Monday, March 06, 2006

Medvedenko a Laker? NYET!

Sad news today coming out of Lakerland, and not just that they have to play San Antonio tonight. Long-time Laker, 2-time NBA champ, and beloved Ukrainian Stanislav "Slava" Medvedenko was cut from the team today to make room for playoff-race good luck charm Jim Jackson. Can't blame Slava for this -- he's only played 2 games this year due to a herniated disk that required surgery, and in the mean time, Brian Cook has solidified his role as the team's big man with a solid 15-20 foot shooting range. Can't blame the Lakers for this, either -- Slava's a free agent next year, the team clearly needs more offense for this last leg of the season, and Coach Jackson hasn't exactly been the biggest fan of Slava, be it his "juvenile diet" or the fact that he "never turned down a shot he didn't like", stated in Phil's book about how he would never ever never ever coach Kobe Bryant again (not expecting wifey/owner's daughter Jeannie Buss to insist on separate beds soon after*). It was a decision that best served both parties, but still sits sour for those that have been down for a long time -- now, Kobe and Devean "Ice Cube" George remain as the sole remnants of the Laker 3-peat that began the century.

I remember seeing Slava at the L.A. Auto Show, sometime around '01 or '02, with a cute girl on his side and many hand waves directed at those that noticed him. This was a time when being a Laker brought instant celebrity, no matter how little you played, how unproductive you were, or how many different hats you wore while courtside. Nowadays, the average Angelino can't tell their Von Wafer's from their Devin Green's (and for good reason, since neither plays much and when they do, they're pretty much exactly the same). But that's how they do in fickle-ass Hollywood. So, for me, Villa, and the 4 or 5 other Laker fans who still watch religiously despite their fall from grace, we tip our 40s to Slava's memory.

["*" = This hasn't been proven, but come on now.]