What a day in Los Angeles yesterday was. Most of the day's news was occupied by the Angels signing Albert Pujols. L.A. was hot. Most of L.A. and Orange County were raging with excitement. On my daily journey as a delivery driver, all I heard at every drop-off was, "have you heard about Pujols coming to the Angels?" The hysteria elicited rivaled that of when the Lakers beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals in June. And I was making deliveries in San Diego!
In the afternoon, as my day was coming to an end, and I was coming back to Los Angeles to our company's hub, the news shifted from excited to other-worldly. The Lakers were involved in a trade that would bring Chris Paul to L.A. and pair him with the future Hall of Famer and ultimate game finisher Kobe Bryant. Not only were the talk-radio stations exploding with the news, but I couldn't even turn to a music station and listen to one of those "traffic-jam-mixes".
With all the excitement, what was lost were the people who were being shipped out, Lamar Odom (along with Khloe Kardashian) and Pau Gasol. Behind Kobe Bryant, these were the two most important people on the team. They both absolutely loved being a Laker and living in Los Angeles. Lamar's new TV family is here for God's sakes! Pau was already known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve (or wrist band) seeming to sink in his on court productivity after a break up with his girlfriend (which is still unconfirmed, but it's L.A., nothing gets confirmed. Once it's tweeted, it's in existence).
Then, just as if I were back in my front yard as a kid and had just missed the ball in a game of Pickle and the ball traveled right through my mom's car window, the world stopped. The NBA (actually just David Stern, who thinks he is the NBA) vetoed the deal. Now I went from being tired of driving to looking out my rear view mirror in fear that a second coming of the Rodney King Riots were about to kick off.
What? Vetoed? Can they (I mean he) do that? Chris Paul was not coming to L.A., and worse, Pau Gasol was not going to Houston and may be on a ledge somewhere as Lamar Odom was unsuccessfully holding back tears while talking to Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio.
If it wasn't night time, a fly would've definitely flown in my mouth. Unlike the rest of the country's sports reporters and analysts who kept beating on the point of the NBA over stepping it's boundaries, I couldn't stop wondering about Odom and Gasol. How in the world can they come back to the Lakers after this? They tried to get rid of them. Most of us, after we remove ourselves from our selfish positions as fans, realize that this is ultimately a business and have to deal with who goes and comes.
But we are not players and don't have the connection they have. Imagine being hired at your favorite company, and you utterly love doing your job. If you were me, you'd be hired at Sony and play with video games (even though I know absolutely nothing about creating them). Now imagine that your company, Sony, with you on staff, had previously won the best video game company award two out of the last four years. You are as happy as can be.
Then suddenly, after a lockout (or strike for a company) had been completed and now you are getting set to test more games, you get a notice that Sony is shipping you to Atari to play with the Wii (Lord help me). I'd be shattered and want to quit testing altogether, initially. And just as I was getting ready to lift myself off the bed and make plans to go test with these characters that look like Weeble-Wobbles, I get another notice that Sony is forced to keep me. For sure, the first day I'd be back at work, tons of controllers and TV screens would mysteriously seem to break.
The fact is that the Lakers, Rockets and Hornets are not done trying to work out a deal that the NBA would approve. In the mean time, Odom and Gasol are expected to go and practice with the Lakers. Awkward? Actually, Webster's need to create a new word to correctly describe a feeling of awkward times 10. I'd hate to be the person getting screened by Lamar Odom. To everyone else, you'll be wearing a gold Laker practice jersey. But to Lamar, you might as well be wearing a shirt that said, "Lamar actually married Khloe to be close to Rob."