I grew up in a trailer park for the majority of my childhood. For the most part it was just my mom, my brother, and myself. As you can probably predict we didn’t have many resources, if my brother and I wanted anything extra, we had to get it on our own. We grew up next to one of my best friends to this day, my brother from another mother Tim. As kids when we wanted some chips and a Slurpee from 7/11 on the corner of Rundberg and Cameron, my brother, Tim and myself would go from trailer to trailer and ask the neighbors if they wanted their lawns cut or their leafs raked up. We learned that we all had a lot to bring to the table and if we could brings those talents together we could get make enough money to grab the King Size candy bar. These young Los Angeles Lakers are learning the value of teammates that love you on a basketball court compared to us learning that lesson in 100 degree weather during the grueling Texas summer.
I watched the Lakers versus San Antonio tonight and there is something that’s lacking right now. There is exceptional talent up and down the roster but what is missing is each player making more unselfish plays. This team still doesn’t make the extra pass, they don’t set that screen and roll to the basket hard enough, they don’t bring backside help when it’s needed just yet.
I remember when we use to pick up lawns my brother Ali (the youngest of the three) would use his smaller size and pick up all the twigs and branches. I would come behind him raking the leaves and Tim would pick up the piles I made and throw them in the bag. We each had our role, we knew what we had to do to get the job done and we worked as a unit to get the job done.
Los Angeles has D’Angelo Russell who can score or facilitate the ball. Jordan Clarkson can guard and drop buckets when hot. Brandon Ingram is coming along nicely and blooming into the talent he was projected to be. Lou Williams can drop 30 on you if you blink twice. Larry Nance Jr. will put jump over you on his way to a dunk. Or, the Lakers can give the ball to Julius Randle and simply tell everybody on the court to get the hell out of the way and let him go to work.
My point is that every successful team has roles. The great teams manage to get each player to buy into their role and value to the team. As kids our reward to working as a team was an extra microwaveable pizza and a large tub of ice cream for later when we threw on The Chapelle show DVDs. For these talented Lakers it’s way bigger than that. They can be the faces of the new Showtime. The faces of the franchise post Kobe. Say what you want, that’s a hell of a task these guys are adapting to ahead of schedule.