Kobe and the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Together again.
Last week the Lakers started their annual East Coast trip amid trade rumors, hand wringing for the press and worries from their hard core fans.
This happens every year about this time because every year the Lakers have to leave their home at the Staples Center while Los Angeles gets geared up for the annual Grammy Awards.
And for some reason this is the trip when the team comes together, kicks butt and starts their official championship run.
It drives people crazy.
It drives the LA fans crazy because the team rarely plays well in the weeks leading up to this trip.
It drives commentators crazy because neither the Zen master Phil Jackson or the real MVP Kobe Bryant ever seemed to get all worked up about the losses to less than stellar teams like Sacramento at home.
And it totally drives the rest of the league crazy because deep down they know it's about the rings and the Lakers have more than anyone over the last ten years. In fact they have as many rings over the last 10 years as the rest of the league combined.
The Lakers have won five titles in the last 10 years and been to the finals a total of seven times.
This year will probably be more of the same.
The Lakers are 4-0 on their longest road trip of the season with all wins coming over teams with records over .500. They beat the Celtics to even the series for the year.
And if they beat Orlando tomorrow and I believe they will, they will be facing games against the sub-.500 Bobcats and Cavaliers for a chance to go home undefeated on this trip.
That's called championship basketball. It's what the Lakers do this time of year.
That's why they're the champs.