Should everything turn out as hoped, the Lakers will have their own awards ceremony next June in the form of a championship parade.
But that’s a long nine months from now. Once training camp starts next week, the Lakers will have to prove that their star-studded roster can stay healthy and play effectively enough to unseat the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat.
In light of the 2012 Emmy Awards on Sunday, it’s still timely to hand out a few accolades to the Lakers.
Comedy series: Steve Nash’s superhero video spoofs. Laker fans instantly became giddy over the purple and gold securing a point guard who could bring back images of “Showtime.” That also goes beyond the basketball court. Shortly after his off-season signing, Nash released a series of video parodies featuring various superheroes and blockbuster movies.
In his own version of “The Dark Knight Rises,” Nash dresses up as an overweight Batman, begins a daily workout called Bat/Sanity and perfectly mimicks Christian Bale’s husky voice. In a “Star Wars” parody, Nash proclaims he is the father of former Suns teammate Jared Dudley. In “Paranormal Activity 4,” Nash filmed himself before going to bed and realizes he argues with referees in his sleep.
The videos seemed both weird and funny.
Nash perfectly imitated Vito Corleone in a video spoofing “The Godfather.” He repeated Morgan Freeman’s soliloquy in “The Shawshank Redemption” while spending time in a cage. And Nash poked fun at the “Titanic” scene where Kate Winslet as Rose proclaims “she’ll never let go” of Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) before he died in the freezing water.
All in all, Nash may not be as goofy as Metta World Peace or match Dwight Howard’s eagerness for the spotlight. But Nash’s voice imitations, creativity and security to act outside of his element give his video spoofs the top prize.
Lead actor in a comedy series: Dwight Howard. This hasn’t exactly appeared on a sitcom yet. But with the cameras rolling after every Lakers practice and game, Howard has proven that his countless voice imitations should yield plenty of clicks on YouTube. In his introductory press conference, Howard busted out an imitation of his recollected phone conversation with Kobe Bryant in unprompted fashion. Howard nailed down Bryant’s giddy and serious tone perfectly. Howard also revealed he plans on busting out imitations for Pau Gasol and World Peace, soon. So stay tuned.
Supporting actor in a comedy series: Metta World Peace. The eccentric Lakers forward never met a camera he didn’t like. When it comes to saying silly things and making people laugh, World Peace is more than eager to accommodate. Still, World Peace falls in the comedy pecking order this offseason for various reasons. Nash provided a huge body of work for his comedy series. World Peace also likely said plenty of funny and weird things at his comedy show last week at the Laugh Factory, which was closed off to the media. Safe to say any of his X-rated bits would’ve instantly gone viral.
Drama series. The Lakers’ offseason moves. The Lakers never lack for the dramatics. Whether it’s the organization’s flair for it, the media’s obsession over it or a combination of both, there’s always something new and juicy to talk about regarding the Lakers. In this case, there was nothing more captivating this offseason than how the Lakers significantly upgraded their team.
They set off their own fireworks on the 4th of July by acquiring Steve Nash, an unlikely prospect considering he played for a division rival in the Phoenix Suns. They followed that up hitting another home run in the form of Howard by essentially only giving up Andrew Bynum. Meanwhile, the Lakers significantly upgraded their depleted bench by acquiring Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks while re-signing Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks.
The Lakers have always made big moves. But this even surprised the most optimistic Laker fans because of the team’s few tradeable assets and bludgeoning payroll. Yet the Lakers still pulled it off.
Lead actor in a drama series. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. Both or either of them should win Executive of the Year for somehow pulling off these moves. Even though the Lakers’ gold standard rests on championships, it would’ve been understandable if they took a more pragmatic approach. It would’ve made sense if they shipped Pau Gasol because of his two-year, $38.2 million contract and reduced role. It would’ve been understandable if the Lakers exercised the amnesty clause on World Peace’s two-year, $15 million deal because of his unpredictable play. They could’ve minimized the risk of Howard leaving after one season by simply keeping the league’s second best center in Bynum. But the Lakers didn’t take a cautious approach. Kupchak and Buss threw all their chips on the table in hopes of winning another championship.
Supporting actor in a drama series. Jerry Buss. Whenever Kupchak makes a huge deal, he relentlessly praises the Lakers owner for giving him the right parameters in making such moves. That speaks to Kupchak’s humble nature. But he’s right. The Lakers couldn’t have made the Howard and Nash deals if they weren’t given the financial flexibility to do so. Even if harsher luxury taxes are on the horizon, Buss allowed the Lakers to have an NBA-high $99.2 million payroll and pay $28.9 million in luxury taxes because their payroll is above the $70.3 million tax threshold.
Sure, the Lakers’ 20-year, $5 billion deal with Time Warner Cable, including $120 million for the first season, helps them absorb the costs. But when you account for the $80 million they’ll provide in revenue sharing and the punitive tax measures kicking in next season, it would’ve been understandable on a practical level if the Lakers pinched their pocket more. But it’s not in Buss’ DNA.
“When it comes down to it, Dr. Buss is a competitor and his family is also very competitive,” Kupchak said this offseason. “And when it comes down to a decision about making a couple of dollars or a million dollars or $10 million or putting another banner up, he can’t help himself. He chooses to go for the banner.”
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