See ya, Rambis

12 08 2009

 

This is where the idea for short shorts was exposed at its worst.

This is where the idea for short shorts was exposed at its worst.

I thought Kurt Rambis had the future Lakers coaching gig on lockdown — until he decided to take the post vacated by the man who once clotheslined him to near death.

Rambo is taking over head coaching duties for the Minnesota Timberwolves formerly held by ex-Celtic Kevin McHale (yes, that’s him with his arm draped around Rambis’ neck) and you want to know the first thing that came to mind? After over two decades of playing and coaching for the Los Angeles Lakers, his wife must be REALLY pissed that she has to not only leave all her L.A. friends but tackle the epically frigid Minnesota winters. At least this gives her an excuse to buy winter clothes. 

Rambis’ exit leaves an air of uncertainty in the future of the Lakers’ head coaching spot given the conventional wisdom that 63-year-old Phil Jackson (he’ll be 64 by the time next season begins) will retire in the next year or two. 

Yet Rambis made a comment at his introductory Timberwolves press conference Tuesday that Jackson might coach five or six more years. I immediately disputed this until realizing a point is to be taken from that thought. Why would Jackson, a serial competitor, leave the Bryant-Gasol-Odom-Bynum-Artest quintet? More to the point, why would Jackson leave Bryant anytime during his prime? 

Even for a man who’s had the privilege of coaching Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all-time, the rarity of coaching a player of near-equal caliber, like Kobe Bryant, has to be too sweet an opportunity to pass. Think of Jackson’s love and respect for the game, like any good coach has. Wouldn’t they want to see a player like Bryant through his prime? 

I can’t be sure, but I can imagine Jackson sitting on the deck of his summer home in Montana thinking about the battles and championships and memories he would pass up by opting not to return to the Lakers helm, with Bryant leading the charge. He alone would make me believe Jackson is intent on keeping his coaching gig for longer than he lets on to the press. But with Gasol, Odom and Artest in their prime and Bynum (hopefully) developing into one of the NBA’s elite big men, there doesn’t seem to be any realistic reason — aside from physical health — why Jackson would consider retiring from the game anytime soon.

One last thought: Rambis exemplifies the transition in physical appearance from the ’80s to the ’00s as well as anybody. Witness:

 

How one man has turned from this...

How one man has turned from this...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...to this is a sign of how ridiculous people looked in the '80s.

...to this is a sign of how ridiculous people looked in the '80s.

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