Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Pay Thanks to the Sports Gods

The joy of June matched the elation of October - seeing the Lakers fall badly was as pleasurable as seeing the hated Yanks fall to the most successful post-season team in the history of baseball, the Florida Marlins. And the losses of both were made all the sweeter by their prior heroic victories - in Game 7 for the Yanks against the Socks, and in Game 5 for the Lakers against the Spurs, when Fisher made that ridiculous 3 pointer. After knocking off the Sox and the Spurs, respectively, surely the Marlins and the Pistons would be a walk in the park.

Not so. And, in contrast to the Yanks, who I hate as a matter of principle, I had more personal reasons for hating the Lakers this year. Here are a few:


1) The Zen Master - I hate Phil Jackson. This guy has made a career out of coaching superstars who get nearly every call, and yet after any playoff loss he lays into the refs. Even his new-agey nickname makes me sick. It was great to seem him out-coached by Larry Brown. We should have seen it coming - if Brown could squeak out even one win with the Sixers against the Lakers three years ago (when the Lakers were much better than they are today), the smart money would have been on a Pistons sweep, prevented only by Kobe's clutch 3-pointer in Game 2.

2) Karl Malone - I always liked Karl Malone ... until he signed with the Lakers. Gave up all of that money, unselfishly we were told, in order to win a Championship. Turns out he was overpaid. Memo to Karl Malone: Mark Madsen won several championships with the Lakers - it didn't make him a champion. It made him a lucky guy whose presence had no effect for good or ill on the Lakers season. You should have been content with the knowledge that the Jazz won two championships with you as their leader against the Bulls (factoring out the 10-point per game spot the refs gave Jordan in every game of the playoffs). Joining the Lakers was equivalent to a general who lost a battle against a powerful foe resurfacing years later as an enlisted man looking for glory in the invasion of the Falklands.

3) Kobe Bryant - if I were accused of rape, and if I were beyond a doubt guilty of adultery against the Mother of my new born son, I wouldn't wear such a smug self-satisfying arrogant look on my face everytime I dunked a basketball. Actually, if I ever dunked a basketball, I might wear a smug self-satisfying arrogant look on my face, no matter what I was guilty of. But that is beside the point - I still hate this guy. The only guy I like on the Lakers is Shaq, and that is mostly because it is obvious that he hates Kobe even more than me.

4) Gary Payton - I always liked Gary Payton ... until he signed with the Lakers. Gave up all of that money, unselfishly we were told, in order to win a Championship. Turns out he was overpaid. Memo to Gary Payton: Mark Madsen won several championships with the Lakers - it didn't make him a champion. It made him a lucky guy whose presence had no effect for good or ill on the Lakers season. You should have been content with the knowledge that the Sonics won a championship with you as their leader against the Bulls (factoring out the 10-point per game spot the refs gave Jordan in every game of the playoffs). Joining the Lakers was equivalent to a general who lost a battle against a powerful foe resurfacing years later as an enlisted man looking for glory in the invasion of the Falklands.



7 Comments:

Blogger pbryon said...

Something we can agree on--in particular, your comments on Phil Jackson. I'm waiting for the articles on how he was outcoached--which he clearly was--but I'm not sure how many we'll see. Somehow, he's convinced people that massaging personalities is coaching. But he's no tactician, and he was absolutely destroyed by one this time. I found his not doing anything to even try to combat what was being done to the Lakers a pretty clear indictment of his abilities as an X's and O's coach.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

word!

9:03 AM  
Blogger John Wolfram said...

Good article. I don't love Detroit, but I like them. Here is why:

1. Larry Brown

2. Tayshaun Prince -- for at least 2 reasons - 1, he blocked the absolute crap out of a shot by Reggie Miller in the semi's that really clinched the series for Detroit, (and Reggie Miller is right up there with Kobe and Zen Master on the hate list) and 2 he took a heckuva body shot from Shaq but then answered by scoring 17 and pulling 10 boards.

Reasons for hating LA:

1 Kobe.
2. Zen Master "I can make the superstars all get along but can't respond to good defense" Jackson
3. All other players still on Lakers from when LA beat Philly
4. Kobe

I've never liked Shaq either because he is so full of himself but you raise a good point...how can I hate 2 guys who hate each other? There's a double negative in there somewhere.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karl Malone said:

Hatcher - You may be forgetting that I was not THE MAN on the Jazz - - John Stockon was. I was merely his Scottie Pippen...

Note to self from Zen-Master: He who chases the ring is like a dog chasing his tail; it is usually the hungriest dog that finds the tastiest bone.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Rothy said...

Is there any higher correlation than the connection between bitter 35-yr olds rooting for blue-collar Philly teams their whole lives and the smattering of sports "hate mail" posted after an unloved underdog upsets a perennial favorite? Some call it 2nd city inferiority complex. I call it ignorance. Its the same thing that drives fools to boast the MVP candidacy of Lenny Dykstra over Barry Bonds (pre- or post-steroids), or compels them to scream "give me the 151 on top!."

Suggestion: stick to super-intellectual PHD stuff b/c you can use high powered vocabulary and ideas to intimidate us average joes....it won't work with sports b/c that is our meat and potatoes

2:02 PM  
Blogger Ron Faith said...

What I enjoyed most about the series wasn't that the Lakers lost, its that the Pistons won. Here is a team that bought into the coach's philosophy, played hard on both sides of the court (especially on defense), and came through without a single true superstar on the roster. While I would never want to run into Ben Wallace in a dark alley, it was great to watch him pound the boards while Lakers stood around waiting for the ball to come to them.

Now the Laker circus can be dismantled. The true brains of the Lakers operation used to be Jerry West anyway - we'll see if West can work his magic with the Griz.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Boz said...

I find it ironic that people who are so pro-business and desire dominating their respective marketplace are also the ones who have such glee when the powerhouses like the Yankees and Lakers crash and burn.

I think the biggest downfall of the Lakers, as well as any time of that caliber, is the showing of arrogance. When a team shows the amount arrogance the level seen with this team, it is only certain they will crash. Think of the '88 Oakland A's. There was no way they should have lost to the Dodgers in the World Series (let alone get swept). But look at some of the arrongant players on that team (Jose, Rickey, etc.), it screamed they were destined to fail. Of course, this is not a flawless theory. Look at the '86 Mets. Their crash and burn took a couple of years.

7:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sign up for my Notify List and get email when I update!

email:
powered by
NotifyList.com