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Wearing the purple, gold & brown

He didn't have the gaudy numbers or dominating skills of so many of his teammates on the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s, but when it came to quirky personalities, Mark Landsberger could compete with the best of them.

Case in point: After a Lakers practice ended in Phoenix one day in the early 1980s, a group of sportswriters were heading across the street from the arena to a fast-food restaurant.

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As Landsberger came off the court, a reporter asked him if he would like to join the group.

The 6-8, 215-pound power forward said he would and prepared to head out the door without showering or changing his clothes, still in his full Lakers road uniform.

"Hey, Mark, I don't have another uniform on this trip," yelled Lakers trainer Jack Curran. "If you mess that one up, you'll still have to wear it in the game."

Don't worry, Landsberger grunted.

As it turned out, he should have worried. At lunch, Landsberger spilled a chocolate shake on his uniform — and a big, dark brown streak ran down the side of his shorts.

The next day, Landsberger ran up and down the court in a nationally televised game with his purple and gold uniform highlighted by an ugly, thin river of dried chocolate.

It if happened today, instead of ridicule, he'd probably get an endorsement deal out of it.

steve.springer@latimes.com

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