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Strickland Lays Down the Law in Hoops Challenge

KJEE's Adam Lundquist proves no match for the legislator with a basketball past ... but he does get the last word

Taking up a challenge from Adam Lundquist, a morning DJ at 92.9 KJEE-FM, state Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, shut him down in short order during a one-on-one basketball game Wednesday at the Carrillo Recreation Center.

To be fair, the fight wasn’t — since the 6-foot-5 Strickland is a former basketball star at Whittier College “back in the day.” And you might not know it, but the former Poet actually will be joining the Los Angeles Lightning for the team’s May 2 season opener.

Tony Strickland flashed a victory smile afterward while Adam Lundquist tried to put his game face back on.
Tony Strickland flashed a victory smile afterward while Adam Lundquist tried to put his game face back on. (Matt Sherman photo)

“I’m excited about it,” Strickland, 39, said of his debut in the International Basketball League. “I’m as serious about my basketball as I am about my politics.”

Strickland said he knows Lightning owner Mark Harwell, who was aware of the freshman legislator’s love of hoops and invited him to suit up for the game against the Edmonton Energy at California Lutheran University.

“It didn’t take me long to say yes,” Strickland said.

Harwell, a Strickland supporter, said the event is not a publicity stunt.

“If the guy were 5-feet-7 and had a pot belly, that would be a publicity stunt,” Harwell said. “But he’s a tremendous athlete. I don’t think people realize what a great athlete he is — he can still dunk the ball.”

The KJEE challenge, however ... that was a publicity stunt. Just ask the 5-foot-9 Lundquist.

“Our game was all about publicity, for me,” he laughed.

“The game lasted two minutes and nine seconds because Strickland kept backing me down,” said Lundquist, who gave up nearly 100 pounds to his opponent’s 260. “He made six layups and one jump shot.

“I knew I was in trouble when he dunked during the warmups.”

The action was called by Blake Dorfman of Presidio Sports and broadcast live on KJEE. Dorfman said he’s seen better games.

“When Strickland threw down the first dunk in warmups, I could really see the fear start to build in Adam’s eyes,” he recalled. “The senator’s presence in the paint and ability to push his weight around left Adam out-sized and over-matched. After the score went to 4-0, Adam was toast.

“The best part was when Strickland grabbed the ball after the game and asked, ‘Anyone else?’ and everyone just looked down at the floor.”

Lundquist had no regrets about going toe-to-toe with a politician.

“We had a really great time and I am sure we will play again,” he said. “Next time I’ll get at least one point.”

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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