Wednesday, September 30, 2009

VSR: Prayers for Stafon and the Lakers "Circus"

I got the call while I was in the car wash that Stafon Johnson dropped a weight on his neck. Little did I know that it was actually his throat and that his career and life now sat in the balance. 7 hours of surgery, hearts around L.A. and the nation were relieved that he would be alright.

I'll post the story that I did on him tomorrow. I interviewed his father, Stan, and the thing people have to understand about Stafon. He's not just a USC tailback one semester from graduating. He's a community hero that has inspired a lot of people. It's not often that a kid from Compton who stayed out of trouble, stayed in the church, went to a local HS (Dorsey) and became a consensus All-American.

Two years ago, I interviewed him after his first game sophomore year. He had just come off a disappointing freshman season and now he played a big role in the Trojans victory (2 TD's). His grandfather and biggest hero had just passed and now he was inspired to play better and focus on being a leader. I saw the pride in his eyes when he said that he had to represent his city and let folks know he was still here.

That love was reciprocated for years and he's a role model for a lot of kids, including current UCLA stars and former Dorsey teammates Rahim Moore and Johnathan Franklin. Now all we can do is pray that he recovers. Tomorrow, I'll share more about what makes him so special.

Just know that it's bigger than football.

The Lakers held their Media Day yesterday and everyone is talking about the "distractions" surrounding them as they go for their quest to repeat. Once again, I can link up my story tomorrow but here's some quick hits.

It's funny that everyone is talking about distractions being a problem. Ron Artest's personality and Lamar Odom's marriage are big deals to those who make it one. They forget who's coaching this team and who's team this is. Do you really think Kobe and Phil Jax (and Derek Fisher) are gonna let that stand in the way of their chances?

You think that grown men can't focus on winning a game because of something superficial like that? You want distractions? Try Kobe dealing with his sexual assualt charges in 2003. That's a distraction. This is nothing. Winning is more contagious than being a star and when everyone around you has rings, you want one. And if you get one, you want another.

I'm more worried about Lamar Odom going back to playing lazy after his contract. I'm more concerned about Jordan Farmar not stepping up and showing why he can be the PG of the future.

To me, the media makes distractions and then asks athletes about them. Eventually it overwhelms them and they succumb or get annoyed with the question.

I'm more worried about how the Lakers will handle a tougher Boston squad, a seasoned Orlando squad, Shaq on the Cavs, Portland and San Antonio. After a crazy offseason, that's the bigger question (along with Andrew Bynum's knees).

Great athletes have to be focused and best believe raising another banner will do that to the Lakers. Oh by the way, Kobe is well-rested for the first time in 3 years and worked on post moves with Hakeem Olajuwon. Yeah, he's ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment