Because my deadline is Thursday at 4 p.m., by the time you read this, the Lakers will either be up one game or down one game in the NBA Finals. (I’m biting my tongue at the thought of the latter, which hurts if you think about it.)
The good news for the Lakers is that they have home court advantage. The bad news is that the Magic has Dwight Howard, aka “Superman.” Hopefully Kobe will be aka kryptonite. The Magic has a deep, talented team, which is the extent of the nice things I want to say about them.
Frankly, “The Magic,” sounds like a David Copperfield act in Vegas. Speaking of which, in 2007 the illustrious illusionist, (alliteration anyone?) was raided by the FBI on suspicion of rape and they seized $2 million in cash! Curiously, Copperfield was never charged. Did he buy them off, or make them disappear?
Maybe I shouldn’t make fun of “The Magic.” We’re the L.A. Lakers and we don’t have any lakes, unless you count Toluca Lake. One day it might have been a real lake, and may be still. I wouldn’t know because it’s east of Lincoln Boulevard.
The Lakers’ name evolved because the team was located in Minneapolis, “land of 10,000 lakes.” (Did they count them one by one, or just round off?) Actually, the original team played in Detroit as the “Gems,” which makes no sense whatsoever, and I suppose is consistent with the rest of this column.
In 1946, the Lakers were sold for $15,000. Forbes currently values the franchise at a half-billion dollars and $15,000 barely covers season ticket parking.
How about the Utah Jazz? Given the Mormon population, Utah wouldn’t seem to be a hotbed of jazz. (Tabernacle choirs, yes, jazz no.) The name “The Jazz” came about because the team was based in New Orleans, which after Hurricane Katrina, was turned into a lake. And one “heckuva” lake, if you catch whom I’m pointing a finger at.
Since 1947, the Lakers have been in the NBA Finals 30 times. That’s a record! Then again, they’ve lost 16 times, which is also a record. The Lakers have brought us a lot of joy and a lot of heartache. This brings up the age-old question, “Is it better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all?” No it doesn’t, but it sounded good.
Almost every other year, the Lakers get all the way to the big dance but don’t come home with the girl (or guy, as the case may be in this post Prop. 8 world). In Los Angeles, to say the bar is a little high is to say GM is in a little financial difficulty.
Exceeding expectations were the Denver Nuggets, whom the Lakers defeated in the Western Conference Finals. Their season was a success because few expected them to get that far. At the end of game 6, the final and deciding game against the Lakers, the Nuggets were down by 30 points and yet their fans lapsed into a standing ovation.
If, and when, the Lakers are ever down 30 points in a final and deciding playoff game, (I hope that day never comes again) I think we can forget standing ovations. Throwing things might be more like it. But maybe that’s just me?
Speaking of the Nuggets, I’m glad they’re gone, if only in that I don’t have to see all those tattoos anymore. Good Lord! The Nuggets look like a prison team. And so many tattoos. OK, guys we get it, you like ink. At the risk of sounding like an old man, enough already.
Win, lose or draw, Jerry Buss has to be the best owner in sports. The Lakers have only missed the playoffs five times. In Southern California we’re exceptionally spoiled, what with the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Ducks, USC and UCLA, some local team is either winning a championship, or knocking on the door (or in USC’s case, dodging NCAA investigations.)
With Lebron “No Handshake” James and the Cavs losing, what does Cleveland have? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Cuyahoga River (so polluted it once caught fire).
The Cleveland Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948. That must seem like yesterday to Chicago whose Cubs haven’t won since 1908. The point of all this (assuming there is one) is to count your blessings. And among mine is watching Kobe Bryant play all these years.
So who will win, the Lakers or the Magic? If I knew positively, I wouldn’t be writing this, I’d be in Vegas betting the house (or in my circumstance, betting the apartment). I’m predicting the Lakers in six games. One caveat — if they lose, I just hope I don’t throw anything too valuable.
Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.