EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — When former Los Angeles Lakers gamers get collectively, the tales are limitless. The particulars may be fuzzy relying on who’s telling the story, or if somebody may not keep in mind who performed with who.

“Metta (World Peace) asked me if me and Vlade (Divac)had played together,” former Lakers ahead Robert Horry mentioned. “And I mentioned no, I don’t suppose so.

“Vlade said, ‘Yeah we did, I gave you the best pass ever.’ ”

But that go wasn’t imagined to be a go. It was Divac tapping out the ball to protect a 99-97 lead for the Sacramento Kings within the closing seconds of Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference finals after misses by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Divac’s “pass” ended up with Horry, who calmly hit a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to offer the Lakers a series-tying 100-99 win.

There have been loads of reminiscences recalled in “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” the 10-part docuseries that started airing Monday on Hulu. Several former Lakers gathered on the staff’s apply facility final month to speak in regards to the sequence and the staff.

Besides the reminiscences and laughs between former teammates, there was numerous dialogue about what has made the Lakers one of many NBA’s premier franchises. It was a reminder of how successful raises the usual for everybody, and whether or not you began with the Lakers or joined the staff later in your profession, there was one thing totally different about enjoying for that franchise.

The strain to win in an atmosphere few franchises in sports activities can relate to created a bond amongst Lakers gamers.

Horry had skilled successful firstly of his profession, successful two championships with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and ’95. He was traded to Phoenix in 1996 earlier than being traded to the Lakers in ’97.

Horry mentioned there’s a distinction when enjoying for a staff that’s accustomed to deep playoff runs and championships.

“The thing about it is when you see greatness, people expect you to be great all the time,” Horry mentioned. “They count on you to step on the court docket and be nice instantly. That’s one factor guys have to know about sure manufacturers which might be used to successful.

“If you come into this situation not with the right mindset, thinking this is the NBA, oh I’ve made it, nah this business. And this is the Lakers so that makes it an exceptional business. It’s not a mediocre business so you have to step up to the plate and play.”

Jelani McCoy, who performed for the Lakers in 2001-02 after three seasons with the Seattle TremendousSonics (they have been .500 or higher every season), rapidly discovered there are ranges to successful and the calls for of success.

“I came here, it wasn’t a game, it was about business,” McCoy mentioned. “The byproduct of winning is everybody has to be on top of their shit.”

McCoy discovered what it took to be at that stage. Others like Divac began their profession with the Lakers and took classes discovered with them to new groups.

Divac arrived in 1989, a first-round draft decide tasked with being a long-term substitute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He had future Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and James Worth as teammates. There was Mychal Thompson, a former No. 1 decide, too.

Divac mentioned one among his first discoveries in his locker have been a pair of goggles left behind by Abdul-Jabbar, who retired after the 1989 NBA Finals. He additionally found the hassle wanted to achieve championship-level play. He reached the 1991 NBA Finals with the Lakers, dropping to Chicago in 5 video games.

“You learn how to win here,” Divac mentioned. “You come here and that’s what you expect from yourself and your teammates and if it doesn’t happen you have it hard.”

Winning is the expectation from administration, media and followers. That was the muse for Divac’s profession. He turned an All-Star with the Kings in 2001, the place he signed as a free agent after enjoying two seasons for Charlotte after being traded for the draft rights to Bryant.

In 1999, Divac was part of the primary Sacramento staff to have a successful document, and the Kings had a successful document in every of his six seasons and within the two after he returned to the Lakers earlier than retiring.

The Kings haven’t had a successful season in Sacramento since. Divac credited his begin with the Lakers for serving to him change into the chief the Kings wanted.

“When I came to Sacramento, it was the same way. I was expecting to win,” Divac mentioned. “I was a part of something where I was used to having that so it helped my team to have me around to get to the next level.”

Derek Fisher was drafted by the Lakers in 1996 earlier than becoming a member of Golden State as a free agent in 2004, the place he performed two seasons, adopted by one in Utah earlier than rejoining the Lakers.

“You think that’s the norm because this is all that you’ve experienced,” Fisher mentioned. “So to start here and then go somewhere else you just think, yeah, we’re supposed to go to the finals, we’re supposed to win.”

Fisher’s second stint was totally different in that it got here as social media turned extra prevalent. It’s not as if there wasn’t already strain with being a Lakers participant, however there have been much more voices reminding them of their on-court shortcomings.

The Showtime Lakers of the Eighties are nonetheless revered, and Fisher was a part of three consecutive championships from 2000-02 so the strain was nothing new, however the scope had grown.

“Years prior to that we still felt like we were in a big giant fishbowl because we were still in L.A.,” Fisher mentioned. “The stage is the brightest right here. I believe for us as a result of we grew up simply desirous to catch the sweat of those guys and the truth that we have been now sporting the uniform, a minimum of with me, each time that I put it on, I used to be carrying what they’d constructed.

“So there was no way I could go out there and half-ass it or not be all in on what we were trying to accomplish.”

The Lakers haven’t maintained that stage of successful lately, aside from the 2020 title. The Lakers have missed the postseason seven of the final 9 seasons.

What can’t change, Fisher mentioned, is the expectation of successful that comes with the Lakers. The historical past may be intimidating, nevertheless it forces gamers who need to be winners to step their video games up.

“I think that’s the only way you can be successful here,” Fisher mentioned. “This is not an NBA team you can kind of pass through it, get your check, get some stats and that’s OK. It’s just not.”

Horry embraced the strain that comes with following the Hall of Famers that starred for the Lakers. It’s one thing not each participant is ready to do. Exposure to the strain of successful might be eye-opening.

“A lot of guys don’t understand that because they go to these organizations where they don’t win nothing, they’re not used to winning so they think it’s all about having fun and enjoying it,” Horry mentioned. “Then all of a sudden you get traded to the Lakers and you’re like oh shit, this is what being a part of a winning program is all about.”

Many NBA groups say when you’re part of their group, you stay an element. But the late Dr. Jerry Buss, the previous Lakers proprietor, established a household ambiance between himself and the gamers.

Jerry West demanded excellence when working the Lakers, and he took that very same method to Memphis as an government and as an advisor in Golden State and with the Clippers.

Divac mentioned all of that and the teachings that include being a Lakers participant is why there’s a particular fraternity.

“That relationship with the ownership, management, the people in L.A. makes you attached to the Lakers to where after 20, 30 years from a career we are still from here,” Divac mentioned.

And with the tales they’ll inform, it’s like they by no means left.


Related studying

Part I: With Lakers documentary ‘Legacy,’ focus on Buss family was key to standing out

(Top Photo: Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE by way of Getty Images)



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