Monday, June 15, 2009
An Early Birthday Gift For Me: At Last, the Lakers are Champions Again!
The Los Angeles Lakers are back on top.
NBA Champions 2009!
After all those disappointments of the past…
Their championship run cut by the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.
The 2004 Finals upset defeat at the hands of the Detroit Pistons.
Missing the playoffs in 2005.
Wasting their 3-1 lead on the Phoenix Suns in 2006.
Another first round loss to the Suns in 2007.
And that painful Finals loss to the Boston Celtics last year, 2008.
It was a tough tough journey, but it was worth it.
2009 is the Lakers’ year.
This championship is just sweet. So sweet.
After years of waiting and cheering for my favorite team,
The Los Angeles Lakers are NBA champions once again.
For the 15th time.
Kobe got his 4th ring that he desired so much.
Coach Phil Jackson surpassed Red Auerbach with his 10th championship as coach.
It had been a long, hard, but, nonetheless, satisfying journey.
The 2009 playoffs was never easy for the Lakers…
The Jazz was not your regular team to have in an eight seed; the Lakers took them out in 5.
The Rockets gave the Lakers a hard time, even without Yao, and pushed them to a Game 7.
And then the Nuggets were playing well, and the Conference Finals was hard, but Kobe was just brilliant in that series and the Lakers won in 6.
Back again to the Finals, after that heartbreaking loss against the Celtics last year.
I was rooting for the Celtics to win at the East, so that the Lakers can avenge their loss.
When the Celtics were beaten, I was rooting for the Cavaliers so there would a Kobe-LeBron showdown in the Finals.
Plus, a one-man-dominated team is destined to fail and I had no doubt that the Lakers will beat the Cavs.
But the Magic was the one who won out in the East.
It got me worried because Magic was a real team… a monster in the paint with Dwight Howard, surrounded with three-pointers, and some perimeter defenders to throw at Kobe.
Plus, they swept the meetings with the Lakers in the regular season.
But I had still believed that the Lakers would win the championship this year.
It would be hard, but with no doubt in my mind, they would win.
And, I was right, the Lakers delivered…
The “soft” Pau Gasol effectively defended Superman Howard.
Trevor Ariza was deadly and showed the Magic that trading him was a mistake.
Derek Fisher found his shot in Game 4 and those two three-pointers will always be remembered.
Andrew Bynum was willing to sacrifice those minutes to give out fouls to stop Howard.
Lamar Odom, an All-Star level player (though he still yet to be one) who was willing to be a sixth man this season, came out from the bench and gave the necessary boost.
The rest of the Lakers bench held their own when they were on the floor.
And Kobe Bryant – the best basketball player in the NBA – set the tone for this Finals when he scored 40 to a 25-point rout of the Magic in Game 1, and though he was playing below his standards in the Laker wins of Game 2 (7 turnovers) and Game 4 (missed 20 shots) proved that his worst is still better than most players’ best as he got the Finals MVP award.
Again, the Lakers are back on top…
Indeed, one of my best quotes would apply in this emotional event…
“Life is a war. It does not matter if you lose some battles as long as you win the war. The defeats you get will only make the overall victory sweeter.”
And it is sweeter…
Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA Champions… again.
I want a repeat next year…
BY THE WAY...
Sure, LeBron James was the regular-season MVP.
But Kobe Bryant got the Finals MVP, proving he is the best.
Many would say that a regular-season MVP is a bigger thing than a Finals MVP.
I don’t think so.
A Finals MVP comes with a ring.