The Los Angeles Lakers officially set a new franchise record on Sunday night. Their 106-78 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers was their 56th loss this season, their most losses in franchise history. And, with six games left in the regular season, including another game against the Clippers, the Denver Nuggets, the Dallas Mavericks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers could pile up another handful of losses before the season’s end.
To say it’s been a rough season for the Lakers and their fans would be an understatement. Wayne Ellington’s shoulder injury was the sixth season-ending injury this season (and, potentially seventh pending Nick Young being officially ruled out for the rest of the season). Kobe Bryant only played in 35 games this season, and has had three consecutive season-ending injuries, the most recent being a torn rotator cuff. Steve Nash retired, and the team brought up two players from the NBA Development league. TV ratings have dropped, sell-out crowds have thinned and the majority of fans are rooting for the franchise to accumulate as many losses as possible to increase their chances at securing a top five draft pick.And, Kobe Bryant understands all of this. He admitted two weeks ago how difficult it’s been for him to watch games this season, especially from the bench where he’s been frequently seen the past couple weeks, per Byron Scott’s request. And, this is also why Bryant felt an impulse to chime in about the future during a live charity auction over the weekend for the Toberman Neighborhood Center, which featured a pair of Lakers courtside seats to a game next season.
“The (Lakers) front office, they’re going to do what they do. The team next year is going to be much better than the product that you currently see out there on the floor,” Bryant smirked while politely interrupting auctioneer Jim Nye during the Toberman Neighborhood Center gala. Bryant then chuckled that his head coach (Byron Scott, who was sitting just a table away) would also be much less stressed. “So, the value of the seats will be much higher than it currently is so, there you go.”
Kobe’s speech must’ve worked. Two sets of courtside tickets with VIP packages sold for $21,000 a piece, raising $42,000 for the Toberman Neighborhood Center, which provides critical social and educational services to children, youth and families.
In addition to attesting that fans will see a better team on the floor next season, Bryant also put high expectations on himself this summer and next season.
I expect to train about 5-6 hours a day this summer,” Bryant said of his regimen to get back on the court next season.
Bryant and his wife Vanessa were honored with the Bill Sharman Humanitarian award during the gala, for their countless hours of dedication and funds to improving the lives of youth and families in need, both domestically and globally through sports, educational and cultural enrichment. Lakers president Jeanie Buss presented the award, while Stu Lantz served as master of ceremonies and Byron Scott spoke on Bryant’s dedication to both his craft and the community.
The Bryants also join a long list of past Gala honorees, including John Wooden, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, James Worthy, Vin Scully, Louis Zamperini and Tommy Lasorda.[divide]
Watch Kobe Bryant Bid At The Live Auction