The Showtime Lakers clearly were a show, on and off the court. Despite all the issues in the locker room, there was one person who was unfazed: Pat Riley.
Formerly a player for the Lakers, Riley became coach in 1981. He won four championships and was regarded as a stellar coach. However, his ego may have gotten a little bit in the way.
Riley started to do some crazy things such as yelling at players for having their wives at games and held rigorous practices. Riley thought that he was the only reason for the Lakers’ success and he could do no wrong.
If the core aged poorly, it was likely Riley’s fault. Often the Lakers would practice on off days and believed his players should only focus on basketball.
As the Lakers were entering their 30s, he would do nothing to combat their age and would still push them. He clashed with about everyone in the Lakers’ management and believed he could do everything himself.
Once the Lakers fell to the Phoenix Suns in the second round, Riley stepped down.
The Lakers were a pretty messed up team. Players who were as motivated as ever to focus only on basketball often focused on cocaine and women.
However, one player who never lost focus was AC Green.
A devout Christian, Green never did drugs, drank, or had sex with multiple women. He was focused on religion and basketball. The Lakers even started throwing women at Green to show him how they lived.
Women would try to get into his hotel room, to the point where he would literally pray at the top of his lungs. His resilience was shown even on the court as he missed only 3 games during his 16-year career.
Green likely still has never done drugs and avoids alcohol, though his abstinence finally ended after he married his wife in 2002. For his entire career, he avoided the demons that plagued the Lakers.
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