Around the World (Wide Web): Today, The Lakers Parade Down Figueroa

Phillip Barnett —  June 21, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant holds the NBA MVP trophy after defeating the Boston Celtics to win Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles, California, June 17, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

THE BLOGS

From Robert Baptista, Silver Screen and Roll: Ahhh.  Back to back.  It feels so good.  Especially since it was revenge on the Celtics.  I think I can speak for every Lakers fan in saying we’ve wanted our vengeance on them since 2008.   These Lakers have etched their names in history, and will enter next season as heavy favorites to do it again next year.  It’s good to a Lakers fan right now.  They tied up all loose ends and put a definitive stop to the question of whether they are really “tough enough,”  and Kobe has now put himself in a place no one should question.  Back to back titles, three straight Finals appearances, two Finals MVP’s, and possibly more.  All without Shaq.  You know, that 400 lb. weight that re-appeared with the Celtics’ return to the Finals.  Kobe is now bulletproof.  What more can anyone else say?

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: You know, I just wanted it so bad. I wanted it so, so bad … And the more I tried to push, the more it kept getting away from me. I really wish every Kobe Bryant press conference followed an NBA Championship.  Obviously, it would be awesome for that to be true, if for no other reason than it would mean he was winning them almost daily, but the main reason is because, only directly after winning an NBA Championship does Kobe Bryant truly open up and let everybody in.  The rest of the time, getting into Kobe Bryant’s true thoughts and feelings is impossible.  I’m not angry with him for putting up a facade.  He doesn’t want to be distracted.  His focus is undaunted.  All that said, it’s refreshing to hear him speak and know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he’s being completely straight with you.

From John Krolik, Pro Basketball Talk: After winning his 11th NBA championship on Thursday night, Lakers coach Phil Jackson sat down with ESPN’s Hannah Storm to discuss his future plans.  This was the final year of Jackson’s contract with the Lakers, which paid him approximately $12 million a season. (He reportedly also received a $2 million bonus for leading the Lakers to a second straight title.) It is widely believed that Lakers owner Jerry Buss would want Jackson to take a pay cut in order to return to Los Angeles.

From Sam Amick, NBA Fanhouse: There was a man redeemed screaming that he could no longer be questioned. And it wasn’t Kevin Garnett. It was his turn in 2008, when the Boston forward who had never won a title announced his championship arrival to the world on television with that very question after his Celtics downed the Lakers in the NBA Finals. It was Daniel Artest this time, the brother of the league’s former Public Enemy, Ron Artest, speaking for him over and over as he yelled that question to anyone who would listen on the Staples Center floor Thursday night.

From Terrance Moore, NBA Fanhouse: OK, so he isn’t Michael, and try as he might for the rest of his career, he’ll never be Magic, either. Still, Kobe being Kobe is great enough. Kobe Bryant is great, by the way, even though he spent most of Thursday night inside Staples Center operating as if he were dribbling with one hand on the ball and the other around his throat.

THE PAPERS

From Jeff Miller, Orange County Register: he journey was complete, all the effort, time and emotion invested netting a championship. But we aren’t talking about the Lakers. The comeback was complete, as well, the inspired rally from being down big with only everything there to be lost. No, again not the Lakers. We’re talking about just one Laker today, not the rest of them, because they’d all been here before.

From Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times: Everybody supposedly gets everything they deserve and so, at last, did Kobe Bryant. That’s for better and worse. His excesses and mistakes were pure Kobe, as was the disconnect with the media. Nevertheless, you’d have to be some hard case to miss the fact he’s one of the all-time greats, with a career arc and audacity that make him the high-wire act of all time — and was for years while being accused of tanking big games or pouting, as recently as the Oklahoma City series in April.

From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Lakers guard Derek Fisher appeared animated on the sideline. The team had spent much of the third quarter cutting a 13-point deficit down to four points, and there was no way the team could afford to allow Boston to widen the gap. No one questioned the Lakers’ effort, but with tightness and shooting continuing to be a struggle, Fisher wanted his teammates to somehow make it work. “He said, “Guys we’ve got 12 minutes, 12 minutes to dig down, get back into this game,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant recalled Fisher saying. “Everything that we’ve worked hard for, we’ve got 12 minutes to put it back together, and we followed suit.”

From Vincent Bonsingore, LA Daily News: Kobe Bryant sat in the interview room Thursday at Staples Center after the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, a huge smile across his face and his two impossibly cute daughters tucked under each arm. The weight of the world, the anxiety he felt over leading the Lakers to their second consecutive NBA title, the pressure he felt from an entire city that wanted and needed the Lakers to triumph over the hated Celtics was nowhere to be found.

From Kevin McNamara, The Providence Journal: During a quiet moment in the day between Games Six and Seven in Los Angeles this week, Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw talked about the quandary of transitioning from a winning, but older team to one with an eye on the future. Danny Ainge should listen. The last time the Boston Celtics were faced with such a transition, Shaw was in the middle of it. A first round draft pick of the Celtics in 1988, Shaw was a young guard trying to make his mark on a team dominated by an aging frontcourt of legends Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

THE MAJORS

Parade information from Lakers.com: The Los Angeles Lakers will host a celebratory parade for all local fans on Monday, June 21, starting at STAPLES Center and traveling south on Figueroa Street to Jefferson Boulevard, just north of the USC campus and Galen Center. By defeating the Boston Celtics for the 2010 NBA championship, the Lakers not only earned the franchise’s 16th league title but also repeated as champions for the third time in the past decade. The Lakers have won back-to-back titles a total of seven times in franchise history, tying the NBA mark previously held by the Celtics. Tonight’s victory marks only the fourth of the Lakers’ 16 NBA titles that went to a deciding seventh game, and the first time besting the Celtics in a seventh game.

From J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: It was the Lakers’ court but the Celtics’ terms, a game that was as artistic as a tic-tac-toe board. If the Lakers were to prevail in these 2010 NBA Finals and beat their age-old rival in a Game 7 for the first time, they would have to be resolute, determined, tough. That meant Pau Gasol had to get physical in the paint. It meant Kobe Bryant had to find a way when he couldn’t simply out-spectacular everyone else on the court. It meant Ron Artest had to make the Celtics pay when their defensive strategy openly dared him to beat them.

From Chris Brussard, ESPN.com: I grew up idolizing Magic Johnson. Before he even got to the league, he stole my heart from Dr. J with alley-oop passes to Greg Kelser and by foiling Larry Bird in the historic 1979 NCAA title game. He also put together the greatest single-game performance in NBA history. Not only did he stack up 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in Game 6 of the 1980 Finals to lead the Lakers to the championship over Philadelphia, but there’s so much else to consider: the stakes, his youth and inexperience, his switch from point guard to center, the quality and star power of the opponent (The Doctor), the quality and star power of his injured teammate (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). And he did it all as a 20-year-old rookie.

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los Angeles: Phil Jackson is chasing no one now. Red Auerbach and his nine NBA titles are two victory cigars in the past. John Wooden’s 10 NCAA titles are behind Jackson, too. Jackson stands alone, on his own pedestal in the annals of coaching after winning his 11th NBA title Thursday night at Staples Center. And yet, the chase continues. Not of history anymore, but of Jackson. Time and age forgive few men who’ve put their bodies through the strain of 31 NBA seasons (12 as a player, 19 as a coach).

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los Angeles: This was a moment Kobe Bryant was built to own, a stage he was born to command. His legacy, his long journey, all building to what should have been an easy bow on the night the Los Angeles Lakers clinched their 16th NBA title. Instead, it was a heave: every inch a grind, every step painful. Bryant usually rises in these moments, drawing from an unearthly well few others have access to. But he never found that place Thursday. He only found a way to win.

From Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com: One of them was on the stage at center court, the only Laker not wearing a championship T-shirt over his game uniform. As if the game wasn’t over. He was caught up in the moment, unconcerned that he appeared to be in a totally different zone than his teammates. He’d been that way up until this point. So why stop now? The other, after Game 7 had ended, stood outside the locker room where the game officials dressed. He, too, still wore his game uniform. Green sneaks on his feet, white towel around his neck, bag in hand, wearing sunglasses. He just stood there, staring at the door. And waited. And waited.

Phillip Barnett

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20 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Today, The Lakers Parade Down Figueroa

  1. Great respect for KOBE who played with so many injuries i cannot even list – and was quoted as saying that he needed to fix his index finger as he couldn’t even grip a basketball without the tape. Criticisms about FG%? that’s just silly considering what the man has done.

  2. Does anyone have a link to the parade? I’m at work, but would love to see it (I missed it last year too). There’s got to me a news network somewhere that streams it, right?

  3. If McGrady wants to come for the veterans’ minimum, I would possibly consider it. But the biggest holes on the team are depth at PG and PF/C, and he wouldn’t address either of those needs. And even if he was willing to come for the vets’ minimum, would he be willing to play only 10-15 minutes a night, while putting in the time to learn the triangle, at this stage of his career? I doubt it.

  4. McGrady is a nice thought, but I just don’t see much left in the tank for him. I would hate for us to look at him for anything, like Orlando did/does for Vince.

    Just have to move on to the next.

  5. McGrady broke down last season after a few games. No thanks. I like the idea of Iverson for the minimum.

    I’d use the full mid-level on either kyle lowry, jj redick, or josh childress.

    if none are available, split the mid-level between defensive specialists like wes matthews and tony allen.

    use the draft picks on bigs like jerome jordan and brian zoubek. if shannon leaves, use a pick on rautins or jerome randle.

  6. No one knows what McGrady’s ceiling would be at this point in his career. He did say that he would be happily willing to accept a lesser role to play alongside the best basketball player in the world (http://tinyurl.com/2f3she5).

    Phil loves big guards, T-Mac can bring the ball up and play a little point. My only concern is Tracy’s knees and if they can hold up to the rigors of an 82 game season along with the extended playoff schedule.

    We really need a little offensive firepower off the bench, especially since it is becoming apparent that Jordan Farmar would rather get paid than stick around and win rings.

    6’8″ swingmen with All-NBA resumes don’t usually sign for the mid-level exception at age 31. Mitch should jump on the opportunity to have such a significant, talented, motivated player willing to take a HUGE salary cut to don the Forum Blue and Gold.

  7. I don’t like the idea of Iverson at all. We need youth that will be around for at least 3 or 4 more years. We need energy that is willing to work hard and come off the bench, play at reduced minutes without looking to pad their own numbers, well aware that the only reason they get to be on the court at all is to give the starters and stars a chance to rest.

    That means Iverson is out, and so is T-Mac. The only reason it worked out with Ron Artest was because he was willing to change, to work hard, to do everything in his power to try to fit in, rather than doing what he’s always done through his career so far. He took a step back, and has several times said that he had to accept he’s only the 4th or 5th option on offense on this team. He gets to be the alpha dog on the defensive end instead, something he takes pride in, and that’s exactly what we needed from him. Ron was and still is a great fit for what our team needed after last season and once again, that why it worked out so well.

    Iverson and McGrady might be great, or at least they were at one point, but they are not a good fit for what we need right now, and I don’t want to see the Lakers waste time and money on them.

    I want to see the Lakers bring in a reliable perimeter shooter for the bench.

    EDIT:
    Thanks for the link, Dodol! It’s working great. :)

  8. Anyone know why I’ve been walking around with a stupid smile on my face for three days straight now?

    If T-mac wants to sign on as a role player at the vet minimum, I think it’s worth a look. But no way should any part of the MLE be used on him.

    I have faith that Mitch, Phil and Kobe would know how well T-mac would fit in with the team. If he’s brought on, then I believe in their judgment. If he’s not and its something besides financial reasons, then I trust them and won’t second guess their decision.

  9. I am a little bummed that they are not concluidng the parade in the Coliseum like last year. Still, I am looking forward to it–Artest in particular.

    According to what I have read, the Lakers will be looking at the names you’d expect:

    Steve Blake
    Luke Ridnour
    CJ Watson
    Earl Watson

    I have read that ownership may not approve using the MLE, however. Additionally, supposedly they want to use the veterans’ minimum to sign a backup 5 to replace Mbenga.

    The Kamenetzkys wrote that they will not be surprised if the long-rumored Bynum/Bosh S&T happens. I will be surprised if it occurs, given:

    1. The fact the Lakers won.
    2. Bosh’s other options.
    3. Bosh’s not being a true 5, although he is great player.
    4. The fact that Bosh would expect a 6-7 year deal.

  10. Trade speculation isn’t a big thing on this site, so I am not going to really go into all of the Tmac-Iverson-Bosh stuff. But I will say one thing.

    Despite Bynum’s injuries (which he has had a plenty), and he was traded for Bosh, we would have no true Bangers to play the 5 in the playoffs next year. Bosh is an amazing player, by Bynum is our defensive anchor with Gasol when he is in, and allows Gasol to take less of a beating from 5′s like Perkins – or even Stoudemire – because of his girth.

    Although, Bynum can’t seem to stay healthy. It is a big coin flip either way.

  11. Bosh also had stated explicity that “he wants to be the man” that they build the championship team around. How would his psyche deal with being the 3rd option on O (maybe 2nd), behind Kobe and Pau.

    Although I think he is crazy. History remembers you if you win, not if you flame out in the first round every year. But does he get that yet?

  12. Bosh ain’t coming here!

    We already have a slender PF who’s pretty good.

    I did read a convincing arguement that Bosh would line up great with J Noah and that young point they have in Chicago.

  13. New post up chronicling the history of Laker celebrations.

  14. In re to the Bynum – Bosh trade: ask yourself if the Lakers would have been better off this season with Bosh or with Bynum, considering Bynum’s availability both in the regular season and the playoffs. It is pretty clear that Bosh would have provided more. And based on Bynum’s history, you have to assume that that will be the norm. In addition, Bosh has a better outside game than Gasol, which will open things up inside for Gasol.

    I think this is a “no-brainer” from the perspective of the players involved; the real question will be the long-term financial implications.

  15. exhelodrvr,
    I guess I just don’t see your “no-brainer”. I agree we need more mid-range shooting, but we also really need beef in the middle. Like Ron Artest, this only becomes apparent when we face a few teams, but those are the teams we are likely to meet in the playoffs.

    If you were building for the regular season I would agree that Bosh would be a better fit than Bynum. However, this franchise plans for the playoffs – therefore, Andrew is a needed component (even with the risk of injury).

  16. I agree with Craig,

    look at the cavs they were so offensive minded and lost to the celtics, they did amazing in the regular season and lost in the playoffs. We need a big body not another amazing scoring option we have kobe and pau, and bynum isn’t a bad scoring option either

  17. I think everybody agrees on a healthy Bynum over Bosh. But what are the chances of a healthy Bynum. I mean Gasol/Bosh would probably be able to replicate what Gasol/Bynum have done sofar. And eventhough I’d rather stay with Bynum (as it has worked) I would bet Gasol/Bosh can really defend and would also work.

  18. Aside from the Bynum-Bosh argument…

    Reports have it that Tracy McGrady would like a two-year deal for some portion of the MLE.

    I can’t think of a better fit. McGrady is on his way out, and he knows it. He knows he can’t play more than 20 quality minutes. Teaming up with another star coming off the bench (Lamar Odom), T-Mac could FINALLY give the Lakers a consistent scoring option off the bench that they’ve so egregiously been lacking. Not to mention that T-Mac is a seasoned veteran who knows how to run an offense, which will be a welcome change over Farmar, Brown, and Odom never putting the ball in the post.

    So – assuming DFish resigns (at a much lower rate, something I think can be assured considering he’s the Player Association’s rep and wants to see the new CBA finalized before he retires), the 9 man rotation could be Fisher or Vujacic / McGrady / Artest / Odom / Bynum or Gasol.

    Suddenly I vision myself not screaming at the television quite so much.