Lakers welcome back Jordan Farmar

The Lakers brought back a familiar face in (Jewish) veteran guard Jordan Farmar on Wednesday. Farmar had a bench role with the Lakers from 2006-2010 where he averaged 6.7 points and 2.1 assists per game. From the Lakers' press release:

EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent guard Jordan Farmar, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

“Jordan was a fan favorite and a key contributor to our championship teams in 2009 and 2010,” said Kupchak. “We're pleased to have him back with the Lakers and look forward to him once again making a positive impact on our team.”

Farmar, originally selected by the Lakers with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, spent his first four NBA seasons with Los Angeles and helped the team to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances (2008-10) and back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010. A participant in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in both 2007 and 2008, Farmar averaged 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in 18.1 minutes over a span of 301 career games during his first stint with the Lakers.

Signed by New Jersey (now Brooklyn) in July of 2010, Farmar spent two seasons with the Nets, averaging 9.6 points and a career-high 5.0 assists in 2010-11 and a career-best 10.4 points during a 2011-12 season in which he ranked eighth league-wide in three-point field goal percentage (.440).

After briefly playing abroad with Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv during the NBA lockout in 2011 before rejoining the Nets, Farmar signed with Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Turkey for the entire 2012-13 season. In 29 Euroleague games with Anadolu Efes, he averaged 13.8 points on .397 shooting from behind the arc, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 29.4 minutes. In 22 Turkish league games, Farmar posted similar averages of 13.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 26.1 minutes.

A Los Angeles native, Farmar, named to the 2003-04 McDonald's High School All-American team after leading Taft High School to its first ever Los Angeles City title, played two seasons at UCLA where he was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, helped lead the Bruins to the 2006 NCAA championship game as a sophomore and concluded his two-year collegiate career averaging 13.5 points and 5.2 assists in 66 games.

The Lakers, who were swept in the first round of the playoffs this past season, intend to have him play behind current guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake. Given the 91 combined missed games of the current contingent — he should see plenty of playing time.

Los Angeles lost free agent center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets this offseason which has thrust them deep into a “rebuilding” year. The team has focused on thrift shopping — signing players to one-year, low salary contracts in an attempt to keep their books clear for next year's talent-laden free agent class.

[Related: Jordan Farmar and the Jewish (hoops) future]

Lakers star Kobe Bryant chimed in on the Farmar signing on his increasingly famous Twitter account: 

With a one-year contract, Farmar will earn $1,106,941 with the Lakers next season. The signing required a $500k contract buyout from his Euroleague team Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Brooks And Reiner in the Year 2000

By Michael Aushenker, Community Editor

Comedy maven Mel Brooks with his partner-in-crime, CarlReiner.
“Send in the Jews!” Mel Brooks shouted, throwing the floodgatesopen for the scores of fans who valiantly fought the drizzle lastWednesday evening, Nov. 19, to meet him and his “Your Show of Shows”partner-in-crime, Carl Reiner.

Fans lined Overland Avenue, in front of Westside Pavilion, waitingto meet the pair at Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Brooks and Reinerwere promoting their new book and companion CD, “The 2,000-Year-OldMan in the Year 2000.”

One woman boasted that she had driven from a town 60 miles west ofPalm Springs to meet her humorous heroes.

True to their personas, the boisterous Brooks kept everyone aroundhim in stitches, while Reiner remained considerably low-key.

“I’m better than he is,” Brooks kidded about his reticent friend.

The quips kept flying at breakneck speed. A bookstore employeeshouted, “So when’s Part Two coming out, Mel?” alluding to Brooks’1981 film, “History of the World, Part One.” No doubt asked thisquestion one too many times, Brooks shot back, “Thursday!”

Brooks and Reiner faithfully signed anything the enthusiastic fansoffered them, from memorabilia such as vintage “The Producers”soundtrack LPs to videotapes. Brooks even autographed a Tony Roma’stake-out box.

“Keep in touch; don’t be strange!” Brooks shouted, pretending tolament that his fans never stay in touch or drop by his house.

The comedy legends’ charm and charisma seemed to bring out thecomedian in everybody. When a spectator was asked why he came down tosee Mel and Carl, the smart alec cracked, “[Brooks] owes me money.”

“They’re the kings of comedy,” Jennifer Roth of Santa Monica said.”They embody everything about comedy, especially Jewish comedy. It’snot that often that you get to see two legends in person.”

Brooks wrote in Roth’s book: “Happy Chanukah ’97.”

“Brooks and Reiner are two of comedy’s pioneers. [The Jewishpeople] are full of the prevalent desire to cope through humor,” BobRich of Agoura Hills said, theorizing as to their comedic success.

As the signing continued, Brooks turned comically testy with thecrush of photographers interfering with the flow of faithful bookbuyers.

“Three more. Just three more!” he jested.

The pair repeatedly expressed concern for the people forced towait in the rain because of the paparazzi’s insatiable appetite.

But there were playful moments with the press as well. When aCanadian television correspondent with a nasal voice shoved amicrophone and a superfluous question in their faces, the comediansinquired if her voice was real.

George Pennacchio, KABC-TV’s giddy entertainment reporter, droppedby the autograph table to awaken the 2,000-year-old man insideBrooks, asking him if he still had sex. Brooks snapped intocharacter, assuming his thick Yiddish lilt.

“Are you trying to tell me I’m impotent?! I’m opulent!” heinsisted, proceeding to tease Pennacchio, grabbing thecorrespondent’s head and pulling at his tuft of black hair.

Brooks and Reiner stayed past the event’s scheduled end, happilyaccommodating the waiting crowds weathering the weather.

Meanwhile, a colleague and I went to the Panda Inn Restaurantacross the street for dinner. By 9:30, having completed our meals andleaving a tip, we headed for the exit, when in from the rain enteredReiner and Brooks — just the two of them, no entourage, nopretensions — looking for someone to seat them.

On my way out the door, inspiration hit me. I turned to Brooks andchided him in mock anger: “Where were you? We were waiting for you!We held the table for an hour.”

“You were waiting for an hour?” Brooks repeated.

“Aw, forget it!” I said, waving my hand in mock disgust.

With that, I exited the restaurant, content that I managed toevoke some laughs from the Comedy Gods. A small compensation,perhaps, but an appreciation nevertheless for all of the laughs theyhave provided me — and millions of others — over the years.