At 12 noon today the sky was 6 o’clock orange and the sun provided no warmth. The “sun”, in fact, was really only a little more than vague dark-orange smudge on an otherwise hazy canvas.

Ash?
Check

Coughing?
Check

Irritated eyes?
Check

And I’m not even that close. If you’re in SoCal right now, it’s all about the fires: who you know who’s been evacuated, personal accounts of flames seen, general fire dismay, agreements on locations, etc, etc. What else could there be to talk about?

Well, there is one thing.

The NBA season starts tonight with a bunch of teams you don’t care about, plus the Los Angeles Lakers playing the Dallas Mavericks.

In what should have been akin to the 1985 Lakers Drive-to-Five season, when Kareem and Magic overcame the prior year’s championship defeat to go on and win 4 games to 2, is becoming a circus of bickering, and an overstacked roster that threatens to bite us (yes, I said us) in the end.

Don’t get me wrong, I was all for Payton and (less so) Malone joining the team. We would be unstoppable. But, what must they be thinking now? Probably what we’re all thinking, actually: Shaq is a huge 340 pound baby, and Kobe is a conflicted artist.

Does the Diesel really need to be going around telling one of the league’s most talented players how to play his game, all while whining “Mine! Mine! Mine!” when talking about the team? He does not.

Does Michael Jordan’s heir-apparent really need to sulk and jab back, distancing himself from his team and his fans? He does not.
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Just as an aside, I’m completely with Kobe on this one. Did Kobe ever once publicly criticize Shaq last year when he was overweight and continually riding the pine with his big toe issues? (he didn’t) And where, really, does Shaq get off advising the Lakers’s assist leader (as in, nearly twice as many as Shaq per game) to pass more? You big baby.

“But will we win?”, the ladeez keeping asking me.

Of course we will, baby, don’t even worry about it.

PS The lights in the parking lot came on at 2:15 today. Sky darkened due to smoke.

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