LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Lakers made a preseason practice stop at the Pechanga Recreation Center on the Pechanga Indian Reservation in Temecula, CA. For one hour, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers team and coaches participated in a shoot around and scrimmages inside the tribe’s recreation center gym on the Pechanga Reservation. About 250 tribal youth and members watched the event held just two days before the team’s first 2022 preseason game in Los Angeles against the Sacramento Kings. This is the eighth year the Lakers have held a team shoot around at the Pechanga Tribal Recreation Center in Temecula. Due to COVID and other preseason engagements, this visit was the Lakers’ first to Pechanga in four years.
“It was a great experience for me, my first time out here,” said Anthony Davis, Lakers forward. “I know these fans, it’s a pretty far drive so they may not get a chance to come down to Crypto.com Arena to watch the games, so to come out here and practice in front of them, I know it meant a lot to them, and it meant a lot to us.”
The shoot around near Temecula was a chance for the team to show gratitude for inland Southern California fans’ loyalty. The Lakers’ practice in Temecula was not open to the public, though members of the media were invited to interview coaches and players following the shoot around.
Earlier in the day, Lakers Youth Foundation coaches hosted a basketball clinic for about 100 children ages six to 18. Coaches tested the kids’ enthusiasm with running, sprinting, dribbling, shooting drills, and special skills drills by the Lakers Youth Foundation head coach, Daryl Roper, and his team. The kids wore specially designed t-shirts for the day as they worked on the coaches’ drills.
Lakers basketball players and coaches also took part in a casino night at Pechanga Resort Casino to benefit the Lakers Youth Foundation. Pechanga has been a longtime donor to the Lakers Youth Foundation and sponsor of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team held their first practice at Pechanga in 2010 at the newly-built recreation center. The team has made it a yearly scheduled event to come back year after year to raise money for charity.
“It’s an honor to have the Lakers be here at Pechanga, especially after four years to make that connection once again and hopefully we continue this into the future,” said Mark Macarro, Pechanga Tribal Chairman.