Los Angeles NBA fans slogged through the summer. I wasn’t one of them. I was the one girl in the restaurant in Torrance, Calif., getting dirty looks while rooting for the Miami Heat to win Game 7.
To explain myself before you start throwing rocks at me, I switched fandoms when Kobe and Shaq had their fallout in 2004.
But that’s beside the point.
As much as I don’t like Kobe, I wouldn’t wish an Achilles injury on my worst enemy. At 35 years old, the Black Mamba does not deserve to end his career on some fluke injury against Golden State. Any player with his track record deserves to retire on his own terms.
If the word on the street is true, and Kobe isn’t just saving face by telling NBA.com that he’s “shattering” his recovery time, then the Lakers have a shot at a decent 2014 postseason run.
With Jordan Farmar back on the roster, the addition of the height of Chris Kaman and the good riddance of prima donna Dwight Howard, it’ll be interesting to see what tone coach Mike D’Antoni sets. Laker fans accept nothing short of a championship.
Another change to note is the amnesty of Metta World Peace who is flying across the country to perform under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. The absence of his lock-down defense and wacky, often unpredictable personality will be missed.
He had some kind words to say when a TMZ reporter asked if he thought the Lakers would make the playoffs. He confidently said they’d reach the finals and then said: “The Western Conference is going to be so easy for Kobe when he comes back. Kobe will probably average 30.”
The Clippers could try to push the Lakers off the Staples Center throne, but after their disappointing first-round playoff exit — as much as I hate to say it — I’d say that ship has sailed. Their only chance lies in whether or not legendary coach Doc Rivers can inspire the team’s talented roster.
The brief NBA Western Conference 2013-14 season overview is this: It all depends on how soon the Black Mamba can get back on the court.
On the east coast, the major, long-awaited, drawn-out, still questionable return is that of Derrick Rose with his torn ACL. Either he’s scared to go full-throttle again, which is understandable, or he’s preparing to bust out an incredible MVP season comeback.
Even if D-Rose starts dropping 50-point games, he’ll eventually have to face the well-established Heat. Ever since LeBron took his talents to South Beach, they’ve had a target on their backs, and of course that target keeps growing larger as the banners in the American Airlines Arena continue to multiply, not one, not two, not three …
In other League news, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd retired in June. Hill will most likely slide into a game announcer slash anchor role, and Kidd is the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, partially owned by Jay Z. SLAM reported that crossover legend Allen Iverson will retire, and former long-time Laker Derek Fisher also announced he would be done at the end of this season.
As published in the Aug. 26, 2013 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.
Follow Alysha Tsuji on Twitter: @AlyshaTsuji