Archives For September 2009

An Ode To Chick

Kurt —  September 21, 2009

Nate Jones just penned a tribute to the late, great Chick Hearn over at FanHouse that is a must read for Lakers fans because it brings back some great memories.

For a time my family didn’t have cable television, so I had to listen to the radio to catch Lakers home games. Trust me when I say there wasn’t much of a difference between watching the games on television with Chick Hearn calling them and hearing Chick call the game on Lakers radio. He was that good. In fact, Chick was such a prolific announcer that when the Lakers played national television games, I would mute the television and turn on the radio to hear Chick call the game. I know this was a common thing for most fans to do in Los Angeles.

I’d love to hear your Chick Hearn memories as well.

Pau Dominates With Spain, Too

Kurt —  September 20, 2009

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
If after its first game of Eurobasket you had said Spain was going to walk away handily with the title, most people would have said “that Spain, the one just crushed by Serbia? HA!” Nobody questioned Spain was the most talented team, but they didn’t play like it. But by the end, Pau Gasol was tournament MVP and he had another major title (and Spain got revenge on Serbia beating them by 22).

Here are some comments from Xavier, our friendly basketball coach from Spain.

(Spain) reminded me a lot the 2008 Boston Celtics. They started real slow, playing awfully and almost being sent home too early. Serbia killed them by 20+. They started clicking after the last second loss against Turkey. Lithuania (+14), Poland (+22), France (+20), Greece (+18) and Serbia (+22) where their victims. Everything that happened before was just the ugliest basketball they’ve played in six years.

As a Laker fan, I hope Pau doesn’t feel too tired next season because this one have been veeery long, NBA champions, Euro champion, and almost no summer to rest, next week will be flying to LA to start preseason. About his finger injury, nothing to worry about, he’s been incredible.

All of this sets up a potentially very interest ring World Championships next year in Turkey.

Name me a basketball fan that didn’t enjoy the Olympics final. A single one. I want more of them, actually I’d wish every single team played at that level. I enjoyed Eurobasket final till half 3rd quarter, when it was all said and done. I want 4 quarters 40 minutes basketball games (48 minutes NBA wise). I want to cheer every play ’cause the opponent won’t give my team a second chance to shine. I want every competitor to give their best while playing against the best.

Lakers: 2009 NBA Champions

Kurt —  September 19, 2009

Really, I never get tired of saying that. Enjoy some playoff highlights from last year as we wait not so patiently for this year.

Henry Abbott Misses The Point

Kurt —  September 18, 2009

Game 5 - Magic vs. Lakers
Obviously, I am a fan of Henry Abbott and his blog TrueHoop, if not I would not be part of his network. He does good reporting, he is smart and considerate, he asks questions (like about William Wesley) that nobody else is asking.

But he also has blind spots. We all do. And it is hard to admit them at times. Henry is a Blazers fan and therefore understandably has Lakers issues. I can understand that. I let some things go because I have blind spots as well.

But, maybe because it’s the off-season, Henry looked at a recent compilation of Kobe Bryant dunks — put together by the NBA, not some Lakers fan — from over the course of his career and decided that was cause again to bring up the selfish card. He admits he is missing the point then goes ahead. Frankly, that is just Henry not able to help himself.

If you want, I could spend and 20 minutes on YouTube and compile a video of Michael Jordan dunking when he decided not to pass to an open teammate. With a little work I bet you could do the same thing with Steve Nash (well, not the dunking part but the taking shots when he had other guys open part). Frankly, no star player is who he is if he is not a little bit selfish.

What made those dunks worthy of being on a highlight reel is that they were over people. They were dramatic. Kobe has at time taken that liberty. But I think Gatinho said it best:

Truth be told, young Kobe had obvious moments where his will-to-win and his supreme confidence in his game led him to be what can be described only as selfish. But did it get in the way of him winning three rings? Was he “selfish” 2005-2007? Or was he just asking himself, “Who’s hotter right now, me or Chucky Atkins?”

Now bring in the fact that the dude’s team just won the championship and did it in a way that it isn’t normally accomplished. Almost all NBA champs have at least 2 sometimes 3 (Magic, Cap, Worthy) HOFers. Is Pau Gasol going into the HOF?

And then there’s this from Chris Ballard’s article from SI on the Finals.

“…The way [Bryant] dominated not only with baskets but also with passes—Bryant had nearly twice as many assists as any other player in the Finals.”

I just don’t see where (Abbott) brought anything new or insightful to that criticism.

Or this from Daniel:

The most hilarious part of that article:

“About a minute into the video, Bryant is approaching the hoop and Steve Nash runs over in an attempt to take the charge. Yes, Bryant can jump over a man that size. But Kwame Brown could not be more alone under the hoop. Rather than dishing, however, Bryant scales the little Canadian infomercial celebrity. ”

I take it that Henry never got a chance to watch one Laker game when Kwame was on the team if he thinks dishing off to “Stone hands” Brown under the bucket is a preferable decision to Kobe posterizing a 6’3″ point guard.

Henry may claim now that we are taking what he wanted to say out of context. I contend that he is taking Kobe’s dunks out of context. Would you like to see Lakers fans put together a highlight reel of Kobe passes? Not hard to do. What about defensive stops? Easy. The fact is, we like dunks — they are fun to watch and dramatic.

And to read too much into a highlight reel speaks more to the writer than the player. Sadly.

Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  September 16, 2009

NBA Playoffs Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets in Houston
A lot of things piled up in the inbox while the server migration has taken up my time. I want to apologize again for the inconvenience, site issues and the slow posting for a few days as this got done (just thought this time of year was the best time to do it).

In case you haven’t seen it, you can now become a fan of Forum Blue & Gold on Facebook. That way you can get updates from this site and those high school friends you don’t really care that much about at the same time.

On the court, there are a few things to talk about:

• Just a couple more weeks until training camp — which means a couple more weeks to replacement refs!

I don’t have a lot new to add here. The posturing over the potential lockout of referees makes for a few good jokes. And I’d be shocked if this does not carry over into the preseason because I think the theory David Stern wants to set a tone for the upcoming players negotiations makes sense (even if he is not wholly wrong on the issues). But pray to Zeus it does not spill over to the regular season. I got to see what would be some of the replacement refs at Summer League — refereeing games played without the talent and intensity of the NBA game — and there were at least a couple times every game where the calls had the entire press corps shaking their head. If you remember 1995, you’ll remember how bad that was and this would be as bad or worse.

Basically, the jokes are funny now. By Halloween, just scary.

• If you haven’t seen it (and I hadn’t until Brian from the LA Times Lakers blog pointed it out), the blog Both Teams Played Hard is doing a summer project looking at every logo in the NBA and when they got around to the Lakers it slayed me (I also apologize now for the language):

Then the Lakers moved to Los Angeles where their nickname made no sense. Some half-wit designed a logo with streaky lines and a swooping watery ‘R’ and then kicked back to wait for the Jazz to move to Utah so that people would forget how nonsensical the Laker name was by comparison. Objectively, this logo is lame. But the longer they use it, unchanged with only minor alterations, the more vastly superior it becomes.

When I look at the Lakers logo, it says: “This is our logo. We’re the Lakers. What’s that in our logo? It’s a basketball. Why? Because we’re the basketball team from Los Angeles. What’s our mascot? What do you mean? You think we’re concerned that our team name has no obvious personification, and we’re going to have some kind of Steeley McBeam debacle? Please. Our mascot is Kobe Bryant’s middle finger. What’s that? You’ve noticed that some idiot named Bob Short decided that one of our primary colors should be purple? You think that’s kind of gay? Let me refer you to our mascot. We’re the Lakers. Fuck you.”

• One of my proudest moments ever running with this blog: Getting a twitter shoutout from the Kogi BBQ truck twitter account. The gourmet/fusion food truck thing is becoming so big in LA as to soon become a cliché, but Kogi is the reason that everybody wants to do this. The Korean short rib taco is simply one of my 10 favorite meals in the world. If you live in LA, you owe it to yourself to eat there at least once.

• For those that think Pau Gasol is taking a big risk playing in Eurobasket, Richard Jefferson dislocated his thumb yesterday at the Spurs practice facility. Injuries can happen anywhere.

• President Obama said his favorite hoops player now is Luol Deng. A guy with a lot of potential who has yet to live up to the hype. Seems about right.