Wednesday, June 16, 2004

From the LA Times

In the End, Selfish Players Learn the Price of Fame
Bill Plaschke
June 16, 2004
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The dream season was a scream season. The Fab Four was a raging bore. The ending was harrowing, humiliating and appropriate.

The team that was supposed to make basketball history indeed made basketball history Tuesday, doomed forever to symbolize all that is wrong with modern professional sports, a testament to the failure of excess and danger of ego.

Eleven months after assembling what was supposed to be the greatest team in NBA history, within a week of their professed destiny, the Lakers fell dramatically apart.

Piece by Hollywood piece. Bit by selfish bit. Their ingrained sense of entitlement dismantled by a more powerful sense of teamwork.

As if sent down by the sports gods to deliver a message, the Detroit Pistons crawled out from the shadows of hard work, away from the anonymity of defense, and into a spotlight that showed the Lakers everything they used to be.

A team that shares the ball. A team that shares the floor burns. A team that shares the glory.

An NBA champion.

The Pistons won the title Tuesday with an 100-87 victory in Game 5, winning the series in a landmark four-games-to-one upset that felt like a five-game sweep.

The roaring, rocking Palace offered a numbing farewell to an era.