I feel so sorry for Phil Jackson. He was paid $12 million the past two years and now he is holding the Lakers hostage as he decides whether or not to come back. All we keep hearing about is the "grueling" NBA schedule. The last time I checked, Phil wore a suit and pretty much sat during the games. Instead of the media talking about a three-peat in the aftermath of one of the greatest victories in Lakers history, all we hear about is Phil. I for one am sick of it. Stop being a spoiled, petulant egomaniac and make a decision. Not in a week. Not soon. Right now. Please put the focus back on the team.
In order for the Lakers to win a third consecutive NBA championship next year, it will depend on the following three Rs:
1. Return of Phil Jackson as coach
2. Re-signing of Derek Fisher
3. Retaining Ron Artest's psychiatrist
I am glad The Times finally gave Kobe the credit he deserves ["Can you top this?" June 20]. His skills, focus, consistency and dedication are often overlooked. Michael Jordan was the greatest in his day, but Kobe's scoring abilities against modern defense is phenomenal and unprecedented. When you see Kobe on court, you see a player who has "winning and only winning matters" written all over his face.
So now Kobe Bryant has five championships, the same total as Magic Johnson. The comparisons must stop in their tracks at that moment.
Kobe should never, ever, be considered equal to the greatest Laker of all time, Magic Johnson. Even if Kobe gets a sixth, this in no way makes him "better" than Magic. Yes he's a great player, but L.A. fans should know better. It's not only about how many rings.
For Kobe Bryant to be considered in the same class as the likes of Jerry West and Magic Johnson, he needs to show some class of his own.
To watch Kobe react, you'd think he gets fouled on every play or never commits a foul of his own. When he eliminates those displays of glaring at, or jawing at, the officials on his way down the court, Bryant will begin to demonstrate personal qualities that can ultimately match his brilliant talent.
I don't know if Kobe Bryant is the greatest Laker in history. But I do know that one cannot determine a player's greatness by merely counting the number of rings he has. Why is it that so many fans have this abnormal desire to name the greatest Laker or NBA player ever? There are a number of great Lakers. Why can't we just leave it at that?
Ralph S. Brax
Shaq back with the Lakers next year? They get him for veteran minimum. He's a major upgrade over Mbenga. He comes off the bench and spells Gasol & Bynum for 10-15 minutes a game. Stays relatively rested. Injury insurance for Bynum. Gets to retire as a Laker, possibly with another championship. Heals all the old wounds. Becomes beloved by Laker fans again. His jersey No. 34 goes up there with all the other Lakers greats. Shaq loyalists can return as Lakers fans to join the party.
And for Kobe it ensures there is no way Shaq can catch him for rings. It a match made in heaven.
It's time to acknowledge the teams that are really responsible for the last three NBA Championships. The Minnesota Timberwolves gave the Celtics a 2008 championship by giving away Kevin Garnett and the Memphis Grizzlies gave the Lakers 2009 and 2010 titles by handing out Pau Gasol.
Both perennial losers asked nothing for themselves in return for these gifts. Truly unselfish acts.
Just finished watching Game 7 for the umpteeth time. Has Jeff Van Gundy stopped talking yet?
If the LAPD counted only 70,000 people at the Lakers parade, it's no wonder the jails are overcrowded.
Kicking it around
Thank you, Bill Plaschke ["Let's think like a soccer superpower," June 25], from someone who is part of the generation that played and follows soccer and has always expected a great deal from our team. The only surprise isn't our success, but the continual babble of those that devalue soccer's popularity and our demands from our team. Here's looking at you, Alexi Lalas, for calling us the underdog going into Saturday's game. We should be doing this well and it is no surprise to me, my friends, or our parents (the soccer moms and dads that are still watching the sport).
No matter what Bill Plaschke says and doesn't understand about soccer, the U.S.-Algeria game was the most exciting match I've ever seen. Soccer is soccer and the favored team doesn't always win — just ask "big boys" Italy and France.