Well, Dwight, the choice is yours; you can test out free agency and sign elsewhere, or you can remain with the greatest franchise in basketball and write your own chapter of greatness, alongside legends past and present.
Despite the franchise being highly esteemed and full of all-time greats, in the history books, that actually works to your advantage and won’t necessarily overshadow your accomplishments; it’ll actually enhance them.
I won’t even get into the extra money you can earn, but that’s definitely a bonus too.
Let’s get right into it and take a look at a few selling points that I feel are of great value:
Kobe Bryant’s Respect
This doesn’t come easy, but you have Kobe’s respect. He respects you to the fullest level when it comes to your defensive abilities and your commitment to conditioning. You may not have been 100 percent last season due to your back injury, but Kobe understands that. What he also understands is that you’re not Shaquille O’Neal, and you take your physical preparation very seriously–which is something you and the Black Mamba certainly have in common.
Also, after you visited him numerous times in the hospital and his home in Newport following his Achilles injury, he developed a respect level for you on a personal level that not many teammates have experienced.
At the same time, he’s going to hold you to the highest standard on the offensive end when on the court. Where you lack in post moves, handling the ball, and/or free throws, he’s going to let you know about it and won’t accept anything but your best. He’s going to only defer to you when he feels that you are at an elite level offensively, and even then, you’ll have to demand the ball–but you will become a focal point of the offense.
Additionally, Kobe has said on multiple occasions that he wants you to stay, which is saying a lot. He’s going to continue to push you until you truly have reached your full potential (and you still have a lot left), but you’ve certainly earned his respect both on and off the court; which is no small feat.
The Fans’ Respect
As you know, Lakers fans and media can be extremely critical and highly demanding. However, the worst is likely over. You were nowhere close to the Superman we all saw in Orlando, but we understand numerous factors influenced that.
The majority of us were quite disappointed, but we were understanding at the same time, and we definitely applauded your effort once we realized exactly how serious your back injury/recovery was.
However, as mentioned, we are a highly demanding bunch, and, like your hyper-competitive teammate, we expect the best. We are not satisfied with anything less than greatness–especially from our big men.
Subsequently, this could be a positive thing for you. We know you’re an individual who sets high goals and sets out to achieve them. We will have goals for you as well, and keep you motivated to be the best. In other words, we won’t be satisfied with a mediocre season from you individually or as a team; as many other fanbases unequivocally will.
Once you do succeed and become a true Hall-of-Fame player whose jersey will undoubtedly be hung from the Staples Center rafters one day, you’ll be forever revered as a legend. This could take upwards of five years to accomplish, or you could come back better than ever next season and La La Land will shower you with love instantaneously once we see the dominant center we all anticipated you being since last summer.
Essentially, it’s up to you. Once fans truly accept you and have confidence in you as the face of the franchise going forward, you will be loved unconditionally. You’ll make mistakes, and we’ll defend you; you’ll make a horrible play, and we’ll still support you; and then, when you succeed and you help raise another championship banner, we’ll crown you as the King of L.A. and all the doubters will have to eat their words and doubt will never be spoken of again.
Notice how I said “when” another championship banner is raised and not “if;” that’s because the Lakers always find ways to win championships. It’s a historic tradition, and it never fails. It may take longer than we had hoped sometimes (the 1990s), but it eventually happens. I can’t say that for the other teams you may be looking into.
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