Weekend Reading

Kurt —  June 24, 2005

Want to pass on a couple of fascinating links worth checking out, both for Laker fans and just hoops fans.

It may seem a little odd to talk about basketball on Only Baseball Matters, but Broken Cowboy has done an interesting interview with Charlie Rosen talking about his new book — The Pivotal Season: How the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers Changed the NBA — as well as other topics from how that team was the first to do shootarounds the mornings of games drug use in the NBA. And of course, there’s a little talk of the current Lakers. It’s a lengthy, wide-ranging and well-done Q&A, I’m going to pass on a couple of highlights to whet your appetite:

(The 71-72 Lakers) were like a mystery team. Because they played out in California, and the media center was still in New York, still on the East Coast, so nobody knew what was happening out there. You rarely saw them on television. I mentioned in the book, even a playoff game was on delayed tape. They played some auto, NASCAR race, that was also on delayed tape. Nobody really knew who they were or what were they all about. What’s so great about them? They were a rumor on the East Coast.

Kobe is selfish, and he’s an egomaniac, and he’s impulsive, and he’s arrogant, and he’s this, this, this… but there’s something about him that is appealing. He is a nice kid. And deep down in there there is, at least there used to be, this kind of effervescent quality about him that’s very appealing. And it’s there. It’s kind of hidden and locked away, but it’s still there. Plus, Phil respects his talent. Is he the best player in the NBA? Phil thinks so. He’s a clutch player, too, not afraid to make the clutch shots. And when he’s into it, he’s just as good a defensive player as he is an offensive player. He is a Jordanesque type player, which you can’t say about anyone else in the game today. So I think Phil thinks there’s enough there for them to connect.

Caron Butler may or may not be a Laker next season, and he knows it. He did a Q&A with his local paper in Racine, Wisconsin, where he talks about a host of NBA topics (including that the Bucks should draft Williams over Bogut).

I was at the press conference and I also was at the gym when (Phil) came in the next day. We were working out some draftees and he was telling me how he wanted to use me. He wanted me to continue to work on my ball handling. I’m going to handle the ball a lot, just like I did my first year in Miami (2002-03). It’s kind of like Scottie Pippen played in the triangle offense, bringing the ball up and doing a lot of things with it, so I’m going to be able to use my versatility.

Kurt

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