jimmy goldstein getty

NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein explains why he’s always rooted against the Lakers


You’ve likely seen NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein, even if you have no idea who he is.

The short version is that he’s a wealthy man who has a unique taste for fashion, and an equally unique passion for professional basketball which began in his teenage years. His house is probably more famous than he is outside of NBA circles and the fashion community, and it made an appearance as the residence of Jackie Treehorn in the movie “The Big Lebowski.”

Goldstein lives in Los Angeles, and while he travels during the playoffs to attend the most compelling games, he spends the regular season sitting courtside at Staples Center watching the Lakers and Clippers.

But despite the success of the Lakers franchise over the years, Goldstein has never been a fan. He’s consistently rooted against the Lakers, and in a piece he penned over at NBA.com, he explains some of his reasoning why.

As the years went by, my attachment to the Hawks waned, but my anti-Lakers sentiment became more firmly entrenched for a number of reasons. First, I usually pull for the underdog in any sports competition, and the Lakers were getting to The Finals or winning championships far too often for me. I like it when a different team becomes a title contender each year.

Secondly, I didn’t like it that the Lakers were able to attract so many superstars away from other teams. I like level competition, and the Lakers upset league balance with players like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and many others leaving their teams to live in Los Angeles. (Wilt and I became good friends, and he once told me of his displeasure over my pulling for the opposition, but nothing changed.) …

Many fans see me at all the Lakers games and assume I am a huge fan of the Lakers. Almost every day a stranger will approach me and say “Oh, you are the big Lakers fan.” And I respond, “No, I am an anti-Lakers fan.” In amazement they say, “Then why do you go to the games?” They don’t understand that someone can attend because of his love for the game.

These reasons are all completely understandable.

Goldstein goes on to explain that his anti-Lakers stance has affected his relationships with those who work in the game, including Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. But I’ve seen Goldstein at many, many games interacting with players and coaches courtside, and he’s always treated with nothing short of the utmost respect.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.