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Redemption songs

Bob Marley wrote a pretty good one and as the Washington Post's Mike Wise points out, there were Lakers win the title more than a few Lakers singing one of their own after LA took home the title Sunday night. 

"These were the I-Told-You-So Lakers who overwhelmed Orlando for their 15th franchise title, and they were led by a coach and a player whose fourth championship together in 10 seasons killed old, tired perceptions about them. Their 99-86 clinching victory in Game 5 was as an exercise in close-out execution as much as an act of defiance against their detractors... "

It goes well beyond Kobe getting Shaq off his baq or Phil Jackson passing Red Auerbach.  Pau Gasol was soft, Lamar Odom inconsistent as the weather in south Florida.  Derek Fisher, it was said, should be in a suit holding a clipboard, while Phil Jackson may just want to put his down after two straight Finals losses.  That sort of thing. 

Call those sentiments "point."  Call the title "counterpoint."

Gasol registered double-doubles in 16 of LA's final 20 playoff games (with one of the "off" games being a 30/9 effort against the Rockets).  More importantly, at least insofar as it relates to shedding the "soft" tag, Gasol played excellent defense against Dwight Howard in the post and was a force in the lane in the title clincher with four blocks.  He heard the criticisms of last season, some fair, some overblown, and did something about it, getting stronger over the summer. 

Forget how his floor stats say Odom was monumentally valuable throughout the season or that he rebounded like a maniac while Andrew Bynum was out, the question was still out there: Would Odom ever step up when it mattered? Not my contention (as readers of this space know) but now the talk after the playoffs is how the Lakers can't afford to let him go.  Fair to say he turned that discussion on its ear. 

Criticisms extended as well to the team, generally.  After a 21-3 start and the Christmas day win over the  Celtics, LA's juggernaut status was carved into the tablets.  As the season went along and obstacles popped up, the narrative didn't change.

That the November/December Lakers were a different and lesser entity than the April/May/June version- Andrew Bynum's knee wasn't fully recovered, Sasha Vujacic became a place where shots went to die (he finished the playoffs with 24 FGs vs. 34 personal fouls), Fish's shot seemed to disappear overnight, and all of this contributed to instability on the bench- wasn't the point. The gap between the Lakers and the rest of the league wasn't nearly so vast.  Stilll, they weren't blowing teams out, or dominating in ways people felt they should.  Lakers hold the Larry O'Brien

But big picture, it's fair to say the Lakers really did exert incredible influence over the league this year.  They won the Western Conference by 11 games, swept Boston and Cleveland, cruised past Utah in five (with all four wins by 10 or more), knocked off a white-hot Denver team in six, then dispatched the similarly momentum heavy Magic in five.  Save two horrible games against the Rockets, they weren't seriously threatened in the playoffs.  (Yes, many games were close, but whenever the  Lakers were called upon to win and maintain control of a series, they did.  The 15-1 rampage through the playoffs for the '01 squad is the exception, not the rule.) 

This team was very good, played as such, and deserved to win a title.  From my end, that made this year's Lakers much more interesting.  There's nothing wrong with dominance, but it doesn't have the same amount of character or nuance.   

Now it's on to the interesting juxtaposition of events that represents how basketball operates in LA, a city in which the most important title quickly becomes the next one to be won.  Tomorrow's parade, a celebration of this year's accomplishments, will be sandwiched between two days of exit interviews in which much time and energy will be devoted to how the Lakers come back next season.  If there's a drawback to the incredible success the Lakers have had as a franchise, it's that the glow of a championship may not last quite as long as it might in another city.  We're a greedy town where the "lately" that caps "What have you done for me?" represents a shorter time frame than it might somewhere else. 

This is why we encourage fans to enjoy the journey and build memories along the way, because there isn't much time to bask in the glow.  The Lakers, as a team and individuals, redeemed themselves in big ways this season, and Wednesday the city will come together to celebrate (hopefully without the looting, this time). 

After that, it's about making sure next year doesn't end in a story requiring redemption for the one that will follow.

BK

 
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Speaking of songs, I wish someone could dig up an excellent Lakers tribute music video that the good folks at KCAL-9 did back in 2002, after the three-peat... it was a montage of the season and playoff run set to the tune of Hero by Chad Kroeger, from the Spider-Man soundtrack... it was extremely well-made...

Amen.

In the words of the Grateful Dead, "what a long, strange trip it's been."

And I was happy to be along for the ride.

I belonged to the Beatles era so I'll dedicate the lyrics of this song to Andrew Bynum:

He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.

Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man please listen,
You don't know what you're missing,
Nowhere Man,the world is at your command!

(lead guitar)

He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

Nowhere Man, don't worry,
Take your time, don't hurry,
Leave it all till somebody else
lends you a hand!

Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man please listen,
you don't know what your missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!

He's a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody!

~~just a parody to the beast in '09 playoffs.

Well said BK. Its sad that a lot of people(fans) in this city are so harsh on players. I.E. Vujacic. All I hear is we need to fire this guy, cause he had a bad year?? What about last year when he shot almost 50% from beyond the line? Does him having a bad year mean next year he wont shoot better. Well one bad year in LA and your gone.

Thats just STUPID. If we kept to that we wouldnt have some of the great players that we have. Pau wasnt that great in Memphis and Trevor sucked bigtime in Orlando. I bet you memphis and orlando, especially, want those guys back now, dont they?

It'll never change though, this is LA. We like drama.

Lost in all the celebration is the class act of DHoward. Just staying after.

I must mention though that In the DC Universe, its an accepted fact that given enough time to prepare Batman will always beat Superman.

And the picture to mark this championship? The Smile. Can anyone ever forget DFish's smile when he made that OT 3? You tell me that just remembering that look doesn't bring back the feeling.

The demands for TJ’s head are understandable since the LAT is supposed to be the Lakers home newspaper. Unfortunately, TJ is a necessary evil.

LAT’s revenues are mostly derived from advertising. You attract advertising by demonstrating number of subscriptions or in the case of their website, the number of hits. You can probably group the sports readership into: pro-Lakers, anti-Lakers, and fence-sitters. The pro-Lakers group is practically a captured audience since they will be always be looking here for Lakers-related articles anyway. Now, if TJ were to write favorable articles about the Lakers all the time, LAT will not be attracting the anti-Laker readership. Less hits = less advertising revenue.

If you have wondered why trolls are tolerated in this blog, just look at the advertisement on top of the K bros pictures. Each troll post probably elicits 5 to 7 responses from the pro-Laker membership. All those demands for TJ’s removal actually are LAT’s desired reaction. More hits = more advertising revenue. LAT is not maintaining this blogsite out of the goodness of their hearts; it is a business. So, like it or not, TJ and the trolls are a necessary evil.

So who was the second-best team this season? (Try to take "being hot at the end of the season" out of the equation.) Was it Denver? Orlando? Cleveland? Houston?

Does anyone know if the parade is televised tomorrow?

p ang,

>>> Can anyone ever forget DFish's smile when he made that OT 3?

I totally agree with you. I am not exactly sure why that smile stood out so much. Maybe it was because there was not only a good measure of joy but also a heavy dose of smirk in the smile that made it totally different from previous joyous smiles of Fish I remember. Can’t explain why but REDEMPTION with a little attitude describes it to me. HDMAT!

I do remember how happy I was we won but also how happy I was for Derek. I’ve always believed in the end what comes around goes around and there is no more deserving guy to taste the sweet pleasure of redemption than Derek did as he saved the Lakers.

Bet you anything that there is going to be a professional print of that smile hanging somewhere in the Fisher residence very soon. Definitely worth a thousand words!

Tom

I would add "Many Rivers to Cross" by Jimmy Cliff.

BK, that was a seriously well-written piece.

I mean i grew up with my cousin and his love of Phill Collins..
To this day his 1989 concert was and is still the best live show i have ever seen......

I CAN FEEL COMIN IN THE AIR TONIGHT OH LORD.......OH LORD...

"Never Would've Made It" by Marvin Sapp. Hands down. Peep these lyrics:

Never would've made it
Never would've made it without You.
I would have lost it all
But now I see how You were there for me
And I can say
"I'M STRONGER
I'M WISER
I'M BETTER
MUCH BETTER"
When I look back over all You brought me through
I realize that You were the one I held on to!
And I never...
Never would've made it
Never would've made it without You!

Tell me that don't apply to us!

Perfect summary of the season, BK.

"Life in Technicolor ii" from Coldplay seems weirdly appropriate, especially since the awesome video features puppets. They should do a new video with Lakers puppets.

"Gravity release me / Don't ever hold me down / Now my feet won't touch the ground"

Hey guys (and gals),

Thanks for going through all this with me.

I really respect people who are as dedicated as so many of the fans on this blog.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Where do I get my "Thank God Garnett Got Injured" banner??

My favorite christian band put out a CD titled Redemption Songs; thought the K-bros went all Jesus Freak on me. Anyway here are some good lyrics from that CD.
Utzworld can appreciate it, I hope others also.


Give to the wind your fear
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up
God will lift up
Lift up your head

(Chorus:)
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
He will lift up, lift up your head

Leave to His sovereign way
To choose and to command
Then shall we wandering on His way
Know how wise and how strong
How wise and how strong

(Chorus)

Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears the way
Wait because in His time, so shall this night
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy
Soon end in joy,
Soon end in joy.

Amen and Amen


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