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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne SECOND THOUGHTS

Get With This Program and Forget About Lakers

May 26, 2003|Chris Dufresne

Hello. My name is Chris and I'm a Laker-holic. I recently completed a 10-day stay at an undisclosed "relaxation farm" to help me cope with the second-round playoff loss to San Antonio.

I am releasing the transcript of my exit interview in the hope it can help others.

Dr. J: Have a seat. The staff at Shady Acres feels you've made tremendous strides since the Game 6 debacle and believe you're ready to function again in society.

Patient: Thanks. I appreciate you (inaudible) getting me in with your mid-level roster exception.

Dr. J: This session is confidential, so say what's on your mind. Go ahead, shoot.

Patient: There you go bringing up (inaudible) Robert Horry again.

Dr. J: Horry? I never mentioned him.

Patient: It was your tone of voice. I saw you guys with your clipboards watching me shoot baskets in the compound.

Dr. J: Well, we did find it odd that you shot precisely 38 three-pointers every day during lunch break.

Patient: That's right, and not once did I ever shoot two for 38.

Dr. J: Oh, right, Horry. Anyway, we think you're ready to face June without the Lakers. You OK with no parade?

Patient: It's going to be tough. See, for throwback Laker fans this is all about getting over on that rat (inaudible) Red Auerbach. No kid in L.A. who lived through those Boston heartbreaks in the '60s imagined we could catch the Celtics in NBA titles. But they've got 16 and we've got 14 and when we get to 17 I'm going to light a cigar so big it could light up Havana.

Dr. J: Fourteen? You're actually counting the five titles the Lakers brought from Minneapolis?

Patient: You bet your (inaudible) parquet floor, and I've got the George Mikan tattoo to prove it. Anyway, I'm not getting younger and I consider this year a blown championship opportunity.

Dr. J: What might you do this June with no Lakers?

Patient: Shave. Maybe get the TV remote surgically removed from my hand. Take a shower. Make eye contact with my kids. Quit staring at the clock. Get off the couch. Join the Annika Sorenstam fan club. Either that or split the atom.

Dr. J: The good news is you're no longer waking up with night sweats.

Patient: No, but I still dream that the Lakers take the floor in the playoffs with Jannero Pargo, Slava Medvedenko, Samaki Walker, Mark Madsen and Kareem Rush.

Dr. J: That was no dream, but let's move on. As far as off-season acquisitions, any big names you think the Lakers should pursue?

Patient: People have mentioned Karl Malone or Scottie Pippen, but the guy I'm thinking about is actually deceased.

Dr. J: Deceased?

Patient: Yeah, Dr. Atkins. He passed on not long ago, but new research suggests his high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet may not be as nuts -- very high in protein, by the way -- as some have suggested. I say any diet where Shaq can eat all the steak and butter he wants and lose weight has to be explored. I'd spend $24.95 on any Atkins book before I spent $24.95 on Keon Clark.

Dr. J: We feel it's important you explore outside interests. That's why we let you watch "American Idol" this week in the main ward. Did you enjoy it?

Patient: Yeah, but the big guy, Ruben, only made me think of what Shaq might look like when he reports to camp. And that twig, Clay, is a dead ringer for a young Danny Ainge.

Dr. J: We really need you to focus on other sports. You must be thrilled about the Mighty Ducks. How much do you know about hockey?

Patient: Two things. That they play it on ice and Minnesota has scored only one fewer goal since being ousted from the playoffs than it scored in four games against the Ducks.

Dr. J: How about Sorenstam's performance at the Colonial?

Patient: Have our troops found Vijay Singh yet? I heard he was hiding out in a sand bunker. Guess he got his wish when Sorenstam missed the cut. Listen, there have always been goofs like Singh standing in the way of history. I guarantee you when Lewis and Clark set off on that expedition some jerk in a coonskin cap screamed, "You won't get past the Continental Divide!"

Dr. J: Good, this is real progress. What about the NFL's possible return to a new stadium in Carson?

Patient: That's the landfill, right? My gut says any local project involving a dump should also involve the Clippers but I suppose, depending on Geiger counter readings, the NFL might be able to save money in Carson by staging night games without lights.

Dr. J: The Dodgers are hot.

Patient: Yeah, I thought they'd moved back to Brooklyn but saw where the L.A. Times actually put them on Page 1 this week.

Dr. J: Your chart indicates a keen interest in college football. What do you make of Miami and two other schools leaving the Big East for the ACC?

Patient: (Yawn). I don't know whether I'm more fired up about Clemson at Syracuse or Syracuse at Clemson. I heard the Big East commissioner say Miami's defection would be "the most disastrous blow to intercollegiate athletics in my lifetime." Sorry, but Miami doesn't even crack my top five of most disastrous blows.

What about ESPN hiring Lee Corso? Or "Tuesday Night" football? Or that NCAA tournament "play-in" game at Dayton? Or Nebraska signing Lawrence Phillips? What about the bowl championship series letting computer nerds decide the national championship? You tell me how Miami changing its letterhead is worse than Jim Harrick Jr.?

Dr. J: Terrific. Now, if you'll just sign your exit interview papers we'll be finished.

Patient: Papers? I'm not signing anything.

Dr. J: What?

Patient: You think Shaq would sign exit papers?

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