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The verbal on the court flair ups Shaquille O'Neal (above) had with former Laker coach Del Harris are now dismissed by the 7'1" giant as being much to do about nothing - NBA photo

 

 

 

 

SPORTS NOTES - LAKERS TIME BOMB

James Loving - National Radio Text Service

 

 

The addition of DENNIS RODMAN has turned the Lakers from LOSERS to winners. The question is how long will it last? - During the Sonics-Lakers game Friday March 5, ESPN reported that there was tension between SHAQUILLE O'NEAL and KOBE BRYANT over Bryant's shot selection - The pressure of rumored trades involving EDDIE JONES, ELDEN CAMPBELL and DEREK FISHER still looms. Can team harmony exist when the rug may be pulled from under their feet and job security doesn't exist? Does constantly having to look over your shoulder create TEAM harmony?

 

March, 1999

The addition of DENNIS RODMAN has turned the Lakers from LOSERS to winners. The question is how long will it last? How will the Lakers do in their last year in THE HOUSE THAT former Laker owner JACK [Kent Cooke] BUILT, the Forum?

Rodman seems to be taking the quiet approach. He is maintaining a low profile and is seldom quoted since he started playing. He goes about his business and is putting up rebounding numbers. He's doing remarkably well for a man who will turn 38, May 13, and hadn't played basketball since the end of last season.

The team is undefeated since his arrival. Can the Lakers win their first NBA Championship in OVER a decade with his presence? Well……

The Lakers have to be ready at the end of the season when the GOING GETS TOUGH and the TOUGH GET GOING. That's when, as OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN once sang, the NBA gets into its 'Let's Get Physical,' mode.

Good health, both mentally and physically, execution, teamwork and last but not least…, TEAM HARMONY are imperative. As QUINCY JONES once said to the most talented singers IN THE WORLD when he produced the song 'We Are The World,' "Leave your EGOS at the door." OHHH….. MYYY……

MENTALLY: How long can the season go on without some sensationalism surfacing with Rodman being the center of attention? He did miss a Laker practice on Monday but Coach KURT RAMBIS said he was excused. THE BLOOM IS currently ON THE Lakers ROSE, but for how long?

During the Sonics-Lakers game Friday March 5, ESPN reported that there was tension between SHAQUILLE O'NEAL and KOBE BRYANT over Bryant's shot selection.

Lakers President JERRY WEST continues to be suspect of wanting to quit his job. He's had disagreements with team owner DR. JERRY BUSS. Things are said to have been smoothed out between the two. [AHHH….WHAT'S UP DOC?????]

PHYSICALLY: Last year the Lakers started the season with a franchise best 11 straight wins and La La Land [Los Angeles] was talking NBA Championship. O'NEAL then developed a problem with his stomach and the team struggled without him. The stomach is still a problem with O'Neal.

HARMONY: The pressure of rumored trades involving EDDIE JONES, ELDEN CAMPBELL and DEREK FISHER still looms. Can team harmony exist when the rug may be pulled from under their feet and job security doesn't exist? Does constantly having to look over your shoulder create TEAM harmony?

The Lakers have a we're more superior than thou attitude. The organization seems to feel that they should win EVERY game.

The Lakers won their eighth straight game Tuesday, 103-99 over the winless LA Clippers. Since Rodman joined the team and RAMBIS was given the head-coaching job, the team has won seven of the eight. They have a perfect record since the changes were made. To the Lakers… THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

The LA Times reported that prior to the Clippers game Tuesday, Lakers General Manager MITCH KUPCHAK said regarding making trades, "You have to ask yourself realistically, are we playing as well as we can? And the answer, we're pretty good, but maybe not as good as we can be playing."

The bottom line is the team will have to wait until Thursday's trading deadline to see what that means. Can the Lakers be satisfied with winning and team harmony OR….?

EXECUTION: If the Lakers do make a trade, will the new players FIT in with the remaining Lakers? If they do acquire someone the stature of GLEN RICE, are there enough balls to go around after O'Neal and Bryant have their touches? The timing and rhythm of blending in new players with the Lakers would take time to flow and function properly for clean execution, there is always a period of adjustment.

The regular season is ONLY three months long and leaves little time for any adjustment. The blessing is… the REAL season begins with the playoffs. The downside is the Lakers have proved they CAN'T GET IT DONE at the end of the year.

STABILITY?: In the Lakers minority owner MAGIC JOHNSON and it star player O'Neal, the club has two prima-donna personalities. They both have a tendency to sulk and brood.

In 1993, O'Neal was instrumental in the Orlando Magic trading their OVERALL No. 1 NBA draft pick CHRIS WEBBER to the Golden State Warriors for ANFERNEE HARDAWAY. Hardaway was the overall No. 3 pick in the first round. O'Neal had played ball in the summer with Hardaway and was impressed with his game and they were BUDS [buddies].

The dream of the Magic having TWO SUPERSTARS, who were back to back overall No.1 NBA draft picks, Webber and O'Neal, on the same team, never came to fruition. At that time it was a subject Webber was reluctant to talk about.

The marketing magic of the 'LIL PENNY television commercials made Hardaway a hot commodity both on and off the court. The promising Magic were swept and blown out in four games by a more MATURE Houston Rockets team in the 1995 NBA Championship Finals. Egos were bruised.

O'Neal and Hardaway played the 1996 season together. As a free agent O'Neal left the Magic to join the Lakers July 18, 1996.

The verbal on the court flair ups O'Neal had with former Laker coach Del Harris are now dismissed by the 7'1" giant as much to do about nothing. Though he disrespected the man in a public arena on several occasions, he says he really liked Harris.

When Johnson started his Laker career he had problems with KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR. It's been reported by the LA Times that it took five years for them to work through their coexisting status to being harmonious teammates.

Johnson also had a problem with then Laker coach PAUL WESTHEAD, who coached the team to its first of five championships in the 80's in 1980. Result: Westhead was fired and PAT RILEY came out of the broadcast booth to replace him.

Johnson later had a problem with former Laker teammate NORM NIXON over who would handle the ball and be the point guard. Dispite winning TWO NBA Championships in the four years that they were teammates, Nixon was traded to the San Diego Clippers for then rookie BYRON SCOTT.

In 1989, Johnson held many TEAM ONLY closed door meetings. Tension existed in the locker room. Riley left the team at the end of that 1989-90 season. He didn't coach the following year but returned to coach the New York Knicks in 1991-92.

Also in 1989, longtime Laker Media Director JOSH ROSENFELD left the team after a few months into the season and was replaced by current Media Director JOHN BLACK. Rosenfeld would never disclose why he left the team with NOWHERE to go that early in the year.

There are THREE people currently with the Lakers from the 1980 Championship season, Buss, West and Johnson. The team hasn't won an NBA Championship since the 1987-88 season. The team has had tremendous talent but hasn't been well focused since the departure of Riley. Pressure mounts.

Like the Asian economy, the LAKERS BUBBLE has to burst at some point….. Will the LAKERS ORGANIZATION be MEN ENOUGH to handle it???


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