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JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row ...

June 14, 2008|JERRY CROWE

Twenty-four hours later, downtown was more upbeat. . . .

Bringing ageless John Wooden and peerless Vin Scully together on stage for one memorable night at the Nokia Theatre to benefit local children's hospitals was more extraordinary than the Lakers coughing up an NBA Finals game -- and more of a treat for anyone who doesn't root for the Boston Celtics. . . .

It was a wonderful, life-affirming event, Scully, 80, spinning yarns as only he can -- ice skating with Jackie Robinson! -- and Wooden, 97, modestly showcasing his limitless warmth and wit in equal measure. . . .

Think "Inside the Actors Studio," with a less serious, more lighthearted tone as set by moderator and wisenheimer Times columnist T.J. Simers. . . .

Scully, revealing that he once sang in a barbershop quartet called the Shaving Mugs, even led the audience in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame.". . . .

Earlier, Simers told the near-capacity crowd that Scully told him that if he were reverential to the Southland icons, Scully's family would walk out. . . .

The adoring crowd was under no such restriction. . . .

As Wooden was rolled out in a wheelchair, Scully in tow, the beloved duo was greeted with a prolonged standing ovation and a loud roar, a scene that was repeated 90 minutes later when it was time to say good night. . . .

Well done, guys. . . .

Wish list for next time: Magic Johnson and Sandy Koufax. . . .

Lakerdom: Where reliving 1960s nightmares happens. . . .

Lakers fans whose allegiance to the team predates their move to the Forum in the mid-'60s would have preferred, if they were going to lose in the Finals, they lose to the Detroit Pistons or the Cleveland Cavaliers or anybody but the Celtics. . . .

Close but no cigar is no consolation against the team once ruled by stogie-chomping, Lakers-baiting Red Auerbach. . . .

By the way, Thursday wasn't the first time a team overcame a 24-point second-quarter deficit in an unforgettable, one-for-the-ages Southland sporting event. . . .

In 1974, local fans probably more fondly recall, Anthony Davis and the USC football team spotted Notre Dame a 24-0 second-quarter lead at the Coliseum before rallying for a 55-24 victory en route to a national championship. . . .

Eddie House, brother-in-law of Atlanta Hawks point guard Mike Bibby and son-in-law of former UCLA All-American and USC Coach Henry Bibby, played for the Clippers during the 2003-04 season before they traded him to clear salary-cap space to make a run at then-free agent Kobe Bryant. . . .

Reader Kelvin D. Filer, making the case that Lakers reserve Ronny Turiaf should follow the lead of teammate Sasha Vujacic and corral his hair, "Ever since he put his hair in that ponytail, he has not played the same! Plus, I don't think any team has won a championship with a player who wore a ponytail.". . . .

Note: Bill Walton wore his hair short during the 1977 Finals. . . .

E-mails reader Michael Ward, in response to the question, Aren't all shots at Staples Center from downtown?: "Yessssssss!". . . .

Jonathan Ogden, an 11-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle and probable first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer who retired Thursday after 12 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, was the first of UCLA's two Outland Trophy winners. . . .

Kris Farris was the second. . . .

Ogden is one of eight Bruins footballers who've had their jersey numbers retired, a list that also includes Gary Beban, Kenny Easley, Kenny Washington, Jerry Robinson, Paul Cameron, Burr Baldwin and Donn Moomaw. . . .

Julia Mancuso, 2006 Olympic giant slalom gold medalist, reached the summit at Mount Kilimanjaro this week, part of a fundraising effort to aid an international humanitarian organization called Right to Play, which benefits children in the world's most disadvantaged areas. . . .

In her blog at juliamancuso.com, the 25-year-old skier writes, "It was definitely the toughest experience any of us had ever gone through.". . . .

Obviously, she didn't have to sit through Game 4. . . .

Looking back at Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings, which disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy alleges was fixed, it's debatable which was more remarkable: the Lakers shooting 27 free throws in the fourth quarter or Shaquille O'Neal making 13 of 17 in the game. . . .

How'd the NBA fix that?

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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