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Lakers are Sports Illustrated's franchise of the decade

Kobester 'Tis the season for lists. A lot of them.

Not only are we a week-and-a-half from a new year but also a new decade.

This one stood out, though: Sports Illustrated said the Lakers were the "pro franchise/college program" of the decade. Not the New England Patriots (No. 2), not USC football (No. 7), not the Detroit Red Wings (No. 6...they're a hockey team. I know this only because I covered the L.A. Kings for a year).

The Lakers were well ahead of the New York Yankees who, well, let's face it, didn't have a great decade in the first place until bookending it a couple of months ago with a title run. They finished No. 5 in SI's rankings.

Sports Illustrated also said Phil Jackson was the coach of the decade, ahead of Bill Belichick and Joe Torre.

The one that might rankle Lakers followers: Kobe Bryant was called the seventh-best male athlete of the decade.

Ahead of him were Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong, Usain Bolt and Tom Brady. Should Kobe have been as low as he was? He was the NBA's highest-ranked player. (Tim Duncan was No. 12, Shaq was No. 14 and LeBron James was No. 16.)

It's a list, so it's very subjective, but there you have it.

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Kobe Bryant in action this month. Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (36)

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gotta say, LAT is coming through in the clutch. An abundance of posts? Check. Game thread? Check. Comptetent writers? Check....however, not enough of sample size to know if they are competent Laker Bloggers.

Liking what I'm seeing so far though....from both the writers and our community.

Edwin Gueco,

You can not be serious with your trade scenarios about revamping our 2nd unit. Who in the right mind will do this kind of trade with Lakers, especially after everybody got so vocal regarding Pau’ trade for Kwame? It was already discussed so many times, no one going to give you Lexus in exchange for 3 Fords. Mitch was able to turn Grizzlies management into butt of all the jokes, do you think league full of idiots like this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for one sided trades that will benefit Lakers for many years to come, but we got be more realistic about it. I’m as you probably kind of worry about minutes Kobe, Pau and Ron playing so far. Our bench don’t give us enough even against lowly teams in order to rest starters. After sparkly plays, Farmar reverted back to his “a la Smush” mode, Shannon is not always consistent, and Lamar just being himself. So what we have here it’s 8 players rotation and it’s not enough bearing in mind mileage on our starters, Drew being just a sole exemption. Of course Mitch has one card in his sleeve, Adam’s expiring contract of roughly 5M. Biggest question is, will Lakers risk getting someone on the middle of the season? Don’t forget, triangle it’s not something can be easily picked up in the matter of couple weeks. Especially from guard/wing position.


"Lexus in exchange for 3 Fords."

Watch the Fords and Chevy's in 2010, they will inching closer to those recalled brand of Japanese.

Lal_Fan, here is the scenario. Sasha's shooting percentage improves by 50%; Farmar will be the same throughout the year all the way to playoff which is not bad at all; Ammo increases playing time and gets to average 8 pts per game from January to All Star trading deadline, don't you think they have values with the expiring contract of Ammo? Well, I used the Blazers as my valuable piece for Sasha or Ammo, what do they get from Ammo an expiring 5.5M contract and if you package this money with one of their shooters, they could be in the derby for the marquee players. What we need is an accurate shooter? Hey, that's Rudy Fernandez currently not playing b/c of surgery on the back. Will Rudy go with the Blazers when his time comes up? I doubt.

It may be another player from a team that is below 500, it is just a matter of selling it and packaging it nicely and talk of savings during recessions, there is a market for Ammo, Sasha and Farmar who is 2.2. If another team gives Farmar 10M for 3 years, will he not take it? Farmar is good enough for those teams in the middle of the pack and he can also be a starter.

I am the No. 1 critic of Mitch but he's a silent worker and makes miracle in getting something from nothing. Proven on Ariza vs Cook/Evans deal; Gasol vs Kwame/JCritt/Marc and couple 1st rd draft picks/Vladdy for Shannon/ Ammo; signing Artest instead of Ariza Those are 4-in-a-row, time to give a credit to our old Cupcake. He is now promoted (like the KBros) from cupcake to Honey Bake Ham for what he has delivered to the Lakers.

The K bros were awesome! However, I think LAT is doing a good job of keeping the Blog alive. More perspective is good.

Mike Bresnahan,
One lingering issue that I have brought to AK and BK’s attention numerous times but nothing has ever been done is how the blog handles spaces between lines with IE8. If you are viewing the blog with IE8 browser, the style sheet ignores all spaces between paragraphs, headers, and closing names. This makes it very hard to read. Many regular posters still double space everywhere in order to get their posts to read correctly. If you use any other browser (IE7, for example), the style sheet leaves spaces between paragraphs. Can you please have your tech guys look at this? Thanks.
That is why I use dashes to separate paragraphs.

LakerTom, let us quiz Mike B here: If Phil retires at the end of the season who does he think as the best replacement coach?

Jeff Van Gundy - noooope, fans will storm El Segundo
Byron Scott - he's inactive as of today, so his value went down to a penny stock
Bryan Shaw - too young to handle a matured team, he should get a head coaching job first.
Frank Hamblen - hehe miser of 2005 half season
Kareem, the cap - disabled
Michael Cooper - out of the Lakers loop
Derek Fisher - he could not even coach the PG's today

Therefore who is the ideal sub and why?

Usain Bolt?

Roger Federer?

Isn't there an unbeatable bowler or billards player that should be on the list above Kobe too?

How about some legendary curling player? Why isn't he on the list above Kobe too?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


Hey Mamba, saw that you put my on the bandwagon, thanks man.

LakerTom, I'd love DFish as coach, but dare I say he'd feel insulted if he knew you were talking about him as coach while he's still playing.

I'd hope that he can get an assistant coach gig first, just to properly see how he'd do as a coach.

If I were to pick a successor to Phil, I'd still think it has to be Rambis. I don't think Phil is leaving for a couple of years, and I do think Rambis isn't going to be in Minnesota in a couple of years. I believe his deal is for 3 years, no? Anyways, I think Rambis would provide alot of continuity.

And LeBron James is #16?


One MVP and one Eastern Conference Championship... basically the same as Dirk Nowinski.

Steve Nash has got two MVPs... umm... so why isn't Steve Nash ahead of LeBron James?

The David Stern-driven sycophantic media machine that supports LeBron James is beyond annoying.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


what up fam?

been a long time.

must admit, i am taking these lakers for granted (i vowed not to ever do that again during the smush-kwame dynasty).

it's like we are so loaded, i just want to press fast forward to april.

i also want to press fast forward so we can avoid the injury bug. lakers stay healthy - and it's our title to lose.

hope everybody is doing well and is able to enjoy these next two weeks with family & friends.

xmas day will be nice, c'mon lake show!

Sports Illustrated may have the best swimsuit issue in the history of periodicals, but to place the Lakers ahead of those NY Yankees as sports Team of the Decade is a flat out joke. If we had beaten the Celtics two years ago, maybe I would think differently, but when we keep losing to that team, we arent even top dog in our own sport. A win against them This Season would justify our ranking.


I'd like to join the LA Times bandwagon. As I said several threads ago:

"Still feels like home to me."

And it does.

Go Lake Show!

a possible Wade and Lebron team?

Can Wade be a Scottie Pippen while Lebron gets to be Jordan, or vice versa? I don't think so. But who knows, stranger things have happened. Come championship time, my money is still on the Lakers :)

Jon K,
Roland would be a good choice. Another guy who might be good would be Eric Pincus.
Overall, I am still hoping for Kevin Ding. That would be the finest.

What a joke. Sports franchise of the decade? MAYBE if we only consider American teams. Man United and Bayern Munchen for soccer, Ferrari for auto racing; either of these supplant the Lakers if looked at on a global scale.

Lakers miss the high IQ of Luke Walton , Phil Jackson was quoted today.



(Yes I realize I'm a thread or so behind, but hey - it's all about me right? And the love.... can't forget the love!)

THANK YOU LATIMES for keeping us going. We really appreciate this - so far, so good.

This is just embarrassing.

so what , keep wining!

To KB Blitz, Lakerfan, LakerTruth & Mamba24,

Y'all bring some relevant info. As I said before, I am *NOT* saying
that showtime wasn't better. I asked for the competition & as sure as
June follows May, KB Blitz brings the info. Gracias.

My response:

1. Has Kobe played with a pulled hamstring?

2. Did Kobe beat LeBron after he ripped the ligament from his pinky?
[ KB Blitz, I expect you to catch the particulars in case I'm slightly off on this. ]

3. Is this the series where Jordan did the "infamous" CONFIDENCE hand
switch at the hoop?

4. Please explain why the Lakers could only win 1 game.

5. Who was the dominant C of the bulls that beat one of the 3 best centers
of all time? [ I give him 1 of 3 because many people use different criteria. ]
[ To paraphrase Pat Riley: Basketball is a big man's game. ]

6. Specifically to KB Blitz, I give you that the Celtics were stacked!
I give you that 20 assists is ridiculous! I only have two things to say:

A. 81 pts.
B. 62-61 Kobe vs. Dallas. [ Forgive me if the numbers are slightly off. ]
[ note: I think you're comparing apples & oranges. i.e. PG vs. Scorer. ]

7. If you're thinking that Artest would not have been able to hold his own
against this group, you need to go take a biology class. I do not mean
offensively, so don't go looking for stats. *LOOK* at Artest. He's a former
and possibly two time DPOY. He's built like a castle. He has quick hands,
great defensive presence, and is as heavy and strong as most 5's.

8. Specifically to KB Blitz. You wrote: The talent was much better in the 80's/early 90's.

With respect, this is false. The players were much more fundamentally
sound in the 80/90's. They were not more talented. If anything, today's
players are bigger, stronger & faster due to training regiments. Since
most of today's players don't stay in college for any length of time, they
sorely lack the fundamentals. Talent = biology. Training = fundamentally

9. Again to KB Blitz. "What does *clap* about Magic's career mean? I repeat.
He was 30 when he lost to MJ. If you want to tell me that he didn't take
care of himself the same way Kobe & Gasol & Lamar & Fisher & Artest do.
Feel free and thank you for making my point.

As more grist for the mill:

So who’s number one? The Showtime Lakers teams of the 1980s or the record setting Bulls of the 1990s? Here’s a few things not to forget when deciding who’s the best. The Lakers had the ultimate Center in Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who had the unblockable and unstoppable Sky Hook. They also had the greatest passer of all-time, Magic Johnson. The Bulls had arguably the best player the world has ever seen in Michael Jordan. The Bulls were also coached by Phil Jackson, the greatest NBA coach of all time (No one is a better coach than John Wodden).

[ note: This is not by any means a sports authority. He does make valid pts. ]

So the question is this: Do you take the Showtime Lakers with Pat Riley as
coach or do you take Phil "10 rings and looking for more" Jackson with the
Black Mamba and company.

I can't honestly say which one is better. I can tell you these things with
*GREAT* confidence:

1. Phil Jackson is the best coach to ever coach in the NBA!

2. The determination showed by Kobe Bryant has astounded all of the
basketball "elders/giants/gods" you want to talk about. Except the
fat boy, ball headed, MJ syncophant on ESPN. And he's changing his
tune also. [ wishy like a marshmallow ]

3. Normal people don't do rehab for 24 hrs. straight so they can play.

4. Normal people don't get up at 2:30 to stand trial for rape, fly for 4
hours and then hit game winning shots.

5. Normal people don't forgoe surgery so they can compete for a
championship. [ Ronnie Lott is not normal. ]

6. Normal people don't have encylopedic knowledge of the game, which
allows them to reference the year, game & quarter [ from 8 + years ago ]
when the coach last used that play.

7. HUMANS don't drop 40+ while suffering a fracture on their shooting hand.

8. [ anti-climatic ] Pau Gasol is as fundamentally sound as they come.

LakerTom, Eric Pincus would be good. I'd like someone that's not polarizing (Simers, Plascke) and at the same time, has an opinion. Humor must always be a part of the blog as well.

But, and this is a big but, the writer/blogger succeeding bros K must MUST MUST be a Laker fan to his very soul. That's one problem I had with the K bros....they don't know what it feels like to have rooted for the Lakers since birth. For me, its burned in to my being.

I'm hoping for some of these things, praying for all.

the Yankees r the NO BANG 4 the BUCK franchise of the decade.

I'm from L.A. now living in San Antonio and these fools have been reporting that the S.A.Spurs are the team of the Decade.
I hope they all read this article.El Juanio.

Yes. I had to gag many times hearing about the Spurs "dyansty" that occurred this decade - the only dyansty I have ever been aware of where the team with the dyansty never repeated as champions. Not only did they never repeat - they never even went to the Finals in consecutive seasons.

The Lakers won 4 titles in the decade (Spurs won 3) and went to the Finals 6 times. They were ceratinly the NBA team of the decade and won more titles than any sports franchise in the decade, so I think this pick is the right one.

Fellow Laker Fans--I put the following question to Kevin Ding on his blog(go for the captions post) -- and he replied

" know about the Kevin Ding bandwagon over at the LA Times blog, right? Any comment?

December 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm


Yes, it has been a topic of discussion … and a reason to be proud.

Doing consistently quality work is ultimately a self-motivated concept, but remember the great Joe DiMaggio quote when asked why he chose to bring it every single day: “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.” No matter how self-motivated and self-critical you are, when the work goes public, it belongs to the public. I get that, so even though sometimes I don’t really care what people think of me, I absolutely care what you think of me and my work.

– KD

FYI: Tonight's game will be on Nbatv.


At the top of the page, you can see that there's another post after this one. BUT - when you click on it, it says the link is broken.

You can tell it's for the upcoming chat, but it doesn't show the chat box as an upcoming event - like it used to. It actually goes to the "oops this link is broken" page....

Thought you should know - don't want a rebellion on your hands the first live chat out of the gate!

What no Mbenga on the list?

A couple of things to add...

Edwin: I'd say the front-runners are Byron Scott and Mike Krzyzewski if Phil J leaves...but I'm not so sure he'll be leaving. I wrote a story about him a month ago in which he said he was feeling great. Not to mention that the team he coaches is, uh, fairly competetive.

Tom: I have forwarded to our IT people your conerns about using our blog with Inernet Explorer 8.

As for Kobe being SI's seventh-best male athlete of the decade...

He should probably move up at least two spots, overtaking Lance Armstrong and Tom Brady (he went to Michigan, I went to Wisconsin. Can't stand him).

But the other four would be tough to pass. Tiger obviously changed an entire sport and Federer might be the most dominant ever in his sport (though I'm no tennis expert, I admit).

Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt might have done the hardest trick of them all...made the Summer Olympics fun to watch again. I know I was riveted in the summer of '08. I mean, people were having Olympic parties. That's right. OLYMPIC PARTIES. That's pretty serious.

IMHO, Kobe could have been two spots higher, but anything more than that would have been hard to argue.

LakerTom: Firefox.

Just want to say that Kobe ALSO was a gold medalist.
But other than that he has been consistent and playing his ass off, getting better and better under the spotlight for years in row.
All this decade years in row.

The place he has been given in this list is not fair, especially when you see LeBronze's placed at number 16.

Are you kidding me?

As a former swimming competitor I like Phelps to be that high, but again, he has peaked NOT on the whole decade. That should be taken into consideration.

Tiger Woods sport-y like deserves a high spot. Just NOT the first one to me.
Golf in the end isn't really that demanding and competitive trick that can put you up in such a list.

I think the most deserving name ahead of Kobe is Roger Federer (and I am even a Rafa Nadal supporter, so go figure...). Lance Armstrong... well he should. But I still tip him with doping doubts so I am not that sure about that.
Tom Brady? Nay.

I also agree that at least one person out from the most popular sport in the world, namely football (soccer for you) gotta be put in. Though I would have a hard time chosing among the best players of the decade. Ronaldinho. Zidane. Maldini (that is my Milan soft spot, sorry). Cristiano Ronaldo is way to young to be there. Beckham is a nice player, but never been among the very best.

Definitely missing from the top sportsman is VALENTINO ROSSI. He should deserve the top three asap.

And so undoubtedly should deserve the top three Kobe. or at least the top four.

I don't think I am biased there.
Not a single bit.

There can be but one athlete of the year Usain Bolt. The man totally destroys world records and does it easily. If this guy is not on steroids, he is the greatest athlete of all-time. Yes I said it, ALL TIME!!

I'm surprised that 'East Coast Bias' didn't get the Patriots the nod over the Lakers, very glad and surprised. Phil Jackson clearly would be the sports coach of the decade after 4 title wins, the last one surpassing Red Aurbach for most-ever in the NBA.

Kobe coming is 7th is perplexing. OK, Tiger Woods has done a lot on the golf course, give you him. Roger Federer, mmmm.... well he has done in tennis what Tiger has done in golf, personally I wouldn't put him ahead of Kobe, but OK whatever. Lance Armstrong overcoming cancer and winning (I believe) 7 Tour de Lance's -errr- France's is an awesome achievment, so OK.

Kobe is getting penalized for playing in a team sport, that is for sure. Kobe must rate higher than Tom Brady, who has less dominance in his sport than Kobe does in the NBA.

The REAL problems I have is with the inclusion of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps AHEAD of Kobe Bryant, who yes, are freakishly good atheletes, both with incredible achievements, but c'mon. Yes, they both deserved to be on the list, but BELOW Kobe Bryant...

As for Kobe being the highest placing NBA player, was there actually any real doubt as to him being the best NBA player of the decade???

My definition of a pure athlete is someone who must maintain a high level of activity for a defined period of time. Basketball players, soccor and tennis players - there's no rest for them. Their hearbeat doesn't get a chance to slow down like baseball players, football players, golfers.

I agree with Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Lance Armstrong being ahead of Kobe.

And this is coming from a Lakers fan.

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