Star Wars is a heralded movie franchise featuring an epic struggle of good versus evil. It has memorable characters in Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda who capture the imagination of fans everywhere. The NBA in many ways is just like the universe George Lucas created decades ago.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the Jedi of the NBA, featuring such masters as Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. This group of players brought great prosperity to the NBA by winning titles and generating untold fortunes for everyone involved. As countless others have stated, the NBA is better when the Lakers are good.
Coming off the 2011 season in which the Lakers failed to defend their title, they made two major trades bringing in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Unfortunately, these additions did not bring balance to the force. Nash was injured for most of his tenure and Howard bolted to the Houston Rockets the following summer, leaving the franchise in shambles.
While the Lakers hired and fired coaches, the Golden State Warriors were building an empire no one saw coming. They hired Steve Kerr, Steph Curry started hitting threes from death star range, and a new force arose. A spike in the salary cap allowed them to bring in Kevin Durant, forming an empire even LeBron James wasn’t prepared to handle.
The following is from the New York Times:
“Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down,” James said. “So there’s going to be a lot of teams that are trying to figure out ways to put personnel together to try and match that if they’re able to actually face them in a playoff series, both Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Because they’re built for — from my eyes — they’re built to last a few years. So we’ll see.”
Things still looked bleak for L.A. until Jeanie Buss fired Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak. She brought in allies Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka upon seizing control of the franchise. While all of this is happening, Lonzo Ball is at UCLA turning heads and putting on displays of greatness. UCLA was once a glamour basketball school but rarely gets mentioned with the likes of Duke and Kentucky these days. Fans were craving for the Lakers to take Lonzo but obviously they needed some help at the lottery for that to happen. With Johnson on stage at the NBA Draft Lottery the Lakers snagged the number 2 pick and all felt right. Fast forward to draft night and Lonzo Ball is selected to be the face of franchise.
Looking forward to the future and winning more trophies! pic.twitter.com/sVEwgcpjYl
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 23, 2017
The buzz surrounding the Lakers is outrageous right now. Ball put on a show at Summer League and, more impressively, got players who are fighting for NBA contracts to play like a unit, not as individuals. Kyle Kuzma looked like the steal of the draft and Summer League ratings/attendance was record-breaking. Couple that with the rampant rumors of LeBron and Paul George potentially joining the Lakers in 2018, a new hope is indeed on the horizon at Staples Center. If Lonzo Ball is Luke Skywalker then maybe the NBA is in line for a new trilogy. For Laker fans that means a 3-peat.