Lakers All-In or All-Out?
• dEDGE Post Scriptum •
Seriously, no one really had high expectations for this injury plagued, one-year contract, squad of castaways. Most would also say they’re glad D12 is gone, but the true fact of the matter is, we really didn’t have a choice. The cards we’re playing were dealt a long time ago. And this streak of incredibly bad luck doesn’t appear to have an end anytime soon. We keep busting in our elusive quest for the perfect hand, while the house continues to rake in our hard-earned emotional investments. Meanwhile, a devoted fan-base fades deeper and deeper into an inescapable abyss of despair and doom. We reassure ourselves, sooner or later the tide will turn in our favor. But the injuries continue to mount and the losses keep coming. What has happened to our Lakers?
Karma’s a bitch, or as the Zen Master might deadpan, without me, you’ll never prosper. Hear that, Jim Buss? What was once a proud and multi-faceted diamond has deteriorated into dust before our very eyes. Expectations of playing in June have been replaced by “promising” losses. A post-season run will soon be a post-mortem autopsy. Anyone seen a Superstar lately? How about a perennial All-Star? Staples Center now has two Sterling-esque owners trying to ruin things. Laker fans would gladly accept mediocrity at this point, rather than the slop we see on a nightly basis. 2nd Round exits would be a resounding success for this rudderless franchise currently stuck on nostalgia and warm, fuzzy feelings.
The glimpses we see of Phil Jackson only remind us of what should have been. The celebratory championship champagne stings our eyes with tears of pain instead of jubilation. The greatness that momentarily fills our screens quickly evaporates into a indecipherable Pringle’s mumble. Gary Vitti remains our sole connection to better times. It’s ironic how he is connected to both good and bad, glory and pain, winning and losing. As Pat Riley used to say, “it’s either winning or misery.” Those words have never rung truer. Magic Johnson is now Lakers public enemy #1 for spitting out venomous truths and hard-to-swallow facts. Are we too blinded by the bright lights that chased Dwight Howard out of town not to see all that is wrong?
A stumble along the way can be forgiven. An injury can be patched and mended. An error in judgment can be righted and fixed. But how do you restore the indelible brand and undying faith that took years to build and nurture? How can you talk about tradition and glory to a squad composed of unfulfilled potential and long-shots? Tell me precisely Mr. Buss, how do you plan to win again? How could this franchise enjoy so much championship success when it appeared that it’s benevolent owner wasn’t all that involved? How has the untimely death of Dr. Jerry Buss morphed into the near death of the NBA’s most successful franchise?
We’ve all been exposed to a person who micro-manages everyone. He’s the individual that gets so caught up in the minutia and details of how you should perform your job, that you can no longer perform your job. Dr. Jerry had his own Jerry plus a supporting cast that stretched from Bill Sharman to Bill Bertka and everyone else in between. He surrounded himself with the game’s best and brightest minds. Son Jimmy has a former bartender to lean on for advice. The shots being called neither make sense or provide much hope for a resurgence in the foreseeable future.
Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and a handful of college hopefuls are our inspiration for next season and beyond. Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill, Kendall Marshall, and Robert Sacre are our current dose of reality. Will Kobe ever be the Black Mamba again? Will Nash return to Nashty or retreat into retirement? Is Pau finally on his last legs even though he survived another trade deadline? Can Mike D’Antoni ever amount to anything more than the guy that was chosen over Phil Jackson? Tell me precisely Mr. Buss, how will the Lakers win again? Hope runs eternal but our patience does not.