33 STR8: My evening with the 1971-72 Lakers, and NBA Royalty. / by Christopher Mora

As an avid sports fan, having conversation about sports with other other people who are also interested in sports excites me.  Talking about players, great plays, "where were you?" type moments is always an engaging experience, no matter who I'm with.  As a simple fan though, there are few times that I actually get to be there to witness these great moments, or be in the presence of these great players and discuss their careers.  Last Thursday I was honored with that chance.  My great friend Chelsea and her mother Jill over the last year or so have been very good to me and given me the ultimate privilege that a sports fan/photographer could have, which is to be in the same room as NBA Legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and as of last week, Celtics Legend Bill Russell, Pat Riley, the NBA Logo himself: Jerry West, and other members of the 1971-72 LA Lakers team that won 33 straight games as well as the NBA Championship that year.  I like to think that I was calm and collected, but there are only so many people I could see walking into the room who I grew up knowing as people who helped shape the NBA into what it is today before I start sweating a little bit.  Getting close to the people that night was important, as I have slowly started doling in the niche of event photography, I have come to realize that people love having their pictures taken (especially as the night progresses if large amounts of alcohol are involved haha). The difference here is that everyone is used to having their pictures taken since they are who they are.  So what I tried to do was capture organic moments between the people and change the view of candid photos.  I probably didn't accomplish what Im describing, but either way, BILL RUSSELL was within feet of me.  And that's good enough for me.

Special thanks to the West Coast Sports Medicine Foundation for putting on a great event.  For more information on WCSMF you can visit their Facebook page or their website.

Below are a few of the photos i took, the rest can be viewed on my Flickr page.