Hey Shaq, Tell Him How His A** Tastes

June 14

Don’t expect an outpouring of joy for Kobe getting his Shaq-less ring.  It won’t be the same joy that surrounded John Elway when he got his, or Kevin Garnett when he got his.  There’s a certain former hotel worker in Colorado who might not be celebrating at all tonight.  But we’re not here to talk about the past, are we?

I will say these good things about Kobe.  He seems to have matured some, at least enough to be a leader on the floor.  He managed to mend fences with Phil Jackson.  Selfish?  Well, if you are a Laker fan and you don’t want the ball in Kobe’s hands, you’re an idiot.  But at least on the surface, he at least tries to give the impression he’s a better teammate, even if he will never be “one of the guys.”   There are a dozen other “guys ” who owe the rings they’re getting to Kobe, however.  He has become the consummate player.

Still, I watched post-game coverage for half an hour and didn’t hear anyone ask him if this championship is  more satisfiying than the ones with Shaq.  It would have given him a chance to say, “Hey Shaq, tell me how my a** tastes.”

Kobe was named the MVP of the finals, but the most important player of the post-season was Kevin Garnett.  His absence kept the Celtics from a repeat finals appearance, and deprived the Lakers of a chance at true redemption — beating the team that beat them last year.   Guess that’ll have to wait until next year.  Maybe.

Meanwhile there are rumors of Shaq going to Cleveland.  But if LeBron really wants to leave, that isn’t going to keep him.  A chance to be the first pro athlete billionaire?  Now, that’s a “ma” of a different color.  (“horse” in Mandarin.)

Is Phil Jackson the greatest pro coach of all time?  Don’t give me the “but he had Jordan, Shaq, and Kobe” argument.  Red Auerbach had Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, etc.  Jackson’s post-season winning percentage is greater than Red’s, and you have to win more post-season games to get a title now.   Please.  It’s Phil.

Can the Lakers repeat?  It’s unlikely they will be able to keep both Odom and Ariza, and Garnett returns next year … and Lebron returns more determined.   I think they can get back to the finals … provided they find a suitable replacement for Odom or Ariza.  Which one do I keep?  Probably Ariza … youth, and he can play D and has turned into a terrific three pointer shooter and clutch player.  Odom’s back will be an issue as he ages.

Another question, how long will Phil coach.  Kurt Rambis supposedly turned down Sacramento to stay in LA.  I wonder if Phil sees a bit of himself in Kurt, and sees him as an heir apparent.  Anyway, Rambis would have been stupid to take that particular NBA opening.

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