One of the most popular teams on the board in any sport for a generation or more has been the Los Angeles Lakers and, why not, as they have been the marquee franchise of the NBA and a major attraction in NBA betting action. But while the saying goes that all good things must come to an end, many fans believed that the greatness and glory of the Lakers would live forever. But now doubts are starting to creep in.
Phil Jackson, who arguably goes down as the greatest pro coach of any sport in history, has retired and Mike Brown takes over. Brown had good success at Cleveland with LeBron James but things ended badly in the 2011 playoffs. It was James and the team who quit, laid down and died, and embarrassed the franchise and Brown, who was fired as a result just before James “took his talents” to South Beach for the Miami Heat. With that in mind, Brown faces a potential credibility gap as he takes over the Lakers. How on earth can a man who last coached in the NBA under such humiliating circumstances stand a chance when compared to Jackson, the arrogant self-assured hippie that hung up championship banners like clothes on a line on a hot summer day? The NBA is already well known as a “Player’s League”: and coaches that lack “street cred” don’t last long, especially in Los Angeles where expectations are for world championships each and every year.
Then there is the Kobe Bryant saga. Bryant is finally getting his long expected divorce after years of trying to put up a happy façade and multimillion dollar ring purchase for his wife that followed an infidelity incident in Colorado in which the woman involved was paid off to go away after potential sexual assault charges were entertained. Where Bryant’s head will be is an important part of the overall Lakers question.
And then there are the resurgent Clippers. Yes, the rag tag ugly step brothers of LA are finally putting together a championship look in NBA betting action with Blake Griffin and the recently acquired Chris Paul. The Clippers also brought in veteran guard Chauncey Billups to add veteran championship presence and leadership. The Clippers, rather than the Lakers, have been making the right headlines for the right reasons and have caught the attention of LA basketball fans. The question is if the Lakers pedigree can overcome this latest onslaught of challenges.