I didn't watch the game live. I know what you're thinking: "You? The born and bred Lakers fan? What could you possibly be doing instead of watching a potential championship win?"
One word: Rockapella.
Blog posts will follow. I also had another backup plan of watching drum corps, so June 14 was sure to be a day where I was fulfilling one obsessive need or another. :)
Scott from Rockapella was kind enough to provide updates during their show, and when he said that the game was over and the Lakers had won, I was even happier than I had already been from seeing my guys. Just way too much excitement going on at once!
I watched the game this morning, along with the post-game coverage that I had already watched when I got home. So indulge me as I wax poetic about this particular win, won't you?
I look at the faces of these men, and I'm really, really happy for them. Phil Jackson has become the winningest coach in basketball history, with 10 championships and more playoff series wins than anyone else. His coaching techniques and guidance have brought all of these teams through whatever drama was thrown at them, and he has watched his star players grow from selfish me-types to team leaders as he's given them assurance and honest direction. Congratulations, Phil.
Derek Fisher. D-Fish. Mr. 0.4. He is the heart of this team. He's been there with Kobe through all 4 of their rings together, and their close friendship was evident as they hugged each other tightly at the end of the game. His inspirational speech to his team during the Denver series gave them the motivation and fire that I had never seen in them before, and I absolutely knew that if they could keep playing with that passion, the championship would be theirs. I was happy to see his smile in game 4 after he made that 3-point shot. That's one of the images I'll keep in my mind about this series.
Trevor Ariza. Without all of his amazing steals, the Lakers could have gone fishing a while ago. But with every one of those steals, he gave his team hope and the drive to make the most of the talent they all had in one place.
Pau Gasol. The Spaniard. (That totallly makes me think of "The Princess Bride," but I digress). His moves are amazing, taking advantage of every assist, giving his team the big man they'd been needing since Shaq left.
Andrew & Lamar. The "other" Bigs. When Odom was on, he was unstoppable. He played even when his back was hurting him, knowing how much this all meant to his team. Thanks, L.O., for stepping up at all the right times. Bynum is still learning, and he's still young, but I see the potential for greatness. He just needs a full season of play, man.
That bench. The personnel that could not sit down during most of Game 5, they were so excited. Their efforts were never unnoticed, as they kept up the intensity while the starters could rest or sit out awhile due to foul calls. This bench was deep in talent.
Most of all, though, I'll think of this win as Kobe's. He has finally silenced the notion that he can't win without Shaq. He's matured from that cocky kid that was drafted out of high school into a real team leader. I remember thinking that he was selfish and a pain in the butt kid, and I also remember thinking that once he learned to be patient and grow up, he could be one of the greatest ever. He has proven that now, with those incredible moves, those impossible shots made, and the unselfish plays. It really is fitting that the new Wheaties box is a picture of the entire team instead of just Kobe: without each other, they would not have reached their goal. He's gone from the drama with Shaq and his personal life into being a mature man with a beautiful family that stayed by his side as soon as the clock went to zero. I just loved how he was holding his daughter, even up to the point where he accepted his Finals MVP trophy. When he was being interviewed by the Inside the NBA guys, he said that he didn't think he would ever stop smiling. Ah, yes. The determined scowl of the playoffs has turned into the smile of true happiness and satisfaction. Congratulations, Kobe. You deserve the accolades.
Thank you, Lakers, for an entertaining season. Thanks for giving it your all, and for allowing us to watch your dreams come true. You've made this Lakers fan a happy, happy gal! A crying one, but at least they were tears of joy for her happy, happy team. :)