I understand the hate for the Heat. And I will certainly be cheering against them all season, because they are a threat to the Lakers. (I’ve accepted the fact that there is no way they don’t win 60+ games next year with LeBron, relieved of the pressures of having to ball every night for his team to have a chance, sleep-walking his way to a 20-14-10 stat-line by season’s end).
While it’s okay for the Lakers Nation to hate the Heat, I think every one of us should be thankful for their existence.
That’s right: thankful.
Three years ago, after the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by 268 points in the decisive Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, much was made about Kobe’s legacy.
He will never win anything without Shaq.
He will never be a guy who makes his teammates better.
He will go down as the best side-kick in the history of the NBA.
Kobe will never compare to Michael Jordan.
… and on and on and on.
I’m sure every Lakers fan in the country heard something along those lines. And when my friends were ribbing me about Kobe’s failures, I remember saying, “His career isn’t over yet. He just turned 30. The Lakers sun is still rising, not setting, like the Celtics.”