Sunday, July 31, 2011
Devin knows how good he's going to be.
BY TIM DAVID HARVEY
If your unlucky enough to sit so high up in the bleach during Laker games that your nose starts to bleed then you might begin to see things. There goes an athletic wing, around 6 foot 8, or 9. He's got short black hair, stubble but no beard and an assassins stare. Plus he's got speed and style to boot, look familiar? Not only is he fast but he hustles and hard to. Is this 2009? This same player wears a number 3 and stands next to Ron Artest... didn't he? Isn't that Trevor Ariza?
Sorry to report this but one of the Lakers best championship players isn't back but that doesn't matter right now because the guy we've see before us has played almost as well as him in limited minutes, sharing the court with defensive maestros Ron Artest and Matt Barnes. Not to mention the post trio of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum and one guy you may be real familiar with. You know the legend, the MVP, the five time heavyweight champ. This number 3 however, giving his all on both ends of the floor actually goes by the name of Devin Ebanks. You may not know the name, but soon you'll know the game and then the first and last will be household and televised.
In 2009 some weren't sure whether Ron Artest would deliver the same firepower and intensity that Ariza did but Ron, Ron came up big so many times for the Lakers in the playoffs that they had to name him twice. Ron saved the Lakers and the Doberman from the doghouse so many times that they may as well of named him Robert. Still what the Lakers gained in Artest's strength and solidness, they lost in Ariza's speed and spark. Now with last season's draft addition of Devin in the Lakers bank they may finally be able to replace the liability that was missing following Ariza's departure. Ebanks is an asset that may pay off in dividends.
Devin's works hard and his plays are large. Sure Shannon Brown brought the Shan-WOW to this generations 'Showtime' night after night but with more space on the floor now, Ebanks the Lakers have another player who can finish emphatically at the rim and a player they've sorely missed when losing guys like Brown (probably), Ariza or the 'reel' worthy talent of Maurice Evans. Ebanks joins this Laker lay-up line of above the rim, supporting darlings that has been running for years way before the days of Cedric Ceballos or even the smooth silk of Jaamal Wilkes.
Kobe can still get up, but due to his age and evolution of his game he doesn't go to the rim like he once did. Now when he has the floor and it's open Kobe can start the fast break and deflect to a guy like Devin who can finish, closing other teams out. Kobe and Devin already did that last preseason working the open lane so much and driving through like a McDonalds line at peak time. It's in that preseason as well where Devin has been able to show the Lakers his potential in prime playing time. Sure this recent losing Laker season also saw Ebanks lose playoff time-you know big Phil doesn't like playing Rookies-but now he's a sophomore Devin has the chance to show so much more for Mike Brown. Besides 3.1 points per in an average of just over a minute a game isn't half bad, just give him more time.
Even in the garbage time of last preseason Ebanks has been able to shine (thanks to the tarnish of injuries the Lakers have suffered to guys like Kobe, Sasha and Walton) and Devin managed to plaster the 'bust' preseason with some silver linings in the cloud of defeat. Devin averaged 7 points and a shade under 3 and a half boards coming into the light in front of Hollywood. He had 14 in a win against Denver and 10 on a dethroning of the Sacramento Kings. Kobe on top form, or Kobe not on top form, sharing the ball and actually doing something with it with guys like Gasol, Odom, Fisher, Barnes, Blake and Artest is more than impressive, it's impressionable. Just think how much more Devin could grow this Summer if it wasn't for this lockout and cancelled Summer league in Vegas. He could have been a leader, he could have been a standout, it wouldn't have been a gamble on the Lakers part, it would have been a winning hand. Still once the season gets under way this young wing will get another chance to roll the dice and fly.
Sure last season there where rookie mistakes, D-League demotions and sore hands from carrying all those bags but the futures in Ebanks palms. If he earns his stripes in the Lakers nation he's going to give the team another star and state of play en route to a quest for a championship. Ebanks is focused, it won't be long before the cameras are on him. On his quest to prove he belongs on a team with more than six go to guys and his journey to show every other team that passed him up 43 times Devin will show his full potential. Just like Ariza and just like Shannon before, Devin will be called upon to spark plug the Lakers and the Staples Centre crowd off the bench with energy plays. What shouldn't be disconnected however is that just like these two guys his game has so much more to it.
Sure the Youtube highlights will come but as next season wears on and as the playoffs break in these top ten plays in otherwise dull moments will turn into key plays in decisive moments. Just like Ariza for the 2009 champion Lakers or Ebanks will be ready and charged for when the Lakers are overdrawn. Make no mistake if Ebanks unquestionable rise continues through 82 games and 8 weeks he'll be one of the keys to the Lakers success without a doubt. Then he'll be able to stand next to Lamar Odom and Ron Artest and share more than their native Queensbridge upbringings. Let's not front however, with the way he's come up while other Lakers have let down throughout last season it 'aint hard to tell he already deserves to be amongst the centre of attention. Devin has already planted his feet, now it's time for him to fill those sneakers and leave some footprints. So if your sitting up in the Hollywood hill, high rises of the Staples Centre you may want to borrow the binoculars from the guy next to you because that number 3 isn't Trevor Ariza. It's someone else, someone here to stay. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Magic moment.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Lets take it back, way back, back into time, to something videotaped earlier. It's Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals and the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Philadelphia 76ers three games to two, but their player of the decade, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone down to an ankle injury. In the first five games number 33 averaged his jersey number in points. Still now with the Captain staying in Southern California and not making the trip to Philly, who would replace him and fill his spot? "Never here, E.J. Is here", a young Rookie point guard told his team as as he took a seat in the Captain's chair on the Lakers aeroplane ride to Philadelphia, smiling that soon to be infamous, toothy grin.
NBA FINALS-GAME 6. 1980.
Earvin Johnson was determined to show the Lakers, Sixers, the NBA and the whole world his Magic as the 6 foot 9 inch guard known for passing more then shooting was primed to step in at centre and take on Jabbar's scoring load. Still, nobody believed that the Magic man could pull something out the bag. "See you in L.A. for Game 7", Philly fans told the Lakers. Another revolutionary basketball legend saw things differently however. Bill Russell tells us pregame "the pressures on Philadelphia". Meanwhile a smiling Earvin-speaking like a young kid from the country-is humble and ready, telling the press pregame "I enjoy challenges, it's a challenge tonight to see what I can do", before saying hello to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Everyone is watching this young man, from his family in Lansing to Kareem in L.A. Game on!
Magic doesn't win the battle of the tip but he gets down to war in the paint with Darryl Dawkins proving he's ready. Jaamal Wilkes first basket is smooth as silk, as is his second to open up the game. Philly's Mo' Cheeks then goes coast to coast as Magic's great pass to Cooper comes up short on a basket. Magic is still playing like a point as well as a pivot, hitting from the perimeter. His wizard like tricks putting his opposition in a spell of trouble. Following a great Julius Erving lay-up gets the Philadelphia crowd into it, Magic comes right back at him inside. Then Mike Bibby's dad Henry comes in and scores, facing off with the dominant Lakers (get used to it Bibby family). Magic moves and hooks in the paint doing his best Kareem impression, getting his 'Cap on. Right back on the other end of the floor Erving dunks and hangs to avoid hurting Earv', for the most respectful dunk ever. Then as the first quarter becomes spare change, Magic's rolling hook quietens the Sixers run and the legendary Spectrum crowd.
To open the second chapter Bibby's still so hot from downtown, obviously he's taught his son a few things. As Philly take the lead this looks like their game, but we'll see. To counter Magic makes a three point play after he's fouled on the put back. Then Chones' breakaway dunk brings it back to within 2 as Johnson takes a deserved seat. Timeout. The 76ers are running circles round the Lake Show that could prevent them from receiving rings until Magic brings it back to within two for his 20Th point. The game remains closer then Rosie Gaines, while Dawkins 'Spine-Chiller Supreme' dunk punctuates the last minute of the half, before Magic intercepts the next offence however stopping Dr. J. from doing the same. Then Brad Holland ties it for the third time coming off the bench this quarter for Los Angeles. Good job. Johnson's half-court hook shot at the buzzer however rims out, Earvin's rabbit out the hat magic almost gives the Lakers a lead but we're all tied up at 40 at the half.
Magic starts things off in the third from the baseline. Then his look away pass to Cooper tricks the Sixers, 64-60 Lakers. Magic lays the table and serves Wilkes for the layup, it's Showtime, before it's time as the Houdini of the hardwood is making David Blaine plays. Time for some food for thought for the 76ers as there's a lot at stake in Philly now. Cooper makes it eight in a row since the half and the Philadelphia crowd has no words to go with their teams zero points. Philly and even Bibby are looking cold compared to the hot Magic and Lakers. The pressure cookers on but this game isn't far from the refrigerator. Storming Norm Nikon, crosses quick and rattles in his first field goal of the game, making his point as lead guard. The Lakers then lead by a dozen, while Philly's championship hopes are rotting like bad eggs. This is one of those moments in games where nerves are fried, loose balls are scrambled and clutch plays are poached. It's Magic's set shot however that whisks the home-team further out of shape. That's until the good Doctor comes with the right prescription with back to back buckets. It's still a ballgame. Time for the final act.
Lansberger's rebound dunk off Nikon's missed lay-up puts the Lakers up a perfect 10 after a slow and steady, calm before the storm start to the end of Game 6. Erving's hard dunk gives everyone in Pennsylvania hope as does Bobby Jones defensive block and rebound, but then the Lakers Chones takes the thunder out of Dawkins chocolate. A bitter foul by Darryl on the other end of the floor sends the tough warrior Cooper to the hard-wood. Here comes the drama and the smelling salts. Doctor Julius' medicine is going down as Philly are getting back up into reach of Los Angeles. It's 97-93, with 7:23 to go. In the last five the countdown to the championship should begin, but the 'City of Brotherly Love's' fans don't think its over, jumping up and down like Sly Stallone at the top of those famous steps. Then Magic slows everything down at four, quarterbacking this game and looking for that knockout punch with Philly on the ropes. Cheeks brings it back to five and with 3 minutes to go, this looks to go down to the wire...
...Then a Nixon to Magic collabo play makes a point of guarding the Laker lead as L.A. watches the throne they're about to take. Following this a Magic dunk is an exclamation point to show that the Lakers are going back to Kareem and Los Angeles with the championship. Then the last minute turns into a lay-up line as Wilkes dunks home his 37Th point, its Magic's 42 point, 15 rebounds and 7 assists however that put the Lakers over the edge and on top with the title. This time the rookie that hugged Kareem in the first game of the season like they won it all is embraced by Butch Lee when they finally do. Magic's smile says it all for these Los Angeles kings, 'we are the champions'.
A humble Jerry Buss (dressed more like he'd join Phil Jackson on his ranch) also in his rookie year (as an owner) thanks his team. There's no gel in Pat Riley's hair but he's still as slick as ever ready to take the party back to Hollywood before his real work begins. Still the man of the moment is Magic, and though it was a tough call, NBA and family legend Rick Barry informs an even humbler, almost embarrassed Earvin that he is the Finals MVP, for taking over from Kareem. Pete Vescey said it best "Magic played in Lew of Alcindor" but Earvin said it right, with a salute to Kareem saying, "Big Fella, I did it for you". The Lakers first championship of their incredible eighties was won by a combined effort throughout the series, but in the crucial, deciding game it was number 32, not 33 that sealed the Lakers victory. Earvin 'Magic' Johnson truly gave the league one of it's best moments. Philadelphia in 1980 is where amazing truly happened and history was made, engraved in championship gold and set in NBA stone.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The Lakers will always love B.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
This time last year he looked like a lock, but today he's out with the leagues chances of commencing this fall. As Phil Jackson's real last season played off it looked like former player and assistant coach Brian Shaw would take over Jax's mantle to head the Los Angeles Lakers. B. Shaw looked like the reliable, chosen, young apprentice to the Zen master but this isn't the trump empire, or the Jackson one, it's the Buss one. The Lakers family decided to go in a different direction and with that great coach Mike Brown was brought in to keep the Lakers running. There's nothing wrong with a change of heart, but the management should of had one as Brian found out about his unemployment via ESPN. This has left a lot of people frustrated with the Buss's like MTA's on game day. Still despite all this negativity and finger pointing only a thumb can be put up in the direction of Laker legend Brian Shaw and all the positivity he's brought the franchise and the Laker nation with his dedication and devotion.
B's been a legend in two walks of the court, from the sweats to the suits like Nelly, Shaw's wrapped things up pretty nicely in his career. From coming off the bench as one of this generations realest role players, to staying on it as a valued assistant to Phil Jackson. Whether he wore a tie or button up sweat pants Shaw has excelled like Microsoft with his success measured in NBA hardware. Shaw has been in matrimony with five gold rings (three championship rings as a player, two as an assistant) like the fifth day of Christmas and his gifts have been nothing short of a blessing to the hot, Californian Lake Show.
His success on two big stages puts him in the elite legendary Laker company of Pat Riley and Jerry West. The joking swagger at last years ring ceremony to Coldplay's epic 'Fix You' is seriously justified. When it comes to classic, defining moments Brian's contributions are a sure thing. Shaw has defined the Lakers last decade just like long servers Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher and in reality he's been down for as long as Kobe and the new millennium, post-Forum uniforms (check the mid to late nighties dynasty development). The only difference between Brian and most Laker legends is that Shaw's handled the intangibles behind the star-studded scenes. Well it's time that all the hard work this man has put into the Lakers is brought to the limelight. Somebodies got to appreciate this student of the game and servant to his team.
Over time and four quarters Shaw has been the substance behind the greatest show in Hollywood. You don't have to sit as close as Jack Nicholson to see that but still some people look at it like those sitting in the nose-bleeds with binoculars. Time to focus, Shaw's had Kobe's back for years, in his corner and in his ear. From the famous shouting, shot-calling, play-calling, alley-oop at STAPLES to words of private coaching advice during practice sessions in El Segeundo.
Brian's Laker loyalty goes back so deep he even had the big fellas back over a decade of being down. Even when Shaquille O'Neal threw a championship cap on the Larry O'Brien trophy at a Laker victory parade and called it Brian Shaw, the diesel knew that a big, smooth, round dome wasn't the only thing that made Shaw synonymous with the NBA's biggest trophy. All clowning aside, Shaw helped take this Laker circus act to the big tops post Showtime. Shaq-daddy's relationship with his hard working team-mate and brother even went back to the high-top fade days of Magic in Orlando. From team to team the dubbed 'Shawshaq Redemption' led a big man/little man renaissance in the L. Before 'things done changed' and L.A.'s big was more gone then freeman (we see you Notorious) Brian was behind his frontline like any true NBA quarterback.
As important as heralded Laker role legends Glen Rice, Ron Harper, Rick Fox, Robert Horry or even Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw played his role to a tee on one of the greatest Laker teams in history, the team that went for three. Defining the role's of veteran and role-player to the paragraph below the word Brian was the type to do exactly what was required or needed. What more can you ask? What more can we say? From words of wisdom to the stars and youngsters, and old-fashioned plays that work. It was evident that Brian's transition from reading the dry-erase to writing it was going to be an easily orchestrated one, thanks to his Jackson conducted playing. Shaw's knowledge of the game was at such a high-level of basketball I.Q. that he could of been a star if he wanted to. Still the selfless man was all for the good of his team, not self. What more consummates a professional then that?
Brian was happy to lay back in the cut, but when other Lakers where in need of bandaging up by Gary Vitti, Shaw-with no problem-could and did step in , wounding teams with his bruising, clutch plays. Built like a small forward or shooting guard but with his mind on point this man could go toe-to-toe with a lot of the leagues front-running players. Plus he had outstanding offensive skills to go along with his A+ defensive assignments. He was also worthy of big game moments, not passing on a key shot or crucial game-changing assist. When the Lakers reached situation critical, Shaw grabbed the heart paddles to breathe new life into his team, all whilst killing his opponents.
Just ask any real Laker fan or Pacer one who witnessed a big, Brian 3 crucify Reggie Miller and Indiana's championship hopes back in 2000. That shot or moment doesn't feel like over a decade ago and these days Brian looks like he could still play, this is one factor that helps him make a great players coach. Now 11 years after he helped take down the Indiana Pacers he has now been handed the reigns to take over them as head-coach. A well-deserved position that many feel he should have earned in Lakerland but with all due respect to Mike Brown and Indiana (ironically a team he was an assistant at) it's time Shaw purists wished him well and keep up pace, following his new lead at the Pacers. This is Brian's moment, as for the Lakers now it has to be just a great memory.
Sure Shaw would have made an incredible coach here thanks to the great championship years he's put in learning the ropes and how the Lakers left him hanging was a tough break but that all has to be past now. Besides he's really going to manage. Brian was wronged but the right thing to do is focus on the present and his bright future with his new team. One that could see him in the future give Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers a championship he helped deny them in the past. Unfortunately the Pacers gain will be the Lakers loss but one things for sure even though this closes Brian Shaw's chapter in L.A., the story of his career here will be read as nothing but that of a legendary legacy with the Lakers as a player and coach during his Los Angeles times. So to him; thank you and good luck coach. It's been a great one of a kind run, from a one in a million man.
Ron Artest's Greatest Miss.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Here's the tip.
For all those lockout and post Dallas sweep blues, let's take it back to glory days like Bruce Springsteen and remember the Lakers champion season of 2009-10. Now let me ask you a question? What was the most important shot of that championship season? A beautiful buzzer beater from Derek Fisher that will prove timeless on both ESPN and YouTube? A cute crossover that turned into a terrific turnaround? Maybe it was a swish? A fade away? A Kobe? Perhaps one of those half a dozen or so game-icers with the hottest shots of the year, but most important?
The most important shot of the 2009-10 season was an awful, flat footed, Fred Flintstone clanger in the fading minutes of the 2010 Western Conference Finals. The only way the most important shot of last season read on the stat sheet is when it rattled off the rim, planted a smacker on the glass and then was hugged by a rebounder.
One of the most pivotal scenes in last year's NBA story came from one of its biggest characters. Now, it may have looked like nothing, but it was one of those back against the wall, against the world moments where our hero has to dig for something deeper before they fell harder than Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock in 'The Other Guys.' Our guy in this picture however -- our hero on the big jumbotron screen was Ron Artest.
It's the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns and the sand in the hour glass is falling fast in this game before the series heads back to the Arizona desert. The Lakers are in play and Artest finds space to shoot a two, but he doesn't split that deuce. Instead the ball careens off the rim and is offensively snatched by the grasshopper grasp of Pau Gasol. With everyone focused on the Spaniard and that player with Italian roots, Artest shadows to his left and is open behind the three point line. It seems that nobody cares except for Gasol who serves Ron the butter. As Ron spots up awkwardly, there's almost a collective gasp between players, fans, coaches and commentators. It seems that Ron spent a little too long in the freezer as the shot already looks cold. Now the game's yet to be iced as Ron's feet barely leave the ground while his shot barely makes the rim. With no goose neck for this lame duck attempt Ron backpedals awkwardly like a mummy. This time he won't be the daddy, yet.
Everyone’s wondering what Ron was thinking. Ron was probably remembering at the start of the season when he said that if the Lakers don't win the championship everyone could blame it on him. At that very moment, they were. Marv Albert can't believe it. There's exclamations made but no trademark 'Yes!' The Zen master is not calm. Everyone in the huddle is a little upset. Ron admits with an 'I know, I know' nod that the shot was ill-advised as Phil Jackson asks him, "why?" Then when he looks away Artest pulls one of those awkward faces to himself. One of those 'aaaaakwaaaard' looks. As Ron looks more than a little embarrassed, Lamar Odom nudges Ron and reassures him that everything’s alright. That's that QB love right there. Still everyone's left wondering why the HELL Ron took that shot. Well I'm going to tell you. (Don't worry Ron I got you).
Former Laker come New Jersey Net Jordan Farmar puts it best, "Still, I like that Ron Artest shot." That shot was crucial and counted. It made its mark despite being an X instead of an O. Sometimes things do happen for a reason and I'm not talking about no patronizing, clichéd end of relationship excuse. Just like Jordan, Artest was never scared to take a crucial shot, make or miss, and just like MJ said before, to succeed he had to fail first.
Sometimes one ugly shot deserves another and so came the waning tenths of seconds of the same game. Now Kobe's rocking the pill (someone who should have the ball in his hands during these moments) but even his shot doesn't find rhyme or reason as the Mamba's out of rhythm. So off the iron and back into play the ball goes. Now it seems as if every player on the court and on the bench, plus everyone in the arena and their momma ran for the loose ball like kids in the park chasing a soccer ball. It's Ron who times it right however, in a hare and tortoise situation where Phoenix's Jason Richardson ends up resting under the tree, or in this case the hoop. As Ron's Flintstone fast legs seem to escape him he hoists another awkward shot off balance that banks of the glass. This time, however, it's wet like victory champagne.
As Gold arms rise and purple, Phoenix hearts sink, red illuminates the backboard. The game is a rap like 'My World' and Marv Albert can give his verbal thumbs up. Chick Hearn can look down with pride as the games finally in the fridge, with the series soon to be in the freezer. Now isn't redemption the realest story in the NBA? Ron redeemed himself in less than a few minutes and confirmed that he was the right show stopper for the show time. As the game came to a close Ron and Kobe ended up in each others face in a much different way to that time the year before. LA was back in control and someone great named Ariza was merely an afterthought.
Ron and L.A. both needed that shot. Not just for that game, but the even bigger games that followed. Even Kobe had to throw up air balls before he hit the big time. You sometimes have to hit rock bottom in order to reach the top. The Lakers had that after losing to Boston two years back. Now, when it came to the closer of the Boston-LA Finals in Game 7, the time was Ron's. They say adversity builds character. Well Artest has been through his fair share of adversity and has a lot of character to boot. Ron-Ron ensured that LA saw double and was by far the MVP of the deciding game. His defense and complete play kept LA's throne guarded, and made them the all around champs for another season. Artest even hit a crucial three pointer, similar to the one that bricked against Phoenix, to cement the win.
Phil Jackson may not have told Artest to shoot it (in his mind and Ron's) but his therapist probably did. It may have been ill-advised but in the press conference following the game to Ron it was "whatever." WAP! Obama would be proud. Change had come for a guy who was throwing punches at people the last time he sent the crowd in a frenzy. Number 37 really made Game 7 a thriller. Michael would have been proud too; Tyson, Jordan, Jackson. Then, the Lakers and Artest finally came together in perfect harmony like that autotune on the T-Pain remix Of Artest's 'Champions' track. Although this season hasn't been the same song, once World Peace returns from his world tour in Cheshire or Glasgow, he'll be ready to play again. The next time Gasol grabs a board and sees his frontcourt mate open like the Venice Beach courts on a playoff night, he won't think twice about passing.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Death Of A Dynasty Part 2?
By Tim David Harvey
Embarrassing...that was the only way to describe the Lakers exit from the 2011 NBA playoffs this season. The defending champions offended their throne as they crashed out of the second round 4-zip to a team that used to never beat them...at all. Still as the Dallas Mavericks showed their real worth and contention, the Lakers sent their beloved leader and the most successful coach in NBA history off to retirement with his first ever playoff sweep. So with no Jackson, a lot of action and questions to be addressed how will the Lakers 'Iverson' this post, postseason purgatory?
Jerry Buss looks to put a stop to this with the help of Mitch Kupchak getting his Jerry West on and bringing in new franchise, championship talent. Rumour has it that Buss plans to take a 'wrecking ball' to the team and if that's the case who will go and who will form the new bricks and mortar to cement a championship contender back together?
Obviously Kobe is untouchable like Kevin Costner and this leader-when healthy-is unstoppable like Denzel Washington. The best when at his best, Kobe can take the Lakers to the promised land again, but who will get there with him? Mitch's last big investment Pau Gasol, arguably is the reason the Lakers ever saw June to July again in the first place, but recently the 'soft' comments have come back to add to Gasol's hard times. If that wasn't enough the 'zen master' was even enraged by some of his plays. Meanwhile in Memphis his brother Marc (who he was partly traded for) reached for his fishing rod later in the post-season. Still despite these problems Gasol has still been and is a great second option to Bryant.
Sure he couldn't handle like minded player Dirk Nowitzki, but the truth is on his day there aren't many post players better skilled or more passionate. Part of the trouble is Pau plays at his best at the forward positions and he has been banged up somewhat at times filling in at the centre position, where he is rightfully sized in height but inadequately so in weight. Which bring us to our next problem. As good and great as Andrew Bynum is becoming, one of the last, true centres in the association has the injury question mark looming over his head more then Greg Oden does. Still for the amount of times Bynum's gone down, he's bounced back with consistent double, double avengence. Now that's something to marvel at. Along with 'Sixth Man of the Year' Lamar Odom (who was rumoured to be offered to Minnesota for Kevin Love), Gasol and Bynum are three hands the Lakers shouldn't be so quick to deal.
Still it's one of these players that looks like the bait that will reel in a trade for a real, big replacement. With trading big stars before they become free-agents becoming the new 'LeBron decision avoiding' trend, Dwight Howard could bring some Magic to Los Angeles like it was '85 again. Said to be interested in playing for the Lakers as much as the acting opportunities that Hollywood has to offer (what you say Jack?), the defensive superman of the league could usher in the next era of big legends in Lakerland. Just don't tell O'Neal that this is 'Shaq part 2' minus the legendary skills and assists. Could the potential of Howard's end in Orlando birth a new, fresh start for the raw feeling Lakers? Kobe and Dwight would be the perfect one-two punch, with their combined prowess on both ends of the floor and Dwight's sheer power that could make the Blake Griffin highlight reel a side-show at STAPLES once again.
Surely some Laker fans will react like Kobe on hidden camera back in the Jason Kidd days to the possibility of keeping Bynum (or even Gasol for that matter) with Dwight alright to come over. Still as much as they may say "ship his a** out", it's important not to forget what each player has done for this team and is capable of doing. With all the Eddie Murphy style trading places, and decisions leading to top jersey's becoming throwbacks in a matter of weeks these days it's important for a team to regain some cohesiveness and continuity these days (as good as Miami have done). It's important to realize that even when a reign ends it's better to fall together then fall apart (isn't that right San Antonio? Keep your heads up!).
At desperate times like this, desperate measures aren't always needed. remember this is the team that still won back-to-back titles, just because bad things have happened before things came in threes doesn't mean this team are done. As good as a trade for Howard would be there is still a vital importance at rock bottom times like this for a team to regroup and picks themselves up together. After all this is a team game, and not a money one...or at least it used to be. The same goes for the dunking talents of Andre Igudola (who would be a great replacement for Shannon Brown), or the 30-30 court-vision Kevin Love would give the nation of Lakers. Sometimes the best change is when people stay together to make it better. The powers that be need to get that point, or literally get a point. Chris Paul or Deron Williams perhaps? Sure a few more pieces would make things complete, but anything more would just be puzzling.
Let's hope some of those exit interviews don't result in real exits. Sure it'll get us talking but sometimes silence and work is the best weapon. The Lakers already look to have all but lost Shannon who has opted for free agency. Now losing him after all the Lakers did last year to keep him will take the spark out of a team that desperately needs a plug like budding stars (and Shannon is one too). Able to heat up like a microwave (we see you Vinnie Johnson) Brown could go down as one of the purple and golds best bench players ever and will serve as that extra bit of sustenance needed when the team goes cold (and it's been real chilly as of late), if he warms to the idea of technically re-signing for the sunshine state favourites. Besides at times like this only his 'out of your seats, on your feet dunks' can raise the spirits, when everything else is shot. Still Shannon's a free-man, its up to him.
Moving on however after his Game 2 flagrant led to a Game 3 suspension a lot of unfair blame is heading Ron Artest's way and it was last year where he said you could blame him if they lost, not this one. Ron made a mistake but last year he made the engraving on Larry O'Brien. People should stop throwing 'bows in return at 'World' and leave him at peace, because his passion was needed and he is still one of the best perimeter defenders the league has to offer. God knows Matt Barnes, Ariza like sophomore Devin Ebanks and the Lakers need him now.
Speaking of flagrants along with Gasol, Odom went out and 'hit the road Jack' more like a chump then a champ but still this 'Sixth Man of the Year' is one start and one All-Star away from being even more important to the Lakers then he already is. It was his consistency that kept this erratic Laker team going all year. The only wood he should be kept on is the pine and the floor, if the Lakers put this guy on the chopping block then they may as well stick the knife in their own backs. This versatile, dynamic talent is what's keeping the Lakers together. This Garnett like player is now the better option then 'Da Kid' that aged. If only they could clone him five times over. Then you'd have a team. Speaking of the bench, it may be time for Derek Fisher to start coming off it more, as age is getting the better of him and the Lakers are in need of a new starting point. Maybe they shouldn't have let go of Jordan Farmer so easily (sorry Steve Blake, you still did good). Derek can still fish for clutch off the bench, he's still capable, but it's time for him to go ultra-Robert Horry come playoff time and be the man the Lakers know and love. Another straight 82 can wear out even the most durable of players...which Fisher is.
So what does that leave the Lakers left with? It's clear the Lakers need to keep their window open this Summer but as much as opportunity knocks it's easy to find it sitting right next to you at home. There may be some rust but seldom used forward Luke Walton could have been the assist over turnover king that the Lakers shouldn't have passed on. Right now Luuuuuuke; the STAPLES favourite staple has been receiving as many minutes as Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff and Walton is nowhere near being as old as those guys (although they are still effective, ready for another go round guys?). Luke could of been the Rick Fox actor that would have played his championship role to a tee, before the Lakers got sent from the basketball courts to the golf courses. Besides this work hard, go hard talent is the only surviving Laker player from the older championship years sans Kobe and Fisher (and Fisher's Laker life comes with a North Californian and Northwest asterisk).
Still, obviously the Lakers are broke, so they are in need of some fixing. Aside from a big acquisition like Howard, there's plenty available on the free-agent market to play with. Guys like Jamal Crawford, Carlos Arroyo, Kenyon Martin, Shane Battier could help round out the team and give it the different dynamics needed for a fresh star. While there would be no harm in rekindling with former Lakers like Caron Butler, Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic or Ronny Turiaf for their experience and missed talents, but let them not go down the Kwame Brown road again. Sure the Lakers are in need of some fresh air, but at the same time they also need some breathing space and room to think things over before they make any drastic decisions.
Besides the Lakers have already quickly attended to one pressing matter already. As legendary, great and as grateful as it has been, like Jack Nicholson this is as good as it gets for Phil Jackson and bar asking the Lakers favourite fan to move over a few chairs, nobody is going to have as great an influence on the Lakers bench as the greatest coach of all time. Still as we show our appreciation to the greatest, we must remember the rule about all good things. Even though former player, assistant and champion Brian looked a sure thing, its defensive maestro Mike Brown that's ready and willing to make shapes, or heads or tails out of the triangle. Forget what they say on forums, this young, fast-paced coach could be exactly the break the Lakers need to bring the showtime to STAPLES and back to the franchise.
So there you have it. It may have been all good a year ago, but remember the Lakers have been here time and time again. Isn't that right Detroit? Kobe's walked off in a purple jersey, head down with ticker tape falling behind him before. The end of this season almost looked identical to 2008, bar the lack of green and the walking to the left like Beyonce. So don't think the Lakers glory days are irreplaceable. Honestly they've been humbled before. All they need to do is put this pride on rocks and this moment on ice and swallow it all together, most definitely and absolutely. For next season's a new year and the Mamba is ready to come out spitting with his venom. The Doberman will be ready to get his team and reputation out the dog house and serve the critics and haters with their own helpings of humble pie. There's your food for thought. Now who's ready to do the dishes? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Let's get academic as we report on how Kobe is taking the legends to school.
By Tim David Harvey
A report on Kobe Bryant's rise up the all-time NBA scorers list, investigating how far he can climb with relation to an analysis of his offence and a comparison to the legends above him.
This year the Mamba slithering up more than the average weekly Top Ten ladders. Kobe's shook the dream like Christina Milian, left Hayes for smoke and parted Moses as he passed Hakeem Olaujawon, Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone for sixth place on the National Basketball Association's all-time scoring list. Now Kob' is trying to crack the top-five like the Black Eyed Peas and you'll never guess who he's facing off with next. Let's just say an early playoff exit this year saw the corvette hit a brick wall. Time to shift gear. As Bryant climbs, years from now, when he quits and retires, where will he be crowned amongst the all-time scoring royalty of the association? You can count on him being affiliated with the top guys.
Kobe hits milestones every season, he's being doing it his whole career going from youngest ever to best ever records. This year however Kobe's been drawing milestones and breaking records in his sleep. Despite recovering from a knee injury and some ill form, Kobe has still been playing sick, having one of his most successful years for achievements. Kobe's already made Dominique Wilkins (26,668 points) highlights look human in comparison, passing his position and his big offence already passed 'The Big O', Oscar Robertson (26,710 points) in the top ten scoring. Then came three more in a row, even without another championship and now for the rest of his career he could pass even more. So let's take a look at who and how far he could really get up the scale.
Kobe's got the best of the best to best if he wants to become the all-time greatest scorer. Here they are;
Shaquille O'Neal-28,582 Points: As Kobe gets older and the scoring ladder gets harder to climb the Mamba is going to meet an old friend as he tries to enter the top five. It looks like the red car could drive round the wall no matter how old the model. When Kobe passes Shaq sure everyone will try and make something big out of it, but in reality it's nothing.
Wilt Chamberlain-31,419 Points: As we get into 30, 000 territory will Kobe be out of bounds or will he find a home amongst the elite?Chamberlain's position is on a high stilt, that's what happened when you score a century in a game. Still Kobe's not far behind him as this current and one-time Laker have a lot in common. Kobe's career high of 81 has put him right behind Wilt in another scoring category and many critics have talked about whether he can go one better. In a game maybe not, but over a few more 82's? That will do.
Michael Jordan-32,292 Points: If you thought there was a lot riding on overcoming Shaq, how about if Kobe has a chance to enter the top 3? He could take M.J. Throughout Bryant's career the like Mike similarities and comparisons have been drawn out. Could it be that Kobe could actually beat Mike? Now this won't end the debate of who's better, or start it for those that know that Michael will always be king. Still with almost identical offensive skills and age not offending Kobe right now, number 24 could really be more than number 23.
Karl Malone-36,928 Points: Now where going deeper does Kobe have the good to deliver more points then the Mailman? Or for that matter does he have the strength and conditioning to play into his 40's. When Kobe's goatee sports greys will he still be able to pick his spots and roll to the basket like Malone could. Karl ended his career playing with Kobe in L.A. and although things didn't end so well then, it's clear the conclusion of these two players hasn't been wrote yet.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-38,387 Points: Records where meant to be broken and everyone wants the top spot, but can Kobe cap Kareem's and the leagues total, becoming the all-time Laker and the all-time player? 10, 519 is a lot of points for a guy who has already done this twice over but is way into the third act of his career. Still, if anyone in the league right now could do it, it'd only be Kobe. The guy is a scoring machine, and a regular franchise feature in the early Summer. Still, if only Kobe had a signature shot (bar the M.J. fade) like Jabbar then the limit would be the sky. You know Kobe would then have this hook line and sinker. Now the question is, will he score big, or will he fadeaway?
Kobe Bryant-27,868 Points: There are too many variables here to determine, for example injuries and playing time etc. Kobe's knee is a factor as are the team-mates he shares the ball with. How longer can Bryant play for and at a high-level to boot? 35? Maybe. 40? Perhaps if he puts on airs and mirrors the 'Floor Jordan' era. Still, the more time Kobe has left the more likely he is of climbing the charts. At 32, he could definitely still play at a high level for many years, perhaps until he's 37. With that idea in mind he could still make it. If he kept up an unlikely 30 point average to his late 30's he'd clear Kareem like a high jumper with 12, 300 more points in the books, just from regular season games of around 2, 460 points each year.
Now if we looked at this more realistic career average of around 25 points, (which he could more likely maintain) that would keep Kobe at around 2,050 points each season. Over 5 more years that would give the mamba 10, 250 points that wouldn't snake him the top spot. Still however this isn't taking in playoff games, that could take him further in more ways then one. With more of Gasol, Odom, Artest and Bynum, who knows how far this Laker dynasty could go in the next five years. Even if the lockout will only put a freeze on NBA time and not Bryant's age. The more rings Kobe gets the more positions he'll take in this top-ten. Still taking playoffs out the equation makes up for the points that could be lost due to age, injury or ball-sharing (that's passing Kobe) that could help give us a more realistic conclusion.
So there are plenty of variables and things standing in the way of Kobe reaching the top, but he's going to make up more spots this year and he could definitely crack the top 3. As for going all the way, it may look doubtful in some degrees but it's still a possibility for a man who has defied the impossible. Winning is everything but you know in the back of Kobe's mind this is a mission he chooses to accept. Let's keep score, 10, 519 to go and counting. Catch up!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Our Finest Officer.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
True sportsmen are hard to find in today’s game of basketball. This is especially true when coverage is dominated by heavily rotated highlight reels. OK, there’s not much that beats alley-oops and baseline reverse slams but what about the fundamentals of the true warriors of the game? Those who don't make the top ten plays of the week but instead possess something deeper. Derek Fisher shows us how much he embodies all the aspects of being true to the definition of sportsmanship.
n : fairness in following the rules of the game.
You can't call yourself a basketball fan if the figure '0.4' doesn't register in your mental encyclopaedia of historic NBA Playoff moments. There's not a lot of things you can do in 0.4 seconds (you can barely even bounce a basketball) but that was all Lakers guard Derek Fisher needed in the postseason of 2004. Just four-tenths of a second to break the playoff run and hearts of the San Antonio Spurs. Less than half a second to lift his written off Los Angeles team to the NBA finals. He did all this with a beautiful turnaround, fade-away J off an inbounds pass from Hall of Fame candidate Gary Payton. This was Derek's hall worthy moment though, as he went all 'big game' like James. Catch, turn, shoot, BANG! With that Swish Derek went from respected role player to among other things, "The Fish that saved L.A.". Bet he's glad that name didn't stick. From now on just call him 'Mr. 0.4'.
Just one heroic moment for a seldom known role player right? Wrong! This is the same guy who's been a playoff hero year after year. The same guy who in the early 2000's averaged double digits in points in three consecutive seasons whilst having to share the ball with two guys who had enough trouble sharing the limelight. The same guy taken with the 24th pick out of Little Rock, Arkansas. The same guy who's practice coupled with his workout regime keeps him as fresh and strong as he was when he first entered the L with Kobe 15 unbelievable years back. The same guy who maintains this high level even after suffering two stress fractures to his foot. The same guy who in playoff runs was a killer in the clutch like the Lakers Horry. Keeping his teams hopes alive shot after shot, charge after charge, big play after big play. The same guy who has done what countless other star NBA players haven’t, filled an entire hand full of rings.
Spurs purists will also be heartbroken every time they remember Derek taking over quarters, wetting so many three pointers with marksman like precision. Shooting the lights out to an NBA record 15 three pointers in the 4 game 2001 Western Conference semi-finals sweep. Philadelphia 76er fans wish they could forget the Finals, Game 5, deep dagger three from D-Fish which sank along with their hearts and hopes of championship glory back in 2001. The normally reserved Derek, with an assassins look on his face put his finger on his lips signalling the home crowd to be silent after that shot. The city of brotherly love had nothing more to say. Respect paid.
Fast forward a couple of 365's and Derek was still that reliable point guard but like November 4th change can happen and Derek Fisher was part of the death of a dynasty in L.A. Kobe remained but his reported on off relationship with Shaquille O’Neal ran its course when the diesel fuelled up and took a trip back down to Florida. This was the biggest news story, but all good Hollywood stories have sub-plots and Shaq wasn't the only one who said goodbye to Hollywood. The Zen departed for a few years, Karl Malone retired along with Rick Fox and Gary Payton was traded. In all this mess as per usual things were said and stories emerged. Shaq and others were quick to let their feelings about Kobe and the management be known. Even the mailman delivered some barbs Bryant’s way. Still, however amongst all these dramatic exits and gossip column worthy quotes, one guy who's loss would effect the Lakers just as much as many of the others remained quiet. Derek Fisher just went on his way. Fisher showed something the other players didn't…
Fisher went north to Golden State. The Oakland team put $22 million on the table so they could pride themselves on having a real Golden State Warrior. Although he struggled at first he improved when Baron Davis took the reigns of the Warriors. This freed Fish up to be the player he is, always having his star man’s back. This resulted in Derek's best offensive season averaging 13 points per game. He was still making those trademark spot up jumpers, he was still drawing fouls. Those huge plays that win ball games.
Then it was off to Salt Lake City where like with any good Jazz piece-Fish knew his role well-and with perfect harmony bought his own unique style to an already established ensemble. Again Derek the consummate professional gave 100% to his duty in Utah every night. A man who does this deserves to be recognised and when Derek was elected president of the NBA Players Association in 2007 (despite the current 'collective' problems you know this guys a lock for basketball politics) you know it was because of his embodiment of sportsmanship. A man who should be a shining example for the rest of the league. There’s not much that keeps this man from the court, but even true sportsmen know that as important their responsibility to their team is, some responsibilities are simply just more important. Like family.
Derek Fishers 10 month old daughter Tatum suffered something nobody, let alone no child should have to endure. Retinoblastoma, a rare, degenerative cancer of the eye. Emergency surgery was required. Like any true father Derek was right by his daughters side every step of the way at the New York's Presbyterian Hospital. These are times when conference semi-finals don't matter and duty can be put aside.
So Derek was with his family. But then he did something nobody expected even a renowned true sportsmen like him to do. With the doctors blessing he flew back to Utah. The Jazz were almost three quarters deep in trouble against Fishers former team Golden State. They needed a hero. Derek answered the call. Fans will remember him walking into the arena surrounded by personnel. Instead of warming up, he suited up and was on court late in the 3rd. For all the all stars that were on the floor for Utah (Deron Williams, Andrei Kirlienko), Derek knew it was time to show this ball club how a seasoned playoff hero plays this type of game. He high-fived his Jazz bench, entered the game to a standing ovation and embraces from current and former team-mates, he held his hands up high and looked to the heavens and then it was down to business. To win games first you have to take care on the defensive end . Derek did just that with a critical stop against Baron Davis taking his team to overtime. Then up 120-117 the Jazz were finally in control but the W wasn't sealed yet. They needed a sharp-shooter to put these Warriors down for good. Utah's go to guy Deron Williams found Fisher open in the corner, catch, shoot, swish, W.
That was deeper than just simple sportsmanship. This is the magic of players like Derek Fisher. This is the magic of the NBA. ‘Where Amazing Happens’, right? This moment arguably just as brilliant as his 0.4 second shot and definitely more heroic. Coming in for his team in their time of need, when it was his time of need displayed courage and something real special. Something that was although deeper than, still true to the definition of sportsmanship...
But even when your truly dedicated to your work, when times get real hard sometimes you just got to walk away. Derek Fisher told the Jazz he had to go to a city that had the medical means to take care of his daughter. He at that point had walked away from the game he loved to devote all his time to his daughters care. If this man’s career was called at this point on July 2nd 2007 nobody could have fronted on this man’s dedication, selflessness and level of sportsmanship. Still, however Derek’s basketball diaries are now in the process of having a storybook ending, just read 'Character Driven' for reference.
A city that had the medical needs to look after Tatum and a team to take care of Derek’s career came calling. As if it was meant to be, the familiar city of angels beckoned the Fisher family back home. Kobe was putting Los Angeles back together but Batman needs Robin. So number 2 of the Lakers to this day belongs to Derek Fisher once again and its like he never left. The headband may have gone but the hard work and dedication still remains. As do the clutch 3 pointers, the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, years, tears and two more rings can attest to that. Derek still gets his and gives his team the energy and the heart they need. Even in this years three-peat fail, Fish was still there shooting rainbow jumpers and taking charges, making big plays at 36. This was all whilst trying to help prevent David Stern from putting a Coach Carter style lock and chain on the NBA's gym. Now that's dedication, from the labour courts to the hardwood ones. The Lakers may have been a mess when Fisher left after his first tenure, but if you look at this team now its a different story. It’s a championships story, minus a few chapters and a last season from Phil Jackson.
Mike Brown and the Buss family still have a lot of talent at their disposal, save the wrecking ball. This includes a strong, deep bench mob, star players Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and defensive master Ron Artest the ever developing Andrew Bynum and of course the leagues best Kobe Bryant. With this great unit its easy to forget the hard workers who don't always get their shine. Believe me though if you don't think Derek Fishers just as important as any of these pieces then you don't know basketball. This man’s great legacy may yet include a few more championship rings to join the five his cabinet already contains. If this happens do not think this of it as mere coincidence. Derek may be heading to his contract year and his skills and age may be getting away from him, as the prime-time will soon make way for pine time but know this, he's still got more game-winners in him then most franchise players will ever possess.
Still how do you honour a man who gives his all to not just his cities team but its community too. How do you honour a man who's heart and spirit is immeasurable. Well the city of Los Angeles made a big start a few years back declaring March 5th 'Derek Fisher Day'. City Councilman Bernard Parks words speak volumes of Derek’s heroic moments, "He made sports history when he missed the first championship game (For the Utah Jazz in 2007) due to the illness of his daughter, but then he arrived in the fourth quarter of the second game and just in time to score the winning three-point basket, which proves not only his commitment to his family but also the commitment to his team". Bottom Line we need to recognise this man as a lot of times the wrong sportsman are being idolised. The city of Los Angeles showed Derek Fisher the same thing he in his career has shown every city, team, coach and player he's ever played for or against and the league of the NBA as a whole…
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Champion, Logo, Statue.
BY TIM DAVID HARVEY.
"It's about time". Kobe Bryant said just weeks before Jerry West received his over-due immortalising in bronze, as the logo's statue was unveiled during the 2011 All-Star game at STAPLES. From one shooting guard to another the Mamba recognises the clutches greatness. Why wouldn't he? If it wasn't for Jerry West, Kobe Bryant would be wearing teal and white instead of purple and gold and who knows what would have resulted there (am sure in some ways some of the same for Kob' at least)? 'Mr. Clutch' himself has imprinted more than his likeness for the NBA's logo. He has also made many big plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. On and off the court.
There's George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant for the Lakers alone and a whole host of NBA legends that have come and gone throughout the history of this great league but make no mistake one of the greatest ever to do this basketball thing was Jerry West. He wore number 44, but even after that was retired and raised to the rafters Jerry was so much more than a gun slinger.
So why did it take so long? Why is a man who is the silhouette of the associations logo to some a shadow of success? Why did it take this long for a statue of Jerry West to be unveiled? I know the Lakers have a lot of legends to immortalize and they've started off right (Magic, Chick) but why have other sports stars been honored in stone prior? I mean Oscar De La Hoya? He's great but come on! Before Jerry?
It's a good job the humble Jerry isn't one for individual honors and is used to waiting. I mean it took over a decade and a Wilt Chamberlain for the savvy guard to win his first and only ring, plus MVP trophy in 1972. Still this is no excuse. Jerry doesn't just embody the NBA he embodies the Lakers. After George Mikan in Minneapolis it was Jerry and Elgin Baylor that started things for Los Angeles. 10 years before Wilt, decades before Magic and Kareem and almost half a century before Shaq and the Kobe years. Along with Baylor, Jerry showed the NBA that the West had something to say and something to play.
West had offence, defence, hustle, vertical and shots in the clutch and from anywhere on the court (see, 1970 and Celtics, Boston). There where many points to why West was one of the best and when he retired he topped the Laker history books as the teams highest scorer before Kareem led the league (25,192). West was and is your prototype basketball player, even for today in high shorts and 70's hair. That's why the original and greatest still looks great between the small red and blue stitching on everybody's jersey.
West wasn't just a great player and owner, he was also a pretty decent coach. Sure he only made the Western Conference Finals once during his tenure (1977) but he led Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the rest of the Lake Show to an impressive 145–101 record. It would have seemed odd that after a great start Jerry headed further upstairs until you realise what came next. There should even be another statue of him at a desk, working the papers like he did the floor.
As the 80's came around Mr. West became a coaching dropout opting for the role as the Lakers General Manager. In this role Mr. Clutch became Mr. Craft as he built a team for the ages. Hollywood was waiting for the bigger picture and Jerry West premiered 'Showtime'. Bringing Magic, Worthy players and five gold championship rings. It was just like Christmas in sunny California.
Than deep into the 90's Jerry proved that lightening can indeed strike twice as thanks to his shrewd managing another dynasty reigned championships in Laker land. After building a nice squad around Nick Van Exel, Vlade Divac, Eddie Jones and coach Del Harris West went all Hollywood out in Los Angeles making major power moves. First he traded Vlade Divac for the draft rights of this kid called Kobe Bryant. Than he made a 'big' signing by bringing in Shaquille O' Neal and then he went even bigger and brought in six time champion coach Phil Jackson. The rest was NBA history. Once, twice, three times a champion and who knows what else could have happened if it wasn't for the death of a dynasty?
As Jerry moved from a Western powerhouse to lottery bound outfit he still prevailed in Memphis. He signed another coach of the year (Hubie Brown) and he did the real best with what he had with the Grizzlies. Since then for the Lakers their former player Mitch Kupchak has managed things very well, but there's just something about Jerry. West helped with the bringing up of Pau Gasol in Memphis, who now has been that extra championship ingredient for Los Angeles. Coincidence?
See Jerry, Jerry, Jerry has been great at three different roles in the NBA, legendary in fact. Sure the logo is an honor like no other but now that the Lakers have done a Spike Lee with the statue, the right thing has happened. West was more than just an incredible player (as if that wasn't enough). He has built more than one dynasty over the decades for the purple and gold. Who else has done that (apart from Red for the Celtic green)? So he may have only achieved one ring as a player (which is great anyway) but he's amassed eight in the boardroom. Now there's one guy who can definitely cockily straighten his tie after a good day at the office. Either way when Jerry has suited up, (sweats or slacks) he's helped the Lakers look more than sharp. Mr. Clutch is the Frank Sinatra of the NBA, 'Mr. Success' doing thing his way, the right way, the Jerry way. As a matter of fact he was and is still Mr. Lakers. Statuesque in more ways then one. Now that will always be set in stone.