Age and arrogance are not a good combination, just ask the L.A. Lakers. I’m not saying they’re not a talented basketball team or an ambitious organization. What I am saying is these “experienced” players need to understand just where they are and who they are. Where they are is headed home, not to a championship game, not this year. And, it’s painfully obvious they are in denial of the fact they are not young guns. When people say they are an experienced playoff team, they mean more than just the number of playoff games they’ve played as a whole. By experienced, they mean aging, something these guys have yet to face.
And why do I believe they are in age denial? Because of the way they act on the court: selfish, arrogant, smug, and reckless. Most of the young players coming into the league are filled with bravado, conceit, and abandon. They believe they are it. You have to be great, right? Otherwise, why would anyone pay you millions of dollars to put a ball through a net, wear their logos across your chest, or guzzle their fountain of sports-youth drinks.
Then you get knocked around. Those “experienced” players welcome you to the hardwood and you realize maybe you’re not such a badass. You learn. You gain experience. You are humbled more than once and then, the conceit turns to confidence, the bravado to optimism, the abandon to reliability.
But the Lakers personified arrogance during these playoffs. They were smug and egotistical, and when they began to unravel, they turned to finger-pointing and dirty play. Real nice. Real mature.
I’m glad they are out of the playoffs and I’m glad they were swept by the Mavs. Maybe they will learn from this and finally recognize experience is something you have to suffer, because with it comes knowledge and familiarity. As for aging, it is a process which brings maturity, development, and ripeness; age can definitely be an advantage, if you understand and accept its promises and limitations. But age and arrogance never go hand in hand.