In the meantime, it’s about time to look at the upcoming NBA basketball season. Now I’m not even going to front and carry-on this charade any further before telling the truth: Truth is that I didn’t really write a celebratory article for the NBA Championship last year (though I wrote about it plenty). I called myself doing a little humble impersonation, and didn’t “do a little dance” on paper with ink, like one of the little spirits on my shoulder wanted me to do. You see, during the 2008 NBA Championship between the Lakers and Boston, I held a series of events for the NBA Finals and was completely embarrassed by a Lakers performance highlighted with all sorts of yellow-bellied, tail-tuckin’ activity on the court. Sprinkle in the fact that former Timberwolf Kevin Garnett was leading that mean-green-Boston Celtic-machine, and it reminds me of a quote from Raymond Chandler, repeated by Anthony Bourdain (Travel Channel – good show): “I went to brush something off my cheek, and it was the floor.”
Kobe Bryant looked like a pointy-face, fang-bearing, Tasmanian devil in the NBA Finals last year. He may have, however, finally earned more robust respect from me overall. As the new season approaches, Kobe looks a little like he needs to read the Bible quote I’m saving up for him should we rap one day: Pride cometh before the fall. That has always been my criticism of Kobe, and nothing tests that lesson more than having just won something. Kobe won a lot of respect from a lot of people last year, but watching his evolution following that victory is my main storyline to follow in the upcoming year.
Not far removed from the hearts of Lakers fans remains the memory of “Shaq-Fu”, a.k.a. “Shaq-Diesel”, a.k.a. “The Big Aristotle”, a.k.a. a whole bunch of other stuff, but his momma call him Shaquille O’Neal. And so now Shaq has taken his continental circus act – he has gotten a bit clownish lately – to the razzle-dazzle background setting of Cleveland, OH. You can’t take anything away from Ohio because they put out a ton of sporting talent for such a small state, but obviously the Akron, OH birth, followed by the NBA birth of the LeBron James reign has the eye of the World on Ohio.
The facts bare-out well for Shaq and LeBron in that Shaq has won, or played for, a championship almost everywhere he has pitched his circus tent. Add James a.k.a. Optimus Prime to the show, and you have epic NBA basketball potential on your hands. Ohio may be up there with the best of ‘em, but for now the “best of ‘em” in the NBA keeps the title of Champion until someone unseats them.
And so what do you do if you’re the Lakers having to face this new insurgent union? You run right out and pick up the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the NBA, Ron Artest. Artest is most famous for socking multiple fans dead square in the nose during the infamous “Malice at the Palace” brawl, which took place at the home of the Detroit Pistons, while Artest played for the Indiana Pacers. Artest has managed to clean up his image a bit, though most everyone keeps an extra eye tucked away in the corner just for him and his “moments”. But considering that I have long suggested Kobe Bryant seems soft like an al-dente lasagna noodle – that’s a big upgrade from the butter soft angel hair pasta he used to resemble – the addition of a Brooklyn born knockout artist like Artest adds just the (pre-Buster Douglas) Mike Tyson punch that the Lakers will certainly need.
And then there is Lakers forward Lamar Odom recently marrying one of the celebutante Kardashian sisters. Sigh. No wonder we never see the real circus anymore; how could it ever compare to that union, or the thought of Jack Nicholson and Ron Artest hugging it out after Lakers’ victories?
The Timberwolves will be much improved with the addition of…(long story). Lakers, Fool!