Laker Wives Score Big at Benefit Screening


“So often wives of professional athletes are seen as women who only do lunch and have their nails done,” said Angela Worthy, wife of Los Angeles Laker James Worthy. “But these women are really movers and shakers, and they’re about more than showing up and looking cute.”

Worthy and other wives of Laker players did show up and look cute, but it was for a good cause--theirs. The Laker Wives hosted a benefit screening Wednesday night of “Blue Chips,” a film directed by William Friedkin about corruption in college basketball recruiting.

The Laker Wives formed their group 10 years ago to fund educational and community programs in the Inglewood area. The proceeds of this evening, estimated at about $40,000, will go toward college scholarships.


Paramount Pictures’ plush theater was the setting for the screening. All the Lakers showed up, including Vlade and Ana Divac, Sam and Heidi Bowie, and Kurt and Linda Rambis. Also on hand were Cookie Johnson (without husband Magic), coach Randy Pfund and General Manager Jerry West and wife Karen. Friedkin showed up to introduce the film and then split early with wife Sherry Lansing, Paramount’s studio chairman.

Those who stayed included producer Michele Rappaport and co-stars Alfre Woodard, J.T. Walsh and Anthony C. Hall. Absent were stars Nick Nolte and Orlando Magic player Shaquille O’Neal, who portrays a recruit phenom.

At a post-screening buffet reception in the theater lobby, Angela and James Worthy agreed that the film’s portrayal of college-level basketball was accurate.

“Unfortunately--or maybe fortunately--the public often has a very glamorized view of this world,” Angela Worthy said. “People never see us once we leave the gym. So I think it gives them a more realistic look. It’s a dirty business now, especially at the collegiate level--that’s what it’s turned into.”

Added James Worthy: “I was very happy that they showed how it really works for those who don’t have a clue, and most people don’t have a clue as to how the recruiting process happens.”

If Worthy were in college now, would he be tempted by the under-the-table offers of cars and money?


“At a young age it was all appealing to me, the jobs, the money,” he said. “But I wasn’t for sale. I was just not for sale. And I don’t think it would be any different for me now.”