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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Lakers learning what gutter feels like
Published April 3, 2005
As the final seconds ticked away in yet another Los Angeles Lakers loss, the Staples Center crowd unleashed its frustration, booing the home team off the court.
Derision, and losses, have been rare in these parts where the Lakers are concerned, especially since the arena opened 61/2 years ago.
The Lakers have been one of the glamour franchises in professional sports for years, but they aren't very glamorous right now. Mediocre would be a better description. And the situation might not change for a while, because salary cap problems figure to keep the Lakers from adding high-priced talent in the next few years.
The negative crowd reaction came last Sunday when Philadelphia handed them their eighth straight loss - a streak that's all but eliminated them from playoff contention.
"Ain't no 34 here no more," 76ers star Allen Iverson said, referring to Shaquille O'Neal. "So it's no surprise."
The Lakers hadn't lost more than four straight since dropping a franchise-record 10 in a row to finish the 1993-94 season, when they failed to make the playoffs for the only time since 1976.
After beating New York to snap their losing streak, coach Frank Hamblen acknowledged the Lakers' postseason hopes were slim, saying they could play a spoiler's role since several of their final 11 games are against teams jockeying for playoff position.
The Lakers as spoilers?
What a comedown.
CURRY CONCERNS CONTINUE: Bulls center Eddy Curry missed his third straight game Saturday and remained hospitalized for more testing on an irregular heartbeat.
Curry was having the tests at Rush University Medical Center and will probably stay in the hospital for several more days. The team said a treatment plan will be clearer by Monday when the tests are completed.
"He is comfortable and in no distress," team physician Kathy Weber said in a statement. "He is with his family and maintains a positive disposition while the medical team does their work."