Whether during the days of their dynasties or their rebuilding their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are a first-class franchise, the pinnacle of winning in the modern era of the NBA. With 16 championships in total, the Lakers understand the winning culture and how to maintain that elite level.
From Kwame Brown to Kobe Bryant, a certain professionalism is required when representing the Lakers. Although Brown, who spent almost three seasons with the Lakers, didn’t experience a championship during his time with the Lakers, he was still able to play under the guidance of the second Phil Jackson era.
During his interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com, he reflected on his 12-year career, including his stops with seven different teams. Of all those teams, Brown says the Lakers and Pistons stood out amongst the rest:
I would have to say the Lakers and the Pistons. They both just had a winning way about them, a winning environment. The GM, coaches, players and fans all expected to win. And when we did lose, it’s not like you were on your own. I’ve been in situations like that where you lose and then everybody just turns their back on you. Everything would be great when you’re winning, but then you lose and it’s like, “Get the f*** out of here.” You win together and you lose together. Detroit and Los Angeles were organizations that were first-class all around.
Many players have worn the purple and gold jersey, with high praise a majority of the time. Ever since former owner Dr. Jerry Buss bought the team, the Lakers turned into a global brand, renowned around the word.
Although Brown’s time with the Lakers didn’t come with a clean bill of health or that much confidence in himself, he still battled on the defensive end for his team. One of the reasons Brown was able to persevere was due to the confidence instilled by Jackson, a nine-time champion as a coach at the time. Brown stated that although he wasn’t in the best state of mind, Jackson was able to ease his load and provide a comfortable environment:
KB: Phil Jackson was great, just from a mental standpoint. He even brought in sports psychologists and all kinds of resources. He’s really good at working with a player’s mind.
Jackson was renowned and admired for his psychological teachings, which provided a chemistry-building environment. The pedigree was certainly there, as Jackson earned the respect of NBA legends such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Both Jackson and the Lakers remain a constant example of success, even during their current trials and tribulations. Brown is just one of many basketball players to experience the feeling in purple and gold, with athletes today still envisioning leading the Lakers back to that championship level.