The Birth of “The Machine”

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    It is the 2004 NBA Draft live from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Players such as Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Andre Iguodala, and Luke Jackson have all been taken in the lottery, and thus went up to take their picture with the Commissioner David Stern. All the players that were scheduled to be there had already heard their name called.

    Now the Lakers are on the clock, and draft little known (at least by most Lakers fans) Sasha Vujacic, a 6’7 guard out of Slovenia. Unexpectedly, and without an invitation, Sasha is in the building and proceeds to put on his purple and gold Lakers hat, and go up for his picture with the Commissioner. Lakers fans were left pondering how would this young man pan out. Now in his 4th season, “The Machine” has emerged.

    Sasha Vujacic was born in Slovenia March 8th 1984. Basketball runs in his family as his dad was a coach of a Slovenian team. He began playing basketball at a very young age, as he turned pro at the age of 16 with Snaidero Udine of Italy. Mainly playing point guard in a much different European style of basketball that would bring unique challenges to young Sasha as he set up to start his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    In Sasha’s rookie year, he played in 35 games for the Los Angeles Lakers, starting 3. His inconsistency was seen right off the bat, as he could not find a rhythm for any significant amount of time. Going into his sophomore campaign his inconsistent play remained as Sasha still struggled from the field as he only shot .346.

    However, in a game in Utah, that few Lakers fans have forgotten, Sasha proved he could hit the big shots. With the Lakers trailing 101-100, in OT, and a fouled out Kobe Bryant, Sasha Vujacic hit a 3 pointer to put the Lakers ahead for good. Sasha evened earned enough of Phil’s respect to be on the floor at the end of Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals, which turned out to be one of the most memorable playoff games in Lakers Franchise history.

    Even with less minutes last season, Sasha was able to shoot a career high .392 from the field. Sasha also had another memorable 3 pointer that helped end the 13 game win streak of Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks. However, Sasha could not find a comfortable roll on the team, and was left wondering if his future would remain in Rip City. Fellow Lakers teammates continued to praise Sasha as the best practice shooter on the team. Lakers fans found that hard to believe, as the results were never seen in a game setting… Until Now!

    Sasha is having the best season of his career. He is not showing any hesitation on his shot. He finally has developed the shooter’s mentality, “I’m just going to shoot, if it doesn’t go in, next time it will.” Couple that with one of the quickest releases and purest strokes in the game, and we now have the emergence of “The Machine.” Kobe Bryant has Sasha and the rest of the Lakers believing that this year they can make it to the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Sasha has really proven himself this year as a legitimate piece to the Lakers‘ Championship puzzle. He has turned fans who were once against him in to “Machine Heads,” and you know what, that is something that I am proud to be.

    • Kobe08-09

      LOVE HIM

    • Geloman

      He’s come a long way. He reminds me of a young Peja. This is the shooter the Lakers have always needed and I’m really excited. Such a sweet and smooth stroke. More confident than ever.

    • Jack

      always been a supporter of this guy. No matter how many lakersnation fans always hated me for that.

      but, may be the article was a little too praisable. But, you know what, Sasha is definitely a piece in Laker’s championship run. Every time I think of our bench, it’s Farmer and Sasha. O btw, Sasha’s name before “the machine” was “10 o’clock” because he only did good at the 10 am pratice, but not at the 8pm gametime.

    • ECJ

      Sasha’s a great player. I could do without the Steve Nash hairdo but we can compromise. Keep shootin’ like that and you can grow your hair down to your a**.

      Love you Sasha! Keep it up!

    • Short Diezel

      we need to make sure we leave cap room to resign him

    • caleb

      Sasha will only get better

      THE MACHINE!!!!!!!

    • e-bucher

      you mean 11 o clock jack

    • pr0mega

      Dude, his hair is phenomenal

    • 1ofMany

      I must admit that I used to cringe whenever Sasha was on the floor but I am now becoming a fan of the Machine as well. Not only because of his much improved shooting but he has a way of frustrating opposing guards. Im not sure if he is a trash talker or just a physical player but he has the ability to get under the skin of key opposing players and throwing of their game.
      …*Did anyone else hear Mike Fratello on lastnights broadcast say that Sasha named himself the Machine. Commentators need to get their stories straight before they go on National TV and make someone look egostical when that isnt the case.

      KEEP IT UP SHASHA!!!

    • artpolo5

      wow in the last couple of years i would have cursed Phil for putting Sasha in at the end of the game…now though, i love seeing him at the end of games…my friends keep making fun of me for liking The Machine but this guy can shoot man…plus he always seems to get under the skin of other players (Anthony and Wade from last night)…his defense has also improved this season which has helped his game

      Good job Sasha keep up the hard work…GO LAKERS!!! GET THAT RING

    • daboss1848

      Nice to see the kid get some overdue deserved respect.

      Lots in here, and out there used to hate on this guy.

      Some of u guys expect players to come into their own off the bat if they fit your profile of what a basketball should look like or act like. This kid improved every year and every did what the coaching staff had asked him to.

      Hes coming into his own OR is he a contract year player?

      Time will tell . . .and, if it’s the latter, some of u may have that “i always hated Sasha” mentality next year.

    • ab4sure

      Seeing film of Sasha in Europe he has been able to hit the big shot. This is the first time he has proven his worth as a laker. Another contract yr. player??? $A$HA??? I don’t know. Maybe give a Cookie contract in order for him to prove himself. He plays pesky defense and knows how to irritate opposing players, but he probably needs to stop the flopping like last night when he got fouled and totally overreacted. Sasha.. learn to flop like Fish otherwise you are going to be a marked man.

    • Neo-Laker Era

      HAHA anyone see Sasha cross the hell out of Wade last night? Man, he made Wade looks like a third-rate player lol.

    • MIKE SANDERS

      I never believed in Sasha, in fact I used to cringe every time he stepped on the floor. I have said some of the harshest things when critiquing his game. “Sorry Sasha” I was wrong to doubt you. You have proven me and any other doubters in the LakerNation wrong. This is something I am happy to be so wrong about. Happy to have the Machine :)

    • lakers fan 22

      THE MACHINE!!!!!!!!!

    • mfoznot

      Dig his style.

    • MILO

      I heard yet another hater on ESPN (Skip Bayliss/FirstTake) say that Kobe does not deserve the MVP.He thinks Duncan dserves it! im telling you guy’s, Kobe will not win the MVP.At least not when you have the vast majority of the media hating on you.Having said that, i no longer care about Kobe winning the MVP just as long as The Lakers dont get screwed for the championship.David Stern can stick his MVP award up his fu-ck-en ass…

    • http://mypscae TERMINATOR

      THE MACHINE….HE IS THE NEXT STEVE KERR!!!!!!!!!!!

    • LA fan in Manila

      Must be the hair!!!

      Him and Jordan are the future of LA in the backcourt. Keep on shooting Sasha.

    • Mr. B-DAY

      i hatED sasha. he is now one of my favorites

    • http://www.themonstore.com derrick

      i agree, i didn’t support sasha for a long time but he continues and continues to improve his game. you just gotta love him now… well except for the flopping

    • DCLAKER

      Love the CROSSOVER he put on D.Wade,THAT WAS THE S!@# RIGHT THERE! I like THE MACHINE better than 11:00 anyway.

    • Berger

      [Comment ID #28027 Will Be Quoted Here]

      I did notice that and it really pissed me off. Stu came up with that name. Now the rest of the world thinks sasha is errogant. That really really pissed me off last night

    • Hugo Boss

      I’ve talked to Sasha for the last 2 years when he plays in Denver. He’s signed all 3 of my Vujacic jerseys. I bet not many people even have his jerseys.

      Colorado loves the Lakers!

    • KONG!

      [Comment ID #28037 Will Be Quoted Here]

      I agree, this MVP award will most likely go to LeBi+ch James because he’s David Stern’s will puppet.

      Well who cares!

      Kobe doesn’t need that popularity trophy, he’s after something MORE important, something that LeBron can’t win with votes. Kobe’s after the grandest of all prizes; the NBA Championship!

      Sorry Stern, your “king” will not make if far into the playoffs to make an impact. First round exit me thinks…

    • http://nba.com IMmichael

      its the hair lol he is my new favorite laker

    • thisbedo

      i heard that comment to and even Reggie was laughing about it saying you cant name yourself and saying he isnt the machine yet and other crap
      honestly ive always liked him he never seemed to bad to me he sure missed alot but he wouldnt even touch the next on other shots

    • Phant0M

      [Comment ID #28021 Will Be Quoted Here]

      11. 0.

    • True Lakers Fan

      go Sasha and fucc Stern hes an asshole

    • lakaluva

      I wonder if Kobe has enough pull at Nike to get Sasha a shoe contract, and in return the Lakers can re-sign Sasha for a reasonable contract this year. I know teams will attempt to throw some money his way in the off season. Who knows… I do like the sound of the “The Machine” nike shoe. GO LAKERS!!!

    • varsityoptimism

      i dont like sasha cause he has floppy hair and a scruffy beard. i like him because I have floppy hair and a scruffy beard. la máquina!

    • daboss1848

      Not really sure why there is so much hate for Stern. The MVP trophy is voted on by the media.

      Without Stern, we would still be watching games on public access channles with 12 hour delays.

    • KB24 RULEZ!!!

      Speaking of hair styles, i thnk Sasha and Pau are both good luking guys when they have a short hair..So i suggest them to cut their Hair!!

    • getgasol

      Sasha’s the man. Great shooter.

      It’s unbelievable to me how many of our young guys got so much better this year. Sasha, Bynum, and Farmar all seem like completely different players.

    • http://swishtheball.net KOPAU BYDOM

      [Comment ID #28039 Will Be Quoted Here] hy do you want a both white back court in the future?

    • Phant0M

      Don’t be racist .

      But i highly doubt that shi* will happen LMFAO.

    • http://www.thelakersnation.com Fred A.

      I never wanted Sasha traded cause he plays great defense and can he is a good shooter on top of that.

    • lalball81

      Actually, Mike Fratello didn’t say Sasha coined himself “The Machine”.

      What really happened was Sasha made a basket, Marv Albert said “Ohhh The Machine!”

      Mike Fratello then want on to say “Sasha said he likes the nickname, and is even calling HIMSELF The Machine now”.

      This was said in a half-joking matter, as the commentators chuckled a little.

      But no, Mike Fratello never said Sasha came up with his own nickname.

    • http://realballers.com dM

      [Comment ID #28022 Will Be Quoted Here]

      lmao, I actually like the hair this way.. looks 15 with short hair.

      Reggie Miller laughed when he heard the term “The Machine” last night.. we’ll end up with the last laugh around May.

    • http://thelakersnation.com kb24 4life

      the machine is playing on fire…

    • erickson

      [Comment ID #28061 Will Be Quoted Here]

      jordan farmar is part black

    • pio2u

      The evolution of the “Machine” & our beloved Lakers have been a joy to watch. I can’t wait to see MORE!!

    • http://www.lakers.com Billy Kupchak

      Sasha ANNOYS other NBA players with his “dramatic” personality, which is why I LOVE THE MACHINE!!! :-D Let’s hang out again & play NBA 2k8, yah? Your crib or my dad’s? GO SASHA!

    • http://frankthetank.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/kobe-bryant-bulls.jpg JoJo

      He looks like a girl. Saaaaassshhha

    • Edward

      Never liked this guy, he lost a lot of Lakers games in the past, he actually lost them… He is getting better though, so as long as he helps the team I’m okay with him. He needs to take better shots, he is not a pull up shooter, not yet at least. If we can continue to set him up then we’ll be fine. Anyone else attribute his recent success to Pau? Giving the whole team more confidence, creating those open looks?

    • xtro

      La Maquina!!!!

    • riv

      He’s cool, but he has to stop crying and looking at Phil Jackson when he commits a foul, and then you see the replay and it was 100% a foul.

      Phil is good on getting on the refs but he does not have to power to change the CALL!.

      So stop the ;(

    • Hector Ramos

      I do not consider Sasha with nickname the machine, I consider Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Jason Kapono those players should have the nickname the Machine. Where was Sasha in the three point shooting competition!!!

    • swaz

      I do not consider Sasha with the nickname the machine, I consider Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Jason Kapono those players should have the nickname the Machine. Where was Sasha in the three point shooting competition!!!