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In ancient times, 1991, a great leader and teacher, Phil Jackson, observed that the nature of his team, the Chicago Bulls, was similar to a pack of wolves. Before Chicago engaged the rival clan, the New York Knicks, in playoff battle, it was Jackson’s task to band his team together and bring them to self awareness. Jax borrowed from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book 2 and gave to each player, at the top of their Knicks scouting report, the following quote…

Now this is the Law of the Jungle – as old and as true as the sky;

And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back-

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

That pack went on to create NBA legend, cruising through the playoffs, winning the 1991 NBA finals, three-peating twice.

Lately our own alpha wolf’s been up on a hill howling, alone. He misses a different chapter of NBA lore, one created by his own pack, the days of the Monster and the Killer. A 330 pound monster controlled the lane, and Kobe ran free, wreaking havoc. That pack was stocked with lean, savvy veterans. Surrounded by Rick Fox, Robert Horry and Derek Fisher, Kobe grew up safe. Even Horace Grant was there, to help bring legend back into reality. Kobe was the golden child, the adored one, the young killer. He was free then to sharpen his new teeth, humiliate opponents, and be showered by an annual parade of adoration. In that safe environment, Kobe grew into a fearsome, respected opponent who constantly challenged even the Monster’s alpha status. And back in those days, the pack was full of experience and mature with only a couple young pups running around, like Devean George. Remember?

In these last years that’s all been gone. After the big split, the Lakers clan was reformed as a young pack of cubs. Only Kobe and Devean remained from that successful society. Soon even Devean was gone. And so was the Lakers’ dominance.

Kobe spent last summer up on lonely hill, howling. He’s missing the glory, his youth, the clan. He wants to go back. In his fantasy he’s even jumping back through time, right into the old legends, mythological Chicago. Kobe’s grown dissatisfied with his lot and with his days. He misses dominance, and he can’t stand not being great. That, we understand.

But, lately, winds of Laker change have come. Derek Fisher’s back, bringing with him a long memory of the old ways. And he is someone to help lead this new, young pack. The roles of leader and killer are so different. It is the difference between acting and directing. When one directs, their acting often suffers. It diverts some of the vital energy. It’s better then for them to take on a supporting, rather than a main role. Think of it as old energy vs. young. It takes mature energy to lead, but young, quick, vital energy to attack. Jordan led only by example in the old days, not by nurturing. Kobe is much the same.

Fisher, on the other hand, is perfect for a leadership role. For 30 minutes he plays hardnosed ball and leads a team of young wolves. He is a wise, gentle, but firm mentor. He carries with him a fierce, protective energy. He knows all about putting the clan first. And with that same protective energy he leads on D. Did you see what he did to Steve Nash the other night? He ripped him and held him down to 5 turnovers and only 3 assists, crippling the Suns offense. He shot over him. He asserted a tradition, the old knowledge he carries with him. “I am a member of the three ring clan. You shall not pass.”

Kobe, meanwhile is free again. To run. To hunt. To unleash his own, unparalleled fury. Someone else is there to gather the pack. And some of the young cubs have been growing some serious teeth too. Jordan Farmar looks quick and hungry. Ronny Turiaf has grown into a scrappy starter, howling with energy. Mihm and Odom have nursed their wounds and returned strong. And who is that new 10 point 10 rebound bench giant? Listen to the sudden hush that has come over the Andrew Bynum doubters, as it comes clear. There is a new Monster growing in the middle.

What was that sound we heard last week? The mighty being torn? We heard it in previously dreaded and feared Phoenix. We heard it in Staples against mighty Utah.

Yep. The winds have changed. And Kobe’s come right down from lonely mountain, back to the only society of mighty wolves he’s ever known. Chicago? Are you kiddin’ me? I don’t think so. Because the pack is back, baby. The pack is back.

  • ricky

    this is gonna be a fun and very interesting season!

    this may still be a young team and may not look as good on paper, but when they play well, they are an amazing team to watch.

    centers

  • two0one7

    Nicely written. I like the analogy.

  • http://cokespill.com/english/band/jonny.html joninjapan

    you know what i loved about this game?? (i missed the first quarter abd the last 3minutes so i may have missed it)

    - – - no kobe pull up jumper 20ft from the basket – - -

    there was no need. . better quality shots were available

  • DeepFrost

    Feelin’ u Dave :) some really nice read right there

  • jack

    Wow. Whoever wrote it, my thousand thumbs up to you! This article has made me feel the best since .. a long time. My wishes and prayers are with this pack of wolves. I BELEIVE.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dbricks DBricks

    Really diffrent writing style but I liked it..Props man

  • kobe-or-not-kobe

    Awesome article. i hope the team reads it. Very inspiring.

  • Soysauce43

    so far the best written story i guess, good job

  • DCLaker

    I can’t ’til Nov.23 when ‘The Pack’(Cool nickname)play Boston,nothin’against the other teams but this is history.Bynum will really BEAST OUT this game.The Better the competition the better the Lakers play.Is me or is this team playing the same way Team USA played,VERY SCARY.

  • r3dempti0n

    Nicely written article. If you are a TRUE Laker fan then this would put tingles down your spine. Especially accompanied by that picture. And I do agree that “the Pack” is a great nickname for this group.

    The Pack is back baby. Time to do some damage.

  • nate

    great read. thanks

  • DCLaker

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this was all a scam by Phil and Kobe to get these guys to play a lot harder than they were last season by throwing guys them under the bus on purpose.It’s kinda funny after Smush got traded this team really picked up their intensity(except Turiaf).Makes you wonder who the real cancer was.

  • foxxy

    [Comment ID #16730 Will Be Quoted Here]
    YEAH…THIS TEAM LOOKS GOOD…IM LOOKING FOR KB24/D.FISH AND LAMAR TO TAKE THIS TEAM TO NEW HEIGHTS!!!!! CAN YOU SAY M-V-P!!!

  • fatty

    One of the better reads and commentary I’ve seen in a long time.

    The confidence is growing and even my wife who is an occasional watcher notices it.

    Give us 6 weeks, with no signifigant injuries and we will be one solid group to contend with.

  • foxxy

    I BELIEVE!!! RIDE OR DIE IM WITH THE PACK!!!!THIS SEASON WILL BE UNBELIEVABLE…I CAN FEEL IT!!!!!
    LETS GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!

  • PHANTOM

    lets not get to excited over 3 wins…if our perimeter defense doesn’t get better and better fast we are in trouble.

  • AnthonY MusiQ

    Wow… really enjoyed this!! and yes… it did give me tingling sensation down my spine!!! I also have a great feeling about this season and everyone to come!!! We will only get better!!! Let’z never stop howling for we are a pack that will be unstoppable and like one of our killer wolves says (Odom), with a little improvement on D, there’z no pack of mutts out there that will be able to stop us!! The pack is back baby and we are here to stay!! Let’z go Lakers!!!

  • steve

    Well done Davey da..I like it..I like it alot

  • fatty

    A friend is begging for a trade for Cookie.

    This is my thought. Somebody must want Cookie. Whoever that team is I propose a sign and trade.

    They sign Weber for 3.5 mil and two years and trade for Cookie and his two years, 3.5.

    Other team: They get Cookie for free.

    Lakers: We get Weber. A great back up for Ronny. He’s the guy PJ wants. A big who can play the 4. Get rebs, shoots well, great passer in the triangle.

    Weber: He get’s more than the Vet’s minie, plus the 2-3 years he has been asking for.

    What the Fans get, or get rid of: Cookie is gone. Another piece to the puzzle paid the same as Cook. But can actually help us.

    If we keep Cookie, we pay him to do nothing but screw things up.

    Second Unit: Bynum, Weber, Luke, Mo, Farmar

  • gugy

    That’s a nice article.

    Now let’s hope all the wolves will be healthy and hungry throughout the whole season.

  • 123KID

    wow! greatly written!!! makes me pumped up and really excited about this team this year.

  • lakerfan81

    I like a lot of what I have seen so far this year. Bynum has improved, so far, particularly in rebounding. His defense also looks better and he is a lot more active. I like him as a reserve playing a highly effective 20-25 minutes per game. You don’t want to wear him out, hes still only 20 years old.

    The offense looks fluid. The players seem to have a much better grasp of the offense this year. Ronnie in particular, his energy is contagious, his interior passing is beautiful and he seems to know when and where to cut. Walton is one of the smartest players in the league, an amazing passer for a SF. He makes up for his lack of athleticism with his smarts. Kobe is playing the best I have seen him play in 3 years. Maybe he took all this “not a winner”/”not a team player”/”doesn’t make his team mates better” stuff that has been going around lately personally.

    The defense looks better too, though the numbers don’t particularly show it. THey are still allowing a 102.6 ppg but opponents are only shooting 44.5% (14th in the league) from the feild. Not spectacular numbers but better than last year (103.4 ppg and 46.1%). I think the ppg would be lower if they were not turning the ball over so many (15.2 per game). Also the pace is a little bit faster this year. And I would guess that if you took out the Hornets game where no one was sticking with Peja, that those numbers would be better. Still a lot of room for improvement, but the effort is there which is more than you can say for last year.

    One of the most impressive stats for this team in rebounding and fouls. They are 4th in the league at +5. They are grabbing 53.2% of the rebounds. Last year the lakers were -1 in the rebounding department. This has also been without Odom, there best rebounder, for 4 of the 5 games. I think if they keep this up and continue to improve on the defensive end (they have looked fantastic is some games and mediocre in others) than they will surprise a lot of people this year.

  • lakerfan101

    woww..seriously…this article is awesome, made me feel really good about this laker “clan”. Made me believe they have it in them, cuz thats what we need right now, some believers and less doubters.

  • fatty

    Fatty Discontinue’s Preview and Prediction Contest

    Sorry to do this, but working with TLN Staff has become increasingly hard, if not nearly impossible for me.

    I really enjoyed putting together the Previews and Contest, but feel TLN has given me very little choice but to do this.

    My last four Previews and Results have been extremely hard to get staff here to even post. I’ve worked very hard to be timely and thorough. Then submitting them at 5-7 in the AM and waiting for hours, some of them have made it to the site 6-8 hrs later, and only after several emails to remind them to do their job. One prediction article was refused because it was considered unacceptable. Only after repeatedly insisting, was it finally posted.
    Further, emails and messages are rarely returned. Making a committment to TLN has been a one sided affair. I always tried to keep my word in such matters and take it very seriously, I wish a similar effort would have been recipricated from TLN.

  • Jrich

    Fatty, you don’t have to keep posting the same thing on every article. Keep your troubles with the site to yourself. You really didn’t have to put them on blast like that. Not cool

  • osm0nd

    Aww so no more contest?

  • as1084

    that was the cheesiest article i have ever read! i see what u were getting at and it was good but damn was that corny!

  • pr0mega

    Man, then just send me the hoody fatty, I was going to win anyway.

  • steve

    Coach skiles benched the starting 5 with 9 mins left in the 3rd …Wow to say they already hit the skids would be a huge understatement..

  • Davey

    Oh, don’t be too cool for school, as1084.

    Thanks you guys for all the supportive comments! Really means a lot to me. Go Lakers!
    San Antonio Tuesday. Let’s watch our D on Duncan.
    I think we should name games…
    Tuesday… ‘Our D is for Duncan’
    Then, Wednesday, against Houston, ‘Odom’s Revenge’.