15

Kurt —  June 14, 2009


Bask in the moment, soak it up. There are so few moments of pure joy in life, so few moments where we as a collection of people with a common bond can truly revel in something.

Love it for (as Dex said) Kobe’s Dostoevsky like life of sin, suffering and redemption.

Love it for Phil Jackson for stepping back and seeing the forest in the trees, and teaching a team to grow as men in an era where that is considered dead.

Love it for Gasol for showing the world what we knew — just how good he was. How he is more than 7,473 post moves, that he is toughness and defense and heart.

Love it for Fisher for reminding us all what character and heart are all about.

Love it for Trevor Ariza for showing how much a player can grow in a year.

Love it for Andrew Bynum winning and learning and growing into a man.

Love it for Lamar Odom showing off just how much his diverse game fits and matters for the Lakers.

Love it for Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic for getting to taste a rare level of victory.

Love if for a great man in DJ Mbenga getting a crown that fits with him.

Love it for a great city. A great fan base.

Soak it up Lakers fans. This one is ours.

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From Zephid:

Ah, so this is the sweet taste of victory. Winning the NBA championship, cheering our team to the pinnacle of this sport. But, it is not the victory that brings us sweetness. It is the long 82 game regular season, all 23 games played in this postseason, all the rigors of this season. It is the tough December losses, the mental break-downs in January, the beautiful road streak in February, the frustrating losses in March. It is the Christmas game, the back to back @Boston, @Cleveland games. It is the leads given up against Utah, the blowout against the Yao-less Rockets, the home loss against Denver. It is the Game 7 victory against Houston, the Game 6 closeout in Denver, and this closeout here in Orlando. It is Fisher’s struggles and redemption, Lamar’s excellent form, break-down, injury, and now return to form. It is Andrew’s coming out, injury, and coming back as a role player. It is Gasol and Kobe’s consistency and fire. It is Sasha’s shooting woes, Jordan’s struggles, Luke’s benching, Ariza’s development, and Powell’s bad hands. It is the pain of last year’s Finals loss, Boston’s Game 4 comeback, the 39 point blowout in Game 6.

It is the entire journey, with all its pain, suffering, joy, jubilation, frustration, relief, and exuberance, that makes this victory sweet.

To all of us who stuck around this entire season and last: we’ve earned this as fans. We’ve been here through the good times and the bad. We’ve born all the trials and tribulations that the team has gone through. We as fans have earned this sweet, sweet victory.


Kurt

Posts

214 responses to 15

  1. The Dude Abides June 15, 2009 at 9:43 am

    PS…that game last night really tied the season together

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  2. Guys – Check this out – Some kid wrote a Lakers championship book!!!!

    http://www.createspace.com/3387344

    oh my God – That was fast.

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  3. Still taking this win in. Somehow this one seems better than the last 3. Maybe its because I have watched this team go through so much. I started watching basketball in 1999 so in 2000 when the Lakers won they were already a built team and just made it over the top that year.

    But this team I watched get built from scratch. After the 2004 loss, the championship team was dismantled and only Kobe remained. In 2005 the Lakers didn’t even make the playoffs. Then they drafted a 17 year old Center with almost no basketball experience and traded Butler for Kwame Brown. I watched as the Lakers were stuck in mediocrity for two years, losing in the first round to the suns.

    Then there was all the drama and fear that Kobe was going to leave and the team would go from a mediocre team to a bad team. How would the Lakers ever get back to the top if they traded one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball? It was a summer of not knowing what to expect, but expecting the bad news any day. A summer of hoping somehow that Mitch would pull off the impossible and get Garnett. But then Garnett was traded to Boston, and I didn’t know what to expect for the upcoming year.
    Then I watched the Lakers Fisher back and Kobe came to camp determined to play even if he didn’t really want to be there. I watched as the team grew and Bynum started to blossom and come into his own. Then Bynum got injured and all those hopes went out the window.

    Then I remember looking at ESPN and seeing the impossible accomplished by Mitch. Kwame Brown was traded for Pau Gasol. I was speechless it was the heist of the century (on later reflection it was not that bad of a trade for Memphis they got what they wanted). The Lakers went from a middle of the pack play off team with a healthy Bynum to a contender with or without Bynum. I Watched as the Lakers dominated the Western conference play offs and was expecting and hoping for the best as the greatest rivalry in basketball was renewed when they met the Celtics in the final, only to be disappointed as the Lakers blew a 24 pt lead in game 4 then loss in an embarrassing game 6.

    This year the expectations were so high. The Lakers had learned their lessons from the finals. They were going to come into the season with a focus on defense and rebounding. Bynum was healthy and they were going to have a full year to integrate Gasol into the team. And for the most part they delivered. They won all the big games they needed to win, Ariza was healthy and really contributing, Odom was good off the bench, and Bynum was getting his rhythm back and blossoming again.

    Then Bynum got injured again, but the Lakers stepped up and Odom and Gasol played great in his absence. But there were still lingering doubts. The bench was struggling, Farmar seeming could not guard anyone and was taking bad shots and Vujacic couldn’t hit water throwing a rock into a pond. Fisher was getting old seemed warn out.

    The Lakers had the same struggles through the playoffs, plus Bynum was still struggling to find his rhythm and could not stay out of foul trouble long enough to stay on the court. Vujacic still struggled and Fisher still looked warn out, but Farmar played well in stretches and ShanWow was a pleasant surprise at times. But the Lakers were maddeningly inconsistent against the Rockets, brilliant one game then lackadaisical the next. Though Fisher still struggled and seemingly could not hit any shots, they played brilliantly in the last two games against a really good Denver team.

    Then in the finals they put everything together. There were two overtime victories where they just executed better and found ways to win. Fisher found his shot and hit two huge 3’s in OT. Then they finished the series off with maybe there best overall game of the playoffs, where everyone contributed. Gasol was brilliant, Bynum played well, Odom was great, Kobe was Kobe, Fisher, Farmar, Walton, and Ariza all contributed and played well.

    What a journey. Seeing the exuberant joy of all the players as they celebrated the spoils of all their dedication and hard work as they finished at the top, was just special.

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  4. rye – manila June 15, 2009 at 9:53 am

    201…your right…

    what a fitting end to the orlanda-lakers series
    reg season LA-ORL(1-3)
    finals LA-ORL(3-1)
    grand total : LA-ORL (4-4)*

    * the difference, lakers took home the hardware this time..

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  5. rye – manila June 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

    i Hope that Lamar and Trevor will be back next season and will go for the repeat..
    Lamar is the insurance at the 4 spot…lamar with his superior dribbling, length,speed,defense and rebounding is very hard to find and or substitute…

    i can see lamar within the 6.5-8 million range…

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  6. Waking up and reading all the coverage of the win with my morning coffee, very satisfying.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that we’ve barely heard a peep from Mitch Kupchak. That’s just Mitch’s style, to stay quietly in the background, but I wanted to make sure I gave him his props today. No one has earned this title more than him – here’s a guy who was being roasted alive two years ago, had season ticket holders telling him to his face that he needed to resign at a town hall meeting, and even when he was shepherding championship teams earlier this decade, was seen as nothing but Jerry West’s puppet.

    For all the great moves Mitch has made (getting Lamar for Shaq, stealing Pau, nabbing Ariza for Cook and Evans, etc.), none was more important or gutsy than the one that seems the most obvious today: He did not trade Kobe Bryant. Many a lesser GM would have panicked and blown the team up, but Mitch recognized that you can’t win a title without a superstar, and he had the best in the league on his roster. Seems simple now, but it sure wasn’t then.

    The only other Laker title that compares to this one for me is 1985. Those were the Showtime Lakers, with 4 Hall of Famers on the roster (should be 5, Jamaal), but they also had a gritty, hobbled Mitch Kupchak on the squad, playing backup center and power forward against Parish & McHale on a reconstructed knee and scrapping his ass off. Let’s not ever forget what this guy has meant to our franchise.

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  7. congrats lakers!!!!!!

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  8. Good for you Josh #171;
    Those Lake teams w/ Vlade, Eldon, Eddie, et al were some of my favorites for their over achieving. They remind me a lot of this years CHAMPIONS. The Showtime teams had a super star at almost every position, as did our Threepeat teams. Even the Chamberlain/West teams match up better on paper than this years. Maybe history will show our ’09 team is chockablock w/ future superstars, too…time will tell.

    But this year we did it w/ the Mamba “mind melding” our young players and/or unfocused players into a disciplined, take no prisoners machine. (Well, OK, except for Sasha…) Pau came in pugnacious w/ crazy skills, but Mamba morphed his backbone into titanium…

    If the future shows this is a team of superstars, it will be because of Kobe’s showing them what the soul of a champion is made of.

    The Laker tradition continues.

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  9. new post up, with video highlights of the win. Just set it on a loop.

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  10. Ryan & Josh, I liked your comments, good stuff.

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  11. from the season when i started watching basketball (kobes rookie season) to this point, i have never been so proud about him and our lakers. cant say how happy it makes me to share this feeling with you guys. thank you kurt for this amazing website!

    just one more word…

    REPEAT!!!!!!

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  12. #196 (Travis) + #203 (Ryan)

    Have to agree with your sentiments. There are great expectations placed on Bynum. People are waiting for him to break out, despite the fact that he is still recovering from injuries. He’s getting mentored by Kareem! Give him time and space and he’ll slowly flourish. With the Lakers organization behind him, his growth can only have an upward trajectory.

    Moreover, most Lakers fans understand that this championship was more than just an end to a “seven-year drought.” It was a pleasure for us to see the maturation of Kobe truly stepping into the leadership role. Sure, he could be frustrating at times and there were moments when we feared that this would be the end of Kobe’s run with LA. But he came back like a prodigal son and delivered! With this combination of young players and seasoned veterans, LA has much to look forward to.

    It’s a wonderful time to be a Lakers fan.

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  13. 200- that’s the dream lineup I use in NBA 2k6 (adjusted for current NBA rosters on all teams)…I just finished sweeping the Celtics- on Hall of Fame difficulty. A week ago I swept the Cavs. Week before that I swept the Heat. Week before that I swept the Magic.

    I’d love to see that as the Lakers’ starting line-up.

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  14. This may seem absurd, but I would like to take this time to defend Sasha and say that he has contributed to this championship. Well, let’s start with this year: he did hit some (though not very many) timely shots, such as against Denver. But his true contribution comes from last year: he was part of a Bench Mob that gave Kobe Bryant faith in the Lakers. Without his shooting, the Lakers would have lost Game 3 against the Celtics (even though we lost the series). What I’m trying to say is to try not to hate on the guy so much; he has a work ethic that Kobe admires, and even though he had an off year, I believe he has the skills necessary to be a great shooter in the NBA for years to come.

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