No less than Hall-of-Fame guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson said that Los Angeles Lakers fans are spoiled.
This was what Johnson himself said during an interview on the “Max and Marcellus Show” on ESPNLA 710 Radio on Tuesday afternoon. The interview was featured in a piece written by ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne on Oct. 29.
Not only does Johnson think Lakers fans are spoiled, he also thinks their team is in for a long season.
“Laker fans are spoiled. I don’t know how they’re going to react now, because this is going to be a tough season. This is going to be one of the roughest seasons that the Lakers have ever faced. You’re waiting on Kobe (Bryant) to see if he can get healthy. Nobody knows if he can be what he was.
“Then you’ve got Pau (Gasol) — who I think is a premier big man — but he plays better when he has talent around him.
“You’ve got guys who are all on one-year contracts, and all were journeymen on other teams. Laker fans are not used to that. I dont’ know if they’re going to buy into that. We’re going to see. If you want the Laker fans to really buy in and be involved, you’re going to have to win right away. I don’t see that happening. The West is tough this year.
“I’m hoping they at least make the playoffs. But that’s going to be tough, especially without Kobe. We have to see what Kobe we’re going to get. Is he going to be that same Kobe or is he going to be hurt a little bit?”
As for the Bryant injury, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding wrote on Oct. 14 that Bryant feels he is on track after an Achilles injury against the Golden State Warriors more than six months ago ended his 2012-13 NBA season prematurely.
Bryant said he is at the point where “if today was a playoff or NBA Finals (game), could I play? Probably.”
“I feel pretty damn good, so I’m going to get out today and try to move around on the court.
“I haven’t had any pain or soreness or whatever. It’s kind of a flexibility thing, and getting the range of motion back — feel like you can bend without having to lift the heel up. After months of the tendon being compressed, now you have to work to stretch it out a little bit.”
Without Bryant in the fold, the Lakers will have to rely on aging point guard Steve Nash, Gasol and journeyman center Chris Kaman to carry the load.
Johnson, a three-time MVP, five-time NBA champion and 12-time NBA All-Star, is also a part-time owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers. The team enjoyed a successful 2013 season whose highlights include another NL West division title and a stint in the NLCS.
He also recently resigned from his position as an ESPN NBA analyst, citing numerous commitments which will not allow him to focus on his duties as a broadcaster.