“Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled, but what we can control is how we react to it.”
The 2009-10 season for the Los Angeles Lakers has been an up-and-down roller-coaster. At certain points the Lakers will play at a sub-par level, while at other times they look as though they cannot be beaten.
The regular season featured a Lakers team that finished at a surprising 57-25 record, with losses against teams like the Clippers, Rockets, Raptors, and Hornets.
Entering the 2010 playoffs, the Lakers lost six of their last ten games and many Laker fans were unsure as to how their team would perform against the young Oklahoma City Thunder.
But someone once said, “Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”
The Lakers got an early wake-up call during the first round of the playoffs, when they were tied 2-2 against the 8th seeded Thunder. The speculations grew and most people were shocked by the Thunder’s ability to stand up to the Lakers. The Lakers were in the same situation as the ’07 Mavericks; both top seeded teams were tied up at 2-2 and faced adversity much earlier than expected. Unlike the Mavericks, who were unable to overcome the adversity and beat the Warriors, the Lakers refocused and put away the Thunder.
All of the Lakers’ doubts and uncertainties quickly vanished when they beat the Thunder in six and won the clincher on the road at the hectic Ford Center. The media and the fans went from questioning the Lakers’ ability, to considering them the team to beat again.
As the Lakers were gearing up to face the Utah Jazz, many people believed that the series would be an easy one for the Lakers. But there were still people who “hated” on the team and particularly their star, Kobe Bryant, for being too “old”. From the avid fans across the world to the NBA analysts, people considered Kobe as someone who lost that “step”. Charles Barkley believed that Kobe could no longer take over games or be that dominant player that we have come to love.
From the early stages of his career, Kobe has fought through adversity and every time he has answered the call and kept the “haters” quiet.
Game 3 of the second round was proof that Number 24 still had that superstar ability. Kobe took over the game and led his team to a commanding 3-0 series lead. Many naysayers would say, “He had one good game, so what?” Well just in case they didn’t know, Kobe has been consistent all postseason long. In Game 4, Kobe put up another brilliant show, pouring in 32 points. Not bad for an “old man”, huh?
Fighting through adversity has become a habit for the Lakers. The Lake Show had to prove to the world last year that they were capable of winning a ring. Pau Gasol always has to deal with the tag “soft” and Kobe has been fighting all throughout his career.
This round, the Lakers are playing the Phoenix Suns and as usual, the haters are hating — again. Despite the fact that the Lakers dominated in Game 1 and Kobe dropped 40 points, the critics still didn’t give the Lakers the credit they deserved. Suns’ forward Amare Stoudmire called Lamar’s 19 points and 19 boards a “lucky performance.” In that case, Lamar has had many “lucky” games in his career.
However, we have to ignore those comments, and believe in our Lakers to silence the critics and raise that 16th trophy. We know Kobe will fight, we know Pau will fight, we know the Lakers will fight, and as the Lakers Nation we must always fight!
Follow Ramneet Singh on Twitter @RamneetKB24.