I can’t lie to you guys; for the first time since June 2008, I lost faith in the Lakers. The haters, they finally cracked me. I mean, have you watched the Lakers lately? First, they coasted out the gate. Then, they got smoked by Miami. In fact, they’ve been getting smoked by everybody. The Sacramento Kings are giving them game and the Lakers stand idly by. Do they care? Are they old? Has their window closed? Is the chemistry stale? Does Ron Artest want traded? Should Mitch Kupchak make a move? And if he does, what kind of pieces do the Lakers have? Hell, are the Lakers the best NBA ticket in LA at the moment?
And this was all before their annual…. Road Trip? And I apologize as I digress… but, how come the Bulls have the “Circus Road Trip” and the Spurs have the “Rodeo” Road Trip… but the Lakers can’t get any love for their annual Road Trip? I’m sure there’s an event that involves people with tons of Botox injected into their face that forces the Clippers and Lakers out of Staples for a few weeks every year… but why isn’t there a catchy name for it? Is there a name for it? People can’t be this asleep at the wheel, can they?
Anyway, back to the road trip. This trip is going to be a big deal for the Lakers. At least, that’s what the media is going to tell you. You’re going to see W-L stats, the “should the Lakers make a move?” segments on SportsCenter, and other people just gushing about the Lakers troubles.
And don’t get me wrong. This could be a big deal, if ultimately, the Lakers hadn’t reached the summit.
For example, two years ago, the Lakers were on the ropes. They had just been smoked the previous summer by the Boston Celtics, and while they had started off well, they had just lost Andrew Bynum to a potentially season-ending injury. Things got real for the Lakers, and everybody asked, “HOW WILL THE LAKERS RESPOND?”
Well, in the next game, at the New York Knicks (when they were properly rated as terrible), Kobe eviscerated them. He dropped like 61 and shattered ol’ Bernard Kings scoring record in the Garden.
Then, after dispatching the Raptors, they strolled into the Garden (where they didn’t win a game the previous year) and ran through the Boston Celtics. And three days later? They dropped the Eastern-leading Cleveland Cavaliers on their own court. That’s when you knew that these Lakers were the real deal.
Roughly six months later, they hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy as fans in Orlando gasped and said things like, “Wait, I thought this was a best-of-11 series?”
And that’s the thing you have to remember: The core of that Lakers team, and the present day one — they lived that. They knew, at the time, they had to prove to themselves they could compete with the best, because until that time, they hadn’t won anything. That’s what the young guy trying to come up on the block does, because he still has something to prove.
But what do the Lakers have to prove right now? Really, outside of Boston and Tim Duncan’s corpse, how many teams truly understand what it takes to win it all in this league? Everybody says the Lakers are old, but nobody mentions that old teams are the only ones that win titles in the NBA.