It has taken Kobe 12 years to figure out what Magic knew as a rookie, something that Red Auerbach and Bill Russell knew all along, but at least Kobe is finally getting there. It is a team game, consisting of five on five.
How did this happen?
There are a number of reasons we find the Lakers on the precipice of another NBA championship. But it all begins with Kobe. When Kobe went on his tirade last May he served notice to Jerry Buss, Mitch Kupchak and his teammates that he's here to win championships. And if they don't want to step up and do what is necessary to do so, then he wants to play elsewhere.
Despite being a Lakers fan for the past 40 years, I was resigned to losing my faith in the Lakers and following Kobe to his next destination. After all, Kobe is the greatest player to ever strap on a pair of high tops (my apologies to Jerry, Larry, Magic and Michael).
And now we know how this happened. Faced with the possibility of losing the greatest player on the planet, Buss, Kupchak, and his teammates all came through in amazing fashion. This has been a tremendous team effort.
I bleed purple and sweat gold.
Now that David Stern has eliminated the Detroit Pistons, Lakers fans must realize that, for the first time in the playoffs, they will be totally on their own (no help from the refs), and they will actually have to earn the four victories necessary to win the NBA title, as Mr. Stern does not care who wins, now that the Lakers and Celtics have been selectively slotted into the NBA Finals.
In keeping with the NBA's admission that one (and apparently only one) call in the Lakers-Spurs game was wrong, other sports organizations have now followed suit.
The NFL just announced that Tom Brady really did fumble the ball; Major League Baseball just announced that ball three to Mike Davis (right before Gibson's famous homer) was in fact strike three; and the Greek Olympic organizers have announced that Stelios Mikolopolous of Thebes should not have been called for a foul on his fourth discus throw back in 384 B.C.
Craig L. Dunkin
OK, so maybe the refs missed Fisher's foul on Barry in the final seconds of Game 4, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. After Barry sinks two free throws, there would have been at least 0.8 of a second on the clock. Or, twice the amount of time Fisher would need to break the Spurs hearts with another game-winning jumper.
The intoxication has spread from Jerry Buss to the Lakers, another DUI -- Definitely Unbelievably Incredible. Shaq, your tickets for the Finals are at will call. Enter off Prairie and Manchester.