HisAirness24 wrote:Haha the new TC additions look lost.
They won't be here long enough to learn their way around.
Brian Kamenetzky of the LA Times Blog wrote:Like most things involving the Lakers, Media Day always operates on a different level for the purple and gold than it does for other NBA franchises. This year was no different. The typically massive Katamari ball of humanity, microphones, cameras, and notepads (the technical term starts with "cluster" and ends with a word I can't use in this space...) was only enhanced by the presence of entertainment media hoping for a piece of post-wedding analysis from Lamar Odom. It is, in short, an eventful way to kick off the season, but not exactly an environment conducive to gaining deep insight into the state of the squad.
Still, a few observations:
* Entertainment media operates in a different way than sports media. Those dudes are sharp elbowed and aggressive with the camera in the big scrums. Generally speaking, I really hope today's events put us on the downhill side of the Odom/Khloe Kardashian story.
* Andrew Bynum looked strong, fit, and eager to start the season, for what it's worth. He said he'd be wearing a brace on his right knee (the one he hurt last year) for the rest of his career, and may experiment with wearing one on each leg, protection on the left being precautionary. Whatever works.
* For the first time since I started covering the team, Kobe Bryant wasn't the center of attention. Not that he was standing awkwardly on the fringes David Monds, Michael Fay, and other camp longshots, but LO and Ron Artest drew bigger crowds. "I miss you guys," joked 24 when asked about the new (and temporary, I'm sure) media pecking order.
* Cutting his hair may be the smartest thing Sasha Vujacic has ever done as a pro. Silly as it sounds- and it does sound silly- his mane had started to overtake his game, adding a persona that was doing nothing for his on-court performance. The haircut represents a fresh start. As an interesting and laudable side note, he had hoped to donate his shorn locks to charity, but was told his hair was about two inches too short. Good for him for thinking in that direction, though.
* Watching guys handle the circus today, I'm even less concerned than I was before that external issues and distractions will be a problem. In context, the addition of Artest or LO's big summer aren't out of line from other Incredibly Big Lakers Stories from days gone by.
Click below for some of the video fun. LO, Derek Fisher, Sasha, and Bynum. Plenty more to come over the course of the day, as well.
First, a quick bit with LO talking about his wedding, one of the most uncomfortable minutes of video I've ever shot. Not because of the subject matter, but rather the pushing and shoving going on as people jostled for the best angle. My favorite line: When asked if the presence of Khloe (and the cameras that follow her) would be a distraction at Staples, LO smiled. "That's a Laker game, with or without her there. It's still an event."
Fisher talks about distractions, and while he notes that the Hollywood media is a different animal, it's not something that playing in LA doesn't prepare guys for. He expects to, along with Kobe, keep an active eye on things and help the team maintain focus, just as he would in any season.
Vujacic, on everything from cutting his hair to his first post-title summer to his hope for a bounce back season. He was very candid in speaking about his performance last season. "I'm not proud of it," he said. And apparently, once Sasha went back and watched the tape, even he was annoyed with how much he played with his hair.
Bynum, on his knee, and his hope to make the All Star team.
Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times wrote:The Finals MVP also smiled as he shared a private word with Ron Artest in a photo op where they were supposed to look tough.
It will be interesting to see how they co-exist on the court after a couple of in-your-face encounters in last season's playoffs, though Artest wore a Bryant jersey at a recent promotional event and Tuesday seemed to revel in the concept of being part of the Lakers.
"None of them know how hungry I am," Artest said. "It's about time to get to business."
Bynum, who will be 22 next month, spent part of his off-season traveling through Japan, China, Italy and Spain. He also spent about six weeks in Atlanta, working out with a personal trainer. He added strength to his legs during a regimen that concentrated on his quadriceps, hamstrings and "glutes," as he put it.
Bryant, for his part, took a solid two-month break from basketball, his first summer in years without Team USA obligations. He made several appearances throughout China and Asia as part of a Nike commitment, and he went to France with his family.
"All I did was get healthier," he said.
Bryant turned 31 last month and will soon begin his 14th NBA season with what he said were "rejuvenated" legs.
While Bryant rested, Pau Gasol, a third-team All-NBA selection last season, took part in a victorious but time-consuming tour with Spain's national team, which won the European championship.
"I'm excited, I'm really motivated. I'm not too tired," he said. "It's a lot of basketball, absolutely, but I think that my passion for the game and also me working on my body and trying to get my breaks here and there. . . . I hope that my body continues to hold up and continues to perform the way it's been performing."
Sasha Vujacic, who sustained a minor knee injury while playing an exhibition with the Slovenian national team, also was expected to take part in training camp. Practice began Tuesday night and two-a-days were scheduled to begin today.
Along the other story lines at media day was the mildly impatient Lamar Odom, who married reality-TV star Khloe Kardashian on Sunday, had a publicist tell reporters he wouldn't talk about it Tuesday and then walked away after realizing reporters only wanted to talk about it. He later met up with a smaller group of media to answer basketball-related questions.
Above all, there was talk of a repeat championship feat.
"We're going to be ready to go," Bryant said. "We understand the challenge of winning another [championship]. I'm just going to do what I did last year. I just feel like I'm healthier and stronger."
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