Sex, Drugs and … Basketball? 

Work hard, play hard 

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

Fast cars and movie stars, I mean the whole nine yards. I guess you could call it “work hard play hard?” 

I’d like to tell you about a group of friends, young adults, at the peak of their cultural engagement. Up to date on the latest trends, charismatic, popular, well liked individuals. 

Their lifestyle is one Jordan Belfort would admire. I mean a lifestyle right out of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Enough said right? You get the picture. A lifestyle filled with partying, drugs, alcohol, money and sex.

Let me be clear here, I cover sports. Do I enjoy sports more than the average individual? Yes, I would say so. Are sports the full extent of my journalistic interests? No, not at all. 

Let us just call this my attempt at breaking through the “meathead sports enthusiast” dynamic and this year’s special edition paper provides me with the best platform to do so.

If the subheading did not already give it away, yes, the 80s “Showtime” Lakers. That’s our group of friends here. I hope it makes sense now. I mean a lot of people have a vague idea of their lifestyle away from the hardwood but remove their titles of NBA superstars, remove the title of a dynasty and we have a very controversial lifestyle. 

The “Showtime” Lakers was a new era for the organization. Bought by owner Jerry Buss in 1979 and drafting his newest toy, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, in the same year. The stage was set for a dynasty in the next decade. 

This era featured great teams packed with talented names long since forgotten. Of course we gave Magic and Kareem, but there were so many more: James Worthy, Spencer Haywood, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon, Jamaal Wilkes, Bob McAdoo, A.C. Green, Byron Scott and a few others. 

But back to reality, these guys were young, handsome and rich. But best of all, they lived in the city of Los Angeles. And in LA, it’s all about the party. 

Yes to the drinks and a yes to the drugs but the biggest one was yes to sex. The Lakers had women wherever they went. In the hotels, after games in the arena, parties and clubs, everywhere. 

But it wasn’t just the young roster having fun. Jerry Buss, the teams owner was oftentimes seen with a flock of younger women.

Ask anybody. From the everyday people of LA, to the journalists, the men in the locker room, the people in the front office, hell ask the opposing bench. Everyone knew of the Lakers lifestyle. 

The proof is in the pudding, Magic was diagnosed with HIV, Worthy was caught to be involved in a prostitution ring, Haywood faced many challenges because of his drug addiction and I’m sure there is more blind to the public eye. 

Folks, there is no question that this was a great team. Definitely a dynasty. The organization won five championships in a nine year span: ‘80, ‘82, ‘85, ‘87, ‘88. The “Showtime” era houses the hall of farmers Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes and Bob McAdoo. 

Look, I am a Lakers fan, born and raised in San Diego. My soul bows in reverence at the mighty Lakers organization, a club with the standard of excellence. Bring us a ring or don’t come home, that is the attitude of Laker nation. 

My personal view on the 80s Lakers? Yes, great teams, nothing short of spectacular, they set the bar high for future Lakers teams to come. Does their lifestyle change that for me? I mean, a little bit, but that does not brush away their accolades and stat lines. 

The only exception is James Worthy, for obvious reasons.

It is not my position to judge them as the individuals they are because I do not know them personally. I know them as athletes so I will judge them based on such. This is not to excuse ignorance, one must simply acknowledge that their personal lives should not take away from their professional accolades. 

It is easy to view athletes for their sports success. But with big money comes the temptation of a “fun” lifestyle. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll it’s all about having fun. Yeah, it may tug at your moral heartstrings a bit but morality is a different conversation to be had. And when fame, money and popularity all meld together I can see it easy to get carried away. 

Same to be said with the Lakers, they had fun. I mean a lot of fun, sometimes to much and sometimes there were consequences. But they really did live the rockstar lifestyle even tho they never touched any instruments.