One hates to think the Lakers
are in a bind. Last summer, every Laker fan was awakening everyday on baited breath that the NBA's preeminent center would land in the sunshine State. Finally, a collective sigh and shout of Hooray escaped into the stratasphere when Mitch announced that D12 was in fact....a Laker. With the signing expectations went through the roof. The Lakers were EVERYONE'S favorite to not only win the West, but to knock off Miami with only one championship. Then the losing occurred. no prob. New team, young coach, easy fix. But the original coach was fired and in his absence, a new one was found. not the one we wanted. Not the one we were promised. But a decent coach none the less. But the losing continued. The bench was a shamble and the starting 5 was horrible. they couldn't score, they couldn't defend, they couldn't hit free throws. They just plain COULDN'T PLAY! Yet, among the majority of players, a ray of hope shown through. The players spoke in tones of reverence for the franchise. A promise to play better. To "sell out" for that next victory. However, just under the surface of this optimism, was a weight that was increasing in mass. A weight that cawed of pain and unhappiness. A weight that can only be called....an albatross.
Not the type of albatross that is covered in feathers and eats fish from the bay. But an albatross that is defined by Dictionary.com as, "Something burdensome that impedes action or progress." This albatross went by the name of one Dwight Howard
. yes, the same Dwight Howard that has won multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards. The same Dwight Howard that pushed this Lakers team on the way to another title. The same Dwight that I funny, self debasing, and affable. Yet, along with all of his fine attributes comes a brooding, pouting, whining, diva. One that has no concept of "team first" or "sacrifice of one's own glory for the better good." The same attitude that destroyed a good Magic
team like a cancer from within and was the cause of the firing of a damn good coach in Stan Van Gundy
, all because he just wanted Dwight to grow up and improve on his limitless talents. We all thought that coming to the Lakers would cure his collective ills. We were collectively wrong. WE should have seen the writing on the walls as Dwight didn't even consider signing his contract as soon as he arrived. We should have known when his free throw shooting continued to plague us in tight situations in close games. We should have known when his childish antics garnered him technical fouls all season.
We should have known....but we didn't. Because we loved the glitter on the albatross. Even when the Lakers finally banded together limp to the 8th seed in the playoffs(a feat that many fans and experts figured was impossible), Dwight's attitude and play showed a supreme lack of caring. Even with one of the NBA'S greatest players in Kobe Bryant
trying to pull the ability out of him....Dwight just coasted. Bemoaning his aching back, or tired shoulder for his ineptitude. "The Black Mamba" showed through grit, heart and determinations that injuries can't stop a man on a mission. So should we be surprised that once again this "flaming diva" is holding yet another franchise hostage with his own version of "The Decision?" I say NO. Funnier still, I say GOOD RIDDANCE!
Yes, Dwight is a once in a while talent, with a body of an Adonis, strength of Hercules, and abilities as wide as the Pacific. But what is missing is heart. Akin to the cowardly Lion from the "Wizard of Oz," Dwight has yet to find his moment that makes him want to charge the bunker like a crazed Marine. Not for the glory, but for the safety of his platoon. His Brothers in Arms. And for this, I say....GOOD RIDDANCE!
Sorry Dwight, we are NOT the CAVALIERS! WE are the L.A. Lakers! We will not be held hostage for the whims of ONE MAN! We are a team that was built on the backs of some of the best men that have ever played the game. Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, "Magic" Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kareem Abdul Jabar. We were also floated by some of the not so talented. Eddie Jones
, Sasha Vujacic
, Jordan Farmar
, Adam Morrison
, Mark Madson, and Kurt Rambis
. how dare you think you are bigger than a franchise that by being released brought a man like Lamar Odom
to tears. How dare you think you are so big that you should be coddled when a true player like Derrick Fisher takes LESS money to come to a franchise, just so he could get better medical treatment for his child. Who do you think you are, that you can drag butt with so called "injuries", when your very own teammate Kobe hasn't played entirely healthy in the past 4 seasons. Broken fingers, slipped disks, arthritic knees, and more. But he soldiered on. Never taking time out for the sake of his own agenda. He just sucked it up and pushed, pulled and dragged his teammates along to victories.
Somehow you think you are the first guy to ever think that you are bigger than the team? The man you covet so much in Shaquille O'Neal thought he was the same thing. He thought that with the Lakers seeing his decline in skill getting rid of him was a slap in the face. He thought we would wilt and no longer be viable. He laughed as Dewayne Wade got him another ring. But we clawed further. Winning 2 MORE in his absence. He was an albatross, and getting rid of him, allowed us to sail further into the history of this league, and he's a bona fide Hall of Famer. So I hope you get your wish to play for another team. I actually hope you win a title. Because that just will fuel the nuclear reactor that is the heart of this franchise. The "Black Mamba" and his team will come after you with a vengeance comparable to the Crusades. No quarter asked, none given. We will watch you sink....alone, like the albatross you are.