When the Lakers lost in Round 2 of the 2011 playoffs to Dallas in early May, L.A.’s receptionist at the team’s business office stopped answering phone calls with the “Back-to-back champion Lakers” line she’d gotten used to since the Purple and Gold defeated Boston last June.
But since the Mavericks sealed up their first ever NBA championship on Sunday evening in Miami, the Lakers are officially no longer champs for the first time since June 14, 2009 in Orlando, when they defeated the Magic in five games.
Instead, the Lakers are just one of 29 teams who didn’t win, one of 29 who had to watch Mark Cuban and Co. raise the trophy when handed off by Commissioner David Stern. For many, that’s part of the process of creating a bit more motivation for the following season. Imagine Kobe Bryant sitting at home in his Orange County home, watching Dirk Nowitzki cap a fantastic individual postseason by raising the Larry O’Brien trophy, then the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy that’s been Bryant’s for two straight seasons.
In fact, during the clinching Game 6 between Dallas and Miami, Twitter follower @LArunr asked, “@LakersReporter, who do u [sic] reckon Kobe’s pulling for: #Heat or #Mavs?
My (somewhat facetious) response: “Neither, just plotting revenge.”
No, we don’t know if Kobe was literally sitting at home with his teeth grating, looking like Khal Drogo in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” after someone dared disrespect his queen … but it’s not hard to imagine.