Lakers, c. 1997
January 7, 2009, 12:42 pm
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1997

I watched an old Lakers game on Youtube. It was the infamous 1997 Utah v. Lakers, Game 5, conference semis. It was my favorite team that never won it all, and a lot has been made about that game. With championship hopes on the line, a skinny, bald-headed, 18-year-old Kobe Bryant airballed four shots (once in the 4th quarter and 3 in overtime). He didn’t just miss. He missed everything. Many point to this game as the reason Kobe is the greatest player in the league today. But when I watched it, it brought back other memories.

I was 8 years old, and my mom wouldn’t let me stay up late enough to watch these all-important games. So, I was reduced to waking up in the mornings and grabbing the newspaper on our driveway, and flipping to the sports section to see the results. Every playoff game. I avoided my dad as much as possible, because I could tell by his mood whether the Lakers won or lost the previous night. It ruined both our weeks if they lost.

In any event, I think it’s pretty remarkable that in a team full of experienced players, time after time, they kept giving the ball to this teenage kid. It’s hard to imagine that was almost 12 years ago.

– JD

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