Mark Madsen of the Minnesota Timberwolves started his NBA career with the Lakers. He was the Lakers' No. 1 draft pick in 2000, was part of their championship teams in 2001 and 2002, and became a cult favorite for his dancing and memorable speeches at the championship parade both years. "No wonder they called him the Mad Dog," said Chick Hearn about the 2001 address. Here, Madsen discusses his parade memories.
I was at the two parades and some of my memories almost run together. There a few things that stick out. The first one started at Staples Center and Robert Horry had prepared five or six frames for us, of the team picture. He was going to have all of us go ahead and sign the matting.
I was thinking to myself, 'Robert is prepared. Well, he won two championships in Houston and they know how to do it.' The next year I thought about getting pictures and doing the same thing but it was too late. But Robert had them. He was prepared -- again.
Then someone, I can't remember whether it was Chick Hearn or John Black, told us that everyone was going to have to say something. That surprised all of us. We all thought it was just going to be Phil Jackson, Shaq and Kobe. Or maybe Derek Fisher and Robert Horry.
I started getting nervous because that wasn't what I'd planned for. But Shaq's so funny. He was always coming up with stuff, sayings, like, "L.A. is the new capital of California, not Sacramento." It was awesome.
As for my speech, I just wanted it to go quickly. Then all of a sudden, I hear Shaq off to the side saying: "Who let the dogs out?" Shaq is smart and funny and if he said it, I knew it would go over well.
And there was support from the Latino community and we wanted to acknowledge that. I saw our broadcasters and thought, "Hey, I know how to say a few things in Spanish. So why not?"
My dance happened after the speeches were over. Shaq had written a pretty cool song. And I thought, I don't want to be boring and be one of the ones in the back even though dancing is not my thing.
I didn't want my dancing to be too bad, so I tried to make it too conservative. So, well, I made it too conservative.
I went to dances at Stanford and back in high school. I was flexible and could do the splits. But I wasn't going to do that as a pro basketball player.
The last time I saw Kobe and the last time I saw them all was when the Lakers played at Minnesota this season. I'm really happy they won it. I'm happy for everyone on the Lakers -- the league is small and everyone knows everyone.
When you live and play in L.A., no matter who you are, the highs are high. And when you struggle, it's a public struggle. It's such a public city. I know the Lakers had been rebuilding the last three, four years, and to me, Kobe Bryant is the best basketball player in the world. You can flip a coin between Kobe and LeBron James about who is the best. But I played with Kobe, so I'm going with Kobe.