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'Numb3rs' lures two Lakers to Caltech

Pau Gasol and Jordan Farmar make for a rare university home-team win.

March 13, 2009|Mark Medina

On a recent day at Caltech's Brown Gymnasium, the wild cheers of victory this time were for the home team this time. But then again the basketball team had a couple of ringers -- Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol and Jordan Farmar -- and it was, after all, a television show.

The NBA players visited the Pasadena campus -- famous for its brilliant scientific minds as well as its notorious athletic losing streaks -- to guest star in an episode of CBS' crime drama "Numb3rs," which airs at 10 tonight. In the series, the Lakers, with help from the Caltech men's basketball team, suit up as members of the "Cal Sci" university hoops team, which is desperately trying to snap out of its losing ways. Unfortunately, for the Caltech Beavers it wasn't much of a stretch. They're on a 287-game losing streak in conference play and were 1-24 this year.

And even though Beavers Coach Oliver Eslinger acknowledged "the story line feeds the stigma about Caltech," most of his players didn't want to pass up the chance to appear on TV and meet Gasol and Farmar. Nine of the 17 players on Caltech's roster spent the entire day on set (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.); most squeezed in homework between shots.

"They were all great," said Han Bin Man, a senior guard with the Beavers. "Gasol dunks like it's nothing."

The Lakers are no strangers to the entertainment world. Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Luke Walton are a few of the team's players who have made cameos for television programs.

"Maybe I'll be in a movie someday," said Gasol.

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mark.medina@latimes.com

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