Kobe Done for Year..Who Do We Blame?
Who to blame....Laker Owner Jim Buss? Head Trainer Gary Vitti? Coach Mike D'Antoni? How about Kobe Bryant?
Kobe is one tough SOB. He wants trhe world to know he IS the Lakers. 17 seasons and thousands of minutes running up and down the NBA basketball courts at the highest possible athletic level caught up with him on Friday April 12, 2013. He tore his achilles tendon and ended his season and the Laker fans hopes for a playoff run in an impossible season.
This season WAS impossible for a myriad of reasons.
They started off 1-4 and fired then coach Mike Brown. THEN Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchack interviewed Phil Jackson and had everyone's hopes riding sky high. With ailing Jerry Buss dying in the hospital, Jim and Mitch made a decision on their own. They hired Mike D'Antoni for several seasons without consulting vice president Jeanie Buss, who runs business operations and is NOW engaged to Phil Jackson. Jackson wanted to come back, because he thought this was a squad that could win another championship.
Kobe obviously wanted Phil to come back. He gave interviews at the time practically pleading for Jim and Mitch to bring him back. Mike D'Antoni's hiring would prove to be the downfall of Bryant's season after all.
Jerry Buss died after the all star break. Jeanie and Phil showed up to Staples Center ONLY to raise Shaq's jersey with the other Laker greats. Kobe started a streak of about 6-7 games when he nearly played EVERY minute of each game to secure the victory. The wins piled up, but Kobe was limping around the floor and was VERY tired throughout that final run of his 2013 season. Kobe kept saying in interviews that he "HAD TO" play all these minutes.
So we have to lay the blame at his feet. It is not like he is a racehorse who cannot speak. Kobe told D'Antoni he wanted to play those minutes. D'Antoni will take most of the heat for allowing this to happen and he deserves that heat. Mike gets paid millions to "JUST SAY NO." Kobe Bryant is a man who doesn't take no for an answer.
I wouldn't be too surprised to see Phil Jackson in the front office next season. His future wife Jeanie Buss is now one of the owners of the team.
Meanwhile...The Lakers WILL get knocked out in the first round of the playoffs and D'Antoni will survive and Kobe Bryant will be back next year slower and older.
You cannot say the man doesn't try hard enough. Good luck Kobe, I will be watching.