44th Edition – April 11, 2005
It’s been tough. The demise of the Lakers. I knew it was going to be a difficult season. I didn’t think it would be a disaster. It’s been ether. “That sh*t that makes your soul burn slow.” A plethora of injuries. Ten new players. A new coach with a new system. The resignation of the new coach halfway into the season. An interim coach takes over on the fly. Kobe learning what it’s like to be the focal point of a team. Although he puts up a valiant effort, he struggles. A lot. They don’t play any defense. They don’t force any turnovers. They shoot three pointers like it’s going out of style. Lamar Odom looks lost. Caron Butler plays unsure. Chucky Atkins is a pleasant surprise. Chris Mihm is surdiculously inconsistent. Tierre Brown sucks! My rage is at an all time high.
I don’t know what to think. The losses are mounting. I watched my team lose eight games in a row. Eight!!! I start to get accustomed to them. This is unacceptable. The Lakers… losers? The truth hurts. I can’t watch a full hour of SportsCenter. Afraid to hear what I already know. I begin to dislike everyone who says something negative about my team. Especially the media. National and local. They’re enjoying this. Constantly laughing at Dr. Buss. Constantly blaming Kobe. Casually forgetting that Shaq demanded a trade. That he wouldn’t take less money to help the team. That he stopped coming into training camp in shape. That he publicly disrespected the owner (his boss). As if that wouldn’t have ramifications. That Phil gave an ultimatum. A stupid one I might add. Him or Kobe? Crazy! The pecking order is players then coaches. Not the other way around. Nevertheless, #8 is the sole reason for the mess that is the Lakers. Not true. He has his share of the blame. But not all of it. Still, that’s not how it’s played. So he’s got to face it. And he has. Mental toughness and perseverance is how he maintains. Winning will be his only salvation. Only time will tell.
I’ve watched every game this season. Not easy. But I’m a fan. A true one. Like my man Marc (another true fan) said, “I’m going down with the ship.” Not like all the so-called supporters who have turned out to be bandwagon riders. Not like that clown Bill Plaschke (L.A. Times sportswriter) who’s had a blood transfusion to replace the purple and gold for Clipper blue and red. Traitor.
No playoffs. Mind-boggling. My team has no chance to win the Glory. Does it even matter to me who wins it now? Not really. But I am rooting against Miami. Openly. Call me a hater if you want. I love basketball. So I’ll watch the race. For curiosity’s sake. It’s fun to watch basketball without any personal involvement. I can take an analytical approach to every series and game. But I’m sad. In a few days, I won’t see my team play for six months. That’s something I can’t get used to. But the critics think otherwise. They say this is the Lakers’ fate for many seasons to come. I can’t believe that. We’ll get better. That’s the only way I can allow myself to think. To hell with everyone else. Our next coach is going to demand defense. And ball movement. And player movement. We’re going to execute with precision. We’re going to rebound. Play smart. Play good basketball. And win… a lot. But if we don’t, then we will the following season. The Lakers will be all right. They better be. But throughout it all, I’ll be there. In full support. Anticipating the day when we run ish again.
But for now, I’m not in denial. We are what our record says we are. Lottery bound. Mitch Kupchak’s got his work cut out for him. We MUST get some ball players out of the draft. We gotta sign Shareef Abdur-Rahim with are $5 million exception. He’ll be our new power forward. Then we can move Lamar back to his natural position. Small forward. Put Caron in the backcourt with Kobe. Bring Vlade Divac back to be Chris Mihm’s backup. That’ll be a strong starting five. Bryant, Butler, Odom, Abdur-Rahim, and Mihm. Have Lamar bring the ball up. Have Kobe focus on the thing he does best. Scoring. And Shareef will be our low post presence. Our second and third units will consist of Atkins, Sasha Vujacic, Divac, Devean George, Brian Cook, Brian Grant and whoever else we have. Then we’ll be the “real” new look Lakers. A nice young talented team. With a bright future. Those are the days I’m looking forward to. And then, I (and everyone else) can put this season we just witnessed in the past. A distant one. Go Lakers! That’s mantra. Through the good times and the bad. Forever.