Mayor James K. Hahn is offering a little wager for the Western Conference semifinals between the Lakers and the Spurs: a case of home-grown wine from, fittingly, the San Antonio Winery.

Hahn made his offer hours before tip-off Monday, without waiting to see what his San Antonio counterpart, Ed Garza, might put up in return.

In a letter to Garza, Hahn wrote: "This one case will symbolize the number of games the Spurs have won against the Lakers in their last nine postseason attempts."

Ouch.

Since his election in 2001, Hahn has relished the ceremonial wagers with opposing cities. He put up tacos -- King Tacos -- for last year's playoffs between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

When the L.A. Sparks squared off against the New York Liberty in last year's WNBA final, Hahn bet nine dozen Dunkin' Donuts in honor of Sparks star Lisa Leslie (she wears No. 9, and she can dunk).

For his part, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bet Nathan's hot dogs and bagels.

"I remember eating them. They were really good," said Julie Wong, a Hahn spokeswoman.

Not every loser pays up. Last year, Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo put up bottled water for the playoffs.

"We never saw that," Wong said.

Win or lose, the owners of the winery promise to make good.

"Even if they [the Spurs] don't win, we'll have to send them a case of wine," said Santo Riboli, vice president of the L.A. winery, where a case costs up to $120. "But I'm an L.A. guy. We gotta win."

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