The L.A. Lakers’ prospects for a 17th NBA championship are sure to be a topic after dinner at the Goleta Boys & Girls Club on Thursday evening (April 21) when Bill Bertka and Don Ford take center stage. Both men figured prominently in the Lakers’ success during the “Showtime” era of the 1980s.

Bertka started a college basketball scouting service in Santa Barbara that led to a 42-year career with the Lakers. He was their chief assistant coach during the championship runs in 1972 (with head coach Bill Sharman); 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 (with Pat Riley). He continued to be a consultant and scouting director with the club. On three occasions, Bertka filled in as head coach himself, retiring with a winning record (2-1).

Ford, a Santa Barbara native, was an All-CIF player at SB High. He played at New Mexico and ended his college career at UCSB, averaging a record 19.6 points a game in 1974-75. He went on to a seven-year career in the NBA, the first four-plus with the Lakers. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a draft pick that turned out to be James Worthy, a major star with the Showtime Lakers.

Thursday’s program, a benefit for the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $50. For information and reservations, call Sal Rodriguez at 681-1315.


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