As I watched the defending NBA champion Lakers go down like the Hindenberg yesterday afternoon I felt a lot of things. Frustration, shock and disappointment were the major ones. Toss in embarrassment for Phil Jackson, who deserved to end his career as arguably the most successful coach in the history of professional sports, on a high note – or at least a respectable one.
The game was far from respectable.
Being swept by a team that outplayed them in every way is acceptable. Getting blown out by thirty in a game where the Dallas bench almost outscored the Laker team is bearable.
Having two players thrown out within 30 seconds of each other for dirty plays is inexcusable.
The aura of this particular Laker squad has been one of the most intriguing stories in pro sports. How can a team this talented, with both a coach and a player belonging to the “Best Ever in the History of the Game” club, have so many struggles?
If you’re an NBA fan, you’ll be seeing a whole lot of backlash and finger pointing towards this team for the remainder of the season. The question we always ask though is what can we learn from observing the highest levels (where our kids would ultimately love to be) and how can we help our student-athletes apply that knowledge, right now.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a look at this team as a case study on the impact that leadership, character, and mental performance has had on this Laker team on why they’ve gone from Champs to chumps.
Welcome to La La Land.