Lakers Hide From Kobe After Game 2 Loss on Home Court
LOS ANGELES (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) – When it was over, there wasn’t a Laker to be found…anywhere. Only fifteen seconds after the Lakers lost Game 2 to the Boston Celtics, the home team’s locker room was mysteriously empty and if not for the solitary figure of Kobe Bryant calling out his “punkass” team mates and heaving every object not nailed down (including a Japanese reporter), eerily quiet.
“I hate you! I hate you!” fumed Bryant. “I hate you, hate you, hate you!”
Onlookers unfamiliar with Kobe’s juvenile tantrums were as stunned as Staples Center fans who had just witnessed the Lakers lose the second game in the Finals against the (marginally) underdog Celtics. Kobe was uncharacteristically ineffectual, his frustration mounting as the game progressed.
“What can you say, he’s a spoiled child,” said Vic Anderson of the LA Times. “The guys lay low until it blows over. You just hope it blows over before Vanessa (Kobe’s wife) gets involved. She’s gotten three players traded, an assistant coach reassigned and nine cheerleaders fired.”
Bryant frantically searched for his missing team mates, barking threats and ultimatums, demanding they “show their faces or else!” Realizing he was getting nowhere, Bryant changed course and tried cajoling.
“La-Marr! De-rek! Come out, come out wherever you are…I’m not going to hurt you. I promise. Hey, look, candy! Uhmmmm.”
Unable to resist, Sasha Vujacic sheepishly edged out of an equipment closet. A seething Bryant watched in slack-jawed disbelief as Vujacic was followed by an equally tentative Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton, who tumbled out one after the other.
“Sorry Kobe, that really sucked, we let you down, we all feel like shit,”said Vujanic, staring at his feet as his nervous team mates emitted low, moaning sounds of agreement. “Is there anything we can do? Anything?”
Walton and Farmar, meanwhile, worked up the courage to thank Bryant for letting them out of the closet, as Walton is an asthmatic and Farmer is claustrophobic.
By this time, the remaining Lakers had returned from their hiding places. An ashen Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol stood off to a corner, and along with their team mates dutifully absorbed the brunt of Kobe’s tirade.
“Why do these guys take it?” asked a Brazilian TV reporter, shocked to see established players like Odom and Fisher submitting to Kobe’s high-handed histrionics.
“You don’t understand,” explained an unnamed assistant coach. “Kobe owns this town. Piss him off and suddenly you find your cable has been turned off, you can’t get hot water, no one will take your dinner reservation, you can’t even get a babysitter….hell, you can’t even score a dime bag of weed. But the guys know that, at the end of the day, Phil’s got their back.”
As if on cue, Jackson’s first response to a reporter’s completely unrelated question was to pose a hypothetical. “Did Michael ever let his team lose in a close game in the second game of a Finals on his home court? I can’t seem to recall. Anyone?”
Jackson’s comment prompted furtive grins and covert fist pumps, as Bryant’s teammates savored the payback – knowing full well Bryant would be spending the next several days in agitated isolation, drop-kicking his vast collection of MJ memorabilia, immersed in a self-loathing funk.