With basketball starting in less than two months and the major free agency scramble finished, it would seem that NBA news would take a back seat.
Thanks to the boys in purple and gold, that just won’t happen.
The Los Angeles Lakers were given the Showtime moniker in the days of Magic Johnson due to their flashy play, eye-popping performances, and head-scratching moves on the court.
In 2010, it’s all the same. Just off the court.
People celebrate in weird ways. Some people throw parties, others throw punches.
This news comes on the same day as Ron Artest’s police encounter while driving his Indy Car around downtown Los Angeles with expired tags. He wanted to stay off the 5-0’s radar, but this is clearly not the best way to do it.
If Danica Patrick wouldn’t do it, he shouldn’t either.
With those two Lakers blowing up the news, many writers have deemed Los Angeles’ favorite sons full of bad boys who don’t have the chemistry to three-peat.
They thought it was tough with Artest before, but now, they are just salivating to make predictions of demise.
Add that to Andrew Bynum’s arthroscopic surgery on his knee, no rest for Lamar Odom thanks to the FIBA World Championships, new Laker Derrick Caracter’s conditioning, and a log jam in the backcourt, and there appear to be some issues.
Those problems have caused the Lakers to lose the title of odds-on favorite to the revamped Miami Heat. Needless to say, Lakers’ fans are irate.
Fear not, City of Angels. Despite the apparent heap of complications, there’s one person the city should look to for solutions.
Well, maybe one snake. The Black Mamba.
Allen Iverson is The Answer, but Kobe Bryant is the entire answer key.
Let’s start with Barnes, the new storm in town.
Barnes will be dealing with these legal issues during the season, as well as a stern punishment from the league. He will have to learn how to put those to the side and focus on basketball.
Gee, who’s had to deal with that before?
Bryant’s 2003 escapade in Colorado may not be the same, but it taught him how to separate personal and professional problems. His experience can show Barnes how to keep the bad boy persona on the court.
He won’t take no for an answer. If Barnes won’t listen, the newest Laker won’t be an issue.
Why? Because he won’t see the court if Kobe doesn’t sign on.
Now to Artest.
His run-in with the fuzz has made his opponents say that once a troublemaker, always a troublemaker.
These are the kind of stories that make the news fun and interesting, gaining the interest of average people who want a villain.
Dig a little deeper, Mr. Yelnats, and find out what Artest has learned from Bryant already.
Mainstream news have overblown Artest’s encounter, but his other recent news is more important.
He and congresswoman Grace Napolitano began a campaign to fight mental health issues and he’s selling his championship ring to put psychologists and therapists into schools.
Sounds like such a bad boy.
However, this is clearly a page from Kobe’s playbook. When Bryant was a social pariah, he immediately went out to restore his image.
He became an ambassador for children around the world and raised money for education and health programs.
Artest clearly loves playing with Bryant. Now, he loves living like him.
The other issues have simple solutions, thanks to KB24.
Bynum’s surgery recovery?
Work on his game in the preseason, but never play tentative. Bryant had knee surgery in 2006, and came out to the tune of 31.6 points per game.
How? He played with no worries or regrets.
Odom’s year straight of basketball? Odom has paced himself with the National team, something he will desperately thank himself for during the 2011 playoffs. He’s learned a new style of basketball overseas to improve his game.
Kobe did the exact same thing in 2008. And he had one of his best overall statistical years.
Caracter’s weight issue?
True, Kobe’s never been overweight.
But if any one will push a rookie to try and make an impact with the team, it’s Bryant. He worked his butt off in 1996, and will expect the same from the UTEP alum.
A guard logjam?
The easiest of all the issues. Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, and Sasha Vujacic all know that the person who plays best with Bryant will get the minutes.
Ergo, get the mice and feed the snake.
So, for all the people who think the Lakers have changed for the worse, think again. In sports, the best teams have a leader who everyone follows, and Los Angeles has Kobe Bryant.
He’s seen so much in his 14 years in the NBA, and knows how to handle all the issues the Lakers have. His teammates know he’s a leader on the court, but his off-the-court knowledge may be even more valuable for the Lakers’ success in 2010.
But for now, let’s hold back on taunting the Mamba by saying his team is in a kerfuffle.
His bite is much louder than his bark.