Ten "Reasons" Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers Will Miss Jordan Farmar
By all accounts, the Los Angeles Lakers had one of the most successful summers of any NBA franchise.
Even with a payroll well beyond the league's luxury tax threshold, Lakers owner Jerry Buss gave general manager Mitch Kupchak his blessing to go out and add pieces to a team coming off back-to-back NBA championships and gunning for a three-peat.
Kupchak returned from free agency with a brand-new bench for his Lakers, which now includes the likes of Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff, and Matt Barnes.
Add Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown to the mix, and Los Angeles' second unit goes from being the biggest weakness of last year's squad to yet another strength on what should be another title-contender.
Lost in the fray, however, is who isn't on the team anymore. The absence of such roster-fillers as Josh Powell, DJ Mbenga, and Adam Morrison won't necessarily register on the radars of most fans.
But there's one name that Laker fans are sure to mourn the loss of more than any.
After four illustrious years playing for his hometown team, Farmar did not receive a qualifying offer from the Lakers at the start of the summer, thereby making him an unrestricted free agent and allowing him to seek out more playing time and a role in an offense that suits his talents better.
Following a long and strenuous courtship process that left Farmar Nation teeming with anticipation and anxiety, the Taft High legend decided to take his talents to the Meadowlands.
That's right, the NBA's third-best Jewish player (behind Amar'e Stoudemire and Omri Casspi) signed a three-year, $12 million deal to do what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, David Lee, and Carlos Boozer (among others) were all too cowardly to even consider.
Lead the New Jersey Nets back to NBA relevance.
And while Laker fans will certainly miss Jordan and wish him well in his future with the Nets, they may come to envy him once he takes the reins in Jersey and...
Wait, All-Star Devin Harris is the starting point guard for the Nets?
Ah, well. Whatever Farmar's role may be, let's have a look at what the Lakers will be missing and what fans in the Meadowlands will be basking in for years to come.
Coming out of UCLA after just two seasons in Westwood, coaching legend John Wooden, a fervent opponent of dunking and showboating, certainly didn't care much for Jordan Farmar's aerial antics.
On the other hand, Laker Nation, long accustomed to and admiring of the "Showtime" mentality, took quite well to Farmar's acrobatics and high-rise jams.
And while his ups may have been a surprise to those who subscribe to stereotypes about his size and the complexion of his skin, there still stands one big, awkwardly-shaped reason why fans and pundits should never have doubted Farmar's ability to rock the rim.
Without his wildly-blooming "Jewfro", Jordan's pugnacious pinnae jut out and grant him the extra lift to posterize those who dare stand in his way.
He, like Dumbo, gives new meaning to the term "wingspan."
And, as validation of his 42-inch vertical leap, the former Bruin deserves a pilot's license.
His Ability to Absorb Criticism
While Jordan's ears have been a gift to his game, they've not come without their own drawbacks.
Few players, or people for that matter, have endured so much criticism and hate for their cartilaginous extremities.
Case in point: In Game Three of the Lakers' playoff series against the Houston Rockets, one particularly loud and obnoxious Texan shouted out the following inquiry, which penetrated ABC's microphones.
"Hey Jordan, can you fly with those ears?"
Being the impeccably classy individual that he is, Farmar declined to respond to the hater's taunts directly.
Instead, he let his game do the talking (see the previous slide).
Such incidents, and the responses to them, indicate just how strong Farmar's character really is. Of course, that's not to say that he never endured ridicule for his auricles before reaching the NBA.
Chances are, this Toreador toughed his way through years of name-calling as a kid before he ever set foot on the Staples Center court.
And, chances are, he'll have to put up with many more years of such heckling as long as he's in the league.
For now, Lakers fans stand with Jordan and encourage him to keep fightin' the good fight.
His Dance Moves
Even with the burden of criticism always hounding him, Jordan has managed to maintain a positive attitude, which he has no shame in publicizing on and off the court.
Or anywhere in between, for that matter.
While typically serious and business-like, Farmar knows full-well when to cut loose and let it all hang out.
Something he'll probably be doing more often in New Jersey, now that the team he plays for won't be winning any games.
Whenever Jordan has feet and a few spare moments, he's always liable to bust out some of his patented dance moves, chief among them the Toreador Twist and the San Fernando Shimmy.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov better watch out, 'cause he's got a bona fide dancin' machine on his payroll now.
Expect to see plenty of Farmar shmoozing and gettin' buck-wild with Snookie, J-Woww and friends on the Jersey Shore for years to come.
His Multi-Sport Talent
Of course, Farmar's feet are good for more than just gettin' down.
While Jordan's speed and agility translate well to the basketball court, he could have just as easily made a career for himself on the pitch.
The clip above is proof enough. Just look at that foot-eye coordination!
Think Farmar's long-range stroke is good? One can only imagine how frequently he'd be able to nail shots on goal from 30 or 40 feet out.
He certainly would've looked good in a Galaxy Herbalife jersey alongside Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle.
Now that he's in the Tri-State Area, the New York Red Bulls certainly wouldn't mind bringing Farmar in to play alongside Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.
As has been well-documented, Jordan already has his own set of wings.
Just as Farmar can straddle the boundaries of sport, so too can he bring warring nations and conflicting peoples together.
Or do a small part, at the very least.
Whether he's the Bo Jackson of international diplomacy or the Jimmy Carter of the hardcourt is up to the individual.
What can't be denied is his ability to build bridges between enemies, Israelis and Palestinians included.
Any chance he can mend relations between the Nets and the Knicks after their free-agency fricasee?
Or, for that matter, between New Yorkers and their Jersey Shore counterparts?
Only time will tell.
Of course, such feats of greatness as those that Farmar has achieved in his short career, on the court or in the Middle East, require a great deal of physical and mental preparation.
And, like any hip Angeleno would, Jordan took up yoga as a means to inner peace and outer domination.
That's not to say Jordan isn't 100-percent focused on becoming the best basketball player he can be.
Check out his yoga mat. Looks like Farmar's got basketball on his mind, even in a yoga studio in Tahiti.
Nets fans can only hope Jordan's yogic regimen will keep him on the floor and out of the trainer's room, where he spent a good part of the 2008-2009 season with a knee injury.
And mentally, Farmar will need plenty of stretching and meditation to keep the frustration of losing 50 to 60 games each year from getting to his head.
Thus, he's more than adequately equipped for the challenges that lie ahead on the East Coast.
His Sense Of Style
As is the case with so many hip, young athletes, Jordan's cool head comes with an even cooler demeanor.
Few would ever doubt Farmar's impeccable taste in fashion, from the red carpet to the hardwood.
Least among his doubters are his teammates, who can attest to just how much Farmar cares not only about how he looks, but also how everyone around him looks.
Farmar knows well that success is as much an achievement as it is a projection of the self, especially if that projection is a stylish one.
From Lamar Odom to Andrew Bynum (as seen above), Farmar has no qualms about keeping his cohorts looking classy.
Something that will undoubtedly benefit the Nets as they move forward into championship contention and beyond.
Jordan's personal style, and that which he imparts on others, is almost as solid and well composed as his overall demeanor. The guy is tough to read, and an even tougher nut to crack.
How is that, you ask?
He's got an incredible poker face, which, by extension, means he's got a stone-cold game face, too.
NBA superstars don't just jump into the World Series of Poker for the heck of it. They're in it to win it.
About no one is this more true than Farmar. Why else would he be out on the Las Vegas Strip until five in the morning?
Poker pros like Farmar need to hone their "looks" on random people, preferably scantily-clad women in crowded nightclubs with expensive bottle service.
Derek Zoolander, take notes.
His Love of The Lakers And His Desire To Win
As reserved as Jordan Farmar may be, one thing he's never been shy about is his admiration for the Los Angeles Lakers and his desire to be a career-long winner.
Why else would he move 3,000 miles from his home to play for a team that won 12 games last year?
Farmar practically bleeds Purple and Gold, which, if one mixed them together, is approximately the color of the Hudson River these days.
Such bodes well for the Lakers, who will need all the help they can get when they match up against New Jersey this season.
Perhaps Jordan can send over Avery Johnson's playbook, or sabotage a play or two.
Is a favor here or there too much to ask?
Not if you're Jordan Farmar, a Laker for life...
But what will the Lakers miss most about Jordan Farmar?
As much as everyone in Los Angeles loved his spectacular throw-downs, his thick skin, and his dedication to winning, all of that pales in comparison to one simple, endearing fact.
He's a Jew!
And while the Tribe may be rather small on a worldwide scale, they barely constitute a crowd in the NBA, and the Lakers were always lucky to have someone on the inside.
Pico and Robertson was never so vibrant as when Farmar was blowing by defenders like a rabbi through the pork aisle.
It's not likely that Farmar and the Nets will bring the Larry O'Brien trophy to the Meadowlands anytime soon.
But even if Jordan never leads the New Jersey Nets to the NBA title, he'll at least know how to get his teammates to the Promised Land.
On a Birthright trip.