Out Of The Loop

Two Top NBA Stars Will Experience the Playoffs From the Stands

The NBA Playoffs are here and the league is ruing the fact that neither Kobe Bryant nor Lebron James are a part of the festivities. Two of the biggest stars have been left by the wayside and as the playoff train pulled away from the platform, both men were left to ponder dismal seasons.

Kobe’s dismal ride began before the season even started. Suffering from the backlash of his legal troubles, Bryant was accused of running both Laker head coach Phil Jackson and star center Shaquille O’Neal out of town. The Lakers were supposed to be Kobe’s team and he made sure he reclaimed what was his. Unfortunately, the Lakers didn’t reclaim a postseason birth.

Shaq has gone on to lead the Miami Heat to a first-place finish in the NBA’s Eastern division this season and the second-best record in the NBA, while Jackson went on to write a best-selling book. Both seem happy to be away from the Lakers’ leader.Kobe, on the other hand, went on to miss the playoffs for the first time in his professional career. Subsequently, the Lakers are not in the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons.As the final moments dwindled on the Lakers’ chances of making the playoffs, the most telling fact was that Bryant was in street clothes.

His soured face spoke volumes as he sat in the stands nursing his injured leg. During the off-season, the Los Angeles star will be nursing his broken ego.For King James, his troubled season began when Cavaliers General Manager Jim Paxson decided to act as court jester. What he didn’t know was that the joke was on himself. The free-falling Cavs slipped into fifth place in the East after holding on to the top spot in their division for the better part of the season. Paxson felt that it was time for a change and with 18 games left in the regular season he fired James’ only coach since being in the NBA.After Silas’ firing, the team fell from fifth place to ninth – one spot out of the playoff picture.

News quickly spread that Paxson was sending notes to the coach during games instructing Silas when to bench and when to play certain individuals. Silas’ authority was slowly usurped and the ill-informed G.M. also mismanaged personnel and failed to provide James with any supporting cast.Lebron said he could feel the firing coming. He sensed it in the air.The NBA then, is left with two marquee teams, two marquee players and little else. Kobe is still trying to rebuild his tattered character while Lebron is trying to figure out why he is not in the playoffs.

One thing that both players have in common, however, is that they are exceptional talents but need supporting casts. For the NBA’s sake and to appease the television ratings, Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat must get the lead role in this year’s NBA Finals.