I’ve actually watched several games at the start of this NBA season. This is surprising because typically I’d rather shave my head with a riding mower than tune in to the NBA’s regular season. But with all the drama surrounding my Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe, I figured I’d give the squad a look before it was dismantled via trades. I’ve watched at least parts of all three games and though I knew they had won two and barely lost one, it really struck me in a weird way when I opened up the paper and saw it there in black and white: LA Lakers 2-1.
The scary part is, the Bryant-led Lake-show has absolutely dominated two of the West’s best in its last two games. The Lakers hammered Phoenix 119-98 in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score would indicate, and they smacked around the Utah Jazz Sunday night, pulling away for a 119-109 win. Those two wins were as impressive as any the Lakers have had in the last two seasons. And their furious comeback against Houston (before losing 95-93) on opening night was impressive as well. The reason? It wasn’t the Kobe plus everyone else show. Both games showed a genuine growth that hasn’t existed recently and the Lakers played like a team and looked like they were (gasp!) enjoying themselves. Now I know it’s just two games but this was a team that was supposed to look awful out of the gate, have no direction, then jettison its unhappy superstar and maneuver for draft picks. They clearly have other ideas. Oh, and did I mention they’ve done all this without their second best player, Lamar Odom?
The young talent has certainly shown up, as guys like Jordan Farmar, Vlade Radmanovic and Ronny Turiaf have played excellent basketball to start the season. A certain 20-year-old center, or as Kobe so eloquently nicknamed him, “Andrew F-ing Bynum,” has shown the most growth. Through three games, the youngest player ever drafted into the NBA and a lightning rod for offseason controversy has averaged 11 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in just over 20 minutes per game. Oh, and Kobe’s “preferred trade destination” the Chicago Bulls, have jumped out to a rousing 0-3 record, with losses to New Jersey, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
Again it’s early, I know that and I’m not saying the Lakers will be a force to be reckoned with this season. But their start is a HUGE surprise to Laker fans. We knew we had talent but it’s just shocking to see them play well together at all, win or lose. We pretty much expected nothing. To give you an idea how shocked I am, here are some other shocking moments in history that I’m assuming gave people the same reaction I’m currently having.
The New York Jets win Super Bowl III
Joe Namath called it, but no one believed it. I imagine there were a few people who didn’t watch the game, figuring Johnny Unitas’ Colts would roll over the 22-point underdog Jets in 1969. When they opened the paper the next morning or saw the news I’m assuming jaws hit the floor. Broadway Joe let his Jets to a 16-7 win, proving the AFL belonged with the big boys of the NFL and taking home the MVP award. That truly was a wonderful moment in sports history, as was Joe’s behavior 34-years later when he gave drunks everywhere a bad name and helped spawn the blog we all try and keep up with.
Fire 1, Hindenburg 0
When the LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed, killing 36 people, I’m sure a few people were taken aback by the news. The largest aircraft ever built was wrapping up its first transatlantic flight of 1937 when it was destroyed while docking near Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester, New Jersey. Many theories exist as to why the craft became engulfed in flames, personally I suspect sabotage. I think one of the passengers was scheduled to spend a few weeks in Jersey but he decided to take the easy way out. Seriously, burning up in flaming wreckage is bad, but three weeks in Camden? Oh the humanity!
Luke Skywalker has a daddy
There have been plenty of shocking moments on film, but none in our lifetime can match the line, “No. I am your father.” When Darth Vader dropped that bomb in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, it showed that George Lucas knew just how to shock and audience and keep them guessing. Despite any arguments to the contrary, it is the best movie in the series and that moment is one of the best scenes of 80s because of the gravity of the moment, the implications of it and the way it changed everything. Truly an “Oh sh*t!” moment.
Alexander Hamilton has a bad day
On July 11, 1804 the Vice-President shot and killed the Secretary of the Treasury. And you thought political battles were harsh these days. Aaron Burr felt Alexander Hamilton had defamed his character through certain avenues, including the use of the press, regarding the New York Gubernatorial race of 1804, in which Burr was a candidate. It was the last straw in a long-standing political and personal rivalry between the two men. So they decided to handle it the way rational people would; by attempting to kill each other. Burr succeeded, was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey (before being acquitted) and went on to be indicted four times (FOUR TIMES!!!!) for treason against the United States. Great guy that Aaron Burr.
Janet Jackson has a brain malfunction
February 1, 2004, a date that will live in infamy. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake thought it would be a great idea if she slipped into something more comfortable and relaxed by showing the entire civilized world what a nipple looked like during Super Bowl XXXVIII’s halftime show. The “wardrobe malfunction” led to a series of events through with the Federal Communications Commission cracked down on what it deemed “indecent” over the next two years. Thanks Janet and Justin. Because of you television sucks now. But, if it hadn’t have been for your little stunt, Howard Stern may have never moved to Sirius Satellite Radio, and therefore wouldn’t be currently airing the greatest show of all-time completely uncensored. So uh, I guess thanks in a weird, roundabout way for that. Now stay off my television, I don’t have any interest in seeing an overrated 41-year-old’s cans.