Who Doesn't Want to Play for the Lakers?
Los Angeles is one of the greatest cities in the United States. Who doesn't love good weather and stars (people not the stuff you see in skies)? That is an unbeatable combination and the reason why LA is so overly populated. The traffic down there is crazy and I thought D.C. was bad.
LA loves there sport franchises and the Lakers are at the top of the list (sorry Dodger fans). Who doesn't want to play for the Lakers? Free Agents flock to LA and if the Lakers are calling, players are usually listening. Playing in Los Angeles helps your career on and off the court, where as small market teams can't give you both options.
If you're a great player, it won't really matter where you play but larger market teams like LA, help nevertheless. Star players would love to play in LA, and why not, but not everyone is a star player. Every role player would think long and hard about playing with the Lakers, even if the contract isn't to the individual's liking. We resigned Shannon Brown and acquired Steve Blake, even though both had larger contract proposals else where. The same with both Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes, two veterans who had larger offers elsewhere.
Here are reasons why LA is a prime destination for star and role players alike.
Stability in Front Office
There are many teams who have major question marks in regards to their front office. The Lakers aren't one of these teams. Mitch Kupchak has rebounded well from the Kobe fiasco a few years back. Kobe was demanding a trade and on top of that, criticized many of the Lakers top dogs (Jerry Buss and Mitch).
Mitch stuck with the plan, and pulled off one of the most lopsided trades ever. The Gasol trade changed the lakers misfortune and they became instant contenders with an ecstatic Kobe Bryant leading the way. In the last few years, the Lakers have made it to the finals 3 years in a row and brought home two straight championship trophies.
The front office continue to make moves to better the team no matter how fat Jerry Buss wallet gets. The organization has a great owner in Jerry Buss, who was just inducted in the hall fame, and a front office willing to do whatever it takes to win. Players look for that and LA is one of the few teams that have stability at the front office.
Note: In this picture slide, you can see Mitch and Jerry (General Manager and owner, respectively) behind Phil Jackson, watching over the Lakers practice (just in case you didn't know who they were).
Off the Court Career and Hollywood Stars
The Lakers have stars on the court and stars who cheer for the team off the court. Hollywood is where all the stars try to live peaceful lives and many of them love to attend Laker games, some more so than others.
With mainstays at Laker games that include; Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Andy Garcia, and Leonardo DiCaprio, the lakers will never be short of stars. The Laker players see these stars on the regular and that could be enticing for players who love the movie scene (who knows?).
Besides the stars, Los Angeles can provide players the opportunity to flourish off the court. This is the capital for entertainment and media, where players can make a name for themselves no matter their production on the court.
Ron Artest is a prime example. He had a great year in Houston (violent free except for the draws on the team bus incident). Artest could have received a little more money elsewhere but when LA came to calling, Ron-Ron immediatly became interested. Artest is in the music scene and many fans could truthfully say that they never knew he was involved in that industry before he played for the Lakers. Ron-Ron knew there were only a few cities could provide the opportunity for his music career to flourish.
Artest had a relative summer smash with his single "Champions." Playing for the Lakers helped but also promoting it every second during his finals interview (and thanking his psychiatrist), didn't hurt. The same situation happened with Lamar and his clothing company.
Kobe Bryant might surpass his airness but at least will go down only second to Michael Jordan. Kobe has been that good during his illustrious 14 year career, all with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe's resume speaks for it self. He's won 5 championships (one less than jordan), 1 regular season MVP, and 2 finals MVP. Kobe has also been a 2 time scoring champion, 12 time NBA All-Star (3 time All-Star Game MVP), 10 time All Defense selection (8 first team selections and four combine second/third team selections), selected to All-NBA rookie team, and a winner of the 1997 Slam Dunk Competition (you know, when it was actually worth watching). On top of that, Kobe scored 81 points in a game, only second to Wilt's 100.
Kobe Bryant might not be the best teammate in terms of personality but he is a god on the basketball court. Players would love to play for Kobe Bryant. He takes away so much attention from defenses, that it leaves you practically open all the time (Look at Ariza now). His knowledge for the game is second to none and the great part about Kobe, is that he always wants to get better. He'll do whatever it takes to win the game and that is the mentality that great players of the past have shown.
He's a clutch playmaker and scorer. Also, players won't have to worry about taking the last shot, Kobe has got that covered.
I can write several articles on how Kobe has impacted this game but this specific article isn't about that. Everyone might not like Kobe, but you can't deny that he won't go down as the greatest Laker ever and maybe the best ever (he could strip Jordan from his title if he wins a couple more championships).
Who doesn't want to play for a coach who has won 11 championships (not including the two championships he won as a Knick)? Plus, I really wanted to include this hilarious picture (front slide) of Phil and Jeanie (daughter of Jerry Buss) on a motorcycle together.
Phil Jackson is the best coach to ever suit up. He three-peated twice with the bulls and once with the Kobe/Shaq Lakers. Phil will be going for his fourth three-peat, which is unbelievable. Whether Phil wins another championship or not, he will go down as the best ever.
Any player would want to play all out for this guy. He has great motivational tactics that really get the most out players. His tactics are unorthodox but they work, and that is the only thing that matters in La La land. If this is indeed his last season as a coach, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, and the rest of the new acquisitions will cherish the memory of being coached by the great Phil Jackson.