Lakers Media Day video: It begins
Like most things involving the Lakers, Media Day always operates on a different level for the purple and gold than it does for other NBA franchises. This year was no different. The typically massive Katamari ball of humanity, microphones, cameras, and notepads (the technical term starts with "cluster" and ends with a word I can't use in this space...) was only enhanced by the presence of entertainment media hoping for a piece of post-wedding analysis from Lamar Odom. It is, in short, an eventful way to kick off the season, but not exactly an environment conducive to gaining deep insight into the state of the squad.
Still, a few observations:
- Entertainment media operates in a different way than sports media. Those dudes are sharp elbowed and aggressive with the camera in the big scrums. Generally speaking, I really hope today's events put us on the downhill side of the Odom/Khloe Kardashian story.
- Andrew Bynum looked strong, fit, and eager to start the season, for what it's worth. He said he'd be wearing a brace on his right knee (the one he hurt last year) for the rest of his career, and may experiment with wearing one on each leg, protection on the left being precautionary. Whatever works.
- For the first time since I started covering the team, Kobe Bryant wasn't the center of attention. Not that he was standing awkwardly on the fringes David Monds, Michael Fay, and other camp longshots, but LO and Ron Artest drew bigger crowds. "I miss you guys," joked 24 when asked about the new (and temporary, I'm sure) media pecking order.
- Cutting his hair may be the smartest thing Sasha Vujacic has ever done as a pro. Silly as it sounds- and it does sound silly- his mane had started to overtake his game, adding a persona that was doing nothing for his on-court performance. The haircut represents a fresh start. As an interesting and laudable side note, he had hoped to donate his shorn locks to charity, but was told his hair was about two inches too short. Good for him for thinking in that direction, though.
- Watching guys handle the circus today, I'm even less concerned than I was before that external issues and distractions will be a problem. In context, the addition of Artest or LO's big summer aren't out of line from other Incredibly Big Lakers Stories from days gone by.
Click below for some of the video fun. LO, Derek Fisher, Sasha, and Bynum. Plenty more to come over the course of the day, as well.
First, a quick bit with LO talking about his wedding, one of the most uncomfortable minutes of video I've ever shot. Not because of the subject matter, but rather the pushing and shoving going on as people jostled for the best angle. My favorite line: When asked if the presence of Khloe (and the cameras that follow her) would be a distraction at Staples, LO smiled. "That's a Laker game, with or without her there. It's still an event."
Fisher talks about distractions, and while he notes that the Hollywood media is a different animal, it's not something that playing in LA doesn't prepare guys for. He expects to, along with Kobe, keep an active eye on things and help the team maintain focus, just as he would in any season.
Vujacic, on everything from cutting his hair to his first post-title summer to his hope for a bounce back season. He was very candid in speaking about his performance last season. "I'm not proud of it," he said. And apparently, once Sasha went back and watched the tape, even he was annoyed with how much he played with his hair.
Bynum, on his knee, and his hope to make the All Star team.