Los Angeles has been the capital of the professional basketball world for most of the past 40 years because the Lakers play there. The Lakers, despite many recent and not so recent management missteps, continue to be one of the four best run franchises in the NBA.
The Lakers could have paid too much to a player currently on its roster, Clarkson, like the Wizards did with Beal and the Grizzlies with Conley but didn’t. The Lakers could have given a free agent a huge contract or signed one like Wade just to get attention but didn’t. The Lakers could have drafted too many players at one position and held them like the always losing 76ers but didn’t. When the Lakers decide a coach isn’t working out they get rid of him. Some think Terry Stotts is indispensable and the Blazers will win a championship with him. Jerry Sloan knew more about NBA basketball than Stotts and had better talent and won nothing. Winning division titles or conference championships are nice but only losers make a big deal about doing either.
The Lakers couldn’t get Howard, Anthony, or Durant. DeRozan and Westbrook and Davis stayed home with their mommies. When great players decide not to play for the Lakers to either go back to or stay with mommy or go where the pillow is softer and the demands less they’re telling everybody they aren’t tough enough to follow Bryant, Magic, and Jabbar. The more than a god Chamberlain also drank the sweetest nectar in Los Angeles and nobody wise compares any of the aforementioned non-Lakers positively to Wilt.
When Jabbar came to the Lakers the roster was okay not great. Then Kermit Washington hit Rudy T and things got worse. Jabbar didn’t run away like the not ready for prime time player Durant. He stayed tough and committed and won five rings with the Lakers. Jordan stayed tough and committed and won six rings with the Bulls. Bryant stayed tough and committed and won two more rings with the Lakers after Shaq stupidly mumbled his way out. Durant stayed weak and noncommittal and now plays with Curry who both dances too much and still makes bad decisions on the court and the mentally confused one Green and happily for his haters now finds his goofy self on the floor at the end of a big game crying for a foul call.
The Lakers, like the Celtics, is an incredibly demanding organization. Win or else. Most can’t handle the heat. Reggie Miller could have played for the Lakers and chose not to. Like Jabbar he knew the area. Unlike Jabbar, he won nothing. He was as weak and soft as Durant yet ripped Durant for leaving. It is just as weak to stay where you have no chance as it is to go where it is easier.
Doris Burke, Doug Collins, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy weren’t good on TV on Christmas. Collins showed why his coaching career wasn’t as successful as he or his former bosses wanted with at least one inane statement. Upon further listening, Collins is proving to be as uneven as some others. Never feel sorry for the rambler. Basketball has provided him with wealth and experiences beyond his little mind’s wildest dreams.
This piece was written by Jim Swigart. Jim has been seriously writing for at least eight years and previously wrote about music for a now defunct online magazine for about two years. Jim briefly blogged about sports for an online site and currently blogs weekly about sports on his own site.
His academic background is in business and math. He has done numerous work tasks besides writing. My interests include exercise, sports, music, and politics.