February 27, 2008
The last few days much of the e-mail has been the same, but written the best in concise exasperation by Dustin Knackstedt: "The Lakers are No. 1 in the Western Conference and you are writing about NASCAR?"
My mistake, and I certainly won't do that again.
But then I thought we were all up to date on the Lakers, and I wasn't aware of any controversy, drama or opposition in proclaiming our heroes champions once again.
Dwyre's already got them playing the Celtics in June, and as old as he is, he's not one to look too far ahead if there's something he can sink his teeth into. Or, maybe give it a good gumming, if you know what I mean.
Maybe Dwyre and I missed something really newsy, but it sure looks as if the Lakers are doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing this month against opponents who collectively are more than 100 games below .500.
They were favored to win by 15 points against Portland on Tuesday night, the Blazers without leading scorer Brandon Roy, before taking on Miami and then Portland again.
I can see Dwyre getting excited, because he gets fired up writing about horse racing, boxing and tennis, and now finally gets the chance to write about something folks might actually read.
But when I asked Phil Jackson whether he was more excited now that the Lakers are doing so well, he said, "No."
Hard to write a story about the Lakers every day based on one-word responses from a guy who couldn't care less whether anything is written about the Lakers.
Jackson said he gets excited when the playoffs begin, but you wait for the playoffs to begin before getting excited as a columnist and Lakers fans are going to want to know what you have against their favorite team.
But then I guess knowing that if someone writes "Lakers, Lakers, Lakers, Lakers" in the first paragraph, and "Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe" in the second -- making it one of the most viewed stories on The Times' website -- it really doesn't matter what you write about the Lakers.
Just as long as you write about the Lakers.
So here goes.
"The Lakers are No. 1 in the Western Conference," and no matter how many times someone writes that, I've got to believe Lakers fans never get tired of reading it.
"The Lakers look really good, beating Seattle the other night, maybe the best 15-40 team in the league," and you write that and you know what? Some Lakers fans are going to nod their heads in approval.
"Everyone is saying now Kobe Bryant should be the league's MVP because he's such a team player," and although I might think that's pretty funny after everything that happened last summer, I'm just here to report that "everyone is saying now Kobe Bryant should be the league's MVP because he's such a team player."
"Some Lakers fans have e-mailed to say the Lakers wouldn't be as good as they are today had Kobe not thrown a tantrum last summer."
I will just point out that these people live among you.
HOW MANY times can you write how good Pau Gasol looks in a Lakers uniform?
But then I guess no matter how many times you write it, Lakers fans are going to get a thrill out of knowing how much it irritates the rest of the league.
"Sasha Vujacic is playing as if he belongs in the NBA," and I can see writing something like that 1,000 times as punishment for never thinking it possible.
"I wonder how good the Lakers will be when AndrewBynum returns," and although I could write that, who knows?
I could guess, and that would probably be all right with Lakers fans, if I suggested they will be even better.
"I wonder how good the Lakers will be when they get Trevor Ariza and Vladimir Radmanovic back," and although I could write that, who knows?
But then knowing Lakers fans, they wouldn't mind those question being asked every day, a different answer every day undoubtedly keeping their interest.
The only way, I guess, you can explain the success of the "Loose Cannons."
THE LAKERS win again, nine straight, and Stu Lantz is saying on TV, "Forget about the nine straight," and so then what am I supposed to write about?
"Just look at the next game," he says, and try writing a story that gets everyone excited about the 10-44 Miami Heat, which doesn't even have Shaq any more.
Back in the day when the Lakers were rolling like they are now, at least there was Shaq, Kobe and a soap opera to follow.
Now it's a love fest, and nothing but good news, and there's nothing more boring than good news and everyone loving everyone. I'm almost starting to look forward to another Dodgers season.
But it could be late June before any of us get to the Dodgers, the Lakers dominating everyone's attention, and fans wanting to read only what they already know -- that the Lakers are great.
I just can't imagine writing anything differently, although just for a change of pace, I might have to give it a try.
IF MONTEREY JAZZ wins Saturday's $1-million Santa Anita Big Cap, beating 13 other potential rivals, owner Brad Luster is going to take $5,000 from the winning purse and give it to the pediatric cancer ward at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA.
Luster says everything is a go, he's excited, and can't wait for the big race, but who cares? He's not the one running.
SAM CASSELL brought so much to the Clippers, and although most folks don't even know or care whether the Clippers are playing these days, his loss would be just one more reminder the Clippers always seem to think starting over is a good idea. And how's that worked out?
TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from Mike Kvammen: "Are you just incredibly lucky, or did you slip something into Carl Edwards' gas tank? What's next -- Salma knocking on your door with you home and the wife away?"
Excuse me, someone's at the front door.
T.J. Simers can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To read
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