You’ve been Punk’d by Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson. They are laughing at you. Not just you but the Media, too. That’s because everyone has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the storyline of the Lakers’ doom and gloom.
You know the media's portrayal that goes “The Lakers are done.” Or, “Kobe is back to his ball-hogging days.” How about, “Ron Artest is a loose cannon and can’t get along with Jackson”?
Yes, you’re being Punk’d. Those laughs are real. And, the joke is on you.
Because this is exactly what the Lakers want.
They finally get some attention. I mean, seriously, this is the first time in NBA history that a two-time champion has received such little press.
The Miami Heat have taken the bulk of the headlines. The rest have been dolled out to the surprising San Antonio Spurs or the once surging Dallas Mavericks (no longer true with the Caron Butler injury).
There’s been nothing left for the Lakers. And, with the way LA has been playing the past couple of weeks, they’ve done nothing on the court to remind you who they really are.
Yes, you’ve forgotten with whom you are dealing. The Media has been caught in a fog, not being able to see what really is in front of them.
Pay attention to the next few lines, as these are the important ones. If you skip them, the Punk’d continues.
Listen carefully. There is nothing wrong with the Lakers.
In fact, they are a far better team than last year. Their bench is deeper, Artest has another year to attempt (big guess here) to figure out and understand the triangle offense, and both Kobe and Andrew Bynum actually have the opportunity to play a part of this season healthy.
You couldn’t say that about them last year.
No, the Lakers so-called troubles, this doom and gloom that everyone in the media is pushing, like some crack dealer circling a high school, is pure fantasy. There is nothing wrong with LA.
Two factors have created the Lakers' current situation.
Factor One: Boredom
The Lakers are bored. You see it in their body language, and Kobe talks about it regarding their motivation. The Lakers act like they can flip a switch and beat any team. Well, they sometimes can. But when they play uninterested, especially on defense, they can get caught and recently have.
The other aspect of the boredom factor is that every team, in every city, in every arena, gets jacked up to play the Lakers. Their games are sellouts. And, they want to beat the champs at the Staples Center.
But, the champs don’t really care. Phil Jackson calls the NBA season a "marathon", and the Lakers play like they are running one. They pace themselves.
But their opponents, they want to take out the champs. And, you see, the Lakers are expected to match that energy, that intensity. As we see, that doesn’t happen every night in the NBA.
Factor Two: Injuries & Recovery
This one is actually more important: injuries are actually at the core of the up and down start to this season.
The Lakers played over 20 games to begin this year without Andrew Bynum in their lineup. And, everyone forgets Kobe Bryant started this season fresh from his own knee surgery and is playing his way back into form. He didn’t start the year at his normal high level.
But the Bynum factor is the biggest. The Lakers haven't had their full arsenal on the floor. And, this also compounded in that Pau Gasol logged massive minutes to start the season with Bynum’s absence. This wore the Spaniard down, and now it shows.
So, the Lakers are laughing at you. They’ve gotten the media right where they want them, again writing doom and gloom articles about how the Lakers are cooked. Stick a fork in them, they're done.
Don’t fall for it, please.
There is one benefit to all this for LA. This minor speed bump has at least peaked some of the Lakers’ interest, given some kind of shake to wake them up. But it may or may not last be enough to sustain their interest as the dog days of February approach.
Count on this: come the playoffs, the only thing stopping this team from a three-peat is a critical injury. Otherwise, this team will be wide awake in May and everyone, fans and the Media, will be wondering how it is that the Lakers got so good all of a sudden, how they finally gelled, when they hoist another trophy in June.
So, quit falling for the doom and gloom. Otherwise, you keep getting Punk’d.
Want to learn the details of Kobe Bryant’s legendary work ethic? Or why Kobe considers himself a “talented overachiever” or an “outcast” for much of his life? Check out the new book, The Kobe Code: Eight Principles For Success- An Insider's Look into Kobe Bryant's Warrior Life & the Code He Lives By, at www.PatMixon.com.