Is Kobe Bryant the reason for the Los Angeles Lakers' downfall?
Before Kobe Bryant fell victim to Linsanity earlier this month at Madison Square Garden, the five-time NBA champion admitted that he had no. Jeremy Lin got to the rim against the Houston Rockets and forced Dwight his elbows and connects with a purposefully pestering Kobe Bryant. Five years ago Friday, Jeremy Lin dropped 38 points on national TV against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. But for Asian Americans all over the.
It let people know that it's ignorant to draw connections between Lin and fortune cookies or other Chinese food, or to make references to an Asian's eye shape or driving skills when discussing Lin's game. I remember some followers on Twitter who were actually oversensitive to all things involving Lin, like when one politely asked if wearing a ninja costume to a game with "Linja" written on it would be offensive. These things aren't even being discussed without Linsanity, a unique moment for so many in and around it.
Both D'Antoni and Atkinson speak fondly about their memories of that time when it comes up.
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Asked recently about the Lin-Kobe game reaching its five-year anniversary, D'Antoni cracked, "I lit two candles this morning [in honor of that moment]. Jeremy being the type of person he was, just everything together playing against the Lakers, playing on national TV, playing against Kobe, so many things that were set up. Literally out the park.
It was exciting basketball. It was like the old Suns and it revealed Jeremy's athleticism, like, "Oh! This kid is a blur. They didn't want to give him his due. I don't know the reason for that. And, in turn, each has taken massive doses of blame in the media without Bryant meaningfully coming to their rescue.
Anyone who could possibly challenge Kobe for the spotlight ends up becoming a pincushion for the media. More often, Bryant sidekicks have been assailed by stories attributed to "sources" on the team. Bryant-as-truth-teller is how it's typically framed, but few around the NBA see it that way. More common is the assessment that he undermines anyone who threatens his supremacy. One Lakers insider remembers a time in when Bynum -- about a year after declaring that the Lakers had on-court "trust issues" -- was due for a contract extension: My immediate thought was, Well, he doesn't want to play with Kobe if we can't answer that question.
Conversations between Bynum and his people and some people with the Lakers. It got pretty rough and heated. It's a hard drug to quit when you're winning," says a front office executive from a rival team who knows everyone involved well. Kobe has hurt a lot of people. In some cases jeopardized careers.
For the Lakers, it was a dry run for the recruiting game.
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Could they persuade a major star to stay with Bryant? The Lakers meeting took place in Beverly Hills on July 2 in the modernist, windowless conference room at Relativity Media -- the offices of Howard's agent.
Kupchak, Howard's closest ally on the team, prepped the Lakers' pitch. We want to show that this is a place his dreams can come true.
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But Bryant showed up, according to a person in the room, in "hoops shorts, a T-shirt and a gold chain. Bryant, on the other hand, offered a crash course in developing thick skin and a mini lecture on learning how to win. The story of the Lakers' losing Howard has been told as one of the big man chafing under Mike D'Antoni's offense.
One Lakers source, though, says Howard's issue wasn't really with the offensive scheme but that "he saw one particular player play outside that scheme with carte blanche, with no accountability.
These people who say Dwight couldn't handle the pressure of Los Angeles LA was everything Dwight wanted.
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To be among stars. To be among women of this caliber. To live, basically, in one big reality TV show. This was a perfect setting for him. By the old points-per-game measure, he was not just a perennial All-Star but one of the best players ever. But the league has changed around Bryant, and swiftly.
The movement of people and the ball, 3s, rim attacks, coordinated defensive effort and generating open shots for teammates are what's winning now. After his first year with Bryant, Nash couldn't hide his disappointment when talking to Grantland's Zach Lowe: But I knew it wasn't going to be the same. When you play with Kobe Bryant, the ball is gonna be with him most of the time.
Bryant has fired away for nearly two decades. He's also just a few weeks' play from setting an all-time league record for misses. If he had the other intangibles, like LeBron, or if he was any kind of different person, it would have been easy for us to attract talent, retain it and win. Why not declare victory and walk away from the quagmire of late-stage Bryant? To answer that, we must first understand the predicament of the Lakers' executive VP of player personnel, Jim Buss -- a man who earned final say over basketball decisions because his father, Jerry Buss, bequeathed it to him upon his death in A bequeathal is nice, yet there will always be challenges to his power.
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For years, a who's who of the NBA world have taken cheap shots at Jim. Incolumnist Peter Vecsey introduced the younger Buss to the public, in the pages of the New York Post, as a "professional party animal.
Then there's Phil Jackson. Byhe was the departing coach of the Lakers, a colleague of Jim's in the upper reaches of the Lakers and, of course, quasi family by nature of his long-term relationship with Jim's sister Jeanie. But when Jackson was leaving the Lakers, he told reporters, "I haven't spoken to Jimmy Buss this year.
As far as management, if you want to call it that, there's really not a relationship. Jeanie has talked of the "betrayal" she felt when D'Antoni was hired instead of Jackson seven games into the season.
Here the legacy of his father looms large. Famed for consorting with teenagers, partying and gambling, the Lakers' patriarch was not known for following rules. But as Magic made clear to reporters in the early days of the Shaq-Kobe feud, Jerry Buss had a certain way of doing things: We've never aired our dirty laundry. Jim is one of the last remaining Lakers who still follow his father's rule.
Jackson may snipe at Buss, but Buss won't snipe back, or at any other Laker.