The Lakers held their annual Media day, which as ever resulted in precious little in the way of actual news. Lots of talk about Lamar Odom’s wedding. Plenty of talk about winning a second straight title, too. Kobe Bryant had some good things to say about getting back to work and staying focused on chasing another ring. So did Derek Fisher. Sasha Vujacic got a haircut. So did Pau Gasol. Jordan Farmar got a new number.
Bryant had this to say about the offseason and preparing for a title defense: “It was peaceful, got a lot of time to relax, a lot of downtime, just resting and recuperating. We understand. We worked really hard to get to this point. It took us a lot of time to get here, so this is something we don’t want to give up because of our inability to move forward or not take the season seriously. If somebody’s going to take it from us, we want them to take it from us with us being 100 percent focused and locked in. It was a different feeling. It was something we worked hard for from the bottom. The previous teams I was on that won, we had a lot of talent. We were always a favorite, every single year. This team, we grew up together. There weren’t any distractions last year or the year before. Everything will be smooth.”
Fisher on defending the title: “The bull’s eye becomes bigger after you become champions. So there’s more scrutiny with the ups and downs of the season. I think about last year and it seemed, like, can we really complete the mission we set out to accomplish? Even winning 65 regular-season games,, there are so many ups and downs and good stories and bad stories, and there will be much more of that this year. We plan on being better than we were a year ago.”
Vujacic on getting a haircut: “I decided to do it. I studied some DVDs from during the year .. I was playing with my hair too much. It was a big distraction to me. I just did it and I was, like, what the hell? After I played basketball, I felt really good. It’s not in my eyes anymore and I don’t have that compulsive thing, so I’m happy. Like a week ago, six days, last Thursday. I did it, yeah. I did it. When I cut my hair I didn’t have a beard, so I looked like I was even younger. I looked like Benjamin Button. I looked like a teenager.”
Farmar on changing to No. 1 this season after wearing No. 5: “It’s just the number I grew up wearing. I wore it in high school and won a championship. I got to wear it in my McDonald’s All-American game. I came to UCLA and my freshman year somebody had it, so I had to change it. I ended up changing it back my sophomore year and then a few people had it when I got here. When I got here, Smush (Parker) was No. 1, then Javaris (Crittenden) had it. You have to have your jersey three years when you get in the NBA because of all the rules and stuff like that. I just had to wait my turn to get it. Now I’ve waited my turn and I’m ready to have some fun.”