The Reuters global sports blog
By Larry Fine
The Lakers have owned Los Angeles in the NBA sense for 50 years since moving to the City of Angels from the Land of 10,000 Lakes where they were born the Minneapolis Lakers.
Now with a startling suddenness since the end of the NBA lockout, the famed franchise with its 16 NBA titles looks ripe for a challenge for local hoops supremacy from their Staples Center co-tenants – the perennially sad-sack Los Angeles Clippers.
Add premier point guard Chris Paul to the Clippers, along with veterans such as Caron Butler from the NBA champion Mavericks and Chauncey Billups of the Knicks, and subtract Lamar Odom from the Lakers and one can feel the rumbles of abalance of power shift in Southern California.
Mix in an injury to the shooting wrist of Kobe Bryant, and waves of worry have hit the Lakers faithful, who had to endure back-to-back defeats to the Clippers in preseason warm-ups.
New Orleans point guard extraordinaire Chris Paul told Reuters he was dreaming big about the Hornets this upcoming season, setting his sights on an NBA title, but he was also realistic about how stiff the competition would be.
Asked who he regarded as improving teams, Paul went right to the reigning champions.
Pau Gasol’s triumph with the LA Lakers has prompted more articles in the Spanish media celebrating the country’s incredible run of sporting success.
Gasol was a vital cog in the Lakers machine this season and joins a long list of Spanish champions in individual and team sports.
Pittsburgh held a parade on Monday to celebrate the Penguins’ Stanley Cup triumph along the same route that the Super Bowl trophy was carried in triumph by the NFL’s Steelers in January.
It was the second time the city had claimed two of North America’s four top team sport prizes – the Superbowl, World Series, NBA championship and Stanley Cup — in the same calendar year after 1979, when the Steelers were NFL champions and the Pirates won Major League Baseball’s World Series.
Kobe Bryant had 30 points to lead the LA Lakers to a 99-86 Game Five win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday and a 15th NBA title.
Kobe relinquished the league’s Most Valuable Player award to Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Does his fourth championship ring prove he has in fact been a more valuable player this season or just that he has better players around him?