This has had more than 50,000 views on YouTube since Jarrett Kageyama’s dad, Eric, put it up about a month ago, and then the Lakers’ Lamar Odom and Jeanne Buss discovered it and Twittered about it.
The rest of Southern California found out much about it this afternoon when John Ireland and Steve Mason had Eric on their KSPN-AM (710) radio show to explain the backstory.
Jarrett, who just turned 4 the other day, knows all the Lakers’ players by number, and there’s a reason — it keeps his mind distracted from the fact he suffers from an immune disorder and severe allergies that has manifested into a painful case of eczema — you’d know it if you had it, dry skin and rashes that make you want to scratch and itch all the time. Eric says Jarrett takes topical creams to help ease the discomfort, but the doctors say there’s no cure for it.
Eric says Jarrett already was a Lakers fan because he watched games on the home big-screen and could go up to the TV and say, “Who’s that?” That was when he was 2. His dad started grilling him on which number belonged to which player. Jarrett caught on quickly.
“It could have been anything, not just learning Lakers players numbers,” to keep him preoccupied, said Eric in the radio interview, “but the Lakers are part of his everyday life.”
In fact, Eric says that each night when Jarrett brushes his teeth, the game is to do it as many times as the Laker player he tells him. For example, if dad tells him to do Josh Powell, then Jarrett brushes 21 times.
Something they call the “Kobe Cream” is “not the hated steroid cream that I reluctantly put on Jarrett, it’s actually an organic cream that helps ease the itching they use to treat him,” said Eric.
And the most recent Lakers’ championship DVD that came out helps Jarrett pass the time during the night when he wakes up in pain and then asks if he can watch “the Laker movie” on the TV.
“After about 10 minutes, he’ll go back to sleep,” said Eric. “We do this almost every night. It’s become a regular routine.”
Jarrett has been to two Lakers games in person at Staples Center, sitting on his dad’s lap, and paying attention to the action the entire time — without being distracted by the allergies.
Eric thanked Ireland and Mason for having him on the show to bring up this situation that is found in preschools among the list of all the allergies that parents have to be aware of these days. He also thanked Odom for finding the video and Tweeting about it.
In an email to Ireland, Eric added:
Eczema is a huge problem with our children, and it only seems to be getting worse. Safe and viable medical solutions are slow in coming. Many kids grow out of it in the early stages of their lives, and too often it’s dismissed with a “they’ll grow out of it.” But what about the 24 hour torture these children have to endure for months and even years? I just hope society and people of influence soon recognize we have a growing problem that only seems to be getting worse.
Meanwhile, we’ve also found this hot-shot 3-year-old named Jack who seems to know his Laker 1-2-3′s as well: