Before Bruins Head Out on the Highway, Looking for Adventure or whatever comes their way, they give Mata-Real a send-off worthy of the Matador who definitely proved to be Bruin Material
The Pride of Southgate said he wouldn’t cry. Then after the fact, he said that he didn’t cry. Well, maybe he didn’t, but he sure came close – as you’ll see below – and who can blame him? After everything that UCLA Senior Center Lorenzo Mata-Real has been through in his life and College Career, to be receiving a raucous Standing Ovation from 11,000 adoring fans in Pauley Pavilion – sold out just for HIM – SHOULD bring tears to your eyes.
“We” were crying as if E.T. just died, but of course they were joyous tears. The P.A. announcer LISTED all the injuries – including the broken leg and the concussion – as well as the positive attitude that Mata-Real maintained when Kevin Love swept into town and usurped the Starting Center role.
But as everyone including John Wooden knows, Lorenzo is a Wooden-type player, who scrapped for everything he could get, always giving 110%, and always unselfishly supporting his teammates. He is also one of the most fan-friendly Players, often staying for more than an hour after games to sign autographs for dozens of kids and adults, not caring if some of them have eBay in mind.
Lorenzo has played his heart out for UCLA, and will continue to be a contributor if the Bruins are to reach their third straight Final Four during Mata-Real’s tenure. In honor of all his blood, sweat, and tears, and for some people on the BruinZone.com message board who requested some coverage, here are 11 more photos of Mata from his final game in Pauley, during the pre-game celebration in his honor, and after the game, doing interviews, and signing autographs as he always does.
Thank You, Lorenzo!