By Rob Botts
Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon are not walking through that door Laker fans. The once great Laker days of 2009, 2010, the early 2000’s and the 1980’s are thing of the past. The show that was entertaining back then with multi talented and interesting guests on any given evening for the city of angels just doesn’t exist anymore. The important topics that were raised and openly discussed back then were always followed by answers that would always lead to more rings on everybody’s fingers. Back then audience members stood up and cheered constantly while today they rush to adjust their grocery store shopping bag masks so they can get somewhat of a view of one of the now worst shows out there. They have gone from “Breaking Bad” to just “Bad.”
Today, the Lake Show is just hoping to win the PR battle on what seems to be daily embarrassing basketball related moves for the once great franchise. There are more TMZ dudes waiting in the green room for a comment than ESPN or FOX reporters. How times have changed. Every guest they have brought onto the show the last couple years along with the current run just hasn’t made it through the review blogs unscathed. Every time the once proud show reaches for that next absolute sure fire guest to be a regular on the show, they do what very bad offensive baseball teams do…swing and miss. A lot.
To bring top tier guests to the show in LA LA land in the past, a popular misconception was that the show’s producer(the late Jerry Buss and former GM Jerry West) would always dangle the tease of Hollywood, fame and 70 degree weather everyday to seal the deal. Blah, blah, blah….What a bunch of showbiz nonsense. You know what would bring a quest to stay on the program for the Lake show? Talented other guests on the show who had already awed the audience with CURRENT success to the people of Los Angeles on a nightly television basis. There were some great casts of the past alright.
The 80s show had a brilliant Magician with an original assist act that the city and country couldn’t get enough of. He would dazzle with his ability to make the ball disappear and then reappear in other cast member’s hands. Simply amazing stuff. They had “The Captain” of the production who would be there performing every single night with his constant long sky hook delivery. “Big Game James” took over in the biggest showtime moments and the man directing all the action that played out in front of us was in complete control. That 80s show had a slick haired, Gucci wearing director named Pat Riley who would bring the best out of the cast each and every time while just oozing style. Their stretch even included back to back “Best Show” awards in the late 80s near the end of their run.(1987 and 1988)
The show then went on hiatus for most of the 1990’s before returning with a bang with the arrival of cast members Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Seeing the “Man of Steel” and “Mamba” destroy the prime time competition was something to behold. Loud, big thunderous entertainment mixed into a nice triangular setting. The stoic and ring possessing director Mr. Phil Jackson(of “Chicago” fame) brought the show to three straight “Best Show” places..Amazing for the city. Again. Then there was a break in success for a period of time. Again.
Fast forward to the back to back “Best Show” purple and gold winners of 2009 and 2010. That show brought them back to the top of the televised heap of a watered down menu of choices with producer Mitch Kupchak and the bearded wizard, Mr. Jackson once again at the helm. Really solid show but not great. And it hasn’t been since. You know it’s time to clean house when your re-runs are out rating your current shows.
So dust off those paper bag masks from last year, grab some popcorn and have seat Laker fans. The show is about to start.