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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wow. Learning To Ride The Bike

Gatinho said...

I noticed in the picture in the Times today that Tex gave Kobe a standing ovation when he checked out of the game and couldn't help but wonder if his applause was of the sardonic sort. I have read that he charts shots and decides what was "forced" and I know a couple of Kobe's third quarter shots were of that variety and a performance like that might tend to drive a purist like Tex nuts.

That being said, I also thought that he might be applauding Kobe's fourth quarter play, where he had 2 assists and no shot attempts.

Any thoughts would be appreciated and thanks for your continuing insightful info on the Lakers. Your site and book, my copy is ratty and dog eared, have really served to flesh out the Lakers and their intricacies and motivations rather than making us rely on unconventional media wisdom.


A lot of coaches are filled with sarcasm, but Tex isn't one of them. He's as direct a person as you can find. He's standing and applauding all the things he admires about Kobe. Tex especially prizes "efficiency." And Kobe's 30-point third quarter against Utah is about as efficient as a player can be. Only a select few have ever displayed such efficiency. Jerry West, Bill Walton and MJ come to mind. Kobe scored 52 points on a "mere" 26 shots?
Tex has been in Kobe's corner since I first gave Kobe Tex's phone number in 1999. Kobe was lost as a young Laker, and Tex was a Chicago Bulls assistant. Kobe had dreamed that Tex would one day coach him and wanted to talk with him.
Tex assured Kobe when, as a young player, he was stricken by self doubt. They've been close ever since. "I love Tex," Kobe has told me many times. Those aren't words Kobe tosses around lightly. Does that mean they don't have their heated moments. Kobe told me that people misinterpret those moments. They are simply displays of passion from two men who are among basketball's most passionate.
When Phil said at the start of the season he wanted to Kobe to hold his game to 22 or 23 shots, Tex said the number of shots wasn't the issue. It was the quality of shots.
Of course, the tricky part of the equation comes with the "bad" shots that Kobe suddenly turns into good ones.
I suggest that the coaches of the Lakers and the team are adjusting better with each incident to Kobe's offensive outbursts, and those outbursts are no longer uncontrolled ravenous urges on Kobe's part. There's no question that those outbursts can affect the team, positively and negatively. So it's a balancing act, like learning to ride a bicycle.
I think we're having a lot of fun watching this team grow up, learning to ride the bike.
An excellent detail that you picked up, by the way, was Kobe's assists in the fourth.
As for your comments about my work, well, you made my day. Thank you.
However, I must point out that the "conventional" media in Los Angeles do what I think is a very fine job covering the Lakers. Mike Bresnahan with the Times has his hand on the pulse of the team, and how can you get a better view of the Lakers than Steve Springer's long take?
Kevin Ding over at the OC does his lion's share as do Ross at the Daily News and my buddy Brad at the Press Enterprise.
And I haven't even mentioned all the broadcast work in the market.
Having said that about the conventional media, I have to admit the internet sites focused on the team are amazing. The LATimes Blog is a rowdy riot, filled with passion and insight, and Kurt's thing with Forum Blue and Gold is astonishingly bright, and I'm just scraping the surface there. How about the absolutely crazy Lakers board? And let me count the ways you can feed your habit: Lakers Ground, Lakers Web, Show Time Blog, Club Lakers, Lakers Topbuzz, Real GM - Lakers, and Laker Dynasty 2K? Yikes.
You can say what you want about the drawbacks of the modern age, but you can't complain about the coverage of this team. Somebody is always throwing something up on the hump that gets the rest of us buzzin'.
That's especially true of you and all the other posters who make these blogs come alive.
Without you and your comments, we'd all be whistling in the dark. Thanks to each and every one of you.
If you can find it.


Anonymous gatinho said...

That's good to hear. I always wonder what the coaching reaction is to performances like Thursdays. I know Kobe has referred to Tex as Yoda before and it's yet another sign of his maturation that he has taken to picking Tex's brain.

Kobe is maturing before our eyes and the staff probably will begin to worry less when he starts hitting shots that he will internally monitor what is too much. This is one of my favorite things about Jackson and his methods is that it seems his goal is to get his players to internalize his wishes and Phil's thoughts seem to be manifesting themselves more and more in Kobe's play.

I also agree with your take on the plethora of sources for Laker's news that the internet provides. And I agree that guys like Ding nad Springer are doing a bang up job, but I think it's mostly the national media and their broad brush strokes that get me.

and thanks for the response. It made my day.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really a joy watching the Lakers grow as a whole with good chemistry and Kobe doing his things.

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 spining 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.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous said...

Speaking of Tex's ageless energy and his abilities with a jump rope. Once he and Phil help Kobe and the Lakers win another championship running the Triangle to perfection, breaking Red Auerbach's record in the process, and once Tex is finally inducted into the Hall of Fame before he retires, I expect him to get into shape so he can break World Pole Vaulting records for his age group (probably before his 90th birthday...using a bamboo pole of course). As far as credibility of sports media, if they can jump on the Tex Winter Hall of Fame Bandwagon, they have earned my full respect reguardless of what they report on the Lakers (no need to worry about Roland since he has been there for Tex for a long time).

10:30 PM  

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