Ramona Shelburne of the LA Daily News wrote:
As reporters, camera crews, radio producers and assorted other random people with handheld cameras positioned themselves to speak with the newest Laker - Ron Artest - and the newest Kardashian - Lamar Odom - the reigning Finals MVP walked onto the court with hardly anybody noticing.
That would be Kobe Bryant, in case you've been too distracted watching the live feed of Odom's Sunday nuptials on TMZ's Web site.
Two years ago, his entrance to the Lakers' practice facility meant the End of Days had been averted, with reporters stationed in the parking lot jotting down his exact arrival time after he spent the summer asking to play on Pluto.
Last season, his was the only voice that carried much weight after the franchise recovered from a humiliating loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
But this time around, Bryant looked like an extra on the set just trying to earn his SAG card.
"I love it," he joked. "It's cool and smooth."
Bryant, asked if he was grateful to Odom and Artest for taking the spotlight off of him, smiled and said, "I'll be thanking them all season long."
He meant it as a joke, but no one will be laughing if any of the new, let's call it "exposure," becomes a distraction for the Lakers on the court.
For now it seems, the team is treating the situation with a bit of levity, with players answering questions from entertainment reporters wanting to know if they chose chicken or steak for dinner at Odom's wedding to Khloe Kardashian on Sunday.
"I'm sure it's pleasant for you guys too, having something different to talk about," a jovial Pau Gasol said. "Mix it up a little. It's fine with me, too, as long as it doesn't distract us from our goals or what we need to do here as a team.
"Once we cross these doors and the doors at Staples Center, everybody else should be left out. Everything else that could be a distraction or a detriment to the team should be left out.
"I think we have a veteran team here, veteran enough to be able to do that. And our coaching staff has enough experience to be able to handle that. So I'm pretty confident to feel like that's not going to be a problem."
With that settled, at least as much as legally possible, the attention in the room turned to Artest, who seemed like he'd been waiting his whole life for it.
The past couple of weeks, he has been getting around Los Angeles like a political candidate. He's walked dogs at an animal shelter, gone to Sparks playoff games, invited fans to come bowling with him and given away tickets to the Vitali Klitschko-Chris Arreola heavyweight title fight via one of his three Twitter feeds.
His hard-working publicist somehow keeps up with him by sending out press releases to secret locations and generally marveling at the uniqueness of a professional athlete who genuinely seems to enjoy interacting with fans at quite possibly the most eclectic set of public events you've ever seen.
Said one veteran scribe, who covered a recent event, "And he's on time, too."
"If I had more time here I could've took my time in getting out to the community," Artest said. "But I knew it (training camp) was coming up fast so I had to get out fast and make as much time for the fans as possible.
"Now that training camp is here, I'll be doing things like once a month."
Was that what he was talking about last week when he told reporters in San Diego it would be his fault if the Lakers didn't repeat as NBA champions?
"Yeah," Artest said. "You gotta take responsibility. You can't put it all on Kobe. You got to take some responsibility of your own."
Over in the corner, one of Odom's wedding guests posed for photos and did some radio interviews.
His troublesome ankle appeared to be in good shape after a vacation to Maui, but of course nobody asked forward Luke Walton specifically about that.
As one of the only Lakers who was around for the end of the Shaquille O'Neal-Bryant era and as one of the more thoughtful guys on the team, Walton often has a pretty decent take on the historical context of the latest Lakers' (soap) operatic event.
So how did Tuesday's episode compare with the tense and terse seasons from years past?
"This is nothing," he said. "This is like par for course for the Lakers.
"Two years ago (when no one knew if Bryant would show up) was a little crazy. That was wild. None of us had heard from him. Then he walked in, did his thing and now we're NBA champions.
"That was probably stranger, because it actually really affected the team."