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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR IS MONEY

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
With multiple franchises in pro sports - Lakers and Clippers (NBA), Dodgers and Angels (MLB) and Kings and Ducks (NHL) - plus major interest in UCLA and USC athletics, LA’s fans are some of the most sports-crazed in the country. Matt “Money” Smith and Steve Hartman - two of the leading authorities on So-Cal sports-stir up the scene with this entertaining compilation, including guest lists from Phil Jackson, Tommy Lasorda, Luc Robitaille, Jeanie Buss, Steve Garvey, Tony Hawk, Flea, and many more. The Great Book of Los Angeles Sports Lists, a new book about the Southern California sports scene is available for purchase now.

Interview with Steve Hartman

LAKings.com recently sat down with one of the authors, Matt "Money" Smith, as he talks about his new book.

LAKings.com: Why did you and Steve choose Kings fans as the No. 1 sports fans in L.A.?

Matt "Money" Smith: Actually we split the lists up, and I authored the “Top-10 Fans.”  I took the Kings for a few reasons. First, there seems to be the smallest amount of fluctuation in their base no matter the record the team posts. As a group, a total body, the fan base is more knowledgeable about their team AND the sport as a whole than any other club in Los Angeles. And finally, they don’t get caught up in ‘We’re too cool to yell and support our team.’  Plus, they lose their minds at the games.

LAKings.com: Why it is that most people nationally associate the Kings with Wayne Gretzky...but most people locally associate the Kings with Luc Robitaille?

Matt "Money" Smith: It really is one of the great travesties in all of sports. Luc should and will go down as one of the greatest scorers this game has even known. But because he didn’t do it with magical stick work and acrobatic skating, he’s largely overlooked. He never scored many goals that would be worthy of the national highlight shows but you’d see them on the local news. Plus he’s so beloved here because of his personality. He really is “The Gentleman” in all of sports.

LAKings.com: As a broadcaster yourself, how lucky have so many Southern California sports fans been to have “grown up” listening to Bob Miller, Vin Scully and Chick Hearn?

Matt "Money" Smith: They have no idea. I’ve traveled this country from coast to coast and to have just one great broadcaster is a blessing, but to have three, and that’s not including Tom Kelly from USC, is pure bliss.

LAKings.com: How much do you enjoy the physicality of hockey -- including the fights?

Matt "Money" Smith: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I grew up in the Manson/Probert era of the Blackhawks and it was entertainment. I don't think Manson ever lost a fight. Strangest thing is, as a broadcaster, the ‘Goons” are the best interviews. Stu Grimson, Lappy (Ian Laperriere) and OD (Sean O’Donnell) were always our favorites of the last decade.

LAKings.com: You are a fan of movies.  Is there another hockey movie that even comes close to “Slapshot?”

Matt "Money" Smith: Nah, not even close. It could be argued as the greatest sports movie of all time, considering I truly think it’s the best performance Paul Newman ever turned it. He’s unreal. That said, I think “Mystery, Alaska” is totally underrated, and I know I’ll be roundly mocked for that, but it’s cool.

They book can be ordered on line through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com. They can also buy the book the old-fashioned way at any local book store.

MORE ON THE GREAT BOOK OF LOS ANGELES SPORTS LISTS
In the book, Kings fans are selected as the best fans in Southern California...here is their list:
10. Clippers
9. Chargers
8. Ducks
7. Angels
6. UCLA
5. USC
4. Raiders
3. Dodgers
2. Lakers
1. Kings

Really? A hockey franchise in Southern California has the best fans? When Jack Kent Cooke (Who owned both the Lakers and Kings) asked why television ratings were so dismal, rumor has it Chick Hearn answered, "Because they're all here at the game." Sellouts are the norm for this mostly average NHL franchise. I would put their knowledge of the Kings, the team's history and the league as a whole up against any fan base in town. The Kings are an attraction no matter their record, and even though they've been pretty bad lately, once they get rolling, they create emotion in the city that's hard to match. Nobody lives and dies by their franchise like this loyal group.

Other Kings lists featured in the book include:
Top-10 Greatest Moments in Kings History
Top-10 Los Angeles Kings

Interview conducted by Jeff Moeller | LAKings.com

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