Earlier today on ESPN’s Mike And Mike In The Morning 11-time championship coach Phil Jackson alluded to his reaction when he was told by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak that he would not be re-hired by the Lakers in favor of ex Suns/Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. It was almost a given that Jackson would return to the head coaching role left open by the recently fired Mike Brown, and no one expected the complete 180 Lakers management did that night. Calling Jackson at midnight to inform him that D’Antoni was the right man for the job over Jackson, considering the current roster including Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Phil had kept quiet about the incident for the duration of the season, with many fans calling for Mike D’Antoni’s head and the ever present chant of “We Want Phil!” echoing around the Staples Center on a nightly basis. Even then he kept quiet. But on the eve of the release of his new book Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success, Jackson has become more vocal about a number of topics, including that of the choice to hire D’Antoni.
After yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and his untimely ejection from the game early in the third quarter, and what appeared to be a confrontation with GM Mitch Kupchak (later dismissed) Lakers center Dwight Howard finally opened up to the world via Twitter in an attempt to rectify what he felt to be one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. Howard, widely regarded as the league’s best center, was ejected from yesterday’s game following his second technical foul for questioning the officials non-call after what he believed to be a hard foul. In the midst of all this, the Lakers were down by 20 points and Dwight being ejected at this point essentially spelled a loss before the game was even over, and the end of the 2012/13 Lakers season.
It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have built their franchise on risk taking and money spending. From the showtime era to the current…well… not so showtime era, the Lakers have always been happy to spend the extra money, and take the extra risk to ensure that silverware returned to the city. This ethos has paid off for the Lakers time and time again, but now, they face a whole new risk and as of 3PM (US EST) today, they officially handed over the reigns to a man who now has the club, and the people of LA eating out of the palm of his hand and bowing to his every need. The Lakers are now at the beckon call of Dwight Howard and if this team is to succeed in the near future, it is imperative that they do all they can to keep him. I have argued, as have many, that the Lakers, in order to remain top dog should trade Howard as the risk of losing him to free agency for nothing is too great a risk to take. If he leaves, the Lakers are left with nothing but a memory of the year that could have been, but wasn’t. They however, do not feel the same way. The trade deadline has come and gone and as Mitch Kupchak stated would be the case, Dwight Howard is still very much a Laker and he will be until July 1st 2013. Beyond that only he knows but now, he can dictate his way around the Lakers organization just as he did Orlando. He can direct to his taste the offense, the defense, the coach, the players. Everything.
Most surprising start to the new NBA season…
Two weeks into the new season an we have already seen some teams struggle while other teams are relishing a new start. We had a quick look over each teams record and present you with 5 teams that have surprised us so far…
Brandon Roy made a surpising announcement via Twitter this weekend.
I had the absolute please of viewing the fantastic new ESPN documentary last titled ‘The Announcement’.
‘The Announcement’ in question is the announcement Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson made to the world informing them he had contracted the HIV Virus. As usual with ESPN documentaries you know you can expect a sports film of the highest quality, some of the biggest names commenting and probably a few tears.
‘The Announcement’ wasn’t any different. It jumped straight into Magic and Bird tussling it out in the 1979 NCAA finals to Magic’s rookie year with the Lakers in rapid time.
It focused a lot on Magic being somewhat the ‘King’ of L.A, almost an attraction if you will to a whole Nation let alone just residents of Los Angeles. ESPN obviously didn’t touch too much of the subject of Magic’s ‘partying’ and rightly so. Magic’s wife Cookie was a prominent face throughout the documentary and she showed nothing but love and support for Magic, despite him so obviously betraying her sexually.
The team doctor talking about getting Magic’s results back was heartbreaking, and the detail Magic discussed in his having to go home and tell Cookie was intense. Magic did go on to say he wasn’t sure he could have lived with himself if he had have infected Cookie, and their soon to be born baby. Intense!
The build up to the announcement was brutal, from his secretive plan from the media (displaying it as flu like symptoms) to pulling a team meeting and breaking down in front of them was so brutally honest of Magic. These are details he still could have kept to himself to this day. ESPN used actual footage from the huge announcement and showed just how it shocked the sport and the world.
The documentary did this historic moment in sport a huge justice, with its subject being one of the most loved, respected and general good guys of the sport. It’s displaying of a hero rising to fame, gaining respect from all his peers, to the HIV, to people fearing him because of it, to him making people aware and gaining nothing but that respect back made for a fantastic watch, although an emotional one.