Photo File: Behind the scenes with Kobe B. and friends
When the Los Angeles Lakers play at Staples Center, the fastest trigger in the building can be found beneath the basket opposite the Lakers bench. That’s where Andrew Bernstein, the NBA’s senior director of photography, keeps nightly vigil: a Nikon D3 around his neck, a remote at the ready to activate the dozen strobe-activated cameras he employs in the rafters.
Covering the team since their days at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, the 52-year-old Bernstein is as much a part of the purple-and-gold fabric as the Laker Girls. His work defines the franchise’s image on the court: Magic Johnson battles Larry Bird for a rebound, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky-hooks, Shaq dunks.
Now, as the Lakers seek their third consecutive NBA title, Bernstein and Coach Phil Jackson have co-authored “Journey to the Ring,” published by Time Capsule Press. The book offers a behind-the-scenes look into the 2009-10 season, from the first day of training camp in September to the dreary road trips of February to the victory parade in June.
Bernstein, who works for the league and for Staples Center, captures Kobe Bryant in silent contemplation before a game, his feet soaking in ice water and his broken finger in a cup of ice. Jackson dons an apron to carve the Thanksgiving turkey. Derek Fisher weeps after sinking the key basket in Game 3 of the finals. Pau Gasol exults outside St. Vincent’s Church on Figueroa.
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Photo credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images