Heading into this season, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding if Kobe Bryant will return for the season opener against the Clippers and if the Lakers have enough pieces to even make the playoffs.
With two months before the start of training camp, one thing is for certain: the Lakers will be underdogs and under the radar according to Magic Johnson (h/t Los Angeles Daily News).
At a recent brunch for his foundation, Johnson acknowledged this is the first time in a while where the Lakers aren’t championship favorites, and he is interested to see how the team responds:
“For the first time, the Lakers will be underdogs and under the radar. Let’s see how they respond to that. A lot of people think they’re not making the playoffs. Let’s see what the players decide to do.”
While Magic is usually critical of the Lakers, he recalled the time when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired and the franchise was in a similar position:
“I remember when Kareem retired and they picked us and said the Lakers are over with. I got so mad. I didn’t know what to do. I was thinking, ‘So nobody can play but Kareem?’ I got with James Worthy and the rest of the guys. I told them ‘Do you hear what they’re saying about us?”
It’s the exact mindset the Lakers need to have this upcoming season, and there’s no doubt that Kobe Bryant will challenge his teammates to prove those doubters wrong as Magic and his Lakers once did.
This year’s Lakers team seems to understand the tradition and the situation at hand. When there are fifteen men who take pride in wearing the purple and gold armor, anything can happen.
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