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President Reagan is presented a Lakers jersey

President Reagan is presented a Lakers jersey

June 10, 1985: While presenting a Lakers jersey to President  Reagan at the White House, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds it in front of coach Pat Riley. The Lakers also presented Reagan with a cap, T-shirt and autographed basketball.

The day before, June 9, 1985, the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 111-100 to win the NBA title in six games. Before returning to Los Angeles from Boston, the Lakers stopped in Washington, D.C., to meet President Reagan.

In a June 11, 1985 story, Los Angeles Times staff writer Betty Cuniberti reported:

WASHINGTION – In a sunny Rose Garden ceremony Monday honoring his team’s championship season, Laker star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar presented President Reagan a Laker jersey bearing Reagan’s name and the numeral 1.

“I was telling the President I’m not a Republican,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “But I am one of his constituents. So I thought we should suit him up the right way.”

Reagan, accepting the jersey, declared: “I’m proud to have this.”

On an afternoon when Reagan announced that he would continue to adhere to the provisions of the unratified second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, a decidedly different undertaking found him pouring praise on the National Basketball Assn. champions, calling them an inspiration.

“You shows the American people what pride, determination and guts can accomplish,” the president told the Lakers, who flew to Washington from Boston, where Sunday they had beaten the Boston Celtics for the championship, 111-100.

Guard Magic Johnson was lauded for breaking the six-game championship assist record “by an awesome 24.”

Added the president: “Does America believe in Magic? You bet we do,” drawing applause from Lakers, family members and White House aides who had gathered to watch the ceremony.

Reagan said he would like the aggressive James Worth to lobby for him on Capital Hill. And he said that Kurt Rambis, who got into some scuffles during the playoffs, “ought to win the etiquette award for best manners. It’s not everyone who knows what to say after diving into a lady’s lap.”

This photo by former staff photographer Patrick Downs was published on Page 1 of the June 11, 1985, Los Angeles Times. The photo below was taken at the same event by former staff photographer Bernie Boston, and previously published in this Ronald Reagan photo gallery.

June 10, 1985: The Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds a jersey presented to President Reagan at a White House ceremony for the new NBA champions. Photo credit: Bernie Boston/Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA

1 Comment

  1. January 25, 2013, 2:31 am

    I had the chance to watch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar live once. I was only 6 years old and I wasn't really interested in basketball. All i remember is that I was pretending to be "him" and jumping allover the living room when we got back to home. Now as I read and learn more about him, i know being "him" is more than jumping here and there.

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