The Kobe Bryant Guide to Being a Champion
It sounds ridiculous, but it's not a bad way to convince a guy like Howard to stay in Los Angeles.
Another big man has to take the Lakers into the future. Bryant knows that and the rest of the Lakers front office knows that.
Bryant's final years in the league are here, and he's got to pass his legacy down to somebody, so why not Howard?
Of course, that really got me thinking; what exactly is this mysterious guidebook that Kobe has access to that will teach Howard how to be a champion?
Obviously he learned a lot over his career, but where did it come from and how does it really make an impact on becoming a champion?
Some lessons had to come from Shaquille O'Neal, while others he had to pick up along the way, so let's look at where he needs to go.
Step One: Establish Your Worth
This one's pretty self-explanatory, and really shouldn't be that difficult; it's basically just playing basketball better than most other people on the planet.
Howard has shown once before that he knows how to dominate in the NBA. Or I suppose you can say he's got the body to dominate in the NBA.
The biggest problem now is that his back surgery is forcing people to doubt his ability. He's going to need to spend next season re-asserting his dominance.
Step Two: At the Very Least, Threaten to Leave
Shaq did it with the Orlando Magic, Kobe did it with the Lakers and Howard has done it with both teams.
Howard's already got a leg-up on the other two in that right.
Step two bleeds over into steps three and four, forcing the front office's hand...or else.
Step Three: Watch as a Head Coach Gets Fired in Favor of Phil Jackson
Del Harris was fired 12 games into the 1999 season, at which point Kurt Rambis took over for the remainder of the season before Phil Jackson came in for the first time with the Lakers.
Jackson retired from the Lakers gig for the first time after the 2004 season, at which point Rudy Tomjanovic took over for 43 games, followed by 39 games of Frank Hamblen until Jackson came back the following season.
Suddenly, following Jackson's second retirement from the Lakers job, Howard comes to town after a lockout-shortened season, and Mike Brown gets fired five games into the season.
Los Angeles came within an eyelash of landing Jackson for a third time, but Jim Buss killed that dream when he decided Mike D'Antoni was the man for the job.
Consider step three a work in progress.
Step Four: Plan on a Ridiculously Lucky Draft Pick
Before Shaq ever came to Los Angeles, the Lakers traded with the Charlotte Hornets for a young Kobe Bryant.
Following Jackson's return to Los Angeles, the Lakers picked up Andrew Bynum with the 10th-overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft.
Who would have thought that a big man who fell past Marvin Williams, Martell Webster, Channing Frye and Ike Diogu would end up being one of the best offensive centers in the league before injuries tore him apart, conveniently following his trade away from the franchise?
Which ridiculously lucky draft pick is on the horizon? Do the Lakers barely miss the playoffs this year only to win the lottery and land Andrew Wiggins?
Is something like that really going to be surprising 15 years from now after it's happened time and time again?
Step Six: Fall Backward into a Solid Team
After Shaq had established that he was one of the best players in the league and threatened the Magic with leaving, he suddenly wriggles his way onto the Lakers, who just won 53 games the previous season and traded for Kobe Bryant.
As far as Kobe is concerned, he demanded a trade following the playoffs in 2007, only to watch as the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol just nine months later.
At first I was assuming that the Lakers landing Steve Nash was the big move that would come in Howard's timeline, but that came before the Lakers traded for Howard.
Logic and the Lakers' history over the past 20 years tells us that not only are the Lakers going to luck into an amazing draft pick, but they're going to find a way to land a player like LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love sometime thereafter.
Either that or LeBron James will end up signing with them next season, as horrifying as it sounds.
Step Seven: Championship
That's all there is to it folks, a championship in seven easy steps.
Seriously though, if I were to decide between which franchise would end up winning a title over the course of the next decade, the correct pick is Los Angeles.
Regardless of how their team is currently comprised, however many injury issues they have, whatever coach is at the helm, things just seem to work out for them.
Let me be the first to congratulate the Lakers on the 2016 and 2017 NBA championships.
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