HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Phil Jackson‘s blaming Kobe Bryant (check the 2:30 mark of the video above).
Like the actor in that old Sprite commercial, Kobe is wondering what his motivation is and in doing so is hoping to enlist the services of a few good men and women (the media) to make sure and remind his teammates to follow suit.
2011 is barely 48 hours old and we’re already neck-deep in some brand new Tinseltown drama, courtesy of the two-time defending NBA champions, who got hammered by the Hang Time Grizzlies 104-85 Sunday at Staples Center.
It’s a good thing we crumpled up that list of resolutions that included No. 4, “Leave the Lakers alone until the playoffs.” Because the Lakers didn’t even wait until All-Star Weekend to start taking pot shots at each other.
Pau Gasol is still laboring up and down the floor, Lamar Odom‘s been moved back to a bench role for Andrew Bynum, who is back but nowhere near close to playing at his very best. Ron Artest is missing in action these days, as is the Lakers’ upgraded bench crew, and then there is this Phil-Kobe drama — complete with Phil calling Kobe out after the game last night and then Kobe calling out the rest of the Lakers.
It’s a bit sad to see a team of this caliber drowning in its own drama with so much of the season yet to play out. But maybe that’s what keeps this crew going, the extra drama?
It’s great theater for those of us that Kobe is hoping will carry his message of inspiration, guys like Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times:
“I think the big issue is individually, finding things that motivate you,” Bryant said.
“I’m pretty self-motivated but I think for the guys, from talking to them, it’s important to find little challenges so they can get up every single night, whether it’s reading one of your . . . stories or whatever it is, you’ve got to find something that gets you going a little bit. . . .
“That’s the role that you guys [the press] play in this thing. You guys write doom-and-gloom stories. I think that actually builds up a lot of tension.
“Most of the guys don’t read them, but you can feel the energy from the crowd when you go out there, how concerned everybody is, so that does put a lot of pressure on us.”
The pressure is on all right.
It’s coming from Texas, where the Spurs and even the Dallas Mavericks, who are dealing with some serious injury issues of their own with both Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler (who would be out for the rest of the season with that knee injury suffered over the weekend).
The Lakers start 2011 behind the Spurs, Mavericks and Jazz in the Western Conference standings. So the sooner they can sort out their internal drama, the sooner they can get back to chasing that third straight title some of us (yes, we picked the Lakers to make it again) predicted they would fight for in June.