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Looking at the Lakers' connection to the Grammy's

February 14, 2011 | 10:59 am


In what's become a yearly ritual for the Lakers, they can count on two things happening in February.

They leave the comfortable settings at Staples Center to make way for the Grammy's for an extended trip. Then they realize they're happy they've logged all those flights and hotel stays because it's provided a significant turning point for the team's development. The Lakers (38-17) may not be thinking those thoughts right now as they enter Monday's game at Charlotte (23-31) after a 89-75 loss Sunday to the Orlando Magic. But it's safe to say the Lakers are in much better shape after a 4-1 start to their seven-game trip than when they left Staples Center last week losing three of their past four games and their 19-8 home record already eclipsing the number of losses at Staples Center they compiled during the 2009-10 season.

"The best thing for them to do is get out of town and get away from you guys," Lakers Hall of Famer Jerry West said recently. "You do bug them. It's frankly like a soap opera."

But it's safe to say the Lakers paid at least some attention to the soap opera going on with the Grammy's Sunday night, ranging from Lady Gaga's arrival in a giant egg, the likes of Eminem, Dr. Dre and Rihanna performing together and Justin Bieber losing to Esperanza Spalding for best new artist. That's because several of the Lakers have connections some of the nominees.

Kobe Bryant: He planned to shoot Bieber a text message minutes after the Lakers' 117-89 victory Nov. 21 against the Golden State Warriors. That's because Bieber had just won numerous honors at the 2010 American Music Awards that took place at Nokia Theater across the street, including favorite male artist, favorite Album: My World 2.0, breakthrough artist of the year and artist of the year. Apparently, Bryant also gave advice to the young pop star. “Kobe is a good guy and he told me not to take any crap from anybody,” Bieber recently told Fox News.

Jeanie Buss: Bieber apparently has some hefty pull with the Lakers organization. How else to explain Buss' willingness to allow Bieber to wear Phil Jackson's 2010 championship ring during the Lakers' season opener? Bryant isn't just tight with Bieber. Kanye West, whose single, "Power" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance, recently worked with Bryant in a recent Nike commercial.

Ron Artest: As soon as Artest signed last off-season to a five-year deal worth $33 million, he demonstrated his tremendous confidence that the Lakers would win another championship. He recorded a rap song produced by Dre, which was released after the 2010 title, and performed it at numerous L.A. post-Lakers championship parties. Apparently it's caught some buzz. In addition to Artest receiving a shout out on Snoop Dogg's Purp & Yellow, he, Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown appeared in the music video. That's why it shouldn't be a stretch to believe Artest hoped Snoop's work with Katy Perry on California Girls would win Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, an honor that ultimately went to Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono Nº1, Jeff Beck and Oumou Sangaré for their work on "Imagine."

Shannon Brown: Had it not been for the Lakers playing in Orlando, it's likely Brown would've showed up to the award show. His newly wedded wife, Monica, was nominated for Best R&B Album ("Still Standing) and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("Everything to Me"), two nominations that didn't make the cut. Still, the two could've at least celebrate in style after Brown appeared in Monica's music video.

---Mark Medina

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Photo: Justin Bieber has frequently attended Lakers games, wore Phil Jackson's championship ring and received advice from Kobe Bryant. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times