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.
Legendary Lakers owner Jerry Buss has passed away this morning aged 80 with family and friends by his side. Dr. Buss had long been dealing with serious illness but last week it was revealed that he was close to death. Throughout the course of history we have seen many great owners across a wide variety of sports, but none more so than Dr. Buss who bought the Lakers, along with the LA Kings and the Forum Arena for $67.5 million in 1979. Under Buss the Lakers organization has been able to acquire a host of legendary players such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Shaquille O’Neil, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard with Buss long claiming that no matter the cost, winning was what mattered most. Buss oversaw 16 Lakers finals appearances and 10 Lakers titles in his time forging what is known as one of the most successful sporting franchises in sports history.
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.