Snowboarding, Carrie Prejean and a Lakers’ Inevitable Championship

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on May 28, 2009 10:42 am

An SAT “are to” multiple-choice question for you:

Park City and snowboarding are to Los Angeles and _______? 
a) paparazzi
b) silicone
c) Satan tempting Miss California
d) the 2009 NBA championship
e) all of the above

We’ll work backwards up to the answer.  First, a little background perspective.

In my high school years, I taught group snowboarding lessons at Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake, CA.  Out of the six or eight newbies, if ever there was going to be someone who was not going to get much out of the one-hour lesson, it was the super tall guy.  Super tall guy’s frustration in his inability to quickly master snowboarding was often directed at his instructor.  Me.  Obviously for the sake of keeping my job, I only muttered the retort in my brain, “It’s not my fault you’re an uncoordinated freak-of-nature.”

The next 6’10″ guy I see snowboarding (competently) will be the first. 

In the spirit of understanding, ex-Lakers, current Charlotte Bobcats forward Vlad Radmonovic, was not privy to my Theory of the Tall Guy Snowboarding.  During the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend, “Vlad Rad” did what any other 6’10″ man should not do.  He headed to Park City to try his hand, and shoulder, at snowboarding.

Fate’s road map can be a one lane highway to disaster.  For Vlad, a separated shoulder while snowboarding on that trip truncated his season by two months.  A relationship that had just begun anew, with Vlad signing a five-year contract with the Lakers, quickly soured.  But, NBA relationships, like marriages, are not easily dissolved.  Another year of petty bickering ensued as the Lakers and Radmonovic fumbled their way to the inevitable parting of ways. 

In February this year the divorce was mercifully finalized.  The Lakers traded their snowboarding power forward to Charlotte for one-time college star Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown.  The latter was tossed in simply to make the necessary salary swaps work under the NBA’s salary cap structure.  Shannon Brown was the baseball equivalent of a “player to be named later”.  In Brown’s case, later became sooner, as he remarkably found his way into the Lakers’ rotation by season’s end.  Remarkable in that the Lakers’ offense is notoriously difficult for new players, who usually spend their first year with the team bolted to a court-side seat, no more useful than front-row fixture Jack Nicholson.

Last night, with revolving-glass-door defender Derek Fisher succumbing to foul trouble early in the third quarter, the non-snowboarding Shannon Brown was inserted into the game.  Critical moments do not come any more comatose.  The season, the hopes and dreams of Angelinos, Phil Jackson’s vaunted reputation, Kobe Bryant’s legacy, Lamar Odom’s four-footer — all of it was on the line.

Brown proceeded to blanket Denver’s Chancey Billups like a fresh coat of snow, instantly raising the level of the Lakers’ defense, their biggest weakness.  He launched off the slopestyle kicker with his third quarter dunk over Chris “The Birdman” Anderson, energizing both the crowd and his teammates.  A season was saved.

Hindsight is indeed 20/20 and the anger Lakers’ fans felt towards Radmonovic in 2007 for snowboarding in Park City can now only be viewed as the biggest of blessings in disguise.

Yes, TMZ has a symbiotic relationship with the paparazzi, Carrie Prejean is powered by silicone and her ability to sidestep Satan, but it’s Park City and snowboarding that will be solely responsible for the Los Angeles Lakers celebrating another NBA Championship. 

Answer: D) the 2009 NBA championship

As the upcoming parade crawls its way down Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles, I’ll be thinking about the chain of events begun in 2007.  Thank you Park City.  And thank you to snowboarding, a fantastic sport for everyone.  Except you super tall guys.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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