The Lakers have had three of the five greatest centers of all-time. Their presence has been so indelibly stamped into the league, they are known by only one name--Wilt, Kareem, and Shaq.
But that proud Lakers tradition took a big hit on Tuesday night when the club selected high school standout Andrew Bynum. This is the kind of desperate move that the Portland Trail Blazers pull. It's one thing to pick a high school player that can compliment your team (like Kobe did years ago), but quite another to hitch your hopes on a teenager.
And yes, this is going to get worse.
Most teenagers today have started their own web pages and personal journals on myspace.com. Bynum--who is 17--is no different. If you don't believe that most of these high school kids aren't ready for the responsibility of the NBA, we give you the Andrew Bynum myspace portfolio.
Bynum might be a physically gifted athlete, but he is no honor student. This isn't about Stewart Scott slang, this is borderline close to illiterate. It's like that episode of the White Shadow where a standout basketball player transfers to Carver High and it is discovered that he cannot read. Bynum comes dangerously close to this and shows that he's really just a coddled athlete. Dontonio Wingfield is looking forward to working with him at the local car wash in a couple of years.
And honestly, people make mistakes and there are editing errors in these personal web pages. The reader of The Hater Nation knows this better than anybody. But this is just overboard. Here are the lowlights of the Bynum myspace.
Have you made your own clothes? "Nah, I had sum made for me." Good to see that the agents were already giving him free clothes prior to the draft.
Have you done something you regret? "Kissed sumones gurl." Looks like he and Kobe will have something to talk about.
In school, do you run to class because you are late? "Hell no. I walk even slower." He should have been sprinting to English class.
Do you act perfect? "Nah." At least he has some self-awareness.
Current taste? "Brazilian women." At least he isn’t hunting little Mexican girls.
Do you have a little brother? "Yes." Does he draw cute pictures for you? "Nah, that would be gay." At least his homophobia is NBA-ready.
Are you a moron? "Sumtimez."
Your best physical feature? "Dunno. Gurlz help me out with dat one." Maybe Mitch Kupchak can enlighten us. It's kind of sad that Mitch is trying to show that he's just as smart as Jerry West by picking his own high school star. But if it isn't clear that Mitch isn't Jerry West by now, it never will be.
Pepsi or Coke? "I got acme, so soda is sum shit u dont drink." At some point, the Microsoft word is going to explode. And Acme? Did he get it from Wile E. Coyote?
In the past month have you drank alcohol? "Nope. Never have, never will."
In the past month have you smoked? "Nope. Never have, never will."
In the past month have you been on drugs. "Nope." So he will never drink, never smoke, but he seemed open to doing drugs.
In the past month have you stolen anything? "Nope." Which is partly why he didn’t consider playing basketball at Cal State Fullerton.
What do you want to be when you grow up? "NBA playa and entrapenour." Do you really need a joke here?
Number of CDs I own? "Gabillion." Which is likely the amount of money he will be paying to Brazilian women for child support payments.
Do you want to go to college? "Of course." He shud hav gune two colige two meat sum Brazilian gurls.
Congratulations Lakers, he is your center of the future. At least the Clippers continue out "Clipper" you in every move, but you are coming dangerously close.
Final NBA Draft Thoughts
Thank God the NBA draft is over so the sports networks can focus on important business like the Angels and NFL training camps.
Would it have killed the Clippers first-round draft pick--Russian born Yaroslav Korolev--to say in homage to Rocky IV, "If you can change, and I can change, maybe the Clippers can change too!"