By Craig Kwasniewski
Jerry Buss, put down your Atari 2600, hit the stop button on your walkman (Paula Abdul, They Way That You Love Me, right?), remove your "Where's the Beef?" hat, stop saying "Totally tubular!!"... the 80's are lone gone my man. Gone. Rubik's Cube... gone. Ronald Reagan... gone. Pacman... gone...
The Showtime Era.... GONE!!!!!
Let it go Jerry. Seriously LET...IT...GO!! I get that you made you bones while Phil Jackson was dating cheerleaders, but it's time to move on.
Earlier today Roland Lazenby tweeted:
So is now the time to have a pissing contest between the greatest owner and greatest coach in NBA history? Why can't these two guys ever get on the same page? Is this some kind of future-son-in-law grudge match? You guys share the common bond of the Lakers, championships, Jeannie Buss and the City of Angels... isn't there some kind of common ground?
In a simple answer: NO!
The reason? Jerry Buss's high school crush on the Showtime Era. No matter how many titles Phil wins, in Jerry's mind it's still all Showtime all day. Instead of publicly courting Phil Jackson I keep hearing that Jerry wants to bring back the high-octane offense of the 80's with Byron Scott calling the shots. You have the most successful coach in professional sports and yet Jerry isn't fully committed in bringing him back.
Yeah that makes sense. Sure, let's run the most successful coach in professional sports. After all he didn't save the Shaq-Kobe era or even revive the Lakers after the dismal Rudy Tomjanovich year (It wasn't even a year, the dude skipped town after 4 months for "health reasons" code for "I give up! You coach this shit!"). Yep, we forget just how terrible the Lakers were the last time Phil was "let go" by Buss. You can talk about terrible rosters, but Phil took the team that Rudy completely destroyed with his chuck-and-duck all threes and no defense schemes, organized it, reigned it in and got them within one game of eliminating the #2 seed. Yes Kobe had a ricockulous season, but Phil got the entire roster all believing in the system and took a VERY untalented team back into the playoffs.
No really, that was a terrible team. Take a look here. Phil Jackson deserved a retro Coach of the Year just based on the "where are they now?" factor. Smush Parker, Brian Cook, Chris Mihm and...wait for it... Kwame Brown were all starters. They made the playoffs with THAT team!
Yet Jerry completely forgets the chaos of 2005 and is willing to once again pursue Showtime. You know who this reminds you of, right? Yep, Al Davis. We're on year 76 of the Raiders playing the vertical passing game. Yes, it worked in the 70's and 80's but the NFL also moved on to more complex schemes and the game evolved. But Al didn't and the Raiders failed. In fact, the only time the Raiders mattered was with Jon Gruden and the West Coast offense. They became contenders yet Davis still wanted the Vertical Passing game and ran Gruden out of town.... much like Jerry Buss with Jackson and his love for Showtime.
Replace the Raiders tracksuits with 18-year olds and suddenly you have...Jerry Buss?
Let it the 80's go. Put away your Cabbage Patch dolls, your Beta copy of Rambo and tapes of Dr. Demento. The year is 2010, you're fresh off a fifth title with Phil Jackson (BTW - as many titles as your beloved Showtime) and you have the talent to finally catch your rivals the Boston Celtics. Reward Phil for winning title number 16 against your biggest rival.. give Phil his due and bring him back!