Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Rebirth of the Showtime Lakers

I became a life-long fan of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980 when a skinny rookie by the name of Earvin "Magic" Johnson guided his team to a NBA championship, while playing center in place of an injured Kareem-Abdul Jabbar.

In that memorable Game Six, Magic had more than 40 points and 15 rebounds, as well as seven assists, and from that moment on my allegiance to the Lakers was simply a matter of course.

1980 was the beginning of a magical time in Lakers' history, for Johnson went on to lead Los Angeles to four more championships as the lead guard in what came to be known as the Showtime era.

That group of players, consisting of names such as Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, A.C. Green, Kurt Rambis and others is considered one of the most dominant teams of all time.

The Lakers earned their Showtime moniker because of the flair they brought to the court, the tempo at which they played, and the flawless rhythm that Magic established while running the offense.

Magic at the head of a fast break was truly a thing of beauty, and with finishers like Worthy and Scott filling the lane, you could surely expect fireworks above the rim.

The Lakers circa 2010 may not play with the same flair as the team of the '80s, and one would be hard pressed to prove they are anywhere near as exciting, but this team does share some similarities with that fabled squad.

Magic and Kareem were the centerpieces of those Lakers' teams, and they represented the best two players at their respective positions, and the 2010 Lakers can arguably make the same claim.

Kobe Bryant is generally regarded as the best guard in the entire league, and while Pau Gasol is not usually thought of in terms of the NBA's best power forward, there are points in his favor.

Gasol has undoubtedly been the best power forward in the playoffs so far, and if the postseason ended toda...

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