Especially Kobe. But really, fuck all of them.
If we had to pick the most maddening team in all of the four major sports, I’m guessing it would come down to a virtual tie between the Yankees and the Lakers. Both teams win constantly, primarily because they spend money left and right, usually so they can take the best players from other, less fortunate teams. I can easily see hating either team, but I became a Yankees fan when I was 6, and there’s no turning back now. At least not until Jeter retires.
But the Lakers? They really burn my cannoli. After two “off” years in which they only made it to the second round of the playoffs, everyone’s least favorite NBA franchise reloaded in grand fashion this summer. First they added Steve Nash, who is somehow still one of the league’s best point guards despite being almost 40. Because turning the most likeable guy in the league over to the dark side wasn’t enough, the Lakers also added the league’s best center, Dwight Howard. Combining Nash and Howard with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol gives the Lakers an extremely potent stating lineup, and puts them among the favorites to win the title next season. Just like always.
If Albert Camus were alive today, and following the NBA, the Lakers would be his favorite team. They express how utterly futile our existence is better than he ever could. No matter how hard the other 29 teams try, the Lakers will smush them into bits and pieces because that’s just what they do. Compared to them, the Heat almost seem like underdogs.
Then again, if Ayn Rand were still alive, she’d probably be decked out in purple and gold, too. The Lakers, along with the Yankees, represent capitalism at its most ruthless. Step over anyone to get ahead, and don’t ponder for one second if it was the right thing to do. That’s pretty much the Lakers philosophy, and it’s why they’ve been so damn successful.
Admittedly, the Lakers are not absolutely guaranteed to win it all next year. We still don’t know if Kobe and Nash will be able to co-exist in the Lakers backcourt, and since both players like to have the offense run through them, it may be a bit of a crapshoot. Still, there’s enough raw talent on this team that any chemistry issues are more likely to be a minor setback than a severe issue. This team will be very hard to take down next year.
Can anyone stop the Lakers on their ride to another title? Well, I’m not completely giving up hope. Teams like the Grizzlies and the Nuggets lack the superstar power of the Lakers, but they do play extremely well together. If a team like that is able to get hot, they may be able to take down the lumbering dinosaur of Los Angeles. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.