Changing of the Guard: the Curtain Call for Coach Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher

Sir Isaac Newton’s theory dictates that what goes up, what must come down; with the Mavericks sweep of the Lakers, it all came crashing down.

When Phil Jackson took over as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999, the internet was dial-up, cell phones were the size of bricks and Derrick Rose, the reigning MVP, was still in elementary school.

A decade of dominance later, the Lakers crashing out of the playoffs wasn’t a fairy tale ending to Coach Jackson’s storied career but as cliché as it sounds, all good things must come to an end. The unfortunate result against the Mavericks shouldn’t diminish what the tandem of Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have accomplished as a trio. The triumvirate have led the Lakers to five championships and seven finals appearances.

Not even the biggest Laker hater in the world would’ve predicted the Lakers’ quest to three-peat would end at the hands of the Mavericks in four straight games.

I wrote earlier in April that facing the Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs is a great consolation prize to finishing in second place in the West. I believed the Lakers would match up better against this veteran Dallas team than the younger and more explosive Oklahoma City Thunder.

Boy was I wrong. I was dead wrong. Things against the Mavericks turned ugly faster than the cars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drive.

After blowing a 16 point lead in game one, gifting home court advantage to the Mavericks. A text message from my friend arrived, it read “the dynasty is over. That team is going to be brutal when Kobe starts being an {expletive} again. Artest and Barnes are going to back to being idiots. Bynum will think he’s too good for the team and Gasol is still softer than tissue paper.”

I didn’t believe any of the libel he was throwing at me. It was just game one right? Seeing as how the Lakers lost Game 1 of the last series against New Orleans and came back with a vengeance, this just another roadblock on the way to another three-peat.

Then game two rolled around, and the Mavericks outplayed the Lakers in every single category. To make things worse in the fourth quarter, the Laker faithful began peppering the team with boos. It was disgraceful to watch, had the fans forgotten what the Lakers have given us over the past three seasons? It was a disgraceful showing in hindsight, knowing that was Coach Jackson’s last ever home ever.  Laker fans are eternally spoiled, success has always been a staple of the franchise and as a result they attract many fair weather fans that turn on the team as soon as things turn grim.

Some members of Lakers Nation are akin to the rich kid in school who comes back from summer vacation telling his less fortunate friends all about his trip. The kid visited a bunch of European tourist destinations but he didn’t get around to seeing the Eiffel Tower, and he complains about it.

Next: The End of an Era
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