In a series where no one could predict anything with concrete confidence, the unlikeliest of heroes in Ron Artest played the game of his life, driven by determination to write his own chapter of championship greatness. Anyone out there still thinking about Trevor Ariza? I for one, never did once the season began and Ron Ron is without question, the player that I am the most overjoyed for.
Artest has reached the summit of his life to this point, both professionally and personally, having withstood an arduous path from his tough upbringing in Queensbridge, NY to the infamous “Palace Brawl” in 2004. Call yourself a champion Ron, you deserve it.
Kobe, Kobe, Kobe. He now puts his feet up in a very select super club of NBA history’s most iconic players. Most notably, he has matched our very own Magic Johnson with five championships and sits just one away from His Airness, Michael Jordan.
The Mamba may not have had the best of offensive outings last night, but as all great players do, he found a way to impact the game through gritty defense and by crashing the glass for 15 rebounds and there’s no doubt in my mind that this was the most complete postseason of his career, especially considering the multitude of injuries he fought through for most of the year. Gary Vitti needs to lock him in a room and not let him go near a basketball. Rest up Kobe, please!
Standing tall alongside number 24 is his longtime back court mate, the little guard from Little Rock, Derek Fisher, also a five-time NBA champion as of last night, who could not contain his emotions following the final buzzer. Really though, how clutch is he?
Through all of the blatant criticism, none of it has ever affected Derek’s innate ability to swirl machetes through the hearts of his opponents and last night was no different – same Fish, same story, same fabulous ending. 64-64 is just an additional notch on his belt of postseason greatness, a legacy that no other point guard in the league is even close to coming five steps within. Make that, five rings.
Now a two-time NBA champion himself, Pau Gasol, with the weight of Espana squarely on his back (even more so given Spain’s loss to Switzerland), proved that his role on this team is no longer that of “sidekick”, but rather, a true partner in crime to Bryant. To offset Kobe’s poor shooting in Game 7, it was Gasol who took control of the offense, especially in the fourth quarter as he made all the right plays out of the post and recovered what was looking like a nightmare night from the charity stripe.
The Spaniard was out for Celtic blood last night and he played like the best big man in the league, no questions asked. I’m sorry that I ever called you soft Pau, you were the man last night.
What is there to really say about Phil Jackson at this point? He is the best coach of all time in professional sports period. I don’t care what anyone says to that. 11 championships? Are you kidding me? We can only hope that the enticing opportunity to cap off his ridiculous legacy with four three-peats will be enough to bring him back and I’m sure we all certainly wish him nothing but the best of health, regardless.
Personally, I couldn’t be more grateful that I was fortunate enough to experience a Finals victory over the Boston Celtics in my lifetime. All of the mystique that surrounds the rivalry has always been something that I’ve only ever heard about, but never experienced until 2008.
The 2010 matchup would not have been what it was if not for that dreadfully painful summer of two years ago nor would the victory have felt nearly as glorious.
Congratulations to the 2010 NBA Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. And really, thank you to Dr. Jerry Buss for, as Magic eloquently put it, “always putting the best product out on the floor”.
Let’s all just let this one soak in as a sweet, sweet summer lies ahead.