Life as a Los Angeles Lakers fan can feel like a rollercoaster at times. Laker fans have enjoyed great moments like championships, 81 point performances by Kobe Bryant, and clutch shots by Robert Horry. There have been, however, some very bad moments for Laker fans in recent history. Here are the five worst moments in recent memory for the Los Angeles Lakers.
5) Kobe Bryant’s 2007 Offseason Tirade. Kobe Bryant is outspoken, to say the least. In 2007, he took that to a new level. Kobe went on every sports radio show that would have him to run down the Lakers’ front office and player personnel. To make matters worse, Bryant was filmed by amateurs in a parking lot bashing the organization in public. Kobe’s behavior prompted some fans to mail pacifiers to his home; it’s hard to blame those fans.
4) The Shaquille O’neal Trade. Shaq needed to be traded. He was demanding a ridiculous contract extension and his performance on the court had fallen off dramatically in the previous years. The Lakers, however, failed to get much in return for O’neal. They acquired no all-stars, no young superstars, and even took on Brian Grant’s ridiculous contract. To this day, the Lakers haven’t recovered from the mishandling of Shaq’s trade.
3) The 2004 NBA Finals. The 2004 Los Angeles Lakers went in to the NBA Finals loaded with future Hall of Famers. Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’neal, and Kobe Bryant were expected to bring a championship to the Lakers. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get on the same page. As documented in Phil Jackson’s book ‘The Last Season,’ every member of the Lakers had their mind on something else during the Finals. All of the distractions resulted in a five game loss to the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers were heavily favored to win the series, but ended up getting thoroughly embarrassed.
2) Magic Johnson’s HIV Announcement. In 1991, Magic Johnson unexpectedly retired from the NBA because he was HIV positive. The sports world was shocked! Perhaps the NBA’s most beloved superstar had to leave the game.
1) Kobe Bryant’s 2003 Arrest. Kobe Bryant was considered the golden boy of the NBA. He was the centerpiece of marketing campaigns for companies like Nike and Coca Cola. That all came crashing down when Bryant was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. Although the charges against Bryant would be dismissed, his reputation was severely tarnished and hasn’t completely recovered.
Often times the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be more of a soap opera than a sports team. Through all the media wars and shocking announcements, there have been some great moments on the basketball court. These five moments, however, will always live in Laker infamy.