Written by: LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
There is zero question that the mystique that was once with the these two NBA franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knickerbockers is long gone. When free-agents are not even interested in interviewing with these two teams, or in the case of current free-agent LaMarcus Aldridge, whose words were “not impressed” with the Lakers presentation, it just reinforces the current state of affairs that is the Lakers while the Knickerbockers continue to pitch “We are the MECCA of sports” pitch to free agents who turn and leave for other pastures.
So far, BOTH Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge have turned their backs to the interest of the Lakers. Love is set to re-sign with the Cavaliers and Aldridge is still meeting with other possible landing spots, one of those IS the New York Knickerbockers. Could the Knickerbockers lands Aldridge only time will tell, IF the presentation is real and does not hinder on what once was but how things are now.
But how did two of the most historic franchises end up becoming second thoughts to these free-agents? How could two very strong media-centered franchises, where money can be made BOTH on AND off the court like a limitless fountain of pure filtered ice cold water on a hot summer’s day? Let’s troubleshoot this one for all the Laker Nation and Knickerbocker fans out there.
When it comes to the Knickerbockers, the mystique that is “The MECCA” has been long gone when it comes to the presentation of the NBA. The environment is gone, has been for a long time. Granted Spike Lee still makes his regularly scheduled court-side appearances.
But when the presentation of the on the court product continues to be disappointing, combined with the off the court product (facilities, public address, customer relations etc…) it does leave a lot to desire in the dark city that is Gotham and Carmelo Anthony is no Dark Knight nor is Phil Jackson.
The New York Knickerbockers have lost their identity over the last decade plus. These were the New York Knickerbockers of the nineties. They played tough defense, carefully planned strategic offense and were not afraid to get physical with their opponents.
The New York Knickerbockers of today and the past decade have become more of a “finesse” team, a team that looks to avoid contact, like they are more scared to touch their opponents. More jump shots and three-pointers and much less planned offensive schemes have led to the downfall of a once always competitive and great landing spot for ANY free agent.
NOW, lets get to the franchise once called “SHOWTIME.” A franchise that has more championship banners in their own hall than at least half of the other franchises in the NBA … COMBINED! The Los Angeles Lakers obviously have not been the same since the passing of Doctor Jim Buss. But it goes even before that, during the latter years of Dr. Buss when his sons took over of everyday operations of the Lakers during his finals years.
It is no secret that Jeanie Buss wanted Phil Jackson to come to the Lakers either as a head coach and/or a General Manager, so did most of Lakers Nation, including past Laker legends like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar just to name a few. It is also no secret that Kobe Bryant has a lot of power with the team as he ends his career with the team. His influence is what drove out Dwight Howard of the Lakers franchise and onto Houston.
However when you see the product of today in Staples Center when it wears the purple and gold, when players are dancing and singing over winning a regular season game, the entire NBA world and all the Laker Nation know just how bad the franchise is now.
In the eighties and nineties, even in the early 2000’s, winning was synonymous with the Los Angeles Lakers. THIS was the Lakers.
This is your Los Angeles Lakers of 2015.
Celebrating like they won the NBA Finals, when it was a just a regular season win after a LONG losing streak. The look on the face of Kobe Bryant is priceless, one that the greatest of all time Michael Jeffery Jordan would have. To not settle for just mediocre but strive for greatness. And that is what the Lakers are today, at best mediocre.
Hence why the loss of Love and Aldridge and a great many more potential championship pieces that could possibly bring back the glory that is the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is no question going to be another LONG off-season for these once historic franchises and if things continue as they are currently, it is going to be a very frustrating and angering season for fans. At least with the Lakers, they can celebrate Kobe Bryant who is playing his final season of his career, so they can do like a “Derek Jeter” style tour to celebrate his greatness to the team and its fans across the nation.
As for the Knickerbockers, hate to say it but another hair pulling, life-shortening season filled with stress and ulcers is highly probable.
FYI: Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @TheDarkTruthASN
AND catch my weekly podcast “The Dark Truth” every Monday evening. 10 PM CT, 8 PM PDT.