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.