For years, the Lakers claimed a steady fan base in the sprawling Korean American community, but this season the intensity has been amplified — with games now broadcast in Korean, a first in the NBA.

Time Warner Cable, which invested nearly $3 billion for regional TV rights to Lakers games for the next two decades, hired four Korean Americans as play-by-play announcers and color commentators, adding a fifth person just days ago.

For Park and others, it has brought a new intimacy to the action.

“I’m learning who the players really are, not their names only,” says Park, a grocery store clerk who grew up in Seoul.

Daniel Lee, an attorney who practices in Koreatown, said that while it’s a “big deal” for his parents’ generation to now be able to follow the local basketball team, the broadcasts add a new dimension for him as well.

– Reported by Anh Do of the Los Angeles Times