After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of December 15-21, over their 66-year history.
December 16, 2009
Kobe Bryant lifted the Lakers in overtime with a buzzer-beating jump-shot over Charlie Bell to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 107-106 in Milwaukee. Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points in 50 minutes of action, while Pau Gasol had a monster game with 26 points and 22 rebounds.
December 19, 2003
Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning, buzzer-beater at the end of regulation, when the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets by a score of 101-99 at the Staples Center. Bryant’s fade-away over Jon Barry counted for two of his 13 points on the day. Shaquille O’Neal led Los Angeles with 26 points in the win.
December 20, 2001
Lakers’ play-by-play announcer Chick Hearn missed his first broadcast in 36 years and 3,338 games, when the Lakers took on the Houston Rockets in Texas. At this time, Hearn was recovering from cardiac bypass surgery, but returned to the booth later in the 2001-02 season. Hearn’s last broadcast occurred during Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals, when the Lakers beat the New Jersey Nets to win their third straight NBA Championship. Hearn is known for coining popular basketball phrases such as “slam dunk,” “air ball,” and “no harm, no foul.”
December 21, 1980
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored a season-high 42 points to surpass 25,000 career points, in a 135-102 Lakers victory over the San Antonio Spurs. On this date, Abdul-Jabbar became just the fifth player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point milestone.
December 21, 1985
The Lakers won their NBA-best 24th game of the season, raising their record to 24-3, when they defeated the Washington Bullets 96-84. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the scoring attack with 29 points, while Magic Johnson followed suit with 15 points and 13 rebounds. The Lakers finished the 1985-86 regular season with 62 wins, making it one of 11 seasons in team history with 60 or more victories.
After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of December 8-14, over their 66-year history.
December 8, 2000
Shaquille O’Neal broke a 40-year-old NBA record, previously held by Wilt Chamberlain, when he went 0 for 11 from the free throw line in a loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. Chamberlain previously set the record when he went 0 for 10 from the charity stripe against the Detroit Pistons on November 4, 1960.
December 10, 1995
James Worthy’s No. 42 jersey was retired at halftime against the Detroit Pistons at the Great Western Forum. He became just the sixth player in Lakers’ history to enjoy this honor. The three-time NBA champion played all 12 of his NBA seasons with the Lakers, while averaging 17.6 points per game during his career. Worthy was a seven-time NBA All-Star and the 1988 NBA Finals MVP.
December 12, 1971
The Lakers won their 21st straight game, when they beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-95 at the Great Western Forum, setting a new NBA record for most consecutive wins. The previous record of 20 straight wins was held by both the Washington Capitols and Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers’ unprecedented streak continued for twelve more games, as they set an NBA record for most consecutive victories at 33, which still holds today.
December 12, 1984
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the first player in NBA history to exceed 32,000 career points, when he dropped 15 points in a 131-107 Lakers win over the Golden State Warriors.
December 14, 1962
Elgin Baylor totaled 50 points for the Lakers, while Wilt Chamberlain scored 63 points for the San Francisco Warriors, in a 120-118 Lakers victory. This was one of only three times in NBA history that two players from opposing teams had scored at least 50 points in the same contest.
December 14, 1975
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set an NBA record with 29 defensive rebounds, when the Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons 110-100. Abdul-Jabbar shares the record for most consecutive seasons (2) leading the league in defensive rebounds, when he set the standard in both the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons. “Cap” also set the record for most defensive rebounds in a single season during the 1975-76 campaign, with 1,111.
After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold over their 66-year history.
December 1, 1981
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes the second all-time leading scorer in NBA history after scoring 14 points in a 117-86 rout of the Utah Jazz. Abdul-Jabbar, the eventual six-time NBA champion, finished the 1981-82 season with more than 28,000 career points, trailing the NBA’s then leading-scorer Wilt Chamberlain by 3,000 points. “Cap” finished his playing career in 1989 as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a record that still holds today.
December 4, 1987
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s streak of consecutive games scoring 10+ points is halted at 787 games. The future hall of famer scored just seven points in an 85-83 Lakers loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Abdul-Jabbar’s streak currently ranks second best in NBA history, behind Michael Jordan’s 866 consecutive games of scoring in double figures.
December 5, 2012
Kobe Bryant becomes just the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. Bryant netted 29 points, as the Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 103-87. Kobe currently sits behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain for most points scored in an NBA career. At 34, Bryant was the youngest player to ever reach the 30,000 point plateau.
December 6, 2002
The Lakers overcome a 27-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 105-103 at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant finished with a game-high 27 points, while scoring 21 of his 27 in the fourth quarter. Bryant hit a jumper with 8.4 seconds left in the game to give the Lakers the lead and the eventual win. Shaquille O’Neal added 26 points and 11 rebounds. This game marks the largest fourth-quarter comeback in Lakers history, and the second largest fourth-quarter rally in NBA history, behind Milwaukee’s 28 point turnaround in 1977.
December 7, 1986
Lakers head coach Pat Riley records his 300th career win behind a 132-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The former Lakers guards became the 27th head coach in NBA history to win at least 300 games. Riley broke the record for fastest NBA head coach to 300 wins, which was previously held by Billy Cunningham of the Philadelphia 76ers at 430 games. Riley needed just 416 games to reach the milestone.
By Alex Lambeth, with contributions from Jory Dreher
Jesse Buss, Lakers’ Scouting Coordinator and L.A. D-Fenders’ Director of Scouting, joined LakerNation.com for an exclusive interview this past week.
Buss, the youngest descendant of the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss, is a vital member of the Lakers’ scouting staff. He joined us to describe his role for the Lakers, detail the intricate scouting process he oversees, speak on his father’s legacy, as well as a plethora of other topics.
Take a listen above, as Buss joined our inaugural Laker Nation Podcast, or read below to learn more about the youngest Buss sibling, and his close relationship with his father:
Alex Lambeth: What exactly is your role with the Lakers?
Jesse Buss: My job as the Director of Scouting basically consists of scheduling our scouting staff to see college games for the upcoming season, helping organize meetings with all of our scouts, and scouting prospects on a regular basis. I’m in constant contact with our staff. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other of what players we need to spend most of our time focusing on, important events we need to attend, and just talking about what we’ve seen throughout the entire scouting year. I share an office in El Segundo with Ryan West, and him and I talk almost everyday—about everything that goes into scouting. Basically the day after the draft and during the off-season it’s more about preparation for the upcoming season and the following draft.
AL: How does scouting for the D-Fenders differ from the Lakers?
Buss: It differs in the fact that in the NBA draft, you know the players that you’re scouting on a year-to-year basis are going to be in the draft eventually—whether it’s in the same year that you scout them or in the future. For the NBDL players that are drafted, they come from leagues all around the world. They could have been in the NBA at some point and played overseas for a couple years, then want to get back into the NBA system and on the radar. They could be rookies from college who didn’t get drafted into the NBA, or they could be veterans of the developmental league. The draft pool consists of players that the league signs to a contract and then they participate in the draft, if another D-League team does not already hold their rights.
AL: What specifically do you look for in prospects?
Buss: There are a number of factors that I use when evaluating prospects. I think it’s important to not focus too much on one thing specifically, but to focus more so on the overall picture. There are obvious things on the court that involve physical gifts and talent levels, but there are also off the court characteristics that we look at. We have staff rank each player individually that will make the most positive impact on our franchise.
AL: The Lakers as an organization seems to always carry a “win now” mentality, does that put additional pressure on your staff to find guys who can fit in quickly?
Buss: I would say it’s the same pressure when we’re suggesting drafting any player for the Lakers. It’s important to have a player who can come in and make a difference right away, but I would say the factor we really look at is who we believe is going to be the best player for the Lakers overall. The goal I personally have in my mind is that I want us to draft a player who will contribute to the Lakers winning for the longevity of his career.
AL: Give us your thoughts on rookie forward Ryan Kelly out of Duke University.
Buss: He’s a fundamental player with a good amount of skill and a high basketball IQ. I believe he fits well with this system that we have, because he can add another dimension to our team. We don’t have a guy like him right now. There aren’t many guys with his size, he’s a legit 6’11”, that have the ability to shoot the ball from the range that he does. He’s a hard worker and has a good character, and I’m excited to watch him play.
AL: What kind of impact do you think rookie Elias Harris will have with the Lakers this season?
Buss: He brings certain things like his energy, toughness and athleticism that we can definitely use. It’s important to have guys who will work hard day in and day out, and always bring a level of competitiveness to raise the levels of others. It’s important to get younger players on the roster that our staff can continue to develop and eventually make an impact on the court.
Jory Dreher: What was it like growing up in a “basketball family”? Especially when your father, the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss, was one of the most iconic sports owners in history?
Buss: It definitely added to all of our competitive natures. As a family, we love to win and we’re very dedicated in doing so. My dad was able to instill that in all of us at a young age. For me personally, it was great to be able to share a deep passion amongst loved ones and often find common ground through it.
JD: If you could sum up the ‘Buss legacy’ in one sentence, how would you describe it?
Buss: That’s tough. I would say he was very successful in whatever he put his hands on, but the most important thing is that he had a strong presence and it proved to be the right way to run the franchise.
JD: Out of the sixteen championships that the Lakers have won, do any of them stand out to you personally? Do you have a favorite?
Buss: I remember five of them, which were the first three with Kobe and Shaq and then our most recent two in 2009 and 2010. I’d probably say the 2000 championship, because the first one you get to experience is always the sweetest, and that was really the first one for me. I was born late ’87 so the last one we won before that I wouldn’t remember. But yeah, that was definitely the most memorable one for me.
JD: How sweet was it to finally get past Boston in the 2010 Finals?
Buss: The last time we beat Boston I wasn’t even alive yet, but I do know how much it meant to my dad. He said on many occasions that he hated Boston—there’s nothing better than beating Boston when we were able to. After the ’08 Finals, it was especially sweet to beat them in 2010 and do it on our home floor. That was a wonderful experience.
JD: How do you expect Dr. Buss’s legacy to live on?
Buss: He’ll always be known as a person who cared deeply about the Lakers and the fans, even if he didn’t personally know all of them. He did everything he could to constantly bring a winner to Los Angeles and helped build the NBA to where it is today. He was a mentor and an inspiration to many people, including myself. He was very well known for his generosity. He was just a really cool guy and I couldn’t have asked for a better father.
JD: What is the biggest lesson about the business that you’ve learned from your father?
Buss: To always have the right people around you and let them do their jobs.
JD: I know that your father was your best friend, could you just speak on the bond that you two shared?
Buss: He was just somebody I could talk to about pretty much anything. He just understood all aspects of life—whether it was talking about a movie we had just seen, the latest hip-hop song that came out, basketball, or anything personal. He just really knew how to relate to anyone he talked to. He let me grow and develop as a person without trying to force me to do something. He was the type of person that would help you with something if you needed it and asked for it, but would prefer to let you figure it out yourself. Personally, I believe that was very empowering for me as an individual. I can’t thank him enough for everything that he has done for me. It is definitely a huge void in my life not having him here; I really miss talking to him.
JD: I recall a past interview that you had given to Lakers’ beat reporter Mike Trudell, in which you said your brother, Jim Buss, took you under his wing. What are some of the things that you picked up from him?
Buss: The first couple of scouting trips I did years ago were with him. He kind of just showed me the ropes in the sense of what the job entails. I would probably say the most important impact that he’s had on me is just the trust he’s put in me, and also at the same time just telling me to trust and believe in myself, as well.
AL: How often do you collaborate with your brother and General Manager Mitch Kupchak?
Buss: We often talk about everything that’s going on with anything that’s basketball related: anything that’s current, any game we saw, what’s going on with our team. But mainly we collaborate with college scouting and anything involved with that. I like to think that I’m constantly an information source for anything that’s going on scouting-wise for them. During the entire draft process, which is basically the whole year once the college season starts and even a little bit before that with the tournament, camps, and workouts, we collaborate almost everyday in preparation for the draft.
AL: Is that probably the most grueling part of the season for you, right up until the draft?
Buss: I would say probably during the last month, because you have all the information that you need. You’ve seen all the players you need to see and now it’s just about putting that to use. We watch a ton of tape, especially the last month when we’re all rooted and we’re able to be in the office everyday, as opposed to having to be on the road constantly. So, we’re really able to grind out everything that we need to. It’s more excitement than I would say grueling. We all love to do it and we all work very well together and we have a blast when we’re doing it.
AL: You started out as an assistant to Glenn Carraro, may you elaborate on the transitional period from then to now?
Buss: I started working as a basketball operations assistant under Glenn about eight years ago. I would do different things like statistical projects, filing scouting reports, organizing tape for our staff to watch, amongst other things. During that time I was scouting local college games for the first couple of years. Probably three or four years after that process, I started traveling around a lot more often and going to different places around the country and watching more college games. That essentially became the priority of my job. I did that for a couple of years and then I became more involved with the managerial type role in the scouting department.
AL: What is the most challenging part about scouting?
Buss: Well, in terms of scouting prospects there are certain factors that go beyond what a player can bring a team that you can’t really predict: injuries, misfortunes, etc. In terms of the actual job, the travel is difficult at times, but I enjoy it. I would say I’m probably out of town close to 100 days out of the year; I probably take 60 or so flights a year. So the travel can wear on you physically.
JD: With scouting being a year-round job, how many Lakers games are you able to catch per year?
Buss: I watch every Laker game one way or another, whether it’s live or recorded on TV, computer, cell phone, or when I’m actually in the stands. I would say I’m physically there for about half of the regular season games, whether we’re at home or on the road. I’m not present for as many home games because I’m constantly on the road. But at times I can catch the team when they’re playing in the city close to where I’m scouting.
JD: With all the traveling, what do you think is the most exciting part of your job?
Buss: I would say the most exciting part is being able to watch hundreds of new prospects every year. It’s definitely fun to watch players when they’re younger to see their progression and development throughout the years.
AL: Do you have any good scouting stories you can share with us?
Buss: Throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure to attend many exciting basketball games. I think the most interesting experience I’ve had is seeing two games in two different states in one day, and then the next day we’re in a different state seeing a different game. So all that type of travel and how it’s very condensed is interesting and at times, you’re driving through three states in two days.
AL: How about your favorite venue to watch college games?
Buss: I do have a couple. If I had to narrow it down to one actually, I really enjoy going to San Diego State and watching games there. Over the last couple years where they’ve been nationally ranked and they’ve had a couple kids come out there, the crowds have been very energetic and it’s just a great atmosphere. I definitely enjoy watching games there. Besides that, I’ve been to Kansas and that’s always electric. North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, those are all really great schools to watch a game, and Michigan as well. Those are probably my top schools where I like to watch a game.
AL: Finally, your top Lakers players of all-time, in no particular order?
Buss: Well at my office I’m just looking outside and I see all the retired jerseys, so of course I have to mention quite a few of them. In no particular order though, I would say Kobe Bryant, Magic [Johnson], Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
Continuing on Pau Gasol:
Buss: It was during a very crucial time when he came to our team and he proved to be the missing piece. He contributed to two more titles for us. He’s been a great Laker.
AL: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Mr. Buss. It was an honor and we really enjoyed it. We hope you did too!
Buss: Yes I did, my pleasure. Thank you very much.
There you have it Laker Nation! Our exclusive interview with Jesse Buss, Lakers’ Scouting Coordinator and L.A. D-Fenders’ Director of Scouting. We hope to catch up with him again later in the year.
August 15th, 2013 –The Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation partnered with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to host Kobe Up Close.
All proceeds from the event went towards eliminating homelessness in Los Angeles.
The event was a unique opportunity for Lakers fans to access the unfiltered mind of their beloved superstar, Kobe Bryant.
In attendance at the event were current Lakers Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson, new assistant coach Mark Madsen, former Lakers coach Bill Sharman, Lakers executives Jeanie Buss and Jim Buss, former NFL player Terrell Owens, among others.
The event began with CBS sportscaster Jim Hill speaking on Bryant.
Hill on his first impression of Bryant back when he was drafted by the Lakers:
“I remember Jerry West talking about Kobe Bryant and saying he was going to be very, very special. He was going to be one of the true great ones. And Jerry doesn’t say that about a lot of people, especially young people.”
“The first time I met Kobe, I knew then he was going to be not only a great one, but a very special one.”
On just how special Bryant really is:
“We will never see the likes of Kobe Bryant again, he is truly a gifted basketball player.”
“He doesn’t look at basketball as a job. For him it’s a passion. He’s spoiled us with his excellence.”
“What drives Kobe the most is when people doubt him. You will see a devoted Kobe this season like you’ve never seen before.”
Former Laker Robert Horry also spoke on Bryant before the main event started.
Horry on Bryant’s mental edge:
“Kobe’s mindset is amazing. When you see someone in the locker room as focused as he was, it really lifts everyone else up.”
On his relentless work ethic:
“When you walk into practice and you see him in there working hard. He’s in there sweating before you get there and after you leave.”
After Horry’s short segment, the main event with Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel began.
Bryant on the number of minutes he played last season:
“I don’t think it was too many. The Achilles injury was just a freak injury.”
On whether he’ll play less minutes next season:
“That’s the goal … I could sit back until June, I just want that jewelry.”
On when he will play again:
“I don’t know if I’ll be ready opening night, but I am really ahead of schedule.”
On whether it was a personal decision to stop tweeting during games last season or a franchise decision:
“That was my decision. The Lakers know I’m a little too stubborn to ever be told anything.”
On his popularity in China:
“I really don’t know. I started going out there in 1998 and have gone every summer since.”
Kobe was a Lakers fan even before he came to the United States:
“While I was living in Italy, my grandpa used to send me tapes of Lakers games and I absolutely fell in love with them.”
On his decision to skip college and go straight to the NBA out of high school:
“I liked Duke and I absolutely love Coach K. If I had had to make a decision though, I would have gone to North Carolina. Mainly because of the competition and being able to play against Vince Carter every day to improve.”
“The first college letter I ever received was from West Point … I was just happy to get a letter.”
Would he tell others to skip college?
“I would just tell others to follow their dreams.”
On his pre-draft workout with the Clippers:
“The Clippers told me they wouldn’t draft me because they wanted to ‘turn things around.’ They said they wouldn’t be taken seriously if they drafted a 17-year-old kid out of high school.”
On the late Dr. Jerry Buss:
“He knew exactly what his vision was. He was very patient, understanding. He allowed me room to grow as a person.”
On his first time meeting Shaquille O’Neal:
“It was the coolest thing in the world that he had a huge cell phone.”
Which title was Bryant’s favorite during his time with Shaq?
“Number 2. We should have gone undefeated. It still bothers us to this day that we let that one game drop.”
What is Bryant’s relationship with Michael Jordan like?
“It’s like a big brother relationship. He gives me phenomenal advice on how to better elevate my teammates.”
On who are the toughest players he’s played against:
“Allen Iverson was a load to handle. Stephon Marbury dropped 50 on me once. Gilbert Arenas. Today, probably Carmelo Anthony because he’s so strong. Kevin Durant too. The guy who gave me the most trouble though was Tracy McGrady.”
When asked if he was certain he’d be a Laker for life, Bryant responded: “Yeah.”
Bryant on Dwight Howard and his exodus from Los Angeles:
“Dwight is a great kid. We have different perspectives on what it takes to win and what it takes to be successful.”
On trying to convince Howard to stay:
“It’s all about the organization and trying to set them up the best I can for when I retire.”
On his once volatile relationship with Shaq:
“It never bothered me when other people said, ‘You only won because of Shaq.’ It bothered me when Shaq said it.”
On his evolution as both a player and a person:
“I was so consumed with my craft in the beginning of my career. … I go into games now looking at what my guys are going through and who’s struggling, and how I can help. I look at my teammates now as partners.”
When asked if he could have one former teammate return, who would it be:
“I’d take Derek Fisher back … that’s my guy.”
On what he’s most proud of:
“Being a 17-year-old kid and challenging the system at the time.”
Is Bryant chasing Kareem Abdul-Jabar’s all-time scoring mark?
“I’m so obsessed with winning that those type of things don’t really matter to me.”
Which is Bryant’s favorite nickname right now?
“I like Vino right now. Black Mamba is my alter-ego.”
On the ESPN experts projecting the Lakers to finish 12th in the West this season:
“I use it as motivation, as fuel. We were the favorites last year and they were wrong about that.”
On who is the ‘next Kobe Bryant’:
“There’s several. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. Even Nick Young. They all have that gene.”
The event ended with Terrell Owens asking Bryant a few questions. The two share a common neuro-muscular scientist consultant in Barrence Baytos. Both Bryant and Owens raved about Baytos and Bryant called him a “genius” who has helped prolong his career.
The Kobe Up Close event was a great opportunity to delve into the mind of Kobe Bryant.
This revealing ‘other side’ to the ever-intense Black Mamba was certainly riveting and quite interesting.
Bryant will continue what he called an “aggressive” rehabilitation process as he prepares to return from his Achilles tendon tear.
The city of Los Angeles, home of beautiful weather, women and glamour. Home of the greatest organization in sports, The Los Angeles Lakers, but more importantly, the greatest fans. What makes the Lakers and their fans so unique is they mirror one another. They represent L.A., in many ways. The streets of Los Angeles are rough. It’s about taking care of business and being loyal to one another. The fans represent a ride or die mentality for the Lakers organization, and the players of L.A. do the same.
Being a Laker comes with many great advantages, things like playing for an amazing organization that has a history of winning, and playing alongside one of the (if not the) best to do it in Kobe Bryant and of course the fame of Hollywood. More importantly when you put on that Purple and Gold Armor as Kobe would say, you represent this city. As a Laker you represent toughness and feistiness, you are professional and always hungry just like the city. Our players and fans take on personalities of Ice Cube, Jack Nicholson and many more. Ice Cube represents the West Coast and living in hard times earlier in his life, he’s tough and always wants the Lakers to win. Jack on the other hand is calm cool man, but when a play goes wrong or the referee misses a call he loses it, ready to throw a tantrum, and Laker fans out here, we just love it.
I say these things to remind us, who we are and what we represent as fans. We look at the past and current players starting off with Shaq. Shaq jokes around and always smiles but when it came to his play on the court he was dominant and just unstoppable, putting up 40 pts and 20 rebound playoff performances.
We look at Derek Fisher not the biggest or fastest but has the heart of a lion and the nuts of an elephant, I’m pretty sure everyone remembers the play between him and Luis Scola, were he just lit him up and dropped on the floor.
We look at Ron Artest A.K.A Metta World Peace, if their was ever a rumble on the court he was there for his teammates and helped us in game 7 with great Defense and clutch shooting. Todays players, Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the most professional, passionate leaders in Lakers history that never backs down from a challenge.
L.A citizens wake up, work the 9 to 5, grind everyday and when all hope seems lost, they still keep working hard and find a way to get the job done. If the Lakers were down 8 with two minutes left, Kobe and his teammates will find a way to bring us back to win the game. L.A fans and L.A players mirror each other, they are one.
Dwight Howard did not represent LA and who we are. He is extremely talented and is arguably the best center in the league. He is NOT an L.A player, Dwight did not represent this city and our characteristics. He lacked the grittiness, toughness and hunger of the city. Like Tupac said “ To Live and Die in LA it’s the place to be,” We never needed Dwight or needed to beg him, it should have been an honor for him to come back and play. Los Angeles Lakers fans and organization, do not forget who we are, where we come from and what we represent. This is Los Angeles, it doesn’t get better than this. We must remain strong and stay true to ourselves.
– Just One Of Many Hardworking Los Angeles Citizens and Die Hard Laker Fan. Go Lakers.
As NBA teams begin their free agent processes across the country, no bigger spotlight remains than the one on center Dwight Howard.
With the likes of Houston, Dallas, Golden State, Atlanta and of course, the Lakers, competing for his services, Howard remains poised to choose his own career path.
According to ESPNLA.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin, Howard remains firm in his claim that this upcoming decision “has to be wholeheartedly his decision and his alone.”
Only one of those teams mentioned, however, can give Howard the type of legacy any NBA center would dream of.
From George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabar to Shaquille O’Neal, Howard has the opportunity to become the next great big man in line.
A brand new, rather emotional video compilation created by Samuel Limon “theperson18” and his partner John Ramirez, illustrates the incredible potential Howard has if he remains a Los Angeles Laker.
The YouTube video, titled “Dwight Howard: A Destined Legacy“, documents the sheer magnitude of Howard’s impending free agent decision, and the potential legacy he could leave as the Lakers’ next franchise player.
This past NBA season, filled with disappointment and frustration, leaves the Lakers’ fan base questioning the direction of the Lakers this off-season.
Now, with a full Lakers season under Howard’s belt, the onus falls on the front office to bring back the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
It is no secret that the Lakers’ fan base remains split on whether Howard is the true long-term answer for the franchise. Howard’s emotional demeanor paired with his jovial attitude has led to this discord among fans.
But, after battling through a surgically repaired back and a torn labrum this past season, Howard has proved that he is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to pursue a championship.
In the video compilation, Kobe Bryant provided support for Howard:
“I think Los Angeles is the perfect spot for [Howard],” Bryant said in the video, “to assert himself, to kind of put his foot down and have his career really take off.”
The support also radiates from former Lakers legend Magic Johnson:
“His personality fits LA. This guy has a chance to take LA over,” Johnson explained, “Kobe Bryant is the ultimate closer. Kobe Bryant only wants to win. That’s who you should want to play with. That’s who you should want to be paired with. Kobe Bryant needs [Howard], and [Howard] needs Kobe Bryant.”
As Dwight Howard prepares for his free agent meeting with the Lakers’ contingent on Tuesday, be sure to give the above video a look.
Howard’s decision is sure to shape the direction of the Lakers’ franchise for years to come.
* Video created by Going Beyond, a videography company started in Santa Barbara, California.
Normally, being viewed as a nice person is a good thing. Opening doors for people, being very courteous, or even picking someone up when they are down are all examples of being a nice person.
Except for when your name is Dwight Howard. In that case being too nice can make you one of, if not the, most disliked player on your team. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal took to the airwaves this morning on The Max and Marcellus Show on ESPNLA 710, via Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, to talk about how Dwight being “too nice” could land him somewhere he does not want to be.
“I’m a connoisseur of giggling and playing and all that and making you laugh and playing with the fans, but when I cross that line, I’m ready to tear your face off. I don’t care who it is. You could put one of my aunts or uncles out there, and I’m going to give him these elbows in their chest and I’m going to throw it down in their face. That’s what you have to do… He’s just too nice. If I was him, I would get into the same mood I was in.”
It is no secret that Shaq has always been very critical of Howard. From his days in Orlando to now he has always provided his input on what Dwight should be doing. However I cannot bring myself to disagree with Shaquille. Howard has reached a point in his career where he must decide on who he wants to be and what he wants to accomplish. He cannot allow the expectations of fans, media, and the rest of the outside world control him.
“I just know when it comes to pressure, you either run away from it or you handle it,” O’Neal said. “The first day I got to the Forum, the great Jerry Westsaid, ‘Son, look up.’ And I saw Kareem’s jersey, Wilt’s jersey and all the great jerseys. He said, ‘Shaq, I know you do movies, I know you do albums, but you need to get at least two or three championships while you’re here or this move will be considered a bust.’ So for me, it was a lot of pressure but I like the pressure. Especially when you see other greats say that he’s like a Wilt or he’s like a Kareem. I knew I had to step up.”
“He should have known all of this when he signed with L.A. He should have known what he was getting into. My advice to him is to look pressure in the face and give it the one-two combination and knock it out.”
O’Neal did not stop there. As he also spoke about how he wants Howard to put fear into his opponents. He said:
“The fact that he’s the so-called best big man in the league and doesn’t get doubled every time, that’s telling me something. That’s telling me teams respect him but they don’t fear him. I would rather be feared than respected.”
When asked why he has been so hard on Howard he replied by saying that it’s his job. He has to be the way that the great centers before him were. It’s not to be mean to Howard but instead to push him to the greatness in which everyone can see within him.
“I think it’s my duty to help this young man become one of the best big men in the league,” O’Neal said. “I’m from the old school. I’m not doing it nicely. I’m pushing buttons, I’m talking about you and I’m doing it like this. … I think it’s my job as a former big man to get him to play up to par.
“When I was in L.A., Kareem and Wilt never spoke to me. They never said two things to me. I took that as a, OK, you all don’t think I’m as good as you yet. Well, watch this. That’s what it was — motivation. Everything I say should be taken as motivation. He’s the best big man in the league, and it’s my job to make sure he plays that way. Period.”
Even with the back surgery, the torn labrum and all else that bothered Howard was still seen as one of, if not the, best center in the NBA this season. With the type of mindset that Shaq is pushing for him to obtain he would not only become the best center in the league but become on of the greatest ever to play the position. All that is left for Dwight to do is make up his mind and have a mean streak.
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