From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: A week ago, after an 82-74 preseason loss to the Jazz at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Kobe Bryant unburdened his knees, the right one still recovering from offseason surgery, of their standard postgame ice wrap and wandered to his locker and the assembled media. He was, as he almost always is, the last Laker in the room, thanks to a lengthy postgame regimen designed to keep his 32-year old body from reading its odometer. He had clanked 11 of 13 attempts, continuing a trend of awful shooting lines through the first six exhibitions. These are not things a five-time champion and two-time Finals MVP worries about.
From Jackie MacMullan, ESPNBoston: Paul Pierce was out to lunch at Johnny Rockets in his native Los Angeles this past summer when he noticed a young man come in, buy a burger, and do a double-take when he spotted the Celtics star. Instead of approaching Pierce, the teenager quickly dashed out of the restaurant. Pierce wasn’t sure why the kid was in such a hurry — until he returned about 10 minutes later. “He came back with the biggest Lakers flag I’ve ever seen,” Pierce said. “Asked me to sign it. I snatched that thing from him and threw it [across the room].”
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Magic Johnson: 13. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West: 14. Kobe Bryant: 15. Shortly after the newest championship banner is unveiled Tuesday night at Staples Center, Bryant will stretch out that knee, secure protection over that finger and say the little prayer he does when the spotlight goes off him just long enough to do so. He will begin his 15th NBA season, all with the Lakers. No one has been a Laker longer.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: The lights will go off. Another banner will be placed in Staples Center. And every member of the Lakers’ staff will receive their championship ring from last season’s successful playoff run. The rings will symbolize various championship totals among various Lakers. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson will have to figure out where to put his 11th ring, since all his 10 others fit two full hands of fingers. Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will complete one hand with their fifth ring. Lakers forwards Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, center Andrew Bynum and guards Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic still have enough room on one hand with their two rings. Ron Artest will temporarily see his before raffling it off to raise proceeds for mental health charities. And then there’s newcomers, such as Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who will stand as outsiders but no doubt view the ceremony as something they hope repeats next season.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: With Kobe Bryant continuing rehab on his surgically repaired right knee, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said he remains flexible on how much he’ll play him during the team’s season opener Tuesday against Houston. “We’ll see how it goes,” Jackson said Monday after practice at the team’s facility in El Segundo. “I just talked to him, and he said he’s comfortable playing over 30 minutes. We’ll see how it goes in the course of a game.” Bryant didn’t speak to reporters after Monday’s practice, but he described his knee as “good” after Sunday’s practice and replied “sure” with a hint of sarcasm when asked if he could play 40 minutes.
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: Before the Lakers take the STAPLES Center floor to open the 2010-11 regular season against Houston, the nine remaining players from last season’s championship-winning roster will line up one by one to receive their rings. Special to all, of course, even those exceptional two (Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher) who already have four rings apiece in their closets. But it’s the first ring for Ron Artest, a driving force throughout his first season as a Laker after coming over from Houston as a free agent in a virtual trade for Trevor Ariza. Artest chose to stay in the locker room on Ring Night 2009 while Bryant, Lamar Odom and others claimed their championship rings last October, trying to envision himself in that role in 2010. Funny how things work out.
From Matt Moore, CBS Sports: There’s a level of excellence demanded of this team, and it starts and stops with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. That mindset — the professional, hyper-achieving without sacrificing the mind concept — is what permeates. It makes the team disciplined and proficient, and it makes most of its players terrified of the day when they slip up in front of the bosses. You will not fail, because Bryant and Jackson will not allow you to fail. The Triangle really isn’t the right fit for most of this team. That’s not only pretty certain, it’s painfully obvious. Shannon Brown, when released from the shackles, looks like a dynamic, powerful, well-intentioned guard. Within its confines, he’s like an ADD kid trying to sit through The English Patient . Lamar Odom? Everything he does is largely outside of the triangular box, filling in the gaps and playing loose within the margins.
Voice on the Floor is an audio magazine, featuring two elements: in-depth interviews conducted primarily by Matt Moore and spoken-word essays, performed by both Rob Mahoney and the wonderfully talented people we’ve encountered in our time out here in the Wild, Wild West.
Today, they have an interview up with ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin. Make sure you check them out.