Article I read today talking about missed opportunities in the NBA, heres the segment on Kobe, nice little reminder of where we were just 3-4 years ago and how much we've grown and changed since our not too long ago past...
Did you happen to catch the Lakers ring ceremony on Tuesday? Pretty dope, right? Aside from somehow playing the second fiddle to the NBA’s version of The Beatles, things appear to be flowing like a well oiled machine out in Tinseltown. They’re the odds on favorite to repeat and they actually have a better team this year. Yep, life for a Lakers fan truly resembles that of a fairly tale at the moment. A far cry from a mere three and a half years ago.
In 2007, the image of Kobe Bryant was completely different than what is seen today. Many of the fans who currently live and figuratively die by his every dribble had not yet openly admitted so because, let’s admit it, being a Kobe Bryant fan was not considered “cool” for a period of time. He was considered selfish and one people of his ilk could never play alongside. And of course, the most popular criticism was “he’d never win a ring without Shaq.” After an early exit in the 2007 playoffs and no real viable help outside of Lamar Odom, his relationship with the Lakers hit a boiling point and the Kobe era appeared all but over in Hollywood.
“That place is a mess,” Bryant said, referring to the Lakers’ front office. “If we’re not making strides here to improve this team right now, to be aggressive in that nature, then what’s the point of having me here?
“I would like to be traded, yeah,” continued Bryant, who has led the league in scoring the last two seasons. “Tough as it is to come to that conclusion, there’s no other alternative. It’s rough man, but I don’t see how you can rebuild that trust.” [USA Today]
Things got ugly in a hurry as Kobe claimed it was Lakers owner Jerry Buss who conspired to exile Shaq from L.A. – not him – because of financial reasons and his diminishing skill set. The trade rumors began to resonate at a fever pitch with Chicago being the most popular suitor. However, like a Beyonce pregnancy urban myth, the hearsay had no legs while cooler heads prevailed over what had previously resembled a volatile situation. What happened next? Just the Lakers somehow finagling the most lopsided trade since the Louisiana Purchase when they acquired Pau Gasol for Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton and Kwame Brown. It’s been Showtime every since (minus that Game 6 in the 2008 Finals).
If Kobe goes East, who knows how the balance of power plays out. Would Kobe still be plagued by the stigma of not winning a title as the Alpha dog? Would the Lakers even be relevant today? Is Phil Jackson still chasing Red Auerbach for most championships all-time? And how would an Eastern Conference All-Star line up of Wade-Kobe-LeBron-Bosh-Shaq have looked?
Again, all completely irrelevant questions now that reality has taken its course, but still intriguing to ponder. To see a list of other big name missed opportunities, and there are quite a few, click here .
I put the Jordan segment in the general NBA thread, its from the same guy, just thought it'd be more fitting over there