February 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Los Angeles is known for its great movie stars, dramas, comedies, and all of that however they’re not used to it taken place on the court. Now everyone knows the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant drama that took place back in the early 2000’s. Where they won three championships together and then came the shocking downfall ending with the unbelievable divorce of the dynamic duo.
However, the drama died down in Los Angeles after that, at least for the most part. Now of course they still had the buzzer beaters, the close losses, the blowout wins, the blowout losses and all of those dramas, but the he said, she said dramas, they were gone.
Though don’t blink now as the drama of Hollywood and the Los Angeles Lakers is back.
Starting with the Chris Paul trade veto, everything went down hill from there. Lakers forward and sixth man of the year, Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, forward Pau Gasol remained in trade rumors, and the losses began to pile up.
Though no one really said anything one could sense that there was drama revolving the Lakers organization. However after losing to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, 102-90, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant called out Lakers management saying, “Basketball is such an emotional game, you got to be able to have all of yourself in the game and invested in the game. We didn’t have that,” Bryant said. “Pau, it’s hard for Pau because of all this trade talk and all this other stuff, it’s hard for him to kind of invest himself completely or immerse himself completely into games when he’s hearing trade talk every other day. I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him.”
Bryant would continue saying, “I talked to [Gasol] a little bit about it,” Bryant said. “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. I’d rather them not trade him at all. If they’re going to do something, I wish they would just [expletive] do it. If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game.”
Though Bryant wouldn’t get his wish of management saying if they were trading Gasol or not, he would infact get a response as Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak would say, “As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player. Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.”
Then just as it appeared that it would stop there as management usually always had the last word, it wouldn’t as following a blowout, statement win on Monday night by the Los Angeles Lakers, as they won 103-92, Bryant would respond saying, “I said what I had to say…I’m done.”
When asked if he spoke with Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, Bryant replied “Next.”
“I think Pau feels a lot better,” said Bryant, after the 103-92 win over Portland. “He looks a lot better to me. It’s important to know that guys in the locker room support you, that guys are going to step up. That’s my role here. He [Gasol] can’t say that. He’s a nice guy. He would never, ever say anything to shuffle the deck, so to speak. But I would. I’ll say it for him.”
Though post game comments wasn’t all as the Lakers held a team meeting that was organized by both Bryant and Lakers guard Derek Fisher.
“Look, I’ve won championships with him, been in playoff battles with him, gotten swept with him, lost in the Finals with him,” Bryant said of Gasol. “I’m not just going to sit around and [watch him] be down in spirit and things like that. That’s not cool. We all love him. We all want to play with him — especially me.”
After addressing the issue of the Pau Gasol trade rumors on Sunday night, the Lakers who dominated the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night, looked like a whole new team, like the Lakers. Which made it clear that Bryant’s comments made a difference. So while to some this may look like a player making ignorant comments to his boss or a player making comments out of anger after a loss, in reality these comments may have just turned around their team’s season.