Four Father

Too bad you can’t trademark the word opportunist.

If winning three straight championships is a “threepeat,” what do you call four in a row? Surely drunken fans need a catchy phrase to chant as they flip cars over in the parking lot. The issue is pressing in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will chase their fourth consecutive NBA title this season. So, who better than Pat Riley to come forward, coin a phrase, trademark it and charge everyone to use it, as he did with “threepeat”?

How about Jerry Leibowitz? The local graphic designer and self-described “huge Lakers fan” beat Riley to the punch this time, handing out signs and T-shirts at the victory parade this past June that read, “Quat-Row!” Leibowitz says he has spent about $14,000 so far on trademark fees and T-shirts and has an agreement with The Licensing Group LTD and KKM Enterprises to negotiate deals.

“It’s just something I came up with,” he says of the word, which has added value in L.A., with its large Hispanic population. “My friends loved it, so I just decided to go for it.”

“Threepeat” was coined late in the 1988-89 season, and when the Lakers failed to win a third straight title that year, Riley had to wait for the Chicago Bulls’ two threepeats in the ’90s to really cash in. But Leibowitz figures he’s got all of this season ahead of him. Maybe. But what if the Lakers falter early? “I don’t know,” he says after a pause. “You tell me.”