Archives For June 2010

A history of celebrations…

1972: I don’t yell much, and I’m not much of a drinker,” West said. “Really, I can’t figure out much that I’ll be able to do except maybe smile a lot.” When they did win, the Lakers were subdued. They drank their victory champagne out of wine glasses, while West smiled as predicted and delivered what were in effect a couple of toasts.

How things have evolved…

1980: Magic was too young for champagne… Trophy presentation 3:30

1982: Trophy presentation 3:40.

1985: “LA’s the Place!”

“Ain’t nothing but a party, y’all.”

1987: “I’m guaranteeing everyone here. Next year were going to win it again.”


Complete with footage from their visit with then president Reagan.

1988: “With 20 seconds to go, we were celebrating like we were champs. I said, ‘Hey don’t celebrate.’ I’m always scared. I’m scared until the final buzzer goes off.” -Magic

Kareem stuffs his towel in Riley’s mouth after Brent Musburger tempts Riley to guarantee another title. 7:50


2000:
“We gonna get another one next year. Caaaan yoooooou dig it?”

2001: a hint of things to come…

2002: “It takes Two”

2009: 1-2-3 Ring!

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.

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there – especially mine. I know for many fans, their love of the Lakers is something that has been passed down from father to son (or daughter) and with the Lakers now celebrating another championship these are special times. And I know on Father’s Day, a lot of dads love to sit around and watch TV and relax on a day that’s all theirs. So, in between gearing up for the final round of the US Open or watching some Wold Cup action enjoy some of the best Lakers videos from the last few days.

First up, we’ve got the appearance of Kobe, Fish, Ron, DJ, Josh, Shannon, and Sasha on Jimmy Kimmel. Great stuff from the guys in these clips.

 

Next up, the video that will live in infamy, Ron Artest’s post game press conference. This is some of the best 10 minutes of TV I’ve ever watched. He’s just so damned happy. And hilarious.

Finally, the mini-movie from game 7. NBA.com did a great job putting these game summaries together and, considering the result of this one, I have to say that this one is the best.

Game 7 was an historic defensive war that will be remembered for generations to come not for a single defining play, but instead for its series of grueling mini-battles that made a monumental difference in deciding the outcome of the game. While devoid of an “MJ over Russell” type of moment, it was still very much ripe with drama and in a lot of cases, from unlikely sources. With two days gone by since the confetti-filled celebration at STAPLES, let’s take a look back at seven pivotal moments that helped lead the Lakers to their sixteenth NBA championship.

7:40, 2nd quarter: With the Lakers falling behind early and Kobe admittedly feeling the effects of a season of injuries, the forum blue and gold desperately needed someone to step up. Enter: Ron Artest. Kobe’s legs literally gave up on him during this play, forcing him into a difficult attempt that narrowly beat the shot clock buzzer, before missing badly. Luckily, Artest came to the rescue with a put-back that reclaimed the lead for the Lakers. Ron’s offensive board was one of a dominating 23 for the Lake Show on the night, compared to only eight for the Celtics.

1:22, 2nd quarter: The Lakers were desperate for a spark heading into halftime after Boston stymied their early second quarter momentum. Once again, it was Artest who literally and figuratively stepped up to the Celtics, refusing to back down after becoming entangled with Paul Pierce underneath the basket. The C’s came out with their fists up in Game 7 and though it isn’t something that will show up on the stat sheet, I think the team really needed someone to shake things up – a role Ron was practically born into.

3:48, 3rd quarter: Down by nine points with under four minutes to go in the third quarter, the Lakers were quickly arriving at fight or flight time. Lamar Odom, who had a timely seven points to go along with seven boards on the night, barreled down, channeled his inner Magic and sailed past Kevin Garnett for an easy layup that began the Lakers’ epic charge in the game’s final 15 minutes.

6:14, 4th quarter: Did anyone really think a Game 7 would go by without Derek Fisher putting his stamp on it? Fish did just that, nailing one of his signature rainbows from beyond the arc to tie the game at 64 nearing the halfway point of the fourth, immediately resulting in a timeout for Boston. While most people will probably remember Derek’s spellbinding fourth quarter performance in Game 3 of this series, his second of only two treys in Game 7 was every bit as meaningful.

5:22, 4th quarter: After finally getting over the proverbial hump to take a two point lead, Kobe took advantage of an isolation against Ray Allen, connecting on a jumper that pushed the lead to four. Bryant’s basket wasn’t anything special in and of itself, but who didn’t breathe a collective sigh of relief when that shot went down? Even in one of the worst shooting performances of his career, #24 still found a way to contribute down the stretch and his Game 7 performance should be remembered for that, not his field goal percentage. On a side note, this play was also significant as it came immediately after another crucial wide open second half miss from Allen. If just two or three of his 11 misses in 14 attempts goes down, we might be talking about a whole other topic right now.

1:56, 4th quarter: “The Spaniard” was one of the first people Kobe credited during the MVP trophy presentation and rightfully so. Like Bryant, Gasol struggled from the field, shooting only 6-16, yet he racked up 18 rebounds and two blocked shots – the most important of which came in the final two minutes of the game. With the Lakers clinging to a precarious four point lead, Pau delivered an emphatic message to the Celtics, blocking Pierce’s layup attempt before sinking his own shot under the hoop to give the Lakers a six point lead that they never relinquished. The final six minutes of the game in general were a role reversal from the previous three and a half quarters as it was the L.A., not Boston, who consistently responded to the Celtics’ mini rallies.

1:31, 4th quarter: Give the Celtics credit; they refused to back down even when it looked like they were dead in the water during the game’s final minute. Point and case: L.A. takes what looks to be a semi-commanding six point lead at 76-70 and Rasheed Wallace nails a three to bring it back to a one possession game. Thankfully, Game MVP Artest’s perfect timing isn’t just reserved for his post-game comedy routines as he delivered a three-point dagger that sent STAPLES Center into pandemonium. I’m not sure I was breathing at all for the final six minutes of the game, but Ron Ron’s triple was probably the closest I came to exhaling for the next half an hour. It was an especially fitting, if not ironic climax in a season where most fans screamed in horror every time Artest shot the ball from the perimeter. On Thursday, they serenaded him with cheers of joy instead.

An honorable mention goes to Sasha Vujacic for hitting the two most clutch free throws of the game and his life. His two freebies in the final seconds of the game encapsulated 48 punishing minutes of basketball that didn’t need a game-winning shot to transform Game 7 into an instant classic. This latest clash with the Celtics was won through a series of smaller moments that added up to one giant Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208507 Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after they defeated the Boston Celtics 83-79 to win their 16th NBA Championship at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010.

With my 48th birthday rapidly approaching (June 29th for those of you who want to send presents), I wonder if I’m finally mellowing out with my advancing age. If I had to witness the way the Boston Celtics hammered the Los Angeles Lakers back when I actually had excess physical and mental energy to burn, they would have named one of those killer hurricanes after me. I would have tore up the same volume of s–t I ripped up back in ‘84.

That was the beginning of an e-mail my father sent me the morning after Game 6 of the 2008 Finals or the morning after the worst sports moment of my lifetime. Growing up, I did as my father did, and one of the main things that define him and have defined me is a hatred for various sports teams. The Dodgers. The Broncos. The Celtics. Sports hate is one of those things that becomes a part of your life and helps you understand simple differences – like the difference between good and evil. As my father would tell it, the Celtics were the evil of all evils.

My father is a history buff, U.S. history, world history, presidential history and of course, sports history. I grew up being taught about the nuances of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry, which I guess, was his own special way of raising me right. I grew up loathing the Celtics to the point that I refuse to wear green. I wasn’t even born yet and I’m still mad that the Lakers couldn’t get things done in 1984. I was six months old and still thing that the Lakers taking home the title was one of the greatest moments of my lifetime – but in my basketball watching lifetime the Lakers had only played the Celtics in the Finals once prior to this series, and that was in 2008. You see, some of the Lakers fans who are of older generations didn’t dislike this Celtic’s team as much as they hated those teams in the ‘80s. They wanted the Lakers to win, but it wasn’t as crushing as that loss in ’84 which generated this kind of anger (from the same e-mail as above):

When I saw Cedric Maxwell flashing the choke sign at the Lakers’ bench, I wanted to jump through my 21-inch TV screen and plunge his Cornbread ass to blood-stained crumbs. There were also visions of ML Carr talking smack and prancing along the sideline, even though the contributions of locker-room attendants and ball boys exceeded whatever that towel-waving punks limited talent could muster.

Then there was Danny Ainge, whose face would wince at the sound of every single whistle, and who made you want to deliver a set of rapid-fire b—h slaps across his rosy checks each time you saw his beady eyes squint. Let’s not also forget the times Kevin McHale flung his boney and pasty elbows at everyone dressed in forum blue and gold and got away with it. The only Celtics I truly respected were Larry Bird and Dennis Johnson, and both of them continued to make plays that broke the Lakers’ back as well as my heart.

For those of my generation and younger, the ’08 loss was devastating. I HATE these Celtics. From Paul Pierce all the way down to Sheldon Williams. They’re uppity, bullies, condescending and obnoxious. I mean, Kendrick Perkins doesn’t even smile and has never heard a whistle he doesn’t agree with. Paul Pierce rattles off blasphemous statement after blasphemous statement. Ray Allen’s grin when he has things going makes me want to punch through walls. I really don’t understand how anyone outside of Boston can love that team. I respect everything that they’ve done, they’re a fantastic basketball team and have had an amazing three-year run, but I can’t stand them. That loss in 2008 burned me for two whole years. After that win over Orlando, I was mildly satisfied, but it just wasn’t the Celtics. I wanted what my father had – an amazing basketball team with a world championship taken out of the hands of the Celtics. In Game 7, the Lakers gave me just that.

I just wanted to say that I couldn’t be happier about this Lakers team writing another positive chapter in this Lakers/Celtics rivalry for my generation. We don’t know when these two teams are going to square off in the Finals again, and another loss to the Celtics would have been a crushing blow to my summer. No basketball is already hard enough – no basketball with a Celtics championship looming over my head would have ruined me. It’s been a fantastic season with Kobe doing historic things early, Pau Gasol continuing to build his Lakers résumé, Derek Fisher hitting more huge shots and Andrew Bynum continuing his growth as a basketball player. I really can’t wait for next season. I’m hoping for more hilarious Ron Artest interviews, more big games, another long playoff run – and hopefully – another Lakers title.