The Popcorn Machine on Lakers.com

Welcome to The Popcorn Machine, the new regular podcast here on Lakers.com where we’ll talk to Lakers players, coaches and broadcasters, national and local media members, random celebrities and even some fans as the Lakers march towards the only goal the franchise sets … A championship.



Episode #40: Marc Stein
Published April 5th, 2012 | Length: 42:38 | Size: 19.7 MB
ESPN's Marc Stein joined us on the latest episode of the Popcorn Machine to discuss the impact of Ramon Sessions and how the PG changes L.A.'s playoff prospects, offer insight into the Western playoff race and what teams to fear, look at Kobe Bryant's great start to April despite all of the minutes he's played, explain what it's like being inside a huddle doing sideline reporting, talk a bunch about soccer (Stein took facetious issue with Andrew Bynum wearing jerseys of rival English teams) and more.

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Episode #39: Joey Buss
Published March 26th, 2012 | Length: 42:38 | Size: 19.7 MB
D-Fenders President Joey Buss joined us to discuss the terrific season the D-League's best team is enjoying despite tricky circumstances, the day-to-day workings of the franchise, the support he receives from his father and siblings, his current thoughts on the Lakers and how Purple and Gold blood will always run through his veins.

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Episode #38: Rick Kamla
Published February 15th, 2012 | Length: 38:22 | Size: 18.6 MB
NBA TV's Rick Kamla joined us on the Popcorn Machine to discuss the best NBA players to interview, which current player would make the best broadcaster down the line, some of the best quotes he's ever heard come out of players mouths (enter Stephen Jackson and Kevin Garnett) and more. Despite Kamla's not getting our Mario Kart reference (*sigh*) , we had a grand ol' time chatting it up with one of the NBA's most energetic and fun personalities.

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Episode #37: John Ireland
Published December 30th, 2011 | Length: 44:05 | Size: 21.3 MB
The Popcorn Machine returns for our first edition from the 2011-12 season with new radio voice of the Lakers. Ireland discussed his transition from the sideline to the booth, told stories from all his time behind the scenes, discussed what it's like traveling with the team and more.

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Episode #36: Hank Egan
Published June 21st, 2011 | Length: 26:01 | Size: 12.1 MB
We dug into the coaching DNA of Mike Brown by speaking with someone who knows him better than almost anybody: Coach Hank Egan, Brown’s coach at the University of San Diego, and the key figure in Brown’s getting his first NBA job with the Denver Nuggets. Brown went on to coach with Egan on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio, and then brought Egan out of retirement to join Brown’s first staff in Cleveland.

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Episode #35: Marc Spears
Published June 10th, 2011 | Length: 17:33 | Size: 8.7 MB
Yahoo’s Marc Spears, currently leading all NBA reporters in questions asked following Finals games, joined us to discuss what it’s like covering the league’s biggest games without the Lakers involved for the first time since 2007. He also shared his thoughts on Mike Brown, whom Spears got to know quite well in the past few seasons, and wondered what Kobe Bryant has been thinking while watching LeBron, Wade and Dirk on ABC (the word “seething” came to mind).

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Episode #34: Chip Schaefer
Published May 19th, 2011 | Length: 1:01:48 | Size: 29.7 MB
In Phil Jackson’s 11 championship seasons as a coach, only Robert “Chip” Schaefer has been by his side for each one. Schaefer -- Jackson’s head trainer with the Bulls from 1990-98 and a key member of Gary Vitti’s training staff for the Lakers from 1999 to present -- took us down memory lane to discuss Jackson’s early years with the Bulls, share what defined Jackson during his time with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, explain the transition to Los Angeles and talk about how Jackson has both changed and stayed the same throughout the NBA’s greatest coaching career.

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Episode #33: Lee Jenkins
Published May 3rd, 2011 | Length: 29:05 | Size: 13.5 MB
Sports Illustrated scribe Lee Jenkins joined us to discuss the mental state of the Lakers, how personalities of the players affect their respective play on the court, what makes Kobe Bryant different from L.A.'s skilled big men, the Western Semi's matchup with the Mavericks and more.

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Episode #32: Trey Johnson
Published April 25th, 2011 | Length: 31:56 | Size: 15.4 MB
On April 12, you’re the best player on your D-League team ... on April 13, you’re the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Trey Johnson joined us on the Popcorn Machine to detail his sudden journey into a potential NBA playoff dream, what it’s like to see Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant work when it matters most, what his father told him when he learned his son was a Laker and how it feels to represent his entire community from Jackson, MS.

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Episode #31: Joe Smith
Published March 30th, 2011 | Length: 36:51 | Size: 17.1 MB
The No. 1 overall draft pick out of Maryland back in 1995, Joe Smith has seen it all in his 16-year NBA career. He joined us on the Popcorn Machine to look back on some of his favorite memories, put some context behind playing with Kobe Bryant and for Phil Jackson, offer insight into Allen Iverson that only a former AAU National Championship winning teammate of A.I.’s out of Virginia would know, discuss his passion for hip hop music and more.

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Episode #30: J.E. Skeets
Published March 24th, 2011 | Length: 28:40 | Size: 13.3 MB
Representing all of Canada, J.E. Skeets of the Basketball Jones podcast joined us to discuss hoops up (way) North and how the Lakers are received there, Steve Nash, Skeets's favorite NBA players to interview, annoying Gregg Popovich at the All-Star game and much more.
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Episode #29: Kevin Ding
Published February 25th, 2011 | Length: 54:20 | Size: 25 MB
Lakers beat writer and columnist Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, who has been covering the team since Phil Jackson’s first season in L.A. back in 1999, joined us for a “State of the Lakers” podcast, detailing and debating where the team is today and where they’ll be come June in a 54-minute marathon conversation. We covered the relationship between Pau Gasol’s Black/White Swan and Kobe Bryant’s Black Mamba, the growth of Lamar Odom, how the trade deadline moves could affect the Lakers and more.
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Episode #28: Art Garcia
Published February 3rd, 2011 | Length: 19:23 | Size: 4.5 MB
Two of the main potential barriers in front of a potential fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals for the Lakers sit about 280 miles apart in Texas on Interstate 35: the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, currently sandwiched around the Lakers at first and third in the Western Conference. NBA.com’s Art Garcia happens to watch both teams play in person more than anyone else, so we dialed him up to take a closer look at both teams, determine who’s a bigger threat to the Lakers and figure out why the Spurs in particular have been so good in the first half of the season.
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Episode #27: Henry Abbott
Published January 27th, 2011 | Length: 29:14 | Size: 14.1 MB
With a game on the line, which NBA player would you want to take the last shot? Particularly in Los Angeles, and certainly amongst NBA players and coaches, the answer is Kobe Bryant. But ESPN’s Henry Abbott, operator of the True Hoop blog and creator of the True Hoop Network, isn’t so sure. Abbott joined us on the Popcorn Machine to explain ... or debate? ... on the issue.
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Episode #26: Marco Nunez
Published January 24th, 2011 | Length: 24:24 | Size: 11.8 MB
Assistant trainer Marco Nunez spends more time with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the rest of the Lakers than almost anybody. Nunez, who serves as the utility man on the training staff while doing a little bit of everything that has to happen to get players ready to go, joined us on the Popcorn Machine to let us know just how tough Kobe is, detail which guys are treated first in the training room and so on.
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Episode #25: Ric Bucher
Published October 25th, 2010 | Length: 28:37 | Size: 13.2 MB
With the NBA’s regular season tipping in just about 24 hours, we dialed up ESPN’s NBA Insider Ric Bucher for a preview, focusing on L.A.’s quest towards a third straight NBA title. Bucher offered his thoughts on L.A.’s stiffest competition in either conference, discussed the late-game dynamic between Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, gave us his Finals prediction and even offered his take on the Birdman’s latest (full neck) tattoo.
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Episode #24: Lee Jenkins
Published August 23rd, 2010 | Length: 26:47 | Size: 12.4 MB
Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins has written feature stories about Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom over the past two Lakers seasons, and joined us on the Popcorn Machine to discuss the opinions he’s developed throughout the process. Jenkins details Jackson’s underreported competitive streak (and his signature pancakes), Odom’s difficult past and smiling rise through it, Gasol’s unique basketball path and Kobe’s relationship with new Laker Matt Barnes. We also discussed which Laker would be the best player in another sport Jenkins covers for SI, baseball, and his chance encounter with Ron Artest at a Westwood eatery.
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Episode #23: Chuck Person
Published August 5th, 2010 | Length: 22:17 | Size: 10.3 MB
Chuck Person spent the latest of his 25 years in the NBA as a player and coach as a special assistant coach on Phil Jackson’s staff last season, making such a positive impact that he was named a full-time assistant coach on Aug. 2. Person, known as “The Rifleman” during a 13-year playing career that began with a Rookie of the Year award for the 1986-87 season, joined us on the Popcorn Machine to discuss his basketball past, his relationship with Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant and what he’s learned from Jackson thus far.
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Episode #22: Doris Burke
Published July 22nd, 2010 | Length: 26:49 | Size: 15.4 MB
Making her second appearance on the Popcorn Machine is ESPN hoops analyst/reporter Doris Burke, who covered the sideline for ABC’s broadcast of the NBA Finals for the second straight season. Burke offered her perspective on the much-noted postgame 7 interview with Ron Artest, discussed what she’s seen behind the scenes from Phil Jackson, talked about the on-court basketball fusion of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and more.

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Episode #21: Andrew D. Bernstein
Published May 11th, 2010 | Length: 23:03 | Size: 11.1 MB
For the past 28 years, Senior Director of NBA Photos and the Lakers’ team photographer Andy Bernstein has been capturing some of the most memorable moments in the NBA, from Magic Johnson’s Jr. Jr. Sky Hook to Kobe Bryant’s bevy of 2009-10 game winning shots. Bernstein has developed a unique knowledge of his craft that he shared with us on the Popcorn Machine, including how technology has impacted his business, the pressure behind capturing key moments in games, his memories of Lakers games past and present, what it’s like getting run over by Shaquille O’Neal and more.

To check out Bernstein’s impressive collection of NBA Finals shots, CLICK HERE.

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Episode #20: Brian Billick
Published March 21st, 2010 | Length: 29:07 | Size: 14.1 MB
To gain some perspective on the coaching profession, we enlisted former Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick, who talked about the nearly unfathomable career of Phil Jackson (10 titles? Really? 10!), the art and pursuit of inspiring players towards a common goal, dealing with referees and the media, the differences between coaching in the NFL and the NBA and more.
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Episode #19: Patrick O'Keefe
Published February 3rd, 2010 | Length: 19:07 | Size: 7 MB
Ever wonder what exactly Kobe Bryant watches on film and why? Curious about what Phil Jackson likes to see on game edits that help his team prepare for each and every opponent? You’re in luck, because Lakers video coordinator Patrick O’Keefe joined us on the Popcorn Machine to discuss many of the behind-the-scenes details.

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Episode #18: Gary Vitti
Published January 21st, 2010 | Length: 32:12 | Size: 14.9 MB
For the past 26 years, Lakers Head Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti has run the show for the team both in the training room and off the court. He joined us to discuss the varying responsibilities that come with his job, the freakish toughness of Kobe Bryant and more.

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Episode #17: Lawrence Tanter
Published January 7th, 2010 | Length: 20:10 | Size: 9.8 MB
The deep, smooth, baritone voice of Lawrence Tanter is a sound with which anyone who has attended a Lakers game since 1982 is well familiar. “LT,” the longest tenured Public Address Announcer in the history of the Lakers, has called over 1,400 games for the purple and gold, watching players from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant from his courtside seat. Tanter, who worked alongside Chick Hearn for many years, sat down with us to talk about his approach to his job, to detail his favorite Lakers memories and more.

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Episode #16: Doug Mann
Published December 2nd, 2009 | Length: 28:05 | Size: 13.6 MB
For the last 36 years, Doug Mann has occupied a courtside seat to 11 different sports as a statistician, including 20 years spent next to Chick Hearn and the last five alongside Spero Dedes on Lakers broadcasts. Mann joined us on the Popcorn Machine to share stories about Hearn, describe his preparation for games and discuss some of the more outstanding Lakers statistics from this season and throughout his career.

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Episode #15: Ronnie Lester
Published October 7th, 2009 | Length: 36:46 | Size: 17.7 MB
Lakers assistant general manager Ronnie Lester joined us to discuss the impact of a knee injury suffered after two All-America seasons at Iowa as a player, what it was like to play against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team, Michael Jordan’s impact on the scouting industry, Kobe Bryant’s legendary workout as a 17-year old and more.

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Episode #14: Doris Burke
Published August 19th, 2009 | Length: 28:38 | Size: 13.3 MB
ESPN basketball analyst and reporter Doris Burke - who handled sideline duties for the Lakers during ABC’s broadcast of the 2009 NBA Finals - came onto the Popcorn Machine to discuss Kobe, Fish and Phil, gender in sports reporting and how central her hoops past (Providence College Hall of Famer) is to doing her job well.

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Episode #13: Matt Kemp
Published August 7th, 2009 | Length: 14:24 | Size: 6.7 MB
From the dugout at Dodger Stadium, centerfielder Matt Kemp detailed his basketball past, speculated about Lamar Odom's baseball prospects (the lanky lefty fancies himself a pitcher), figured Jordan Farmar would be the Lakers' best baseball player and gave us his top five musical artists as compared to those of Josh Powell and Shannon Brown. Kemp then went 4-for-5 with a home run, five RBIs and three runs as L.A. beat Milwaukee 17-4.

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Episode #12: Josh Powell
Published July 21st, 2009 | Length: 26:28 | Size: 12.5 MB
Josh Powell’s journey to the Lakers was a long one. In fact, he’d focused more on football and baseball as a child before growing five inches as a freshman in high school and turning his focus to the hardcourt, eventually earning a scholarship to NC State. Yet he went undrafted after his sophomore year, heading not to the NBA but to Russia, Italy, and some domestic leagues about which you’ve never heard. Here’s how Powell described his hoops path in his own words. For more info on Powell path, click here.

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Episode #11: Matthew Berry
Published July 2nd, 2009 | Length: 45:30 | Size: 20.9 MB
After a slight playoff hiatus, the Popcorn Machine returns with ESPN’s Matthew Berry (The Talented Mr. Roto, read his latest Love/Hate column here), who happens to be a big time Lakers fan and season ticket holder since the Forum days. We tried to figure out L.A.’s All-Time starting five, chatted about celebs in STAPLES Center and talked about how many great years the 30-year-old Kobe Bryant has left. Check him out on Twitter too.

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Episode #10: Jeanie Buss
Published May 21st, 2009 | Length: 27:59 | Size: 12.9 MB
Lakers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Jeanie Buss joined us to talk about the courtside celebrities at STAPLES Center, her new twitter account, playing scrabble and watching “American Idol” with Phil Jackson and more.

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Episode #9: Alex McKechnie
Published April 30th, 2009 | Length: 18:46 | Size: 8.7 MB
Lakers Athletic Performance Coordinator Alex McKechnie came to the Lakers during the 1997-98 season to work on Shaquille O’Neal’s abdominal tear, and was so effective that the Lakers couldn’t let him go. We talked to McKechnie about “Core-X,” the athletic training device that he invented and which many of the Lakers use on a daily basis, and also talked about his specific role within L.A.’s training staff.

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Episode #8: Lisa Estrada
Published April 23rd, 2009 | Length: 30:16 | Size: 14 MB
Lisa Estrada’s the Los Angeles Lakers Director of Game Operations and Entertainment, running the show you see at STAPLES Center throughout the season. She’s also the longtime director of the Laker Girls … And a former Laker Girl herself. Basically, we had lots to talk about on the Popcorn Machine.

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Episode #7: Dave McMenamin
Published April 14th, 2009 | Length: 29:27 | Size: 13.7 MB
Compiling winning seasons has left L.A. with just one lottery pick in the last 15 years: Andrew Bynum (2005). Since the Lakers don’t know much about high-profile rookies, we brought in NBA.com’s Dave McMenamin, who has been tracking the league’s kids throughout the season. We talked O.J. Mayo vs. Brook Lopez, FGA’s vs. PER and more. For more McMenamin click here.

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Episode #6: Kevin Harlan
Published April 7th, 2009 | Length: 29:15 | Size: 13.5 MB
Sandwiched in between his play-by-play of the NCAA Tournament and TNT’s “40 Games in 40 Nights,” broadcaster Kevin Harlan joined us to talk about his memories of Chick Hearn, the differences between calling national/local and college/pro games, his broadcast partners and favorite restaurants on the road.

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Episode #5: Shannon Brown
Published March 31, 2009 | Length: 15:18 | Size: 7.2 MB
With his six-month old son Shannon Christopher in his lap, Lakers guard Shannon Brown talked to us about his Final Four bound Michigan State Spartans, detailing his time and experience playing under head coach Tom Izzo at MSU.

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Episode #4: Luke Walton
Published March 25, 2009 | Length: 32:26 | Size: 15.1 MB
Lakers forward Luke Walton stepped into the Popcorn Machine to talk about lacking any fashion sense until getting got the NBA, playing 2-on-2 with his dad, brother Nate and his hoops idol Larry Bird, his eating habits (Mexican food, please) and learning how to drive a car as a 13-year old in Tijuana.

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Episode #3: March Madness, Luke Winn
Published March 18, 2009 | Length: 14:41 | Size: 6.7 MB
For a special NCAA Tournament edition of The Popcorn Machine, we enlisted Sports Illustrated senior college hoops writer Luke Winn to break down the chances for the teams of various Lakers players: Jordan Farmar & Trevor Ariza (UCLA); Luke Walton (Arizona); Shannon Brown (Michigan State); Adam Morrison (Gonzaga) and Kobe Bryant (Duke/Syracuse) .

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Episode #2: Chip Schaefer
Published March 17, 2009 | Length: 37:13 | Size: 34.1 MB
Lakers Director of Athletic Performance and Player Development Chip Schaefer has nine rings ... So that’s pretty good. Having spent eight years with the Chicago Bulls as Phil Jackson’s head athletic trainer and now 10 years with the Lakers, Schaefer’s seen more of Phil, Michael, Scottie, Kobe and Shaq than almost anybody.

Schaefer talked about his time with those Hall of Famers, described the changing role of sports medicine over his career, explained exactly what he and L.A.’s training staff do to keep the Lakers as healthy as possible and more.

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Episode #1: Stu Lantz
Published March 10, 2009 | Length: 25:40 | Size: 23.5 MB
With whom else could we possibly start the “Popcorn Machine” than Chick Hearn’s longtime partner and current Lakers TV analyst Stu Lantz, who stopped by our Popcorn studios to identify a series of “Chick-isms,” relay memories of his time with the voice of the Lakers and to describe his own broadcasting path.

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