Where I Go: Growing up Under the Rim

Like Any Proper Southern California Basketball Story, Mine Begins With Magic Johnson

Like any proper Southern California basketball story, this one starts with Magic Johnson.

It’s 1986, and I’m 11 years old, living on the north side of Long Beach. My TV has two dials and two telescoping antennas. I randomly turn on Channel 9, where a Los Angeles Lakers game is playing (back when games could be seen for free). I watch as Magic comes down on a fast break in Inglewood, looks straight southeast at me in Long Beach, and then throws a no-look pass to James Worthy streaking down …