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VIEWPOINT LETTERS

Laker High-Wire Act Is a No-Ring Circus

June 19, 2004

The road these Lakers took this season was full of twists, turns, bumps and detours. It's no wonder they now find themselves at a dead end and out of gas.

Adi Rhone

Santa Monica

*

The scouting report on the Pistons was even less accurate than the prewar intelligence.

Jeff Drandell

Manhattan Beach

*

The Pistons had the better shooters, better rebounders, better playmakers, better defenders, better bench, better coaching and a hungrier attitude. This was no upset: The better team won.

For those Lakers fans who don't believe that the above statements are true, I say this: Congratulations! Your level of myopia qualifies you to become Raider fans.

John Enriquez

Huntington Beach

*

Yes, the Pistons won the NBA title, but they cheated to do it. They hustled, played defense, rebounded, made free throws and played together as a team. That isn't NBA basketball -- that is Indiana high school stuff.

Now that the season is over, we should send them Shaq, Kobe, Gary and Karl to show them how real NBA basketball should be played -- don't get in shape, don't practice, don't work, don't play if you have the slightest ailment. Whine, bicker and, above all, put individual ego ahead of the team interest.

Rich Oliver

Huntington Beach

*

Good for Larry Brown. He finally found a pro team that plays like college kids.

Tom Schroeder

San Diego

*

Enough! As a lifelong Laker fan I can't sit through another season of these overgrown brats. Dr. Buss, clean house. I would rather root for mediocre players who play hard every game than watch the current crop of millionaire whiners show up when it suits them.

It's enough to drive a man to become a Clipper fan.

John Smart

Los Angeles

*

Throughout the Finals, the Laker debacle on the court was so horrible that it was easier to look at Tom Tolbert's suits than to watch the game.

Tim Olisker

Beverly Hills

*

The Lakers' collapse proves once again that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. The lessons to be learned from their demise are simple:

1. There is a very fine line between a wily veteran and an over-the-hill star.

2. Although the NBA is known as a players' league, great coaching can still make a huge difference in the outcome of a playoff series.

3. The leaner, hungrier cats will beat the lazy fat cats to the Meow Mix every time.

Mark S. Roth

Los Angeles

*

Kobe won't pass to Shaq, even though he is apparently the only one who can score. Shaq, meanwhile, is too arrogant to learn how to shoot free throws, which cost the Lakers another championship.

Who can blame Phil Jackson for being sick of the whole mess? Flush the bunch of them and start over.

Doug Traer

Canoga Park

*

Shaq's self-proclaimed label of "MDE" is questionable, but if you replace "Dominant" with "Dysfunctional," then it perfectly describes the Lakers.

Dan Vandermeulen

Redondo Beach

*

How clear is it now why Larry Brown is in the Hall of Fame and Phil Jackson isn't? Jackson has always had the most talent in the league and goes along for the ride. Larry Brown always has teams with much less talent, and maximizes them. This series made that crystal clear.

David R. Dorazio

Aliso Viejo

*

With all of the second-guessing, the real reason that the Lakers were blown out is that Coach Jackson didn't get his job done. The main job of a head coach of any pro sport is to keep the big egos in line and to assure teamwork. Maybe, with the size of Shaq's and Kobe's egos, the job was impossible.

Nate Rubin

Los Angeles

*

Without taking anything away from the Pistons, I don't know which stunk the most in the NBA Finals, the referees or the shooting of Kobe Bryant. Both contributed to making a farce of the playoffs.

Jack Allen

Pacific Palisades

*

The two injuries that hurt the Lakers the most were those of Sam Cassell and Troy Hudson. If these Timberwolves had been healthy, the Lakers would have not been in a position to be humiliated by the Pistons.

Ron Wolotzky

Los Angeles

*

Well, the NBA pundits and experts, for once, were correct. The semifinals really were the real Finals: Detroit versus Indiana.

Rick Mione

Pasadena

*

It is known pretty much throughout the country that L.A. fans arrive late and usually leave early. But, for an owner like Jerry Buss to give up on his team and leave after the third quarter of Game 5 shows a real lack of class. I guess when you have all his money, women and fame, you can do anything you want.

Richard Whorton

Valley Village

*

The future of the Lakers will be much brighter than Mark Heisler indicates.

Kobe Bryant is the greatest player in the NBA, and in order to keep him a Laker, those who have disrespected him need to be replaced with those who will appreciate him. Phil Jackson should be replaced by Pat Riley, and Shaquille O'Neal should be traded for young, athletic talent that will complement Kobe. These two simple moves will ensure that we will continue to see the Lakers compete for championships for years to come.

The Lakers have already lost Jerry West. Losing Kobe would mean that one of their most loyal fans would be lost too.

Dara Sheik

San Francisco

*

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