Basketball: No love for the L.A. Sports Arena

Hilarious story on ESPN.com chronicling UCLA sophomore Joshua Smith’s complaints about the Los Angeles Sports Arena, where the Bruins will play most of their games this season while Pauley Pavilion undergoes renovations.

First of all, I totally agree with Smith that the Sports Arena is a dump. The years I covered Cal or Stanford games  there, the place always had the faint whiff of a campground outhouse.

Here’s what Smith, 19, said that made me chuckle: “When we walked in it was like, I thought we were on the set for a Hoosiers movie or something like in the 1980’s or something. It just seemed old.”

The 1980’s? Who can remember that far back?

Amazingly, the Sports Arena is even older than that, having opened in 1959. 

Smith’s biggest complaint is that there’s still a USC banner hanging outside of the building that for years was home to UCLA’s rival Trojans.

Turns out, the Bruins’ two greatest centers have a claim on the Sports Arena, too.  Lew Alcindor led his team to the 1968 national title — including a rout of Elvin Hayes and Houston in the national semifinals — in the building. Four years later, sophomore Bill Walton had 24 points and 20 rebounds in the championship game, powering UCLA to another NCAA title.

Those banners are now hanging at Pauley.


Jeff Faraudo