Toughness, Revenge, and the Pursuit of Immortality
Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers spent most of the 2009 season searching for that toughness, looking for anything to distance themselves from their reputation as a “finesse” team. They pushed their way past Houston, Denver and Orlando to capture their first title since 2002, but something about the victory was missing. While the teams they faced were tough, they did not possess the same level of toughness as those pesky Boston Celtics. The Lakers, even as champions, would have to wait another season to avenge their 2008 Finals loss.

Wait no more, Lakers fans, the Celtics arrive in town on Thursday.

So the question becomes, are the Lakers tough enough to get past Boston?

Nobody will question the toughness of their leader, Kobe Bryant. Mr. Bryant has been playing since December with a broken index finger on his shooting hand. He had his knee drained a few weeks back, and since then he’s been nothing short of spectacular.

Finishing off the Suns with one dramatic jump shot after another, Kobe even took a second to pat Suns coach Alvin Gentry on the backside, as if to say “Better luck next time”. He simply wouldn’t let his team lose that series, and one could argue despite all his nagging injuries Kobe has never been better. He’s scoring with better efficiency than at any point in his career, and doing it with such ease that it would make Michael Jordan blush.

Speaking of MJ, I can’t let another paragraph go by without mentioning his recent Hanes commercials. You’ve seen these, right? An elegant MJ sits on a plane next to some keyed up dork that can’t stop talking about their mutual love for Hanes undershirts. MJ plays it cool, only briefly entertaining the dork’s antics.

That’s all fine and good. Not a bad idea for a commercial.

My only question is this: How in God’s name is it okay for Jordan to be rocking a Hitler mustache? I can’t be the only one to notice this, right? I’m sure it took “his people” an hour to convince MJ to take out the hoop earring, but they should never have let their man go on set sporting a wicked Hitler ‘stache. I think there is a rule somewhere that says that it is bad form to mimic the look of homicidal maniacs responsible for mass genocide. Call me crazy, but somebody’s losing their job over this, guaranteed.

Back to the Lakers.

Next: The Kobe Bryant factor…

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