Out of Bounds with Jason Riley

It happened only 362 days ago. I awoke in my Washington D.C. room, where I was living for the summer. The bags forming under my eyes would have sent even Jeff Van Gundy’s scouring in shame. I was completely drained from the onslaught of 65-hour work weeks. I felt like Christian Bale on the set of Terminator; any number of insignificant actions could have sent me headlong into a “Mike Tyson wants to eat your children” type moment.

I grabbed my pail of coffee, dragged myself into the car and embarked on another sunrise drive to work. I drove in complete silence, only listening to the clutter of my own conflicted thoughts. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to barricade the flood of images I had witnessed the night before; I could not.

Paul Pierce hoisting the trophy.
Kevin Garnett mercilessly pounding his chest.
Green and white streamers falling as a defeated Kobe Bryant slowly walked off the floor.

My beloved Lakers had just been mopped up by the Boston Celtics, the worst-case scenario any true Lakers fan could possibly imagine.

On the morning of June 18th, 2008, I would have given anything to jump in a Delorian, ramp it up to 88mph and soar to a day living in the future – A day where Kobe Bryant’s critics would sound more ludicrous than T.J. Simers column in the L.A. Times this morning; where Phil Jackson’s name would always be listed on the line above Red Auerbach’s; where the Los Angeles Lakers would come to the end of redemption’s road, blissfully smile and hoist the trophy once again.

As all of us quickly discovered, there was no Delorian parked in our driveways; no time-travel shortcuts to a perfect ending. Our road was paved with glorious wins in Boston and Cleveland, and dumbfounding losses in Charlotte and Sacramento. With the uprising of a new Laker star, and a chilling injury to the one we expected to be. With anxious moments in Denver and Houston, and thrilling victories in Orlando. Most of all, with faith; the undying belief that the day we envisioned in our heart would one day spill out into our world.

We have faithfully watched 105 games this season. Spent countless dollars on jerseys, hats, tickets and other apparel. Resiliently defended our superstar when the National media decided to become witnesses. Depleted hours of our lives reading hundreds of columns like this one.

Being a genuine and devoted fan is not a hobby or a pastime; it is a way of life. A commitment that requires an investment of time, a commodity more valuable than the number printed on the bottom line of our bank statement. We are what we commit our time too; and on this day, that makes all of us here at the Lakers Nation champions.

Phil Jackson said it best, “It’s all really about the journey”; and it has truly been a pleasure traveling with all of you.

Congratulations to the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers; and to all the loyal fans who, like me, envisioned last night just 362 days ago.

Enjoy it, Lakers Nation! I’ll see you at the parade.

Jason Riley is a columnist for the Lakers Nation. In addition to this column, he writes on an array of topics that you can check out by visiting J-Ri.com. You can email him by clicking here, look him up on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter for in-game coverage.

  • lainok

    great last article. all of us die hard fans are just as much a part of the team. we may not be physically playing, but we put in as much time and invest as much energy as the boys playing do. And we have day jobs! I read that LA Times article today and it pissed me off too. If he thought sports didn’t matter so much, and that we are all stupid for thinking it is, then why is he spending his life being an l.a. sportswriter?

    all we’ve thought about for the last 362 days is about this day. and I feel almost as exhausted as kobe does. thank you laker nation.

    and by the way…

    THAT CELTIC LOVIN’ B1TCH JOSEPH CAN SUCK IT! HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES YOU LEPRECHAN BOSTONIAN GOOD WILL HUNTING PUNK?

  • 123kid

    ^nicely said article and nicely said comment. its funny cuz just right now i am watchin the 2006 game lakers vs. cavs and man what a turn around the lakers have gone through in these past several years and now they are 2009 nba champs. i am just still in shock that words cant express how much this lakers championship has meant to me.

  • 242LakerFan

    Being, unfortunately for me, fairly new to TLN, I had never read one of Jason Riley’s articles. I am so happy to have finally come to find that there is someone out there who can so eloquently capture and convey with such emotional depth the essence of what it means to be a true Laker Fan.
    Here in The Bahamas, everyone is a Laker Fan. I mean that in the spirit of the derivation of the word fan, which of course is “fanatic”. Here, one either fanatically loves the Lakers or fanatically hates them. Here, you follow the Lakers, the Celtics or, as is far too often the case, whoever is winning at the moment.
    But love ‘em or hate ‘em, “Lakers” was the word on everyone’s lips around the water cooler today, followed irrevocably by the word “Champions”.
    I shall not die until the tally is swayed in favour of the Purple and Gold, the true and only royalty in the Kingdom of Basketball. On that most glorious of days, green shall take its rightful place as the colour of envy, worn only by jealous pretenders to the throne.
    Lakers World Order, united we STAND!

  • MeloMamba

    couldnt word it any better, thanks for great season, i live n miami n i only missed 2 games out of 105. so league pass is my investment in them, and it was well worth it….

    p.s. Sasha we pay u to shoot right???

  • Stephen

    T.J. Simers is a douche. Great article Jason!!

  • Eidraq

    [Comment ID #76290 Will Be Quoted Here]

    yeah we do..but see thats the problem..i think he expects us to pay him more to make his shots

    congratulations lakers! congratulations kobe on the finals mvp! the beginning of many to come

  • lakergirl

    Great article. I had juz read TJ simmer article…he always pisses me off. I wonder why he even writes? anyways finally, i can sleep good at nights. But now wat to do for next four months? Lakers should definitely try to keep both ariza and odom. Need to get rid of Sasha, he is a broken machine now.

  • roscoe

    Man, I remember when I found this site getgarnett.com, from reading truehoop blog. Then put it in my bookmarks and visited about 5 times a day hoping for good news about the summer of discontent. I never thought we would be champs so quickly again, but the development of our team and the addition of pau turned it around quickly. After last years Finals, I told everyone, the finals this year was just a treat. No one expected us to be there at the start of the season. I could literally pick out 8 other teams that were better than us on paper, and looking at the schedule thought we might go 2/8 in our first 10 or something like that. But then Bynum was playing well, and the team was gelling. Bynum then went down and I was so upset, until we picked up Pau for Kwame. I was so pumped that day because I knew the championship would come eventually.

  • btshowtime

    PEOPLE ALWAYS COMPARED KOBE TO MICHEAL JORDAN N MOST OF THE TIME THEY SAY HE IS NEAR JORDAN’S LEVEL THAN SHOULDN’T KOBE BE # 2 OR 3 BEST EVER. TNT WITH CHARLES FAT HEAD BARKLEY N CRACK HEAD KENNY SMITH ALWAY COMPARING KOBE TO JORDAN ON WHO’S BETTER. SHOULDN’T THEY BE # 1 OR 2 ON THE LIST OF GREATEST EVER. RIGHT AFTER KOBE WINS HIS CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT SHAQ ONEAL(HACKAMEAL)THAT THEY (THE HATERS LIKE CHARLES FAT HEAD BARKLEY THE LOSER THAT NEVER WIN ANYTHING IN HIS LIFE N KENNY THE CRACK HEAD SMITH SAID THAT KOBE IN NOT IN THE TOP 5 OF ALL TIME N IS NOT EVEN BETTER THAN LARRY BIRD. LARRY IS GOOD BUT TELL WHO WILL PICK HIM OVER KOBE. ONLY HATERS ON TNT WHICH RANKED KOBE #10. THAT IS THE MOST WIERDEST THING EVER AFTER COMPARING HIM TO THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME MICHEAL JORDAN.

  • btshowtime

    CHARLES THE LOSER BARKLEY N KENNY THE CRACKHEAD SMITH SHOULD BE THE ONE THAT SHOULD GO FISHING FOREVER N WHY IS TNT ALWAYS HIRING DUMB AND UNEDUCATED PEOPLE LIKE CHARLES THE LOSER BARKLEY N KENNY THE CRACKHEAD SMITH. THOSE TWO IDIOTS SHOULD RANK AS # 1 N 2 HUMAN BEING WITH TO MUCH COW DUNG IN THEIR BRAINS.

  • Ron

    ^ hahahahaha

  • btshowtime

    CHARLES BARKLEY (THE BIGGEST LOSER IN THE NBA) AND KENNY THE CRACKHEAD SMITH WHICH NOBODY IN THE NBA KNEW EXISTED ON EARTH BEFORE TNT HIRED. HOW SHOULD THE BOTH OF U LOSER BE COMPARE TOO. # 1 N 2 IN THE NBA WITH UR HEADS FULL OF COW DUNGS. SO WHICH ONE OF U LOSER IS # 1.N BUT TO ME BOTH OF THEM SHOULD BE THE #1 CAUSE BOTH IDIOTS ARE FULL OF TIHS.

  • btshowtime

    KOBE WILL NEVER BE #1 EVEN IF HE WINS 100 CHAMPIONSHIP. LOOK @ lebaby THAT IDIOT IS A WALKING TAVELING ALL DAY DUNKING AND NOTHING TO PROOF ON HIS RESUME BE BETTER THAN KOBE. ALL lebaby DOES THAT IS BETTER THAN KOBE IS WALKING OF THE COURT WITHOUT SHAKING OTHER PLAYERS HAND AFTER A LOST. WHAT A SORE LOSER AND HOW COME NOBODY TALKED ABOUT IT. IF THAT WAS KOBE HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN KILLED ALREADY.

  • btshowtime

    TJ simmer AND THE REST OF THE KOBE HATERS SHOULD GO FISHING WITH lebaby (AKA: LEBRICK)I ONLY KNOW HOW TO DUNK WITH MUSCLES AND NO BRAIN BE BETTER THAN KOBE. ONE THING IS CERTAIN THAT MAKES JAMES #1 IS HE SURE IS UGLIER THAN KOBE. IMAGINE LEBRICK AS JUST A REGULAR CITIZEN,EVEN AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRLS WOULD REJECT HIS ASS FOR BEING SO DAMB UGLY. OH YEAH LEBRICK IS ALSO BETTER THAN KOBE IN BEING THE MOST THUGGISH SUPER STAR IN THE HOOD. THAT FULL IS AN UNDERCOVER WANGSTER. AND TO THINK THAT DAVID STERN ALWAYS WANTED THE NBA BE LIKE BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL PICK A THUG WITH TATTOOS THAT U CAN’T EVEN SEE B THE FACE OF THE NBA. TO ME THE NBA IS A LEAGUE FULL OF DUMB THUGS, KOBE HATERS. YOU GUYS ARE BIATCHES. TO ALL THE HATERS IN THE NBA SHOULD ASK LEBRICK IF THEY CAN FIND HIS RING. OH YEAH HUH THE ONLY THING HE GOT IS A DUMB SEASONS MVP WHO WAS SHOOTING LIKE A ONE MAN TEAM NEVER BE BLAME FOR ANYTHING BUT BEING THE UGLIEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE.

  • btshowtime

    HACKAMEAL UR AN INFANT IN A GROWN MANS BODY SHOULD JUST SHAQ UP UR MOUTH CAUSE U BELONG WITH THE OTHER TWO IDIOTS ON TNT. BUT TO ME HACKAMEAL IS FOR SURE THE BIGGEST IDIOT.

  • btshowtime

    I BET RIGHT NOW RED IS SMOKING HIS CIGAR AND CONGRADULATING PHIL JACKSON ON BEATING HIS SORRY ASSSSSSS 9 NBA CHUMPIONSHIPS. RIP RED HOW DO U LIKE THE X ON PHIL JACKSON’S HAT. NOW WHO’S BETTER RED OR PHIL. IF I DO THE MATH I THINK THAT TEN IS GREATER THAN 9. RED 9 WILL ALWAYS BE URS BUT TEN BELONGS TO THE ZEN MASTER. THE GREATEST THING THAT I HEARD IN THE FINAL FROM PHIL WAS HE WILL SMOKE A CIGAR FOR RED!!!!!!

  • girlloveslakers

    <3 <3 <3

    PS. Can't make the parade, and I feel like the sick kid who has to stay home while the rest of the family goes to Disneyland. :(

    Celebrate for me Sucka MCs. <3

  • lakerman1

    TJ Simers needs to find sastifaction by belittling others. It is the only joy he gets. The guy gets off on ragging on his own family i mean look at him he’s a pathethic looking weasle and there is no way his wife is having sex with him probably his pool boy. Guys like him give journalism a bad name’ he should not even be allowed to write about the lakers. We need writers like Jason who try to instill good feelings in all of the dedicated fans who stood behind our team and not come up with some mindless tripe about the Championship is all about the Lakers, it is about the fans and perhaps someone needs to pound that into his A$$. Sorry to make this about TJ but what he wrote absolutely infuriated me. The lakers are the greatest Franchise ever and each Championship represents the great city of Los Angeles.

  • LifeLongLakerFan

    Great Article man.

  • WifelovesLuke

    btshowtime, you need to open up with your feelings man. Stop holding everything inside. Let it out and tell people how you really feel.

    *by the way, that was sarcasm!

  • MR JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

    [Comment ID #76290 Will Be Quoted Here]

    …I lived in Miami in the 90’s but hated the Heat with a Passion!Yeah, had to get league pass to catch My Beloved Lakers in Miami!
    …Always been a die-hard Lakers fanatic 4 life! …Ran with some very physical dudes (pick up games) almost nightly, sometimes with Alex Penelas, The Mayor of Dade County, on the weekends! …Great guy and really good baller!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Penelas

  • LEADERFISH

    ^^impressive WOW!!!!! Did you get his autograph? LOL Geez what an ignoramous and in your 50’s and still an idiot.

  • MR JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

    The more LEADERFISH follows me around this site, the clearer it becomes that I’ve probably been debating with a seemingly 12 year olds’ inferior complex, as his frustrated angry little boy comebacks would attest!