For as much as we talk about greatness around here, we sure do complain an awful lot when we’re presented with the rare opportunity for it.

The idea of greatness is subjective, but is most commonly expressed about an individual – or in this case a team – when factual critics are silenced, long odds are overcome and the seeming impossible is achieved.

We don’t witness greatness very often because of those very things.

Long odds become stacked up based on accurate data. Critics boast their opinions around real-life observations. The impossible seems impossible because it demands something invisible; and when it comes to logical thinking, evidence is everything.

In 82 games, the Lakers showed a lot of evidence – very little of it an indication of greatness. 57 wins was a far cry from the 70 we boasted of in October. A rested and rejuvenated Kobe Bryant looked everything but rested and rejuvenated. The mentally tough road team of last years’ champions seemed to falter under the weight of the newly acquired target that had been tattooed on their backs. Suddenly, the critics began to dismiss them as the soon to be ex-champions…

While they struggled to find themselves, the rest of the western conference seemed to take notice. The surging Dallas Mavericks embezzled All-Star Caron Butler and Brenden Haywood. The once elderly San Antonio Spurs, led by a recharged Manu Ginobili, rewound the clock and were arguably the best team over the last month of the NBA season. The Phoenix Suns, a team many thought would miss the playoffs, sprinted their way back into contender status. Suddenly, the odds began to pile higher and higher against the puzzling Lakers…

We can be frustrated by the obvious struggles. We can doubt their ability to find a way back to the NBA Finals. We can curse, yell and verbally assault our TV sets when they struggle. We can say this wasn’t how it was supposed to be…

But this is exactly how we wanted it.

The critics barking, the odds stacked high, the King being prematurely crowned…

Without the mountain of adversity to climb, the top of the mountain is really just a boring pile of grass and dirt. It is the injuries, the mounting odds, the ranting critics and the daring competition that have set the stage for a rare opportunity to make a run at greatness. As proud Lakers fans from all over the world, we wouldn’t have our journey to banner #16 any other way.

There are only two headlines that will describe the ’09-10 Los Angeles Lakers:

Failure.
Greatness.

1 down, 15 to go…

[P.S. – Be sure to follow me on Twitter during the postseason!]

  • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

    Well-said, Jason!

  • justdogm1

    lets not confuse greatness with averageness,this seems more like survival,than anything else.

    • WifelovesLuke

      # 1 seed in the West is average? Interesting

  • LakerMarc

    I don’t remember anyone from The Lakers organization saying the Lakers would win 70 games. I remember Reggie Miller stating in the Lakers Pre Season Camp that they looked so tough that he could see them matching the Bulls’ 70-12 record. It was a compliment but maybe a bit too ambitious.

  • LakerMarc

    The problem with the media is that they want Bron to win that championshipo so bad it helps to justify their k=love affair with him. Give it time, he’ll fuck up and then the honey moon wil be over, or Bron can just continue to not win a ring year after year. HA!!!! love it. Or maybe Charles Barkley can give his ring to the King since he loves him so much…oh wait Chuck never won one either.

    • lakerman1

      You know what Marc’ i agree 100% with what you say. Lebron is slowly but surely working his way to a big fall because the media has built him up so much that the only way to go is down even if he wins a championship. The media builds these athletes up more then any fan ever could and that is why they are a digrace once it is discovered they are not these golden images they are made up to be.

      • lakerman1

        Oh yeah GO LAKERS. Lets whoop some Thunder ASS tonight.

  • lakerville213

    this is great jason…i love your articles…but just like our lakers…you get haters as well…

    nevertheless, you got me riled up for this championship run and for the end of my 1st year of college…its been tough just like this laker season but i appreciate your words of wisdom…as the quarter goes by for me and as the playoffs progress ill always look to this article for inspiration when im in need…

    go lakers

  • althelakerfanyoushouldmeet

    Look at it like this. This is actually the first Playoff run during this era were we have both of our bigs active and well. This will make a difference game after game against our opponents this year during our run. As long as we can protect the rim on D and crash the boards creating second shot opportunities on O. I know I make it sound easy but laker fans let’s get serious and focused because our D will bring the Ring. We put forth a focused Defense with active and aggressive hands and feet that kind of D will Bring the RIng!

  • Lakerview

    As a diehard Laker fan, I’d love to see them get the rings this year.

    But the 800 pound silent “gorilla” in the room that has to be reiterated is Kobe. Without a healthy Kobe, the Laker chances are slim and none. When Kobe is healthy, he can compete against the best in the league. Only LeBraon is his peer.

    But Kobe is so banged up, he has risked a lifetime of tangled, bent-up finger muscle and bone to keep the good ship Lakers going. His drive to compete has finally worked against him. Kobe needs to take about 3 months off, with no basketball. He may need serious surgery. Those who have seen his finger without the wrap on it now, just turn their face away in horror.

    I’m a big Lakers/Kobe fan, but without a healthy Kobe, we may not even make it out of the Western Conference.

    Health trumps talent every time. Sorry fans. Maybe next time

  • KING