A mixed assessment of the Lakers' championship DVD
Here's my thoughts on the Lakers 2010 championship DVD, which goes on sale Tuesday and can be bought for $24.99 at NBAStore.com.
What I liked
Game footage: The DVD provides various angles and highlights many key plays during the Lakers' regular-season and post-season run. The DVD moves the story along at a fluid pace, with audio clips from ESPN and Lakers' play-by-play men Joel Meyers and Spero Dedes. The sequences are a fairly good CliffsNotes version of the Lakers' 2009-10 season.
Behind-the-scenes access: The DVD's got some attention-capturing, behind-the-scenes material. For example, a flashback to the Lakers' 2009 title run features Kobe Bryant persuading Phil Jackson to reenter the locker room after being doused with Champagne. Jackson expresses skepticism; Bryant insists he just wants him back so the team can recite the Lord's Prayer. As soon as Jackson goes back in, the team pours more of the bubbly on the head coach. The tale is one that Bryant shared following the Lakers' 2009 NBA Finals win over the Orlando Magic, but the DVD allows viewers to watch as Jackson eventually embraces and soaks in the Champagne bath.
There's other sequences with vivid storytelling, such as Ron Artest's ongoing effort in learning the triangle offense; Rick Fox congratulating Artest when the team successfully played without Bryant in the lineup for five games; Jackson warning the team they may never play a home game after its Game 2 NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics; Derek Fisher's game speeches; and Fisher's emotional reaction after the team's Game 3 Finals win over Boston. There's more Champagne and plenty of close-up shots of the bath after the Lakers' 2010 NBA Finals victory, including a giddy Bryant and Artest embracing each other. "I told you that you were going to get it man," Bryant says to Artest after the team's Game 7 win against Boston. "He got me a ring!" Artest says of Bryant to the camera.
What I didn't like
Storytelling: The DVD features all the elements of a good story -- a plot with a beginning, middle and end, and a central cast of characters, but it falls short in filling in all the details. Obviously, it's hard to capture every single nuance of an 82-game season without falling into the trap of just highlighting minutia. But I've got a bone to pick. Aside from some the regular-season games being shown out of order (for example, you'll see Bryant's game winner against Boston in January before the team's Christmas Day loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers), the DVD glosses over a hugely important aspect: injury and fatigue. The only injuries it highlights are Bryant's right index finger, sprained left ankle, back spasms and sprained right knee. Um, what about Pau Gasol (hamstring), Andrew Bynum (Achilles' tendon), Lamar Odom (shoulder, knee), Ron Artest (thumb, shoulder), Jordan Farmar (thumb), Shannon Brown (thumb) and Luke Walton (back)? OK, Bryant deserves much of the focus, but not mentioning his teammates' injuries shouldn't have been overlooked, period. Bynum's sprained right knee became *the* topic of discussion during the 2010 NBA Finals, but it was only mentioned once in passing, with the narrator mentioning how Bynum got his knee drained prior to Game 5.
Not enough color: I liked the behind-the-scenes views as mentioned above, but frankly, the DVD could have used much more of them. The story weaves along, often with countless soundbite interviews with several coaches and players that provide nothing of substance beyond cliched sports quotes. I would've liked to see and hear the players talk about how tough it was to fight through fatigue and injuries, along with footage of them getting treatment in the training room. I would've loved see firsthand the team's air-it-out meeting during its sluggish play in March. I would've loved to see the team poring over film as they try to figure out how to stop Oklahoma City's transition offense and attack Phoenix's 2-3 zone. I would've loved to see and hear the team's thoughts and emotions when they were on the brink of elimination. That's perhaps asking too much in this media age in which access is tightly controlled, but the story would've been much better had it featured soundbites capturing the successes and struggles toward winning the NBA Championship. That would've made Jackson's contention that the journey is more important than the accomplishment more compelling.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: The Lakers' 2010 Championship DVD. Credit: NBA Entertainment