Ahhh. Back to back. It feels so good. Especially since it was revenge on the Celtics. I think I can speak for every Lakers fan in saying we've wanted our vengeance on them since 2008. These Lakers have etched their names in history, and will enter next season as heavy favorites to do it again next year. It's good to a Lakers fan right now. They tied up all loose ends and put a definitive stop to the question of whether they are really "tough enough," and Kobe has now put himself in a place no one should question. Back to back titles, three straight Finals appearances, two Finals MVP's, and possibly more. All without Shaq. You know, that 400 lb. weight that re-appeared with the Celtics' return to the Finals. Kobe is now bulletproof. What more can anyone else say?
The answer to that question is nothing. Yet, we all know what is going to happen. What already is happening. There are haters are everywhere we go. And so far, the best they can come up with now is that Kobe isn't Michael. Or even Magic. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what their point is. All your really letting us know is that he deserves to mentioned in the same breath. What other player today would have that right? No one. Thanks for the compliments people, because MJ and Magic are pretty fine company for Kobe to be associated with.Can't we Lakers fans just enjoy our Championship for a frew days, at least? Why do we have to listen to Mike Wilbon rain on our parade by immediately stating that Kobe is NO Magic. Right after the confetti fell! Huh? The Lakers just vanquished the hated Celtics in a Game 7, and ESPN has to go right into that conversation? Meanwhile, Magic himself is back to calling Kobe the Greatest player in the NBA, claiming he deserves statue, and giving Kobe all the praise he deserves.
- Regarding the Greatest Laker debate. It's all a matter of nostalgia. Magic is my all-time favorite (for now). I grew up on the Showtime Era, and shared those moments with my dad. As a 12 year old, I cried when Magic announced his retirement. Magic meant a lot to the NBA, and the memories of him and the perceptions of his legacy are something that nostalgia will magnify. It's easy to think the latest generation isn't what the older ones were, because no one wants time to pass them by. But as a Magic guy, I can say with full certainty that in my eyes, Kobe has now become the Great Laker of All-Time. You can't go wrong either way, but for people like Wilbon to say never? It's flat out wrong. It's now just a matter of preference.
- Still, I'm a realist. I know some of this is caused by Kobe's desire to be viewed as the GOAT, so I do understand it comes with the territory. But some of the reasons I'm reading or hearing are just pathetic. Mostly half-truths or ignored facts. We will have a few posts about this topic, so I'm going to leave it at that for now. Get ready for the good stuff though.
- Telling Kobe that he isn't Michael Jordan is like Telling Paul Allen that he isn't as rich as Bill Gates.
- Kobe has now made the Finals three straight time with Pau Gasol, and won back to back titles. Isn't Pau the complete opposite of Shaq? Doesn't that say more about what Kobe meant tot he 3-Peat teams? We've now seen what Kobe can do with another elite center. We've seen what Shaq did. It was great, but when Shaq won his fourth ring, it was as a second banana, yet no one mentions that. Why not? Or the fact that he never even made repeat trips back. Penny and Shaq, swept. Kobe and Shaq, 3-Peat, and 4 trips. Wade and Shaq, one title, one trip and then one of the worst teams in the NBA in two years.
- Cavs' fans chiming in already. Hinting that Kobe's Finals performance is not proof he is better than LeBron. Then playing the help card. Amusing. But waited for Kobe's terrible offensive game to highlight this? While not mentioning the very different circumstances of a Eastern Conference Game 6 vs. NBA Finals Game 7. Still, I know Krolik was writing this for his Cavs' Blog. He has to placate them them. I understand. There really is no argument.
I do agree with the italicized comment of that post:
"Well, first things first: I will never say anything bad about Derek Fisher ever again. He could start launching the ball at his own basket for the first 40 games of next season and keep his starting job. Honestly, if there’s one guy who I’m happy about making me look like an absolute and total idiot, it’s Fisher, who deserves sucess in this league just about as much as anyone else."
Neither will I.
- Still, I hope that next year is the season that Sasha can finally assume the starter's gig,or at least a bulk of the minutes. While I will never write off Fish again, he is going to be another year older, and I prefer to save him for the Playoffs. Sasha's contract was a signal that the starter's gig should have been his one day. I think these Playoffs helped give him his mojo back. He lost in in Game 4 of 2008. I believe he's back on track.
- Ron Artest's signing was a sign that the Lakers wanted to transition into a defense first team. Bynum's return to the starting five was already going to set the offense back, but he improves the defense. Artest solidified that. While it was frustrating to see the offense bogged down, stopping the other team from scoring was something these Lakers could do better than in the previous two years. Never was that more evident than the last two games of the season.
- The best part of the celebration was Ron Artest's post game interviews. If you haven't seen them, click here and here.
- How about Kobe's honesty? Look at that wicked grin he had. He was ready to unload. I think the press didn't take full advantage of the situation. Yeah. So much for Shaq's campaigning to restore Lakers ans love in him, and probably an outside chance of coming back. Kobe ended that.
- Jordan Farmar. Thanks and good-bye. I wish you the best.