Los Angeles Lakers Cannot Get Rid of Phil Jackson Fast Enough as They Melt Down

JW NixSenior Writer IIMay 8, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 17:  Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the game with the New Orleans Hornets in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Hornets won 109-100.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

As the Kobe Bryant Era dwindled down, the Los Angeles Lakers showed their true colors after the Dallas Mavericks dominated them in a playoff sweep.

In the final game of the Lakers' 2011 season and Jackson's career, the Lakers decided to go out as chumps rather than champs in a series of moves that will only besmirch both Jackson's and Bryant's legacies.

Instead of being the respected Lakers, they are now the ridiculous Fakers.

The most bewildering part of the Lakers' actions is that their resident loose cannon, Ron Artest, was not involved in any of the despicable actions that took place.

As the Mavericks stomped the Lakers with good, clean basketball, the Lakers decided to try to end the careers of the Dallas players with disgusting cheap shots that should incur a suspension at the beginning of the next year.

That season is now up in the air because of the expected players' lockout in June, when their current contact with the NBA expires.

First, Lamar Odom appeared to try to blow out the knee of Dirk Nowitzki by making knee-to-knee contact on purpose, causing Nowitzki to buckle and almost completely crumple to the ground. Nowitzki smartly said nothing, deciding to walk off the malicious assault.

But the Lakers were not done, even though Odom was immediately ejected and sent back home to star in his reality television show with the biggest Kardashian sister.

A few minutes later, the six-foot, 175-pound J.J. Barea drove to the hoop, where the Lakers' Andrew Bynum, who has at least a foot of height and 110 pounds on Barea, waited in the weeds like a weasel stalking its pray.

Bynum lunged halfway across the paint to deliver a vicious elbow to Barea's ribs with enough force that Barea almost landed on his head. Barea could have been the next Maurice Stokes, ending up in a wheelchair, from this blow.

Fortunately, after laying motionless for several minutes, Barea got up and finished with a playoffs career-high of 22 points.

When the cameras panned to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, the disgust on his face was evident. Not only did Jackson seemingly allow his band of temperamental thugs on this night show what sore losers the team was, it disrespected the Buss family on national television.

The Lakers owner, Jerry Buss, who has long been considered one of the classiest men in the NBA, had to be both thoroughly embarrassed and disgusted by what Jackson evidently allowed.

The fact that Jackson apparently did not stop his team from further transgressions after the Odom debacle shows me what type of person Jackson really is. Especially when he is losing by 36 points in his final game.

The NBA commissioner must be proactive and ban Bynum from NBA play for a very long stretch of time. Not only did he almost cost Barea his career, his actions feasibly threatened Barea's life.

Odom needs a ban of a good length as well for trying to injure one of the top 100 players in NBA history out of sheer frustration.

Jackson, an overrated entity, handed young teams developed by other coaches while allowing Tex Winter and his triangle offense be the real coach of his championship teams, fittingly left the game the way only karma could dictate on the faux "Zen master."

It is a disgraceful time now for the NBA, a league whose popularity and cash flow has been dwindling steadily for years to the point many teams are acquiring bank loans they have gone years without paying back.

If Stern wants to save his league and the game of professional basketball, distancing his league from the thuggery of today is work that must be started immediately as the shadow of Phil Jackson dissipates into the vapors of the past.