Game Day Routine: Sasha vs. Jensen

What’s a game day like for a Lakers player from the time they get up leading up to tipoff?

How about for a Laker Girl?

We sat down first with guard Sasha Vujacic and then with Laker Girl Jensen to detail their respective days to see just how different – or similar – they are.

SASHA

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Alarm Clock
“I wake up an hour before I have to be at the practice facility usually, but sometimes an hour and a half or two hours depending if I want to watch some video of the opponent.”

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Shootaround; Drill with Pau
“First Pau and I take free throws, and you have to make 10 in a row to move onto the next station. If you can’t make 10 in a row, you suck. Then you have to make the most three-point shots out of 14 (seven spots around the line) wins.”

1:00 pm. - ? Nap Time
“Sometimes I nap and sometimes I don’t, it just depends on the day. I don’t have a regular nap schedule.”

1 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch Time
“If we are at home, I try to go to my parent’s house. I let my mom surprise me, but once in a blue moon I’ll feel like cooking. It’s just that she’s so good of a cook that I’m unfair to myself if I cook. She’ll make pasta, steak or whatever, I try to get some good carbs in my body.

5:00 p.m. Leave for STAPLES Center
“I give myself at least an hour to get there prior to the time that we have to meet in the locker room. Traffic is never an excuse, so sometimes I’m early but never late.”

5:01 – 5:45 p.m. Phone shuffle
“If I like what music is playing in my car, I keep it on. If I don’t like it, I change it between about 2,000 songs on my phone. From rock to hip hop to anything … I just love music.”

6 – 6:45 p.m. Open Locker Room
The NBA mandates that locker rooms are open for interviews for 45 minutes beginning 1:30 before tip, and each player uses it differently. All put on their uniforms, get taped, stretched and such. Some, like Vujacic and Lamar Odom, almost always talk to the media, while others (like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol) generally stay out of the locker room in favor of the player’s lounge or training room.

6:45 – 7:15 p.m. Players and Team Staff Only
This period often allows coaches to go over the game plan once again, or show additional tape of that night’s opponent. Vujacic must pay attention or draw an icy glare from Phil Jackson.

7:15 – 7:30 p.m. Pregame Shootaround
“This is when we all get some more shots up, and if we’re at home, I like to get the crowd going a little bit by making a half court shot or two. I’m not superstitious; I just like to do it. And if I have a chance in the game, you never know, maybe it helps.”
Don’t let him fool you, Sasha shoots just as many pregame halfcourt shots on the road.

7:30 p.m. Game Time
“This is the only time that really matters. Now, after the game, I’m going to read the book that Phil gave me, ‘Lord of the Flies.’ It’s pretty interesting – I started, but I just want to go to the ocean, chill and finish the book. I just have a towel or a little beach chair to relax a little bit. But I don’t think about anything else until the final horn sounds."

8:00 p.m. Second Time Out
Vujacic steps outside of the timeout to shoot the ball straight up in the air and randomly interact with fans utilizing various head nods and the occasional point (ever the entertainer).

JENSEN

7:30 a.m. Alarm Clock
“I wake up a little earlier on game days and get out my checklist that (Laker Girls Director) Lisa (Estrada) e-mails us the night before. It details what we need to wear and bring and when we need to get there. Then I’ll pack my bag – makeup, hair stuff, outfit and such.”

10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. School
“I’m at school from this time just about every day. Most of us are either in school or have full-time jobs … We’re not just dancers.”

2:00 p.m. Making Lunch
“I’ll often have a turkey sandwich that I make myself … I don’t eat Subway or anything like that. I make all my own food with my own groceries, and I’ll throw in some apple sauce and baby carrots, plus maybe some almonds for my drive up. I like to be snacking while I’m driving, otherwise I get bored and antsy.”

3:30 – 4:15* p.m. In the Car
“Today I drove half the way and didn’t listen to music just to collect my thoughts and relax, but if I am listening I’ll tune it to 100.3 F.M. They play really good music, from Bob Dylan and the Beatles to the Counting Crows. I also listen to 95.5 FM (classic rock).”
*Traffic depending, obviously.

4:15 p.m. Make Up Application
“As soon as I arrive, I break out my big makeup bag while still in my car and I pull my mirrors down so I can get two different angles. We don’t have a lot of mirror space in our locker room, so I just do it in the car and that removes some pregame stress.”

5:00 p.m. Dinner, Getting Ready
“I’ll get out of my car and start walking in about 20 minutes prior, and at that time everyone else is in the dressing room, and we’ll either set our routines out on the court or in the tunnels. We go through all our counts and formations, because not everyone dances in the playoffs. That takes about a half hour, then we go get food in the media room and take it back to eat in the dressing room.

7:15 p.m. Pregame
“We have to be ready to go at 7:15 … The players run past us, but we’re on the other side of the tunnel. That’s when we start stretching, and also take pictures with season ticket holders before coming out for National Anthem and the screen drop. The screen drop, by the way, is not easy to lift. It’s really heavy.”

7:45 p.m. Courtside Cheering
“I prefer to be on the Lakers side so that we can watch them on offense … But it’s fun to be on defense as well, because you can cheer a little differently. We switch sides at the half too, so you see the same side of the ball all game.”
The Laker girls have folded pieces of paper available to them that say what routines they do during which timeout or break, and line them up behind the photographers. It details if the girls are facing the crowd, or the benches, and helps keep things in order.

8:00 p.m. Second Time Out
While Vujacic is entertaining in his own way, Jensen’s dancing among her teammates in the first Laker Girl routine. They’ll go through anywhere between four and six routines, plus general dancing during time outs, on a game night.