COLUMN: The Lakers Always Get Their Man (Dwight Howard) -- And That’s Infuriating
Just get me out before Superman 2 is signed, sealed and delivered to the City of Angels.
In the interest of full disclosure, I like the Lakers as much as the thought of a lobotomy sounds appealing. Kobe, Shaq and Robert Horry ruined my childhood. (Take a guess which NBA team I support.) Though I have grown to respect Kobe’s game, I relish any opportunity to root against one of the Association’s winningest franchises.
The ironically named franchise has missed the playoffs twice since 1993 when Nick Van Exel was still a budding one-time All-Star. God forbid if they’re not perennial title favorites. In that same span, the Buss family-operated team reached the Western Conference finals or further nine times, winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy five times. That’s a pretty good haul. Only three teams have won more than five titles: the Chicago Bulls (six), Lakers (16) and Boston Celtics (17).
Everyone acted like the Smush Parker era was the end of basketball in L.A. Granted, Kobe almost left. But the ebb and flow of the Lakers would have insisted upon a star coming out west. Inevitably, if No. 24 weren’t taking 25 shots per game, someone else would have filled his shoes. The team and the city are star-driven; the vacant star spot would have been quickly filled.
In contrast, Sacramento may have found its next superstar in DeMarcus Cousins. It only took three horrendous seasons to draft him and another two equally poor years for him to develop.
This may sound as if it’s a fan of a smaller market, worse team sounding off about a team in the second largest U.S. market with top-tier talent. It may be.
Winning builds an expectation of excellence amongst a fanbase. Makes sense. What particularly bothers me is the entitled nature of some Laker fans.
“The Lakers had to get Chris Paul!”
“The Lakers have to get Dwight Howard!”
Puh-lease. Everything that’s not a title is a travesty, man. Calm down.
The Lakers are an incredibly accomplished and privileged franchise. But like every team, they don’t deserve anything that they have not earned. They deserve their titles; they don’t deserve all the best players.
That’s what will bother if Howard ends up rocking No. 12 in STAPLES Center this fall. It's not the fact itself that he is employed by the Lakers; the inevitable smugness worn on the faces of the Laker faithful will.
Anyway, I’m waiting to hear if Andrei Kirilenko will sign with the Kings. Yup, that’s what that fanbase is awaiting. It’s dark.