A popular refrain among Warriors fans following the franchise’s championship-clinching victory Thursday night has been how this one just feels different from the previous three during the Stephen Curry era, something Lakers fans can clearly recall feeling about Kobe Bryant’s fourth ring.
For years after Shaquille O’Neal’s departure, Lakers fans just kind of had to accept that Bryant’s winning had everything to do with O’Neal, an insult only exacerbated when Shaq won a championship in Miami as the Lakers toiled in mediocrity.
By the time the Lakers were ready to once again compete for championships, the noise had reached such fervor that Bryant famously demanded a trade after the Lakers did not trade Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd. So, when the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in 2009, the release was one of pure joy.
This week on “The Hook,” Aaron Larsuel and I discussed the Warriors getting it done in Boston, Curry’s place in history, the role Kevin Durant played in this championship and a whole lot more.
Another part of the similarities between this championship for Warriors fans and the ‘09 championship is the gap between this title and their last. After Durant’s departure, with Klay Thompson’s series of catastrophic injuries and Curry’s own lost season, even the most ardent of Warriors fans had to worry they may never see this core at that level again — something Lakers fans surely could relate to having encountered a similar fall from grace following the three-peat.
It’s cliché, but you just never understand how much you love something ‘til it’s gone. For Lakers fans in the mid-2000s and now Warriors fans these last couple seasons, getting through such down periods makes reaching that mountain top again all the sweeter.
For all this, as well as my theory on how things will play out heading into the draft for Russell Westbrook, check out both parts of this long end-of-season pod.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.