“I ain’t a killer but don’t push me. Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to gettin’ *****” — 2Pac
Laker fans have two memories that still burn. Two teams that left a scar. Two slanders on our record which have yet to be vindicated.
Phoenix and Boston.
I don’t even need to tell you the years, the series, the situations or anything more than those two cities, and all Laker fans know exactly what I’m talking about. Which is why, despite feeling sick to my stomach for doing so, I was rooting for the Suns and the Celtics — a chance at redemption and revenge.
The memories of those eliminations still burn. They haunt Los Angeles to this day. No one gets excited for the Orlando Magic. Maybe a little for Cleveland, and only then, because of LeBron. But bring up the Phoenix Suns or the Boston Celtics, and people in this town get angry.
We’re not over it. We still want revenge.
And please don’t think for a minute that Kobe has forgotten about the losses against either of those teams. More so than repeating, more so than showing the world that he’s better than LeBron, more so than silencing doubters… Kobe wants revenge. 2Pac stated it best. No matter the level of maturity, no matter how Zen, no matter how focused, wanting revenge is such a visceral, primal impulse that can stay inside the hyper-competitive forever.
When asked if he was seeking revenge against the Suns, he answered, “What do you think? You already know.”
It wasn’t a coincidence that he went off for 40 in Game 1, while ripping the Suns to shreds. I honestly wished to see Raja Bell on the floor, just to watch Kobe torture him like Jack Bauer would a terrorist. Believe me, unless Kobe gets (more) injured, he’s saving some tricks up his sleeves for the Celtics, too.
All that talk of Kobe being a cold-blooded killer? His blood will boil if the Celtics show up for the NBA Finals this year. I want to see him decimate Paul Pierce for his Academy-Award winning performance in “Faking an Injury to be a Hero.” I want to see Fisher shut down Rondo, silencing doubters. I want to see Artest pummel Wallace in a cage fight. “Get Garnett” will have a completely different meaning.
Beating the Magic last year was nice but really wasn’t satisfying. We didn’t exorcise either of our demons. It was disappointing, really. Yeah, we won a championship, but it would have felt that much sweeter if we had stuck it to the two teams that have caused us so much heartache over the years.
This year, we may finally get the chance.
And only then, after the Suns’ flames lay extinguished and we’ve snatched the pot of gold from the Celtics, will this thirst for revenge be sated.
Other Spotlights -
- Nice of Odom to finally show up. Really. About time.
- The Celtics figured out what the Pistons of 2004 figured out — you don’t need to double-team a dominant center. Make him beat you one-on-one and lock down the rest of team. Especially if your big man can’t create to save his life.
- Amare is such a liability on defense that it almost negates his offensive output.
- Van Gundy asked something that I thought was interesting. He wondered what Kobe thought of the LeBron situation. Me too.
- I also think it would be a good time to be a therapist in Cleveland.
- I also can’t believe that of all the ESPN.com “expert picks,” not one chose the Lakers in five but two (Hollinger and Stein) had the Suns in six. Really? This expert is calling it right now. Lakers in five.
- - Go Celtics! (Excuse me, I need to go throw up now)