Dear God of Sports,
This prayer comes in the identify of N.B.A. therapeutic and restoration.
The playoffs are occurring now, blessed with stress and expertise. What a spectacle. Thank you for the younger amongst us, starting with Ja Morant and Jordan Poole. Make secure the well being of the nice, grizzled Noah often called Chris Paul.
The vigor you will have once more bestowed upon the Boston Celtics is magnificence to behold.
But one thing is lacking: the Los Angeles Lakers. Any postseason with out the Lakers appears like a breach of a cosmic bond.
For all to be proper in the Kingdom of Hoops, the Lakers should be a fixture in the playoff firmament; similar as they have been in all however 5 seasons from their start in the late Nineteen Forties till 2014, when Kobe Bryant (might he and his beloved relaxation simple) started edging towards retirement.
The Lakers are cherished and hated like no different staff. They bestow further consideration, vibe and legitimacy upon the postseason. Nothing is the similar with out them in the combine.
Great Spirit of Sports, the Lakers now wander in the desert. With this season’s epic collapse, they’ve failed to succeed in the postseason in seven of the final 9 years. Yes, they reached the highest of heights in 2020. But that season’s N.B.A. championship completed inside a pandemic bubble. Two years in the past now looks as if 20. Today, the journey to that title is a parable few bear in mind. Was it simply a dream?
Basketball followers have been forsaken. A era walks in the wilderness, having by no means seen a highly effective Lakers staff problem Steph Curry and Golden State with every thing on the line.
But you by no means allow us to down, God of Sports. Amid the playoffs, you will have sprinkled reminders of Lakers luster for all to see — no less than these of us who subscribe to HBO Max and Apple TV+.
Last week got here the unveiling on Apple TV+ of the documentary “They Call Me Magic.”
Please permit for good critiques.
Heal the hearts of the Lakers household, who now reside in misery over one other current depiction, the HBO sequence “Winning Time.” It is traditional Hollywood: a glitzy mix of reality, fiction and glammed-up dramatic license that focuses on the staff’s Nineteen Eighties Showtime period. All that off-court extra, all that cleaning soap opera intrigue, together with these 5 league titles.
That sequence has triggered damage emotions and bruised pleasure to devour Lakersland.
Jerry West demanded a retraction and an apology from HBO over the overheated, fictive means he’s depicted.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar known as the sequence a intentionally dishonest rendering, “with characters who are stick-figure representations that resemble real people the way Lego Han Solo resembles Harrison Ford.”
Magic Johnson, the present’s centerpiece, the Showtime period’s North Star, mentioned he had not seen the sequence and that it didn’t inform the fact. Confusing, I do know.
Lord of Hoops, Great Giver of the Three-Point Shot, far be it from me to inform these basketball legends that their anger is misplaced. But ease their troubles. Remind them that few will watch a sequence like “Winning Time” in these discordant days with out being in on the joke.
Help them see the irony: The Lakers’ iconic trendy picture was constructed in half on Hollywood smoke and mirrors. On the cloaking and twisting of actuality. Indeed, on magic.
The Lakers of the Nineteen Eighties have been extra than simply a staff that received 5 championships in a decade. Their uniqueness got here not simply from these titles however from the energy of make-believe — the Forum Club, the Lakers Girls, the age-defying film stars in each different seat.
Remind aggrieved Lakers of their staff’s twists of narrative. Their storied rise in the Nineteen Eighties was solid as villains to the Boston Celtics and drawn in easy strokes: the cool, Black staff standing in the path of the stodgy, white one.
Yes, Boston had Larry Bird and different white stars, but it surely additionally had Black Celtics like Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish and Cedric Maxwell — legends in their very own proper.
And which staff had a Black head coach? The Celtics, led by Ok.C. Jones for 2 of their three N.B.A. crowns that decade.
In the longtime telling of this duel, the metropolis of Boston has typically been projected as mired in racism. But easy tales, as you effectively know, generally masks the difficult fact. Los Angeles has all the time had loads of its personal issues with race.
Injustice exists in all places. Greatness is a rarer factor. The greatness of 17 N.B.A. championships floor the Lakers, though mythology has all the time been a a part of their story.
Oh mighty one, in the identify of St. Elgin, reduce the burden of former Lakers who really feel wronged.
Then flip again to the hardwood.
Restore LeBron James, his creaky knees and 37-year-old again.
Remind him that each one good issues come in due time — as long as due time begins subsequent season. The leisure empire he’s constructing in Los Angeles is one thing to behold. But being a film mogul and neighborhood pressure flows first from the river of N.B.A. championships.
Consider purgatory for the entrance workplace executives who signed Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and the different elder-Lakers earlier than this season.
When you end replenishing Hollywood’s staff, would you thoughts granting an excellent larger miracle to a different basketball calamity?
God of Sports, bear in mind the Knicks?