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Old 05-12-2007, 04:59 PM   #1
Cool
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Default Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

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The saga of Derek Fisher that played out this week in New York and Utah underscored something the Lakers have been missing the last three seasons, and it's not Shaquille O'Neal.

It's character.

When the Lakers were winning titles, there were no sourpuss players in the locker room. There were only a pleasant assortment of superb athletes who were also gentlemen and believed in things like representing your team and your family, the real one and that in the locker room.

There was Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry and Brian Shaw all three title years, and Mark Madsen and Ron Harper for two, and Horace Grant and A.C. Green for one each. With no offense intended for anyone on the current Lakers roster, you'd be hard-pressed to find many athletes who match up to those men as, well, men.

Fisher is exceedingly polite and genuine, and he showed the kind of perspective that is often missing in sports when he was faced with his daughter Tatum facing extraordinarily rare treatment for a rare cancer condition, retinoblastoma, a tumor behind her eye.

The doctors, according to the New York Times, told Fisher and his wife Candace, that they could delay the surgery so Fisher could get back to Utah in time for Game 2 of their playoff series with Golden State. Fisher simply said no. A basketball game wasn't as important as taking care of his daughter's ailment immediately.

Fisher made it back to the game in the second half, and turned in several important plays and baskets in the win. But the only game that mattered was named Tatum.

Here's a role model for you: When Fisher met with the doctors, he already knew of the rare procedure in which the tumor is treated with a blast of chemotherapy. He had done his research on his daughter's condition before arriving at the specialist's office, and learned that is was really the only alternative to her losing her eye.

But he's less of a role model as a basketball player as he is a human being.

His former Laker teammates had their own moments of adversity that helped shape them beyond the court. Fox was diagnosed with ADD as a child, long before these diagnoses were common. One wouldn't know it from his always cool, always genial deportment.

Shaw lost his parents and his sister in a 1993 car accident, and he considered his dad his greatest influence. Shaw came as close as anyone - certainly closer than Phil Jackson - to keeping the Kobe Bryant-Shaq duo in Los Angeles when he became a Lakers assistant coach.

Robert Horry's daughter Ashlyn was born without a chromosome key that would affect her for the rest of her life. So when Horry drops those three-point bombs in the wee seconds to win games, for the Spurs now and Rockets and Lakers before then, pressure isn't part of the equation.

The Lakers' circus started to crumble before Shaq left town, at about the same time that all of the aforementioned moved on, having reached either the end of their careers (Shaw) or at least their careers in Los Angeles. In 2004, Fisher et al were replaced by Gary Payton, who was (and is) renowned for being a clubhouse irritant, and Karl Malone.

Malone made his personality clear when he was one of the few to say he was wary of playing on the same court as Magic Johnson when the Laker icon made his comeback from retiring because he had acquired HIV.

Bryant's character doesn't require much elaboration. He initiated a childish dispute with O'Neal, used his power to trade away the anchor of a franchise, had his escapade in Colorado, lied about it with his wife sitting next to him, and is still estranged from his parents.

Scurrilous athletes often win titles. Only those with a keen sense of humanity and perspective win our hearts.

There's a novel out titled "MVP" whose protagonist is the son of a former jock who goes from high school to the pros, gets a teammate traded after three titles and is charged with a violent crime while committing adultery.

Hmmm, who could possibly be the source for this character?

The book has received critical praise, but creating a character so literally "real" seems disingenuous. I bash Kobe as much as anyone, but I wouldn't go far as to use him as the pivot of a novel in which the character descends into even darker territory.

That's OK for "Law and Order," the TV show that loves to strip-mine headlines for its plotlines, but not a novel.

There's never a shortage of dismaying news to counter a heartening story like that if Fisher.

LA Daily News
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

So what do you all think?
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

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There was Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry and Brian Shaw all three title years, and Mark Madsen and Ron Harper for two, and Horace Grant and A.C. Green for one each. With no offense intended for anyone on the current Lakers roster, you'd be hard-pressed to find many athletes who match up to those men as, well, men.

I agree with that, but this whole article seemed to just be a setup to bash Kobe. I hate articles like that.
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

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Originally Posted by Devientz
I agree with that, but this whole article seemed to just be a setup to bash Kobe. I hate articles like that.

I think it was more about character issues then bashing Kobe, if it was just a slaughter of Kobe then I would not have post it. But this just seems like a article that describes one of the many issues the Lakers have and a way to maybe fix it.
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Old 05-13-2007, 02:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

I just think the 4 paragraphs going off on Kobe wasnt necesary...I know thats not why you posted it though so...on topic:

I think the guy raises a good point, and he's right, this team doesn't have the character and mental toughness that it takes to compete in this league.

The thing is, this guy puts it more on the players themselves, while I think its more of a youth issue. When you look at guys like rick fox, robert horry, fisher ect, they were all experienced veterans. This team now is filled to the brim with young players without much experience.
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Old 05-13-2007, 02:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

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Originally Posted by Devientz
I just think the 4 paragraphs going off on Kobe wasnt necesary...I know thats not why you posted it though so...on topic:

I think the guy raises a good point, and he's right, this team doesn't have the character and mental toughness that it takes to compete in this league.

The thing is, this guy puts it more on the players themselves, while I think its more of a youth issue. When you look at guys like rick fox, robert horry, fisher ect, they were all experienced veterans. This team now is filled to the brim with young players without much experience.

I totally concur with you. Character, Leadership, and experience is the 3 keys to any championship team. You can have the all the stars in the world but if you dont have any of those keys your doomed.
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Old 05-13-2007, 09:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lakers Are Missing Character!!!

I think we have all agreed that the Lakers have not been obtaining guys that have character. Its part of the problem... the mental weakness we constantly see.

Its a good article scoop!



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