Sunday, June 14, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers 2009 NBA Champions

Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times

It's been a long, brutal road since the Los Angeles Lakers last won the NBA championship in 2002.

Chick Hearn passed away. Kobe Bryant was charged with rape. Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined the team. Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA finals. Shaquille O'Neal was traded for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and Caron Butler. Phil Jackson left the Lakers. Rudy Tomjanovich was named head coach, then retired soon after. Lakers missed the playoffs. Shaq won a championship with the Miami Heat. Phil Jackson returned to the Lakers. Kobe Bryant demanded a trade. Lakers acquired Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown. Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics, of all teams, in the 2007 - 2008 NBA Finals.

Then we finally have today.

I have to admit, although it's great to celebrate a championship for the Lakers and their fans, it wasn't a fun ride.

I'll be the first to admit that I've been critical of Kobe Bryant and the franchise during this time and I still mourn the loss of my favorite player Shaquille O'Neal.

It's hard for me to just forgive and forget the horrible road it took to get to this position again.

But I've been a fan of the Lakers since I first learned to dribble a basketball. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was my favorite player growing up and I cried when Magic Johnson was forced to retire prematurely.

So I recognize and celebrate the significance of a NBA championship for the team and the fans of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Some milestones in this series win include the first NBA Finals MVP for Kobe Bryant.

Phil Jackson won his tenth NBA Championship as a head coach. The most for any coach in the history of the NBA.

Derek Fisher won his fourth NBA Championship, all with the Lakers.

The Lakers won their 15th NBA title in the franchise's history.

Congratulations to the 2008-2009 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers.

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