EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 31: Mike Brown, (C) the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, looks at team owner Jerry Buss (R) speaks while Jim Buss, vice president of player personnel, looks on after Brown's introductory news conference at the team's training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
For eleven days beginning on December 18, Qualcomm Stadium, football home of the San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs, will carry a temporary new moniker: Snapdragon Stadium. Snapdragon processors by Qualcomm are the digital brains inside mobile devices made by top manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Nokia, and HTC. Snapdragon Stadium will host the Chargers-Ravens game on December 18, the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21, and the Holiday Bowl on December 28.
There can be no doubt that the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports; A legacy of unquestionable success, a fanbase that dwarves most others, and a long list of heroes that drive the storyline all add up to a history that is tough to compete with. Why have the Lakers had so much success? Location helps. So, too, does a little luck sprinkled throughout the ages. But the primary reason the Los Angeles Lakers have become the LOS ANGELES LAKERS is because they have the best core in sports.
Who makes up that core? Kobe Bryant? No. Kobe has driven the Lakers to great success, but he's not the core. Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol? They man the middle of the paint, with power and skill, but that's where the similarity to a core ends. No, the core of the Lakers never actually takes the court.
The "core" of something is its center, the force that drives its existence. But equally as important, the core is surrounded by the rest of whatever it is at the center of. The core is not meant to be seen. Think of an apple, whose core provides the fruit with the opportunity to reproduce. The outside of the apple is flashy, with vibrant colors intended to draw the attention of would be consumers. The juicy fruit inside the skin keeps the consumer consuming, only to be stopped by the harder cellular wall that makes up the core, so that the seeds can be preserved and spread to wherever the consumer has taken them. A computer is similar; the core provides the power and the brains, but the screen is what you see, the hard drive is what you use. The core remains outside your vision, powering everything.
Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'neal, Magic Johnson...these are all the players who have made up the Lakers' "skin" over the years. They are the flash that gets your attention. The other players, the success the franchise has enjoyed, are the insides of the fruit. Which means the core can only be one man, powering the Lakers from his luxury suite: Dr. Jerry Buss.
That's why the Lakers core is the best in sports. Because Buss is the best owner in sports. He's one of the most "powerful", willing to spend what it takes to put a successful team on the table. He's one of the smartest, constantly hiring folks who know when to take risks. And, unlike some of the others who accompany him in the first two attributes, he's also the most stable, dealing with problems patiently instead of losing his shit. Sadly, he's also one of the oldest, and he won't be at the core of the Lakers for much longer.
Instead, the Lakers will soon be run by the next generation. In many respects, they already are. The reviews so far are not so great. Jim Buss, Jerry's son, certainly has the power down. He's also got the willingness to take risks, though it remains to be seen whether those risks are combined with the intelligence that makes them worthwhile. But the scariest part of Jim Buss' ascension to the throne of the franchise is that he seems far less stable than his old man.
Want a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket powered by Qualcomm's revolutionary Snapdragon multiprocessor? Just leave a comment on this post with who you think the team's core player is and why he's so important to their success. Vox Media will select one winner from among the participating SB Nation blogs. All entries subject to the official rules found here.