The Lakers championship season just ended, but the buzz has already started. Can they repeat? Will they have the same team? Will Father time catch up to LeBron James? Will free agent Anthony Davis resign with the Lakers?
There are still a lot of questions to be answered but one thing is certain. The Lakers weathered the storm and came out on top in one of the most amazing and at the same time unpredictable NBA seasons ever. From the China trip controversies last summer, to the death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and having to navigate through pandemic the Lakers rode the perfect storm to a championship.
“Now we have a target on our back,” said Anthony Davis after the championship game last Sunday in the NBA Bubble in Florida. “Teams are going to come after you. Guys want to take out the champions.”
Talent, coaching, chemistry, and motivation are some of the important pieces to the complex puzzle that helps build championships. And probably the most important factor of all is the stay injury free.
“I think personally thinking I have something to prove fuels me,” said James, who will be 36 years old in a few months. “It fueled me over the last year and a half since the injury. It fueled me because no matter what I done in my career to this point, there’s still little rumblings of doubt or comparing me to the history of the game and has he done this, has he done that.”
There will always be arguments about who is the greatest basketball player in history. From Bill Russell to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Magic Johnson but the number one comparison will always be between James and Michael Jordan.
If you listen to Lakers’ first year head coach Frank Vogel his vote goes to James. “I took the job because of LeBron James. He is the greatest basketball player the Universe has ever seen. This roster was put together over night and he led us to the promise land so they say. I can’t say enough about him.”
Playing inside the Disney World complex bubble for over three months was hard on everyone. ”With so much going on inside the bubble and us going into the unknown, it was kind of hard for me personally,” said James. “Once I got inside here, I said, okay, this is my mission. I want to win a championship, that’s why I am here.”
Basketball is still a team game and the Lakers team played like a band of pirates. All for one and one for all. “It took a lot of sacrifice but I had my teammates, my brothers to keep me level headed,” said Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after the big game. “Everything the team did was together and the chemistry we have is tremendous. We are all brothers at the end of the day.”