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Nixon Dedicates Sports Arena

July 5, 2009 |  8:00 am

July 5, 1959, Nixon

July 5, 1959: Vice President Richard Nixon waves during the dedication of the Sports Arena.

July 5, 1959, Cover It has been a long time since anyone referred to the Los Angeles Sports Arena as a "marvel of modern design."

But that was the Mirror-News' view in an editorial celebrating the arena's dedication. This would be a sports arena without a team--the Lakers were still a part of the city's future. Shoot, people were still getting used to having the Dodgers in town.

Vice President Richard Nixon was the keynote speaker, mixing sports metaphors with a preview of the stump speak he'd use in his run for the presidency.

The Times' story included Nixon's three rules for participants in all sports:

"No. 1: Never quit, no matter how tough the going. No. 2: The best defense is a good offense. No. 3: Play to win. Don't play a defensive game."

He was talking about sports, but sure sounded a lot like his brand of politics too.

Having Nixon speak at the dedication of an arena that would host the Democratic National Convention was a nice piece of irony. Nixon said the convention "may turn out to be the battle of the century."

--Keith Thursby