'West by West': 20 stories from Jerry West's autobiography

Basketball great Jerry West's autobiography is rife with revelations about the legend.

9. Lakers slow to take hold in Los Angeles

Lakers guard Steve Nash (l.) and head coach Mike D'Antoni (r.) Gus Ruelas/AP

Today we think of the Laker games as being sellouts, with Hollywood celebrities grabbing the courtside seats. But West reminds readers that it wasn’t always so.  When the team moved from Minneapolis in 1961, making it the West Coast’s first NBA team, empty seats were plentiful at the old Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

A gimmicky Crowd-O-Meter recorded the low attendance in a city where the Dodgers and Rams were the toast of the town and where coverage of the Lakers appeared at the back of newspaper sports sections. When the team first began in L.A., many fans of the Celtics and Knicks would turn out when those teams visited. Eventually the Crowd-O-Meter registered larger and larger crowds, with Pat Boone and Doris Day being among the early celebrities to come on board.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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