Lakers fans clamoring for a coaching change appear no longer solely confined to “We Want Phil” chants in Staples Center or venting through social media. THe unrest surrounding Coach Mike D’Antoni has also spanned continents.
With Kobe Bryant spending the past weekend in Brazil as part of a Nike trip, Lakers fans there are both showering him with praise and, as indicated in the photo above, imparting him with a specific message.
“Kobe, for God’s sake, Brazil begs, “Fire D’Antoni!” the sign reads. It then displays a picture of fire and the Pringles logo, a cartoon with a large mustached and parted bangs that has sparked comparisons to D’Antoni. It caught on so much that Dwight Howard often referred to D’Antoni as “Pringles” and even asked reporters once after a morning shootaround, “Did you already talk to Pringles?”
Lakers fans may have beaten the constant drum over their dissatisfaction with D’Antoni, ranging from imposing a faster-paced system to a veteran-laden roster, reducing Pau Gasol’s role, alienating Howard and managing Bryant’s minutes. But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has maintained D’Antoni will coach next season.
D’Antoni, who has two more guaranteed years worth $8 million and a team option for the 2015-16 season, went 40-32 in his first season. But the Lakers went 28-12 since the day after the Lakers had a team meeting in Memphis in January. That mark prompted the Lakers’ front office to believe a full training camp and a healthier roster will ensure D’Antoni fares better than a first-round exit to the San Antonio Spurs.
But that’s not going to stop Lakers fans from expressing their disapproval. And for the ones in Brazil, that includes pleading for Bryant to do something beyond return healthy and score a lot of points.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org