Haters exist. In sports, haters are everywhere. In fact, a franchise isn’t successful without any fans that are irritated by their ascent to the top. The New York Yankees have haters. The New England Patriots have haters. Even the Miami Heat can claim a good amount of haters. But no team, in the history of North American professional sports, have as numerous, and as passionate haters as the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers had one the best summers in NBA history, free agent wise, keeping Jordan Hill and picking up Antawn Jamison, Steve Nash, and course, Dwight Howard. The hate was there when the Lakers signed Nash. However, when Howard was acquired, the blogosphere exploded. “Oh the Lakers are cheating!” “How can the Lakers give up so little, and get so much in return??” “It’s David Stern again, up to his old tricks.” “Why play this season??? Let’s just wait till June to watch the Lakers/Heat NBA Finals.”
Do you want to know the secret of why the Lakers always get the player they want? (Unless, of course, it gets in the way of the league’s desires. Remember? Basketball reasons?) Well, it’s actually pretty simple. The real haters better sit down for this. The Lakers front office is better than 29 other NBA team’s front office. Yep. It’s that simple.
Now, now, at first it may be a little hard to comprehend. The Lakers, having the best front office in the NBA? Believe it. The Lakers history is filled with the team making great moves. Rewind back when the L.A. Lakers were the Minneapolis Lakers.
The Lakers, with the first pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, selected Elgin Baylor. Two years later, again with the first pick, selected Jerry Alan West out of West Virginia University. And that is just the beginning.
After becoming the Los Angeles Lakers in 1960, in 1968, the Lakers traded for Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. The Lakers went and hired a new coach, Bill Sharman, inventor of the shoot around. The Lakers went and traded back for Gail Goodrich.
In 1974, the Lakers traded for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 1979, the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson with the first overall pick. The Lakers promoted Pat Riley to head coach. The Lakers, again with the top draft choice in 1982, took James Worthy out of North Carolina. In 1996, the Lakers signed prime free agent, Shaquille O’Neal.
In 1999, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson, a coach that had already won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. In 2008, the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol. All these moves, all that wheeling and dealing brought home 16 NBA Championships. The Lakers front office has been dominant since Day 1.
The greatness starts at the top. The Buss family is the engine that makes the Laker train go. They are so driven to win at a high level, and they will pick up the tab for any Laker transaction, no matter what the cost. Then comes the front office. Mitch Kupchak is one of the best general managers in the history of the league. After taking the helm from Jerry West in 2002, Kupchak took the reins and rode away with them.
He brought in Gasol and World Peace in order to win two championships, and brought in Nash, Howard, and Jamison in order to build a championship quality team in Los Angeles for the upcoming season.
The coaching staff has always been top notch. From Sharman to Riley to Jackson, and even Mike Brown, the Lakers are always bringing intellectual talent to the sideline.
According to a report from ESPN.com writer Brian Windhorst the Lakers are setting themselves up to make a run at LeBron James in the summer of 2014. Wait, what? In 2014, the Lakers could have Dwight Howard and LeBron James on the same team? The haters ate it up. “Wow, there go the big bad Lakers, taking all the superstars.” “Who’s next? Durant??” “2014 Lakers = 2010 Heat.” The list goes on and on with complaints.
Well, honestly, it is highly unlikely the Lakers will land James, but with the Lakers, it is never impossible.
Oh, there are other teams with a better front office? Probably not, but let’s take the Miami Heat for example. If you have been reading diligently, you would remember that Pat Riley, the president of the Miami Heat, the man who brought them two championships, started his front office career with the Lakers. Yes, the success of Heat was brought on by the earlier success of the L.A. Lakers. Just a tidbit of information all disbelievers in the Laker way can read and enjoy.
Even with all of the championships and Hall of Fame players the Lakers have, haters will always hate. They will never forget the years the Celtics dominated the Lakers, or the few years after Showtime, or the seasons after O’Neal was traded. And that’s okay. All of that can be said because, at this point, it doesn’t matter.
The Lakers will continue to win and win, no matter what is said by fans. By reading this, I hope some fans recognize the mistake they have been making. And to the others that still don’t understand how great the Lakers franchise is, there is just one question left to ask. You mad?