Byron Scott’s Championship Talk a Double-Edged Sword for Los Angeles Lakers

Hubris isn’t exactly a scarce commodity in the world of professional sports. If anything, it’s a prerequisite for any championship-caliber psyche—the mental pillar on which the world’s best athletes and coaches will inevitably lean in times both boom and bust.

But there’s a feather-fine line between hubris and confidence on the one hand and bombastic bluster on the other.

Judging by some of his most recent remarks, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott isn’t too worried about breaching that threshold.

“I’m going to walk into our locker room the first day of our meeting and say, ‘I want to win a championship,’” Scott told the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina in a recent interview. “I don’t want us thinking it’s fine if we just make the playoffs or think we have no shot at making the playoffs. I don’t believe that. I want our guys to have the same mindset as I do.”

On the one hand, Scott’s remarks speak to a common crux of Coaching 101: the idea that if you aren’t striving for the game’s highest heights, you needn’t bother climbing at all. Indeed, anything less not only risks compromising the confidence of your team; it puts you at odds with fans whose very countenance is rooted in unrealistic expectations. Delusion, for lack of a better word, is what backs your paycheck.

On the other hand, the Lakers are coming off their worst season in almost 60 years, play in a perpetually loaded Western Conference and are poised to pay their best player—the 36-year-old Kobe Bryant—a whopping $48.5 million over the next two years, despite recent injuries to the aging star’s Achilles and knee.

Meanwhile, L.A.’s second-best player, Carlos Boozer, was grabbed off waivers after being released by the Chicago Bulls via the NBA’s am...

About the Author