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banks shot
Richard Hoffer
February 21, 1997
A LIFELONG LAKERS FAN, OUR COVER GIRL MADE HER PRESENCE FELT AT THE FORUM
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February 21, 1997

Banks Shot

A LIFELONG LAKERS FAN, OUR COVER GIRL MADE HER PRESENCE FELT AT THE FORUM

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She was also interested in the Laker Girls, at least by way of comparison with the Knicks City Dancers. This troupe looked a little too tame for Banks. "The Knicks girls are buff," she said. "They come out with nose rings and knee pads. These girls...look, that one looks just like Claudia Schiffer." Just like her? "Well, not just. Claudia's four feet taller." It was speculated that the look-alike was engaged to a magician too. "Maybe the kind that does children's parties," she decided.

She also thought the Forum Club, which she had visited before the game, was tame in comparison with The Club at Madison Square Garden. She had seen Magic Johnson and Tiger Woods pass through but otherwise thought it was a little light on glamour. Although, Banks did admit, she wasn't exactly in the swirl herself. When her swimsuit calendar came out last September, the publisher asked for a list of her celebrity friends to invite to the party. She couldn't think of one. "I'm such a stay-at-home," she said. The publisher wound up inviting Scottie Pippen and a few other NBA players, and Banks was in heaven.

Finally the game got interesting, which is to say the Pistons pulled to within three points with 2.2 seconds left, their ball. Banks was smug in anticipation of a victory. "What could happen?" she said. Well, Detroit's Grant Hill bounced one off the glass—a Banks shot—from 30 feet to tie the game and send it into overtime. "A three-pointer," she cried in surprise. "I forgot. Have I been talking like a girly-girl here or what?"

It took two overtimes and some missed free throws by the Lakers, but the Pistons went on to win 100-97, perhaps inevitably. As the crowd made its way out. Banks wondered if there had been anything she could have done, except not be there. Although Shaq had a good night—18 points, 19 rebounds and noticeably soft skin—Van Exel continued in his shooting slump, hitting only 3 of 11 from the floor. Who's to say it wouldn't have happened anyway? Two nights later, with zero supermodels courtside. Van Exel recovered his touch and led the team with 24 points. On the other hand, Shaq's skin looked a little dry.

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