I am a long-time fan of the Los Angeles Lakers professional basketball team. Since I have been rooting for them since before Magic Johnson ever arrived, I can truthfully say that I do not qualify as a bandwagon supporter.
The Lakers' struggles the past couple of years have been well-documented, especially their collapse last year and their consecutive first-round playoff exits at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. And star guard Kobe Bryant's comments about the makeup of the team prior to this season have also been well-documented.
With all of the drama that has surrounded the team, I thought it is notable that after their overtime win in Seattle last night, the Los Angeles Lakers now sit in the top spot of the Western Conference with a 26-11 mark. By virtue of their two wins over Phoenix, LA currently holds the number one seed in the West.
It is still early, and the Lakers' loss of precocious young center Andrew Bynum for eight weeks is a huge blow- it remains to be seen if LA can beat the other upper-echelon teams in the West without their center. However, their achievement of the top spot should be marked, as it is one they have not held since the 2003-2004 season- not coincidentally the last one in which Shaquille O-Neal wore the purple and gold. We can only hope that the wins continue, even without Bynum. Congratulations to LA, and best wishes for the remainder of the season.