Frank Vogel Says Lakers 'Have a Ph.D in Handling Adversity' from 2019-20 Season

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 28, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, right, talks with forward Anthony Davis (3) during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Friday that his team has a "Ph.D in handling adversity," per team reporter Mike Trudell.

The Lakers reportedly had a "mentally light" day of practice prior to Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

The organization dealt with tragedy when franchise legend Kobe Bryant and his second-eldest daughter, Gianna, were two of nine people killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.  

L.A. postponed a game against the Los Angeles Clippers and held a tribute at a Jan. 31 home game against the Blazers. The organization held a Celebration of Life memorial Feb. 24 at Staples Center.

In mid-March, COVID-19 shut down the NBA for four-and-a-half months. Two unnamed Laker players tested positive for the virus, but both were asymptomatic and eventually recovered.

The Lakers and many other NBA players have taken active roles in protests against systemic racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis in May by then-officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

On Sunday, officer Rusten Sheskey shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in the back seven times in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when Blake leaned into his car, which had his children inside. The Lakers and the rest of the 13 teams still in the playoffs paused the postseason for three days in protest.

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They are set to resume Saturday after the NBA and the NBPA agreed to terms on additional social-justice commitments.  

L.A. leads the series 3-1.