Trust The Laker Media?
"Are you kidding me that Bresnahan doing any good covering the Lakers/Kobe? He tried to undermine Kobe as a player and a person starting from about the 2nd half of 2004-2005. Remember that so-called Atkins' GM comment?
"Brad Turner sided with Shaq and after the trade he was biased against the Lakers/Kobe. I remember his Malone incident witness stuff and all the Kobe selfish "stories."
"No need to sugarcoat some spinning and twisting of your peers or even making stuff up. They villified Kobe and looked down the Lakers, Buss, Mitch, etc.
"Some of them may jump back on the bandwagon, but they lost any credibility to us fans."
Atkins made the GM comment. The reality is that it reflected the attitude of elements on the team, at that time. I think it was good reporting on Bresnahan's part. It's not a reporter's job to tell fans what they want to hear but what he observes.
I myself quoted Tex as saying that Kobe had tried too hard to be a leader in that season after Shaq left, and as a result, Kobe lost some of his teammates.
There is no question that following the breakup of the team, Bryant, Buss, Kupchak and other figures came under intense criticism, perhaps quite a bit of it unwarranted. But it's not hard to understand the frustration of both reporters and the public at the breakup of a championship-caliber team.
Do reporters get overdue influence from Phil?
You bet. It's incredibly difficult not to be influenced by Phil (or any coach), but especially Phil. That's where reporters get the bulk of their information. Phil's success makes him a powerful factor in terms of information.
There was a time when most of the reporters in L.A. were turned against Kobe. Kobe played a part in this himself. But I've reported these issues.
I guess I don't view the situation so severely now (I did then, and reported those facts with some indignation), because I know firsthand how seductive Phil's manipulation can be. Anyone who reads my work knows I keep Phil on a short leash. He's a very fine coach, but extremely manipulative in terms of the media.
So I tend not to hold grudges against reporters. It was a story they had to cover. They did the best job with the information available at the time and with Phil manipulating the information as he did. The reporters have moved on from that story and so have I.
Phil has even acknowledged some of his shortcomings in regard to the entire period. He hasn't come clean on everything, but he's done enough perhaps to heal the Lakers. He's come back to the job and dealt with Kobe Bryant in a straight-forward manner. I've documented how Phil did not do that during his first five years with the team, how he left Bryant out of the equation.
I tend not to blame the messengers when the primary figures — Phil, Shaq and Kobe — all share blame for the breakup.
On the other hand, I respect your right as a member of the reading public to hold all reporters, including me, to a high standard.
In fact, I think you, the reader, are the critical, most important, element in the equation. As reader and fan, you're the final judge of all of our actions.
In the end, you set the standards, and we all must meet them, or attempt to.
So, my response to your comments is, Thank you for making them. You have a valid point. And thank you for commenting on my blog. Your comments raise an interesting point of debate. And I'm not going to spend too much time defending certain reporters you've criticized. They need to answer for themselves. That's because you've raised valid issues.
As for me, I enjoy the media coverage of the Lakers. Like you, when I sense something out of line, I speak up.
That's the great thing about free speech. It works for all of us.
If you can find it.
Roland Lazenby is the author of The Show, The Inside Story of the Spectacular Los Angeles Lakers in the Words of Those Who Lived It, published by McGraw-Hill.