From Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don’t Lie: Doc Rivers’ great contribution to the American sporting lexicon, before introducing most of us to the glory of Ubuntu, was his “deodorant” quote. Something that went along the lines of, “winning is a great deodorant, because it covers up all the stink.” Or something possibly close to that, because all my internet searches led me to this quote: “Winning is like deodorant – it comes up and a lot of things don’t stink.” And I guess that works. Or not, as it appears Rivers is a little off these days. Because in Phil Jackson’s case, with the people that pay Phil Jackson the sort of money he needs to buy enough deodorant to sweat through a hundred games a year? Winning appears to be the great, “that pompous jerk, I can do this without him!”
From Trey Kerby, Ball Don’t Lie: We all remember Kobe Bryant’s 6-24 shooting performance in Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals. It was not a very good shooting performance, obviously, as he did not make very many shots but continued to take shots. Basically, it was the very definition of a bad shooting performance, and I heard that Kobe Bryant’s face will be added next to that phrase in a completely nonexistent dictionary of basketball terms.
From Gil Merikin, Silver Screen and Roll: Much ado has been made by a significant subsection of irate Celtics fans about the foul discrepancy in the 2010 Finals versus the Lakers, a number that may astonish at first glance: 174-156 personal fouls, a difference of 18 fouls called in the Lakers favor. News flash: if you foul a lot, you will get called a for a lot of fouls. This unfortunate consequence has nothing to do with conspiring officials or David Stern machinations.
From Roland Lazenby, Laker Noise: If Jerry Buss really wants Phil Jackson back to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, now would be the time for the team owner to speak up. Don’t hold your breath. Although Buss could have lauded Jackson any time over the past two years as the Lakers won back-to-back NBA titles, the owner’s silence on the matter has been deafening. I’ve been pointing this out for months, by the way. And Mark Heisler of the L.A. Times, who just this week has offered a ringing endorsement of Byron Scott as a Jackson replacement, has repeatedly taken me to task for it.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Yesterday, I took a look at the potential — and realistic — free agent options at the guard spots for the Lakers this offseason. Part II tackles the forwards and centers on the market. The list of bigs is shorter. The taller the player, the more money he generally stands to make. And the Lakers don’t have much to toss around. Still, with D.J. Mbenga and Josh Powell unlikely to return, Andrew Bynum’s medical history and Derrick Caracter hardly a lock to make the team (much less a dent), a new reserve big is probably a must. Mitch Kupchak also noted the uncertain status of Luke Walton’s back, meaning more than Devin Ebanks may be needed at the wing next season.
From Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times: While their coach debates whether to return or retire, the Lakers press onward. They have no choice. The NBA calendar calls for the free-agency period to begin Wednesday at 9:01 p.m. The Lakers might not only lose Phil Jackson and assistant coach Brian Shaw, who is edging closer to becoming Cleveland’s head coach, but they also have six free agents on their roster, almost half their team.
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Visiting his native Democratic Republic of Congo, Lakers center D.J. Mbenga sported his 2010 championship ring for all the citizens to see. Even if played a marginal role in securing the Lakers’ second consecutive title, Mbenga’s ring symbolized hope for a country ravaged by poverty, violence and corruption. “All we have are sports,” Mbenga said. “That’s why all these kids listen to you easily. But they won’t listen to politicians. They don’t trust the political people.”
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson contended during his exit interview that he was leaning toward retirement because of health concerns. He reiterated that sentiment over the weekend in Montana at the Western Governors’ Assn. annual meeting, pointing to George Karl’s situation in which throat cancer prompted the Denver coach to miss the last part of the 2009-10 season as a reason why he wouldn’t come back another year unless he knows he can last an entire season. Jackson also brought up the grind of the NBA season and how it becomes increasingly difficult each year to go through it.
From Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times: We’ve had champion athletes thank their mothers, their fathers, their teammates, their deities. They’ve thanked their coaches, their team owners, their children, their wives. After the Lakers won their second consecutive championship recently, Ron Artest thanked his shrink. Welcome to Los Angeles, Mr. Artest. At last, you are one of us.
From Ramona Shelbourne, ESPN Los Angeles: By now Phil Jackson is home by his lake, thinking and feeling with his head, heart and guts. There is never going to be an easy way for him to leave his life’s work, to look back on his time the NBA fondly but not longingly. For those who play and coach this game at its highest level, as Jackson has in his Hall of Fame career, it is an addiction that gets into the blood stream with an uncompromising virulence.