Lakers, look before you leap

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How Kobe Is Handling Lakers' Poor Start



By ALYSHA TSUJI
College Contributor Network

The scoreboard showed a close game. Future Hall-of-Famer and five-time NBA champ Kobe Bryant was on the floor. The ball bounced out of bounds. And he went after it.

Kobe -- at 36 years old -- leapt over the first row of chairs in an attempt to save a ball in the Los Angeles Lakers' fifth game of the season against the Phoenix Suns.

Prior to that game, the Lakers were 0-4. This game meant nothing. It was a pure act of dire desperation. The Black Mamba rose from the frenzy with a slight limp, which he of course shook off and played on. They lost that game. Now they're 1-7.

That singular play captured the essence of the 2014-15 Lakers. The roster consists of bodies that are either old or inexperienced. All are full of a giddy youthful exuberance, which is great, but that doesn't translate to wins in the NBA. It translates to a haphazardly hopeful 1-7.

That's not even taking into account the pure roster body count:

Julius Randle, the first-round draft pick who was dubbed as Kobe's protege? Tibia fracture, out for the season.

The hotshot, fun-to-watch, swag-filled guard Nick Young, whose personality upheld the Lakers last season? Torn thumb ligament, inactive.

The aging point guard and future Hall-of-Famer, Steve Nash, who provided a desperate team with a glimpse of hope? Back injury, out for the season.

Plus, shooting guard Wayne Ellington Jr. is on an indefinite leave of absence after his father was shot and killed. And Ryan Kelly is out with a sore hamstring.

Basically, they walked under four ladders, sauntered past a few black cats, broke 10 mirrors and opened an umbrella indoors.

Then Kobe does something like jump over the court-side fans -- how can you not ask, "Why?"

But remember who the Lakers are. They symbolize showtime; the glitz, the glam and the shine of the City of Angels lives through the purple and gold.

When Kobe lays out for an impossible save or shakes three defenders to toss up a fadeaway jumper that clanks off the rim, he's doing it for his city. He set the record for missed shots Nov. 11 versus the Grizzlies. The man is committed.

I respect the hustle. I'm the type of person who falls in love with the stories of teams and unconsciously disregards the outcomes.

However, I don't believe in risking injuries to appease fans. The Lakers' bad luck is overwhelming, so let's stop testing it.

Kobe, please don't jump the bench.


Alysha Tsuji is a senior Journalism major at Pepperdine University. Her passion lies in sports media, namely when it comes to covering the NBA. Follow her on Twitter: @AlyshaTsuji
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