The time it takes to develop an itch according to Marilyn Monroe.
The time Brad Pitt claims to have spent in Tibet.
The time it took for England to beat France in the war of the same name from 1756-1763.
Hard to believe but 9/11 is already EIGHT years ago later this year.
The Lakers worked their way back from a 3-peat in those same seven years. When Shaquille O’Neal was granted his request and traded from Los Angeles to Miami not many thought the Lakers would ever see the promised land again. Shaq went on to almost instant glory in teaming up with Dwayne Wade for his fourth ring and Kobe watched. The Lakers missed the playoffs for the for the first time in his career, Karl Malone retired, Gary Payton followed Shaq and Phil Jackson went off to meditate in a cave somewhere between book signings and free agent Kobe signed to stay. Then came Kwame Brown and Smush Parker a seven game first round loss to the Phoenix Suns followed by a second round exit at the hands of those same Phoenix Suns after putting a 3-1 series scare into the Nasty ones and Kobe bristled in parking lots. Steve Nash won back to back MVP awards those two years with an All-Star loaded squad while Kobe carried the not ready for prime time purple and gold to back to back playoff appearances with no other All-Stars on the roster, won back to back scoring titles and still Bryant practiced.
The following year Derek Fisher came home but The Big Ticket of the off season, Kevin Garnett went to until then 26 year dormant rival Boston after flirting with Los Angeles for months. Despite that blow, the title talk started in the Southland anyway because Andrew Bynum looked to be the answer to the Lakers prayers by having a breakout first half of the season before disaster struck in the form of a torn ACL and those hoop dreams went out the window. The keen eye of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak saw something in little used L.A. local Trevor Ariza, whom he had been watching since Ariza’s UCLA days and duped the Orlando Magic into trading him for a cup of sugar and a tip of the hat though it seemed like only lateral movement at the time. Just when all seemed bleak, the Lakers, still needing the missing link pulled a PAUer move and the problem was GASOLved when lay-up challenged Kwame was shipped off to Memphis for a Neanderthal from Spain. What can Brown do for you? How about score Batman a Robin?
The fit was like a glove and brought Kobe his first NBA MVP award but as luck would have it, as has so often happened in Laker history, those pesky Boston Celtics were there to thwart them once again…And it happened in ugly fashion. A 39 point loss in the Final game is like being kicked in the face, having your woman leave you for your best friend, take the dog and let you know by text message. Then you come home to a messy bed and no beers in your fridge to cap it off.
The off season brought no big roster changes, no panic, just let it resonate and hope for pride to kick in. Let it Burn. Just when the acceptance came The Big Old Pal Shaq’s rap asking him how his ass tasted and saying he couldn’t win without him. But he already had, he won an Olympic gold medal without him. Still Kobe said nothing and practiced some more.
This year they roared through the regular season, stumbled at the end coughing up the leagues best record to the Cavaliers and the new MVP late in the year. Then the post-season saw Kobe win his first college title by beating Duke Blue Devils at record pace.
1st round: The Utah Jazz and Blue Devil Carlos Boozer.
2nd round: The Houston Rockets and Blue Devil Shane Battier.
Western Conference Championship: The Denver Nuggets and Blue Devil Dahntay Jones.
NBA Finals: The Orlando Magic and the latest and greatest scoring Blue Devil in Duke history J.J. Redick.
Oh and in the process, won the NBA title, Finals MVP and more importantly REDEMPTION.
So there you have it.
It takes three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop and Seven Years to climb out of basketball purgatory and back to the mountaintop that is NBA glory.