Through out the life of an NBA franchise there are certain goals that owners would love to see their team achieve. These goals are mainly dependent on the growth of the franchise. A new franchise for example would have a goal of achieving a winning record for the season. After that is accomplished, the next season they may want to make the playoffs, and eventually win an NBA Championship. Every team has different goals that hang on the age and success of their franchise.
NBA fans look at the Los Angeles Lakers, as a very spoiled franchise. This would explain why thebleachereport.com ranked the Lakers as the 2nd most hated franchise in sports, behind the Yankees. You do not attain this spot by being unsuccessful; in fact I believe this hatred comes from a dominant attitude that the players/fans carry with them due to their success. Along with the success that the Lakers achieved since their founding in 1947, came the evolution of their goals.
Through out their 65-year history they have achieved more than some teams could even imagine: 8 league MVP’s, 12 Finals MVP’s, 3 Coach of the Year awards, 60 all-NBA 1st Team honors, 132 All-Star appearances, 25 Hall of Famers, 9 Olympic medalists, 31 NBA Finals, and finally, 16 NBA championships. After all of those things are said and done, where does that leave them? What more can they do?
It is at these moments where they must look at where they have been and who has brought them here. There are few people that can lay claim on the recent status of the Lakers, but the one who is on the top of that list is Kobe Bryant. Kobe is one of those rare players that come along once in a blue moon. He will go down as one of the greatest players to ever walk the earth, and for that, he is hated. He has been loyal to this team, as we have to him, since 1996. During his time in the NBA, Kobe has come close to winning as many rings as the benchmark player that Kobe and all other modern wing players are compared to: Michael Jordan.
That is why the Lakers find themselves with the current goal of building a team to give Kobe the best chance to win one more ring, to move closer to duplicating Jordan, to finishing his Hall of Fame plaque.
Given the recent CBA restrictions, the Lakers front office have put together the best team possible to give Kobe his best shot at another championship. In fact, they have gone out on a few limbs in hope of bringing a combination of players together that can go all the way. Again. With the acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers could potentially be in the cross hairs of an $85 million dollar luxury tax next year. Why go to all this trouble? So many teams out there are willing to dissolve their current, mediocre roster in that name of rebuilding. Why not L.A., and why not now?
Even though teams may have different goals that they want to accomplish each season, that doesn’t meant they can’t accomplish multiple ones at the same time. Kobe Bryant is not as young as he used to be, that’s not to say he can’t be one of those top players that dominates the game. If there is anything I have learned from watching the Lakers for the last 16 years it’s that if you tell Kobe Bryant he can’t do something, sit back and watch him prove you wrong.
Tell him he can’t play injured and watch him play for an entire season with a dislocated finger. Tell him he can’t win ONE without “The Big Fella” and watch him win TWO. Tell him he cant score consistently, he will drop 50 points in four straight games (to match Wilt Chamberlain’s record) and do it six more times that season. Tell him he lacks defense and he will make the All Defensive Team 11 times. The list can go on and on.
So maybe the goal over the next two years isn’t to simply put pieces around him to help him win one more ring. Maybe it’s also to help him achieve a goal he has set for himself. Maybe it’s to spend what ever is needed to help him on his road to basketball immortality. Or maybe it’s the franchises way of saying, thank you. Thank you for all of the blood, sweat, and tears you have put into this team. Thank you for getting us to where we are. Thank you for the memories.
With this season now under way, and despite a soon-to-be-forgotten slow start, we have officially begun Kobe’s last chance(s) at his/our goal(s). It is not going to be easy, it is going to take hard work and dedication from everyone. And yes, maybe even a little bit of luck. At the end of the day, we can bank of the fact that the owners and mangers of this franchise have put the Lakers – and their fans – in the best position to start this journey.
And with that, let the journey for the sixth begin.