Last night we went out to dinner; Shirley, Jordan, Meg, and me, at a little place down the street called Leila's. We like Leila's, it's cool; a hidden gem in a shopping mall, good food and great wine, plus they have a cheese plate to die for... but I digress, because I was telling you about my dinner with Jerry West. So we're seated at a table, and at the next table is another party of four which includes Mr. West.
I'm going to call him Mister, because he's been my hero for forty years; when I was a young teen and a huge Lakers fan, he was their leader, the little white guy who took over games with his sharpshooting, laser passing, and defensive intensity. He was the best; John Stockton before John Stockton, Steve Nash before Steve Nash. Chick Hearn nicknamed him "Mr. Clutch". Later on he became the Lakers' coach, leading them to championships with Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, and then general manager, making the deals which brought Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant to the Lakers. And Phil Jackson! But I digress, because I was telling you about our dinner.
So Mr. West is at the next table, and it so happens that he and I were facing each other. He seemed to be having a great time, calm, smiling, drinking wine, engaged in conversation. But every time we locked eyes I got this incredible sense of intensity. It was amazing; he wasn't staring at me and probably wasn't thinking about me at all, and yet wham! this laser like intensity was beamed at me. It was really quite cool. I found myself staring without staring, if you know what I mean, just so I could pick up the signal. I'd love it if I could transmit that kind of intensity. I'll have to work on that :)
PS reading his NBA bio, I found this phrase: "Despite a level of intensity so high it could melt lead, West was one of the most admired and well-liked figures in professional basketball." I'm staring at my computer screen right now, practicing. Can you feel it?