The season, the three-peat, and possibly the dynasty.
Although the Los Angeles Lakers got swept by the Dallas Mavericks a few weeks back, fans are still having difficulties accepting the fact that the season is over. Fans have been trying to find coping mechanisms to deal with the loss, but the sour taste in their mouth will only disappear with another successful season.
The Lakers fell to the Mavericks in embarrassing fashion, and Los Angeles looked like an old, worn out squad while the Mavs seemed as though they have been at that position before. However, it was the way in which the Lakers walked off the court that irritated spectators. The once proud Los Angeles Lakers franchise was the epitome of the ideal organization, and it personified class and greatness. Nevertheless, those traits and characteristics were lost after the team left the court for the final time.
Not only was the effort throughout the series horrendous, the Lakers’ players abashed the franchise with their nefarious late-game antics. Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum got ejected from Game 4 after shoving Maverick players and they were deservedly lambasted by the media later in the locker-room. Bynum and Odom may have apologized several days later, but they ruined their reputation around the league, and even within their organization.
Aside from the unspeakable actions pulled off by several Lakers’ players, the entire sports world has to commemorate the great Phil Jackson. Jackson may as well be crowned the best coach of all North American sports, but he was no doubt ridiculed by the way he ended his career. Instead of a picture-perfect culmination with a three-peat, the Zen Master had to walk off the Dallas court knowing he will finish his coaching stint with a 36-point defeat. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher tried to will their team to a historic series comeback, but because of an apparent of effort from their teammates they had to watch their long-time coach get swept out of the playoffs.
Times like these may be hard to digest, and frankly it is quite difficult forgiving a team like the 2010-2011 Lakers for their effort in the Playoffs. The team played with little intensity, and there was never a point of the post-season where fans convinced that this squad was determined to win a third-consecutive title. However, bailing out on the Lakers and no longer supporting a team is not the correct way to treat a favorite team.
Yes the Lakers did not provide fans with a coveted “three-peat,” but integrity and faith play a big role in sports. Fans are just as important to franchise’s as are great players, and the Lakers need a strong, supportive fan-base more than ever.