A Laker Attitude


Dallas Youth Basketball and AttitudeESPN can’t get enough of the disaster taking place before our eyes that is the star powered Lakers. It doesn’t take a basketball genius to see that lack of talent is not the problem for the Lakers, but instead team chemistry. Some of the blame can certainly be put on the coach, Mike D”Antoni, who has proved ineffective in bringing this dream team together. However, the attitudes of the players incur just as much blame as D’Antoni in my eyes.

Having been part of many different teams, I am staunch supporter of positive environments and see no arguments for anything else. When team-mates are positive to each other the game becomes fun and when the game becomes fun players are more comfortable which in turn makes them play better and leads to more success overall. When I watch the Lakers I don’t see a positive environment.

Kobe Bryant is a great player but his leadership on the floor has bothered me for years. Much has be made about how this time around Bryant is staying calm and patient, demonstrating his maturity and want to lead. This to me sounds like the only thing he is doing is rising above extraodinarily low expectations. That he is not throwing a fit is not reason for praise.

I understand that he is basically an assistant coach during games as he is constantly taking younger players aside and giving direction or instruction and this definitely counts as a form of leadership. What I don’t ever see, and what is the most important part of being a leader, is Bryant encouraging his teammates after they make mistakes. When he throws a pass that is dropped by Gasol, never have seen Bryant giving any sort of positive re-enforcement. If a player wants to be a leader he needs to help his teammates be the best players they can be. To do this they need to be comfortable. I would advise Bryant to go so far as to take responsibility for things that weren’t his fault because that is what leaders do. When we talk about great quarterbacks, the leaders on the football field, we always appreciate how after a loss, regardless of their own play, they take full responsibility for the whole team or at least the offense. We expect this sort of responsibility in football so why no on the hardwood?

This sort of attitude where the answer is “ wasn’t my fault” is seeping into youth basketball. More and more we see kids outright blaming teammates during games. This certainly leads to young players being afraid to make mistakes and when your afraid to make mistakes your not going to be playing basketball at a very high level. We should be training young players to be encouraging each other. I am not blaming the attitudes of middle-school kids on Kobe Bryant, but I think he is a prime basketball lesson of how you have to have chemistry between players at all levels no matter what the talent level is.

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