Lightning may not strike twice, but sexual assault allegations can. Just ask the Lakers.
The Lakers suddenly find themselves in the midst of another sexual assault controversy. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Police Department said the Lakers' center-forward Kwame Brown is under investigation on a sexual assault charge.
The first was a high profile drama involving Kobe Bryant that ended without any of us knowing any more than what we knew on day one. The tangible consequences however were more evident. The All Star Lakers team (Shaq-Kobe-Payton-Malone) fell apart faster than a house of cards — losing out to the Pistons in the finals — followed by departures of Phil and Shaq and "Kobe bashing" by Phil in his book.
In the season that followed, the official Los Angeles Lakers became the unofficial Los Angeles Kobes — missing the playoffs first time in about a decade with Frank Hamblen, the replacement coach after Rudy Tomjanovich's health could not cope with the NBA rigor, reminding us he was only keeping the seat warm (for Jackson).
Not a list you want to be proud of. Nobody won. Not even Kobe — the new $140 million baby. When you lose you are a loser no matter how much you cost. Simple.
Jeanie was there for Phil. One tumultuous year led her dad, Dr. Jerry Buss — the Lakers' owner — there as well.
Phil returned, helped in part by his $10 million per year paycheck. The buzz was back again. Only nobody knew if the winners would be back, too. The majority of the pre-season predictions by the pundits considered Lakers to be the 9th to 12th ranked team in the Western Conference, meaning they were not considered a playoff team.
And magically, the Lakers started winning and finished seventh, waiting for the second-seeded Phoenix Suns. Once again, only a handful gave the Lakers a shot. That they have reached the playoffs was considered to be an overachievement.
The Kwame Brown story broke hours before Game 5 with the Lakers up 3-1 in the series and looking to finish off the series.
Before the game, Kwame proclaimed his innocence, Jackson reiterated the importance of family, and that's about it. Nobody was talking.
The Lakers lost last night — featuring ejections of Raja Bell and Kobe Bryant — sending the series back to the Staples Center for Game 6 on Thursday. All game.
However, the dirty head of sexual assault allegation is something I could have done without. And the Lakers could have done without, too.