New Lakers coach gets welcome guide to the Land of a Thousand Fakes

Welcome to the City of Fallen Angels, Mike Brown.

On behalf of the Welcome Wagon of Los Angeles, we’d like to offer up this basket of oranges while urging you never to eat anything you buy from folks standing at a traffic light. Buy it, just don’t eat it. Better yet, send it to the Spurs.

You have landed in a very special place, a town that really embraces outsiders. John Wooden was from Indiana. Tommy Lasorda, Pennsylvania. Heck, even our teams are from somewhere else. Minnesota. Brooklyn. San Diego. The ex-governor is from Austria, the sit-coms all come from Britain. See, everything here is from somewhere else. Most of the stuff we stole.

Just think of us as the Land of a Thousand Fakes. See that hedge over there? That’s Lindsay Lohan. That quivering mass? Her lawyer. Don’t stare, that’s uncool. You’re not in Cleveland anymore.


Look, Coach, the first thing you’ll want to do is acquire a California driver’s license. The test is relatively simple. What they do is send you through an intersection with goons firing guns at your windshield. After that, a helicopter swoops in and three commandos jump onto your roof. That’s not a movie, that’s the 405 Freeway — and an excellent test of your evasive skills. If you pass that, you’re in.

While acquiring your driver’s license, you might consider changing your name. How about “Coachella?” Or maybe “Downtown Michael Brown,” since that’s where you’ll be working? Our downtown is a lovely area, not a blade of grass to spoil the acres of concrete. There are some trees, unfortunately. Many of our trees have eating disorders. We call those palm trees. The second most-popular tree? A common light pole. Communis lightpolius. If Ansel Adams were alive, he’d probably do a book.

Looking for a place to live? The Palisades are nice — till they slide into the ocean. Venice Beach is nice — if you can put up with the kooks. Check with Artest. I think he sells mood rings there on weekends.

Or how about Paris Hilton’s closet — five bedrooms, four baths? Another option is the South Bay, which has an outdoor lifestyle conducive to health and fitness. Did Dr. Buss mention you’ll also be playing left field for the Dodgers?

We know you’re busy with the move, so we’ve gone ahead and lined up an assistant coach. Two very exciting words: Coach Oprah. People really like her, it seems, and if there’s anyone who could handle your star player, it’s Coach O. “Breathe, Kobe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

By the way, you’ll also have your own reality show on the Oxygen network: “The Coach and Mrs. Bryant.” Details have not been worked out, but think of it as a spinoff of “The Deadliest Catch.”

Listen, don’t worry about the new in-laws. All in all, your extended Lakers family is renowned for its warmth and hospitality. There are the lovely Kar-crashian sisters (like squirrels chewing on power lines). There’s Jack Nicholson, a severely talented man (just ask him). There’s Cruise and Hoffman and Katzenberg, who parades around as if he owns the town (he actually does).

Good people, mostly. Salt of the earth. Need anything, just stop over. After you pry their attack dogs from your upper calf, they’ll be glad to call you a cab.


So congrats, Coach Brown. You’ve landed in a remarkable little city, a true paradise by the sea. Not perfect, but filled with passionate fans. We need prisons, we build sports stadiums. We need schools, we build sports stadiums. We need a place to keep Schwarzenegger, we build sports stadiums.

It’s all good. Now breathe. Let go.

Hugs, the Welcome Wagon