The year is 1987. While three young men from New York City, known as the Beastie Boys, set their feet into the hip-hop world, rapping about seeking amusement in a boring, strict routine. The actual party was all over Southern California. The city of Los Angeles can proudly speak about two NBA titles related to that year, as the Lakers ended up as champions in the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons.
It was “Showtime” when Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and many other greats performed in perhaps the most entertaining way a basketball fanbase had even seen. It was executed in such a unique fashion that many believed it would never be replicated. The Purple & Gold continued to build on their glorious legacy in the following decades, but the name “Showtime” remained locked to the 80’s, until a couple of signings in 2012 revived it in the mind of Laker Nation.
When Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were announced as the newest Lakers to join Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and company, the basketball world stopped and the season’s expectations for the team went as high as possible.
Now, a reality check. It is already 2013 and the Lakers have played 34 games. Only 15 of them were victories, which puts L.A. as the 11th team in the Western Conference, 4 games below a .500 record and the 8th seed. They sit a whopping 11.5 contests behind the West leaders and noisy neighbors, the Clippers. It’s been a whirlwind of a season for the Lakers, who have endured injuries to their best players and coaching changes.
But is there really an excuse for being so poorly ranked at this point of the season? The word at the beginning of the ride was “patience”, as the team tried to weather the storm, claiming that time was needed in order to get the new squad in sync. The new year is bringing a different mindset to LaLa Land, as now a different word is getting bigger and bigger each game:
The Lakers are running out of time. If anything has been learned by the Laker faithful this season, it’s that success isn’t something that is handed to you. No matter how good the team looks on paper, they still have to hit the court, play hard and earn their respect. The Lakers still have to fight for their right to party, because there is no fight, and no party, going on right now. By the time they wake up, would it it be too late for school? Do they even want to go to school?
It still remains to be seen if what drives this Lakers team will be good enough to turn the ship around. They say that in basketball you are only as good as your last shot. For this Laker squad, they are only as good as their last effort. The talent is there. The MVPs, the Defensive Player of the Years, the All-Stars, the tradition, the accolades… The Lakers already have all that. What’s lacking is the knowledge and hunger to put all those things together and get the franchise back to its winning ways.
The championship goal remains the same, but the clock is ticking. There is no right to party in the glorious side of L.A. today.