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Idolatry of Lakers is ludicrous

June 15, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

FROM ORLANDO, FLA. — The Lakers won. Yippee, hooray for them and all that stuff.

Phil now has more rings than Red, like any of us could sleep waiting for this moment, while Jeanie continues searching for her ring, but then that's tweet for another day.

Kobe did it without Shaq, because he had Pau.

Sasha did it without ever making a shot in the Finals.

And the Lakers did it without Jerry, Jeanie, John and Jim here, leaving it to the three unknowns, Joey, Jesse and Janie, to introduce themselves to David Stern and accept the trophy -- the economy apparently affecting even championship organizations.

Good for the Lakers, and who cares whether Orlando proved to be a championship fraud under the glare of pressure?

Congrats to Sun Yue on winning his first championship ring, and could Jerry West have done any better putting this team together than Mitch Kupchak?

Enjoy it while you can, everyone, because Councilman Bernard Parks is already predicting there will be no Lakers dynasty, no back-to-back championships in his argument to have the city pay for a parade.

"I don't think we have a choice," Parks recently told The Times. "This is one of those things that happen once a decade."

And so much for Parks' faith in the Dodgers' chances of winning the World Series in a few months.

As civic pride dictates in these things, of course, everyone is supposed to be a Lakers lover now, giddy and overcome with affection for their heroes, but excuse me if I sit this one out.

At the risk of being blasted as a hater, so much anger out there and everything in sports today taken to the extreme, a victory doesn't suddenly make unlikable athletes likable.

It has never been about winning and losing here, as much as the way athletes and coaches go about their business, so no time now to fake it.

The Lakers were good, all right, and gritty when they had to be, Kobe brilliant as almost always, while Trevor and Lamar added spice to the championship mix.

But winning it all makes them no more appealing, Kobe still over the top absurd in his mood swings, Pau still carrying on like someone swiped his rattle, Phil so above it all it's surprising he doesn't demand to be carried off the court like Cleopatra.

The Lakers are champions, but they did little to cozy up to the folks of L.A. beyond being good -- Kobe and Phil, the two leaders of this outfit, just as removed as always.

There's certainly no Magic in these Lakers, and I'm not talking in any way about Orlando.

It has always been about them, Kobe and Phil, and maybe Shaq, who isn't even here -- Kobe and Phil's personal quests now for individual greatness -- and not for a single moment has it been about you.

How many times were we told that Kobe wanted this more than anyone else, his teeth gritted as if there was nothing more important in the whole world than a basketball game?

And some of you actually believe it true.

Maybe that's what it takes to win it all, obsession of the highest order, but it's their obsession and if there's no fun for those watching and little joy in the journey, why go crazy in the end as if you've been with them the whole way?

Talk about peer pressure, kids, you're about to see your parents swallowed by it.

The folks who live in San Francisco came to their feet cheering a malcontent and social misfit like Barry Bonds because he wore a San Francisco Giants uniform and was a great baseball player. I would imagine most of you considered that foolish.

Keep that in mind as Phil, Kobe & Co. pass by on Wednesday.

Now as you know, there are some cities where winning and losing changes the way people view life the next day, most of the time the fans of L.A. mocking such people for having nothing else in their lives.

But now there will be a parade here, so everyone can pay homage to a bunch of people blessed by God with extraordinary athletic ability, but in some cases, the social skills that would make them outcasts in many workplaces.

Wouldn't you like to see the look on Gasol's face if your boss yelled at him?

You want to have a parade and scream your lungs out for a job well done, then invite the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to walk down Figueroa Street and be feted like heroes in the Coliseum.

How many people give it their all every day in their jobs, every year until retirement, 30, 40 and 50 years, with no chance of a parade -- as determined as Kobe, as focused as Kobe, as accomplished as Phil?

Good for the Lakers, but what's the difference between a Lakers championship and one won by the Sparks?

As far as I'm concerned -- with no rooting interest in either -- nothing.


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