Adam Lundquist has a list of basketball players who have fallen prey to his unorthodox reporting. The 92.9 KJEE radio deejay, better known as “Adam the Sports Guy,” has asked Laker’s Lamar Odom, “As someone who has violated the NBA anti-drug policy twice, what is it about pro-basketball that makes someone want to smoke?” and the Celtics’s Sam Cassell, “Do you think you look more like E.T. or Gollum?”
Although Odom and Cassell never answered Lundquist’s questions, a brawny, six-foot-five senator did - and then some. This past Wednesday morning, April 8, Lundquist challenged the Whittier College basketball alumnus and now state senator Tony Strickland to a one-on-one basketball game in the Carrillo Recreation Center downtown.
“He’s just a big guy and I think I can take him,” Lundquist said a few days before the game. “I play on the streets so he can expect a few elbows.”
Both players entered the recreation center decked out in their finest basketball apparel. Lundquist sported a black KJEE T-shirt and white Arizona Wildcats basketball shorts. Strickland wore blue shorts to match his white and blue Los Angeles Lightning basketball T-shirt (to represent the appearance he made with L.A.’s International Basketball League team).
The two took turns tossing a few baskets before the start of the game. While Lundquist paused to talk to radio listeners on his cell phone, Strickland landed a few shots from behind the arc before charging up to the net and, with one hand, made his first slam dunk of the morning.
“When he dunked the ball in our warm-up, I thought, ‘Uh oh, this is going to be bad,’” Lundquist later said. And things didn’t get any better.
Strickland won the free-throw toss to take control of the ball first. The rules were made simple: one point for a shot inside the arc, two for a shot outside, and the first player to seven wins. Strickland took advantage of his height and drove the ball toward the net to swish a layup and earn his first point of the match. With the ball back in his possession, the Republican state senator netted a second layup to widen the gap. Within the first minute of the game, Lundquist fell behind Strickland 5-0.
Lundquist snagged his first break when the senator’s shot for two points rebounded off the rim. Now in control, Lundquist took a chance and shot from behind the arc, only to have the rim reject his shot and give the ball to Strickland. The senator landed another shot before ending the game with a toss near the top of the arc.
The total game time was enough to quiet Lundquist’s pre-game trash talk: two minutes and 19 seconds. It was now time for Senator Strickland to start asking the questions.
“Does anyone else want to play?” a refreshed Strickland asked. No one stepped up.
In good spirits despite the drubbing, Lundquist retorted after the game that he blamed his loss on his familiarity with street courts - not indoor courts - and the performance enhancers he allegedly witnessed his opponent use before the game.
“I didn’t know I was playing Charles Barkley,” a shocked Lundquist said.
A one-on-one match against Lundquist was simply a preview to all that Strickland can do. He plans to make an appearance with the Santa Barbara Breakers on May 7 at the Santa Barbara City College arena.
Although he said he would grant Lundquist a rematch, Strickland has his eye on a different opponent: President Barack Obama. “Call him up. I’ll play him any place, any time.”