The end of “the dump” is nigh, and Angelenos are celebrating the closure of the stadium that rock legend Bruce Springsteen lovingly christened “the dump that jumps” with a lot of fanfare and champagne.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena will jump no more as city leaders and sports fans gave it a grand sendoff this month with a rendition of the national anthem and plenty of bubbly. The Memorial Sports Arena has been overshadowed for decades by the newer, trendier Forum and Staple Center, although its history of hosting sports teams and musical events is long and venerated.
The Memorial Sports Arena was called home for a year by the L.A. Lakers, the Clippers, and even hosted some Olympic events. Music legends like Bob Dylan, James Brown, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen all performed there, and John F. Kennedy took his party’s nomination there at the Democratic National Convention of 1960.
The grand old arena never had the luxury boxes or corporate suites that most modern stadiums take for granted, but its rough edges endeared the Memorial Sports Arena to a generation of musicians, athletes and fans.
At a final show in March, Bruce Springsteen called the Memorial Sports Arena a great place to play rock ‘n’ roll and would be missed by all. Located just south of downtown Los Angeles near the University of Southern California and next to the Coliseum, the Memorial Sports Arena is set to be torn down to make way for a modern stadium that will house the Los Angeles Football Club, a new Major League Soccer franchise.
L.A. City Councilmember, Tom LaBonge, who emceed the closing ceremony, praised the stadium’s lengthy and prestigious history. The Memorial Sports Arena represented the pinnacle of modern architecture when it first opened on Independence Day in 1959, with a dedication speech by vice president and former California governor Richard Nixon. A year later, the arena hosted the Democratic National Convention, when John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson formed a ticket that would take the White House.
In 1968, Kennedy returned to the Memorial Sports Arena when Robert F. Kennedy held a major rally during his own run for presidency. The rally, which featured acts by Jerry Lewis and Sonny & Cher, took place just two weeks before Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated just a few miles away at the Ambassador Hotel. Last year, the arena hosted a major rally for Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders.
The L.A. Lakers played under the famed arena’s wings from 1960 to 1967 before moving to the now Staples Center. Most Angelenos will remember the Memorial Sports Arena as the home of the Clippers, who played there from 1984 to 1999. Pink Floyd, The Who, U2, Michael Jackson, The Grateful Dead and most famously Bruce Springsteen, who played there 35 times, cemented the arena’s reputation as a first-rate musical venue.
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(all data current as of 5/25/2017)
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