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Team to Break Out White Uniforms

Times Staff Writer

The Lakers will wear white uniforms today and continue the look on every home Sunday game for the rest of the season.

The uniform was born in the Laker front office three years ago, died briefly when the NBA insisted the Lakers drop their home gold uniforms permanently, and was revived recently when the league relented. The stipulation is that the team must wear the special uniforms at least 12 times during the season.

“We’ve been planning a white Christmas,” said Tim Harris, the organization’s senior vice president, business operations. “We think the fans will love it. It’s a very clean look.”

The process of adding a white uniform to the Lakers’ signature home yellow and road purple began with conversations between owner Jerry Buss and former vice president Jerry West. The club liked last year’s response to its light blue uniforms, worn to honor the Minneapolis Laker teams.

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“We’re very conservative,” executive vice president Jeanie Buss said Tuesday. “We talked about it for a long time before the decision was made. This is all about the fans. If there’s a rebellion and the fans don’t like it, we’ll rethink it.”

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A big holiday season for Shaquille O’Neal: He’ll be married Thursday at a secret Los Angeles-area site.... Devean George, who sat out Sunday’s game at Toronto because of a sprained right ankle, practiced Tuesday. Phil Jackson said he expected him to play today.... Among those spotted amid the Oct. 25 fracas between Sacramento’s Doug Christie and the Lakers’ Rick Fox was Christie’s wife, Jackie. Fox said he has since armed his own wife, Vanessa Williams. “I bought her a big, big, big Roots purse for Christmas. Just in case,” he said, laughing.... Kobe Bryant said his various ailments -- knee, elbow, etc. -- are better, but there’s no stopping the daily grind on his body. “Once the season kicks off,” he said, “it’s downhill from there.”

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TONIGHT

vs. Sacramento

5:30, Channel 7

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KLAC (570), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Lakers 11-18, Kings 22-8.

Record vs. Kings (2001-02) -- 3-1.

Update -- Scot Pollard, Mateen Cleaves and Brent Price are on the Kings’ injured list. Mike Bibby, who missed the first 27 games because of surgery on his right foot, is not. He returned Dec. 19 and has averaged 16.3 points and 5.7 assists in 28.3 minutes. In 26 games as a starter, in place of Bibby, Bobby Jackson averaged 20.2 points. He had a career-high 31 points a month ago against the Clippers.

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