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Lakers are Sports Illustrated's franchise of the decade

December 22, 2009 |  1:34 pm

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.