LOS ANGELES--As a glamorous parade crowded and journeyed through Figueroa Street, on an overcastted afternoon that suddenly brightened into sunny skies, the Lakers superstars rode down the street, waving and expressing their appreciation with thousands of Lakers faithful.
There were vibes wandering in the players, coaching staff, and rabid fans' minds that Team Hollywood can repeat.
There's a probable chance that the Lakers can return to prominence and win back-to-back-to-back trophies. Confetti would fall from the rafters at Staples Center, the team would loft a gleaming trophy and add a 17th banner inside the much-publicized scene in Los Angeles.
Wearing a stylish Black Mamba T-shirt, Kobe Bryant waved and gestured genially and lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy, delighted and impressed with the turnaround. He shared a memorable day and a piece of historic masterpieces with the gracious populace who jubilated in peace and unity.
It’s always a surreal dream to witness Bryant, whose hospitable smile warmed the emotions of lifelong Lakers fans who've never had the privilege of seeing the greatest player on earth in person.
For all the heart and talent they showed, the Lakers were discovered Monday afternoon touring the town in a well-deserving joyride, maneuvering in two flat-bed trucks that hijacked most of the streets in downtown to give way to the festivities.
In the wake of sustaining back-to-back triumphs after winning their 16th title in franchise history, pulling closer to their nemesis the Boston Celtics 17 championships, the most among any NBA franchise, the Lakers are focusing on repeating again.
Judging by the depth, size and talent, Team LA can remain famous in a town where celebrities are embraced and overexposed at times.
And of course, we want to disconnect from all the shame and heartless idiots who are spiritless in a community where dumbasses riot the town instead of celebrating with pride and dignity.
If the hardest thing in sports is to win three times in a row, then the Lakers are stuck with high expectations. They're already predicted as next year's team to beat.
It surely was an indicator last week, when Bryant had an abysmal shooting night, missing numerous jumpers in a particularly poor performance.
But with the contributions from his lofty supporting cast, the Lakers survived and outlived the reinforced Celtics with perseverance and stamina, strengthening all blemishes to erase frailty that almost devastated a promising season.
This could have been the season that the defending champions were dethroned for apathy and botches during an obscure playoff run.
Fact is, if the Lakers blueprint is to avoid another season of fiascoes and remain in the postseason picture without suffering the early ouster, the Buss family may want to persuade Phil Jackson to remain Lakers head coach and would be wise to retain the Zen Master.
As we know, he’s the most accomplished coach in sports history, owning 11 championship rings, more than any professional coach throughout history. In his exquisite career, he has been fortunate to mold and cultivate big-name superstars with incredible talent and unparalleled achievements, in the legendary Michael Jordan and now the intellectual Bryant.
The Lakers are assembling a dynasty during an era where stars are burgeoning as primer megastars and competition is steeper than ever. In reality, it’s common to believe that the Lakers are the favorites entering next season, and are bound to repeat glory as top contenders with Bryant looking for another ring.
If so, he’ll become the most decorated player in the NBA among a unique core that is recognized for the number of championships and superlative competitors who never back down without a hard-fought battle in the postseason.
For those adoring the Lakers, a franchise with mystique and fame because of its purity and astounding wins over the years, realistically tells us that they are contending at the highest level, starving and energized to add another prize to a beautiful collection of hardware.
It's true that Bryant and Pau Gasol are under contracts for a long time, and a flourishing supporting cast continues to develop and mellow, thriving as an invincible and uncontrollable core, finally releasing the softness and inactiveness conscience.
Yet there’s no other team in the league with a pair of skyscrapers in Gasol and Andrew Bynum, a seven-foot center who has been hindered a bit with injuries, but has come on strong for the Lakers in the postseason by establishing as a dominant post player in the middle.
He blocked shots, bullied opposing players and grabbed rebounds, making the contest easier for Gasol, who seemed more efficacious whenever Bynum had a stellar performance. The issue is whether Jackson will return next season or sign a deal elsewhere or even retire and call it a career after accomplishing more than the average coach.
Before he announces a return, he’ll take a couple of months to ponder his decision and monitor his health status. His natural motive would be to care for his health issues, which have battered him mentally and physically as his age and body language plays a role.
If he decides to retire, he’d depart on top, a rare scene transpiring in sports. Jackson is proving to be ailing and fatigued from an 82-game regular-season. But he’s accustomed to all the road travel and would strangely miss coaching or sharpening the minds of players with his psychological mind games.
By his presence, it motivates his players and helps controls Ron Artest, the weirdest and funniest man on the roster, leaving us with memories of his indelible press conference after clinching Game Seven of the NBA Finals.
More than any other Lakers’ megastar, he was excited to soak in his first championship and partake in a parade while flaunting his silliness during the celebration. This was arguably Jackson’s greatest season ever, one year folks will never forget, accomplishing the most accolades by grabbing 11 titles all-time.
You sense another celebration at the end of next season. But today alone, the Lakers shared the gratifying moment with well-behaved and delighted fans, witnessing the greatest player amid an exciting generation in Bryant, who wore his sunglasses with a knowledgeable persona.
“They’ve been fantastic,” Bryant said Monday following the parade. “I had a chance to relax and enjoy these old bones.”
He can recall hearing undying “Thank yous” for avenging the devastating 2008 Finals loss to their foes Boston. The screaming fans were filled with happiness and really touched Bryant.
“It was more emotion,” Bryant said.
One fan lofted a sign that read “This is Kobe’s Town!” “Back 2 Back Without Shaq!”
If the Lakers anticipate more emotion and unforgettable moments, then bringing back Jackson is in the cards.
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