I don’t think there can be any further question of where Bryant and Jackson rank in the pantheon of hoop greats — who else has won a ring for Adam Morrison? That accomplishment, along with the Lakers’ 15th NBA title (and Phil Jax’s 10th, passing Red Auerbach) is funnily enough, not sufficient cause for celebration protests the LA Times’ T.J. Simers, insisting “a victory doesn’t suddenly make unlikable athletes likable.”
The Lakers were good, all right, and gritty when they had to be, Kobe brilliant as almost always, while Trevor and Lamar added spice to the championship mix.
But winning it all makes them no more appealing, Kobe still over the top absurd in his mood swings, Pau still carrying on like someone swiped his rattle, Phil so above it all it’s surprising he doesn’t demand to be carried off the court like Cleopatra.
The Lakers are champions, but they did little to cozy up to the folks of L.A. beyond being good — Kobe and Phil, the two leaders of this outfit, just as removed as always.
It has always been about them, Kobe and Phil, and maybe Shaq, who isn’t even here — Kobe and Phil’s personal quests now for individual greatness — and not for a single moment has it been about you.
How many times were we told that Kobe wanted this more than anyone else, his teeth gritted as if there was nothing more important in the whole world than a basketball game?
And some of you actually believe it true.
Now there will be a parade here, so everyone can pay homage to a bunch of people blessed by God with extraordinary athletic ability, but in some cases, the social skills that would make them outcasts in many workplaces.
Wouldn’t you like to see the look on Gasol’s face if your boss yelled at him?
You want to have a parade and scream your lungs out for a job well done, then invite the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to walk down Figueroa Street and be feted like heroes in the Coliseum.
If Simers pines for a culture where professional athletes aren’t put on a pedestal, fair enough. As he’d have a very difficult time earning a living writing about sports personalities, I can only assume he’s got another profession to fall back on. Perhaps giving sponge baths to wounded veterans?