Lakers Beat the Rap

rap

Shaq might have gotten some chuckles with his rap over the summer, but Kobe and the Lakers are the ones doing the laughing.

Kobe Bryant has led the Lakers to a better regular season record than 6 of the Shaquille O’Neal led Lakers teams, and is slowly etching his Lakers era in stone.

1996-1997 – 56-26 (Lost in Semi-Finals to Jazz)
1997-1998 – 61-21 (Lost in Conf-Finals to Jazz)
2000-2001 – 56-26 (Won Championship)
2001-2002 – 58-24 (Won Championship)
2002-2003 – 50-32 (Lost in Semi-Finals to Spurs)
2003-2004 – 56-26 (Lost in Finals to Pistons)
2008-2009 – ?

It has been said that he who laughs last laughs best. In the wake of the Shaquille O’Neal trade, it looked as if Shaq and Lakers haters would get the last laugh when the Miami Heat won the 2006 NBA Championship. Shaquille earned his fourth ring (which he won without Kobe moreover), Caron Butler was an All-Star, and all the Lakers had to show for it was Kwame Brown.

The Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak apparently didn’t pull the trigger on deals that would have landed the team the likes of Carlos Boozer and Baron Davis. This eventually led to the summer of 2007. After another disappointing playoff appearance, Kobe Bryant finally said he wanted out.

This to Lakers fans was the death nail that proved they had lost the battle as well as the war. Not only did they lose Big Shaq who had since won a ring, but they were now going to lose Kobe Bryant. The organization was not the same. Dr. Buss became the new Al Davis to Mitch Kupchak’s Matt Millen. The Lakers as we knew them were a thing of the past.

But the NBA is where amazing happens. Andrew Bynum, the Fruit Loops eating porker the Lakers drafted in 2005 who Kobe wanted to “ship out” for Jason Kidd began to become a dominant force.

Bynum had a stretch of All-Star level performances in December capped off by a 28 point 12 rebound 2 block shots effort in the Christmas Day game against the Suns.

After the Lakers 122-115 victory in that game, Suns coach Mike D’Antoni was asked if he thought Andrew Bynum was an up-and-coming force, to which he replied “I hope he’s not up-and-coming”. D’Antoni recognized that the Lakers weren’t getting there, but were indeed here.

Along with the improvement of the Lakers younger players, Mitch Kupchak methodically re-worked the roster under the radar. He traded Maurice Evans for the younger more defensive minded Trevor Ariza.

In what should have been an early sign that NBA teams were cost cutting in a worsening economic climate, the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers for seemingly nothing.

After spending 3 seasons in exile the Lakers were now back to being the darlings of the NBA. After watching Dwyane Wade and LeBron James take his spot, Kobe Bryant regained his marketing power. He was back in commercials, on video game covers, and his jersey once again became a top seller.

The Lakers got their Hollywood swagger back. Staples Center became the spot again. Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest are back in the house. The Royal Purple & Gold show are not only a hit at the crib. Their road games seem more and more like they are being played on Figueroa. Kobe Bryant recently noted that the once hostile Arco Arena filled with cow bells have now been replaced with Northern California Lakers fans.

swag

After spending his first few seasons away from the Lakers ripping the organization and its management, Shaquille O’Neal “free styled” a Kobe Bryant diss rap this summer.

He proudly proclaimed that Kobe “couldn’t do without me”, and even inferred he was better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. After the Miami Heat won it all 2006, reality soon came into play. They were swept in the first round off the playoffs in the very next season, and missed the playoffs completely in 2008.

Wilt Chaimberneezy avoided the embarrassment of having to be accountable for the mess he assisted in making in Miami and was traded to the Phoenix Suns at the mid-point of last season.

It seemed as if Shaq was back to terrorize the Lakers once and for all. Not only had he won a ring without them, but it appeared as if he would spend the remainder of his career with their division rival who had twice ousted them since his departure.

But while the Lakers made it to another NBA Finals in 2008, Shaq and his new “favorite team of all time” were eliminated. After Shaquille’s hip-hop call out of Kobe and the Lakers, the 2009 season had NBA observers thinking they may be on a playoff collision course.

But even as the former Lakers duo was re-untied for the 2009 All-Star game, The Big Aristotle was unable to hold up his part. After the Maverick’s 130 to 101 win over the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Shaquille O’Neal and the Phoenix Suns were eliminated from playoff contention.

There will be no O’Neal/Bryant split faced NBA promotions this summer. There will be no new classic Suns vs. Lakers 1st round match-up. While Kobe Bean Bryant is leading his team in challenging for the NBA title, Shaquille O’Neal will probably join C-Web and GP in studio with The Jet and Ernie.

And while Shaq is riding on diesel fumes, Kobe is the age Jordan was when he won his 3rd ring. Kobe has 2 skilled 7 footers in their 20′s on his team, 1 of which is an All-Star and the other a top 5 center. While Shaq still needs to take a game or two off, Kobe is still one the most well conditioned athletes in the league and is on the verge of playing his second consecutive complete 82 game season.

Ignoring popular demand and trading O’Neal and resigning Bryant showed why Buss is a great poker player. He was willing to take a gamble, one that did not produce immediate results, but ended up being the right one in the end. Shaq and his contract have since left 2 NBA franchises in their wake. Watch out Mark Cuban, your Mavericks may be the new team that gets Shaq attacked.

The Lakers are back to being the #1 franchise in the NBA, and it looks like Kobe’s year to get his 4th championship. Add the 2008 MVP and you’ll see that he may be the one enjoying the last laugh.

Now you tell me how that tastes?

  • Saber

    Nice read :)

  • Diehardfan

    This quite possibly the best article I have ever read here on TLN even way back when this site started off with another player’s name (who will remain nameless).

    FINALLY! Someone said it. This is exactly what has been on my mind. Did everyone also notice how Shaq tried to give kudos to Kobe and Phil before the trade deadline. He even went as far as saying that he would be open to playing again with the Lakers. A little too late! The best part of this is that I can remember the day that Shaq first arrived to Phoenix during a home game he was pointing to his big index finger as if promising that he was going to get them a title. Now, is it any surprise that he is bad mouthing Phoenix management and ownership. Sound Familiar?

  • wileykat

    Nice article G Small.It shows the depth of their “beef” and how both players let it go(in the publics eye) but we know deep down inside they both are watching what each other does.Hope to see more articles from you in the future

  • dj breakdown

    “Now you tell me how that tastes” – ouch! Nice write-up G

  • http://thelakersnation.com loo

    luv it!!!!!!

  • Pac-Man

    Hey Shaq, Were Back! I think this team is going to be better than ever,even better than the shaq years. I wish the suns would of made it to the 8th seed so wee could of kicked some deisel @$$. The new Laker era has just begun!

  • LAKERMIKE247

    PERFECT ARTICLE BY GREGORY SMALL

    LWO STAND UP LOL

  • kobe8

    nice.

  • Mr V.

    Haha, I know im still laughing… Shaq is getting treated like a prostitute around the league. Kobe has a permanent home. Shaq makes me sick! hes a Trader, Hater, and a big joke if u ask me.

  • fettyfets

    loved loved loved this article!

  • gugy

    Very good article.

    Congrats TLN.

  • lakerschamps09

    Now you tell me how that tastes?
    ahhahaha i love that…. nice article

  • Liz (Gregs co-worker)

    lol, after Greg MADE me read his article I became so estactic, OH MY GOD!!!!

  • http://thelakersnation.com Kam Pashai

    MORE ARTICLES PLEASE, MR. SMALL.

  • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/?fbconnect_action=myhome&userid=1245 daboss1848

    the last laugh = ring

    no last laugh yet . . .

  • lakaluva

    Someone should post this on his twitter.

  • http://THELAKERNATI.COM BrownMamba101

    Cant you wait to make an article like this until AFTER the lakers were to win a title? I mean what if they dont win one? Then you end up looking like an idiot.Be patient. jeez.

  • Mitch4Pres

    Kobe: “You know who I be. This season Shaq couldn’t do without me”

  • chad

    You missed a championship in there homeboy 99-00. You trying to short us a ring?

  • daboss1848

    [Comment ID #67475 Will Be Quoted Here]

    chad, the stats are not about ships, the stats are about: “Kobe Bryant has led the Lakers to a better regular season record than 6 of the Shaquille O’Neal led Lakers teams, and is slowly etching his Lakers era in stone.”

    in the 1999-2000 ship year, we had 67 wins – so that Shaq led team had a better reg season record.

  • FLUKE

    Really nice read. It kinda seems like you guys aren’t letting the Shaq diss go, but whatever. That’s all history. If we keep looking back we’ll fall on something right in front of us – A CHAMPIONSHIP. Get your eyes on the goal fellas, it’s gunna be a bumpy ride.

  • farmabrick

    G – I get the point, but until Kobe wins a ring without Shaq, Shaq is still laughing last because he’s won a ring without Kobe.

    So, let’s not sound the trumpets and start the parade down Fiqueroa just yet.

    I seem to recall that before the Boston series last year, there was a lot of talk like the Lakers had already won it already and, then OOOPPPPPSSS!!!

    The team needs to play hard and stay focused until the clock reads 0.0 in their 4th win of the Finals.

  • lainok

    seriously g-small great article. I read every little bit of laker info that I can find on the web, and this is one of the best one’s I’ve read all year. It’s just sad that a guy as talented and genuinely nice as shaq never aged emotionally past the age of 14. everytime he moves to a new team, praises them, things go bad, then he rips them…he is just tarnishing what would otherwise be considered one of the top 5 players in NBA History. Kobe took the high road, and that road is leading to more than 4 rings. great article.

  • chad

    daboss – its all about the rings baby! And they don’t hang banners up at staples for having the best record during the season.

    This is our year!!!!!!!!

  • Sean All Ivy

    Good article G-Small. LWO stand UP!

    Shaq should stick to dancing.

  • roscoe

    [Comment ID #67480 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Really we can talk about whatever we want and we don’t really need to “keep our eyes on the prize” because none of us is gonna determine what happens to the lakers.

  • e-bucher

    nice summary…good read…

  • mamba_n_motion

    I am so feeling the article. very koo!!!! Maybe a little early. So it would have been so on point if it was posted after a 09 Laker Championship Win (Praying to the Gods for that). Not a Shaq hater but the rap wasnt koo at all. By the way where I’m at, I dont see many Kobe commericals so I say, more nation wide Kobe commerical Please!!!..For heavens sake he is the best player of the league.

  • Kid Kaos 310

    This article is Where Amazing Happens

  • momonz

    whoever wrote this blog must be one desperate dude, or knows nothing about NBA basketball…one can only have the last laugh when there is something to brag about….as in RINGS or RING without S will do. The Lakers dont have the bragging rights, they simply dont.

    wtf happened to the 1999 – 2000 record? Oooops, what record? Uhm, is it the 67-15one? The best the Lakers can end up with this season is 66 wins. How is 66 greater than 67? Monumental FAIL.
    conveniently ignored as well is the Lakers’ record post-Shaq…
    2004-2005 – 34-48 (playoffs anyone? dont think so)
    2005-2006 – 45-37 (Lost first round)
    2006-2007 – 42-40 (Once again, see above)
    2007-2008 – 57-25 (Lost in Finals)
    2008-2009 – ?

    and take note of this> “6 of the Shaquille O’Neal lead Lakers teams”( note: shouldve been “…Shaquille O’Neal led Laker teams…”).
    unwittingly admitted that Shaq was the Batman in those six years (in which they never went below 50 wins (except for the lockout shortened season), compare that to a Kobe led Lakers) that line alone renders the rest of her arguments invalid, in short FAIL.

    And Caron Butler? wtf is that all about? This chick really knows what she’s talking about…Butler was part of the trade together with Odom and Brian Grant. And it can be argued that that Heat team was Dwade’s team. Shaq, admittedly, had his best days in LA…yes, he played second fiddle to another star in the same way that Kobe was his “second fiddle”. But look at the results, a prime Shaq equated to multiple rings and a past his prime Shaq’s still good for at least one. I wouldnt even go to the what couldve been had things panned out in Phoenix. Bottomline, Shaq gave LA rings…3 to be exact. How many rings has Kobe given LA? yes, 3 as well…but, it’s like saying Shaq and not Wade was the man when the Heat got their ring. Finals MVP, anyone?
    One wouldnt even need to go beyond Shaq’s LA days to see that Kobe as the main man just cant carry a team. After their 3 peat, Kobe sort of took over owing to Shaq’s injuries. Kobe was THE man when they had old men GP and Malone…yet, he couldnt lead them to the championship. That was his big moment to finally get out of the shadow of Shaq. Big chance to seize the moment. But there’s a big problem…he just couldnt do it, he just doesnt have it. Kobe’s a good player, but he just doesnt have what it takes to be great.

    [quote]And while Shaq is riding on diesel fumes, Kobe is the age Jordan was when he won his 3rd ring. Kobe has 2 skilled 7 footers in their 20’s on his team, 1 of which is an All-Star and the other a top 5 center. While Shaq still needs to take a game or two off, Kobe is still one the most well conditioned athletes in the league and is on the verge of playing his second consecutive complete 82 game season.[/quote]
    Comparing accomplishments to MJ killed this argument. FAIL.
    The second sentence just proved Kobe is a complimentary player at best…he can never carry a team on his shoulders. He need players as big or bigger than him (in terms of what they can do on the floor..haq,Pau, LO, Bynum) to be an effective player. What big time player allows his team to lose by 39 points in the biggest stage of all? Not only that, what player allows his team to lose a finals game in which they led by 24 points? If these 2 games doesnt spell CHOKE, i dont know what will.

  • diehardfan

    Wow! Momonz mispelled his name…it should be mamon!

    back to basketball. are you seriously calling Kobe complimentary. Did you forget why “hack a Shaq” exists. That is because Shaq was good for 3 quarters but that is it. You must of missed the games against the Spurs, Queens, Portland, and Indiana. Who do you see closing games and taking over? It sure as hell wasn’t Shaq. But, what you do see is Shaq coming off the bench clapping at Kobe hitting game winners and taking over. Why? becase he was a liability in the fourth quater. Shaq RARELY carried the Lakers on his back. The year that the Lakers almost beat the Suns, Shaq could of never hit those two game winners against the Suns. Shaq did win a title but he needed a Kobe type player to win a title. Go back and look at Shaq’s stats in the Finals when the Heat won the title. Wayne had to carry his cape to win the title. I believe that Wade literally had to fly and score above 40 pts twice for them to win. He gets so much credit for riding other great players coat tails. As a matter of fact, it was Zo’s heart on the defensive end that won the Heat a title not Shaq. Look at the state for each of those games. As a matter of fact go back to the day that Shaq arrived in Phoenix and he was give an standing O. He was pointing at his finger as if he was promising a title. Did he deliver? He didn’t because he didn’t because Nash ( the fake MVP) to deliver in the fourth the way that Kobe did in their 3 peat!