The Lakers bring on the parade

Posted by Superior on Jun 17th, 2009 and filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Ah, June in Los Angeles. Gloom in the sky, but glee in the hearts of Lakers fans. Flags flapping atop the cars, purple T-shirts hawked at intersections and offramps. A place in the NBA playoffs, sure — that’s a given. But how about another championship? Isn’t it time?laker-are-champian

Yes, it was time, and the Lakers delivered Sunday evening. This page isn’t much in the mood right now for comparisons or second-guessing or historical perspective; we’re comfortable naming Kobe Bryant king of the court and recognizing Phil Jackson as the greatest basketball coach in the history of the universe. There’s a time to think lofty thoughts and to ponder the deeper meaning. This isn’t it. Let’s have a parade.

Oh, and by the way,the city can stand to chip in for Wednesday’s festivities, costly though they may be. For all the money the Lakers have pumped into city coffers since they moved downtown, financially foundering Los Angeles can afford to help pay for the procession from Staples Center to the Coliseum. Not spending the $1 million on street closures and support from traffic officers, police and other city personnel wouldn’t save any city job in the scheme of things.

There’s no reason to be shy about celebrating a basketball team, and how shared angst over its failures and communal joy over its triumphs knit together a geographically sprawling and socially segmented city. And knit together, too,earlier generations (marked on the court by Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, through Kareem and Magic and Shaq) with this one, giving the city a badly needed sense of place and of self.

Yes, there was victory mayhem, and regrettably, some police officers were hurt while working to make sure the vandalism and violence didn’t get out of hand. It’s a mystery to most how a victory celebration can become a riot. But a Lakers victory descends on the just and the unjust, the loyal fans and — in Police Chief William J. Bratton’s fitting phrase — the knuckleheads.

But we said we wouldn’t ponder the deeper meaning. Well then, let’s talk about this: Just who did these guys from Orlando think they were, anyway? Hasn’t that little Florida resort town indulged its Los Angeles envy enough? No one ever heard of it until it opened its own Disneyland. Then — get this — it opened its own Universal Studios! And now it’s got a place called Hollywood Studios, with replicas of landmarks from the real Hollywood! And it thinks it can get itself a championship basketball team, just by naming it after a Lakers great? Next thing you know, it’ll claim Kobe Bryant, or try to steal our cloud cover next June. Hey, Orlando, listen up: Kobe is ours, Magic was ours, Hollywood is ours, and the Lakers are the NBA champs. Again.
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