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Kobe is the One to Lead the Lakers Back to Glory

August 11th, 2011

The Lakers started the 2010-11 season with great hopes. Kobe needed just one more title to tie with Michael Jordan’s championship ring total. The team was raring to go, but were razed to the ground by the Mavericks. Not getting past the playoffs is always embarrassing, but with the way the mighty Lakers went out, the fans are none too pleased with that.

The season was disappointing indeed. However, Lakers will remain the same team, one of the best ever. They were predicted to win the title this year, but several weaknesses were exposed during the playoffs. But it doesn’t mean that Kobe can’t lead the Lakers back to where they rightly belong.

Lakers had a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. During this time, Kobe with his sheer athleticism and on-court brilliance, dominated all guards and scored as and when he wanted because the defenders just could not match the perseverance and aggressiveness he displayed. Kobe then led the Lakers to titles in 2009 and 2010. He was at the peak of his game. With his improved jump shot and a great post-game, Kobe was a joy to watch.

This season, Kobe was not able to dominate guards the way that he had been able to during his previous games. He was not at the top of his game, that much was evident.

Kobe will now need to change his game plan to lead the Lakers to victory. He must now slowly shift from his role of dominator to that of a facilitator. At 31, Kobe is still incredible, but he is no longer the best player in the league. Kobe must think more about facilitating for the Lakers to win games.

Lakers Championships Over the Years

April 13th, 2011

It’s an old saying in Los Angeles that Lakers fan’s do not tolerate losing. The reason for that may be simple: they don’t do a whole lot of it. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1960, the Lakers have won a total of 11 champions. That means in roughly 50 seasons the Lakers have won an NBA title nearly a fifth of the time. In addition to that, they’ve reached the NBA Finals an additional another 14 times which means that one out of every two seasons in Los Angeles the Lakers have either won the title or gotten into the Finals. Even more amazing, the Lakers have only missed the Playoffs four times in that period. This is why people in Los Angeles demand so much from their Lakers.

The Lakers went to the Finals five times in the 1960′s, yet were not able to claim a title. It wasn’t until the 1971 where the Lakers were finally able to get monkey off their back by beating the New York Knicks 4-1, led by Wilt Chamberlin, who claimed the Finals MVP. This was the first and only title for Jerry West as a player, though his best Lakers days may in fact have been in front of him.

Following his playing career, West would become the mastermind of one of the most dominating NBA teams ever, the “Showtime Lakers”. From 1980- 1988, the “Lake Show” dominated the NBA, winning five titles: 1980 (defeating the 76ers 4-2), 1982 (again defeating the 76ers 4-2), 1985 (defeated the Celtics 4-2), 1987 (the Celtics again 4-2), and 1988 (the Pistons 4-3). This period saw the likes of Kareem Adbul- Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, AC Green, Kurt Rambis and, of course, Ervin “Magic” Johnson. More importantly, in a way, the Lakers were also able to final defeat the Boston Celtics in the 1985 series, breaking a eight series losing streak to them in the Finals.

In Lakers terms, the next ten years involved some of the lowest moments in franchise history. It wasn’t until the 1999-2000 season where everything seemed to click again, thanks to the 1-2 tandem of Shaquielle O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and the signing of Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, who had previously lead the Bulls to six titles. The team won three consecutive titles in 2000 (Pacers 4-2), 2001 (76ers 4-1) and 2002 (the Nets 4-0).

Following the departure of Shaq and Jackson in 2004, the Lakers were not able to reach the Finals again until 2008, where they lost to the Boston Celtics in four games. The following season, though, the Lakers, now led by Bryant and Pau Gasol, were able to defeat the Orlando Magic in six games to win the title, one that they successfully defended in 2010 when they defeated the Celtics in a hard fought seven game series.

5 Highest Grossing NBA Players

April 11th, 2011

As with most sports, the highest paid NBA players are not typically the one’s that you would expect. Carmelo Anthony? Not even close. Dwayne Wade? None of the big three are in the top five. Kevin Durant? Not even in the top 25 (though that will change). No, the top five has some familiar faces, and some real shocks as well.

5. Michael Redd- Milwaukee Bucks: $18.3 million per year.
Surprise. Sometimes, risks do not pay off. Taking up nearly a quarter of the Bucks total salary this season, Redd has played a total of 19 games these last two seasons thanks to a ACL/MCL tear in his knee that has refused to fully heal.

4. Tim Duncan- San Antonio Spurs: $18.7 million.
With four championships under his belt, Tim Duncan is virtually a God in the greater San Antonio area. Though people keep talking about how he’s “over the hill”, he has led the Spurs to franchise best season and a shot at a fifth championship. Even if he’s not what he once was five years ago, he more then makes up for that with his leadership. Expect a statue out front of the AT&T Center when he retires.

3. Kevin Garnett- Boston Celtics: $18.8 million
Is Garnett the best statistical player in the NBA anymore? Not really. But does Garnett make up for it with intangibles? Absolutely. With two finals appearances in the last three years (and one title), you get the feeling that the Celtics would collapse without Garnett’s presence.

2. Rashard Lewis- Washington Wizards: $20.5 million
Here is the real shocker: Rashard Lewis has the second biggest contract in the NBA. While he is a decent player, 11.7 points per game doesn’t exactly scream $20.5 million per year, even more so when you realize that Lewis makes up move a third of the team’s total payroll.

1. Kobe Bryant- Los Angeles Lakers: $24.8 million
Lakers owner Jerry Buss has never been afraid to spend money on a player that is worth it. Kobe is still arguably the best player in the league and has won the last two Finals MVP’s, so why shouldn’t he be the top earner?

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