Sports Medley: The
Lakers’ Future Looks Dim 13 Mar 17
by Tony Medley
This is the Lakers’
future: Rob Pelinka. Rob Pelinka is the man responsible for the single
most destructive action in Los Angeles Lakers’ history, the 2 year,
$48.5 million contract given to Kobe Bryant in 2013 after he was worse
than washed up. As his reward, now he is named the Lakers’ General
Manager. What are his qualifications? Here they are, listed in order of
You read that right.
He has no qualifications to be the General Manager of a major sports
team. He’s a sports agent, period. That’s all he’s ever done, except
graduate from Law School. Radio comedian Fred Allen aptly described
agents when he said that they have “all the sincerity in Hollywood you
could stuff in a flea's navel and still have room left to conceal eight
caraway seeds and an agent's heart.” Why was this particular person even
considered for such a position?
But that’s Jeanie
Buss’s decision. Or was it? She had already hired another greenhorn,
Magic Johnson, to be the Lakers’ “President of Basketball Operations.”
Don’t you get a kick out of these high-falutin’ titles? “President of
Basketball Operations” for a basketball team? What in the world does
that mean? What other operations do the Los Angeles Lakers have, apart
from being a basketball team. Now, after several years of operation by
Jerry Buss’s progeny, they could really more appropriately be called an
“alleged basketball team,” because there is not a worse performing team
in the league.
Jeanie has really
been given a pass because she could blame all the Lakers’ woes on her
inept brother. But she was the boss. She sat there shaking and inert as
her brother made one inane decision after another and the Lakers sank
deeper and deeper into ignominy.
Now she’s picked two
neophytes to make all the decisions. What’s the differentiation between
Magic’s “President of Basketball Operations” and Pelinka’s “General
Manager?” Who makes the decisions? Too bad they can’t hire a guy who
knows what he’s doing, like Jerry West. But when West hinted he’d like
to come back to the Lakers in 2011, Paterfamilias Buss was grooming his
son Jim and apparently thought that West would be a hindrance, so West
signed on with the Golden State Warriors, and look what they’ve become.
As the Warriors rose, the Lakers sank.
Johnson’s first move
was to dump the Lakers’ best player, leaving them with a team that would
be hard pressed to beat good college teams. Then came the decision
bringing Pelinka on board. Good luck, Lakers’ fans.
As an afterword, I
have heard that Jerry Buss left the Lakers to his children in a
tontine-like arrangement (the last to survive gets it all) and that the
interest of each is non-negotiable, meaning they can’t sell. How stupid
is that, if true?
Stupid NCAA Rules:
Every year at this time it is incumbent upon me to rise up in protest
about the dumbest rule in sport, the “alternate possession rule” in
college basketball. Anytime there occurs a situation that used to result
in a jump ball, like a defensive player tying up the offensive player,
the ball should be awarded to the defense because it has done something
right and the offense has done something wrong. It makes no sense to
alternate possession in these situations, and give the ball right back
to the offending team half the time.
destroys the integrity of the basketball season:
Last weekend saw the end of the “conference tournaments” in which every
conference has a tournament. Let’s face it, basketball conferences are
meaningless nowadays. The games and standings played throughout the year
are hollow. It used to be to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, one had to
be a conference champion. March Madness changed all that. Now fully 20%
of Division I teams qualify, 32 conference champions and 36 who are
chosen subjectively. What that means is that a team like South Dakota
State, which this year would have a chance to win the tournament only if
hell actually froze over, given its record of 18-16 (that’s right, a 16
game loser), is in the NCAA Championship tournament. I know, there’s
lots of money in March Madness. But is that what college sports is all
about? That might sound naïve, but I think it shouldn’t be about money.
As the bible says, the love of money is the root of all evil.
And, yes, I can whistle “Dixie.”