Farewell Trevor Ariza

dEDGE Post Scriptum

My initial thoughts were that of disbelief and sadness. It had only been a few weeks since the jubilant and joyous Los Angeles Lakers victory parade past Staples Center down to the Memorial Coliseum celebration, and yet already we’re throwing dirt on Trevor Ariza like a distant memory, faded and eroded into oblivion. Have we forgotten his key plays throughout the playoffs that propelled us into the NBA Finals? Have we disregarded his work ethic over the past summer that enabled him to connect on 47.6% of his three pointers in these same playoffs? Have we as a society, become too concerned with today and tomorrow and have disregarded what had happened yesterday?

Photo by Newscom. ©2009 All rights reserved.

Photo by Newscom. ©2009 All rights reserved.

Perhaps I could have stomached this better if the deal took place right before training camp. Or if Ariza’s representatives and Mitch Kupchak were embroiled over a bitter dispute over millions of dollars. But what this boils down to was a premeditated stalking by Ron Artest and a backroom handshake that blossomed into Ariza’s departure. Had Ron-Ron possessed any self dignity, he wouldn’t have been following Kobe Bryant around all post-season, or into the showers for that matter…  Instead of plotting his revenge with his Rocket teammates, he decided to cast off and jump ship. Hell, if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.

Tampering issues aside, this deal was brokered by Artest’s persistence. Unfortunately for Ariza, he was caught in the middle with little hope of returning. Could Trevor have accepted the Lakers initial offer? Sure. But come on, who ever say’s yes to the first offer? Do you just plop down the asking price for the car you want even though in your mind there are no other options? Of course not, that would be foolish of you not to try and negotiate. But as soon as Ariza indicated that he wanted to negotiate, he was shown the door in favor of an older model with some dents on the fender and slightly more mileage on the odometer.

Photo by Newscom. ©2009 All rights reserved.

Photo by Newscom. ©2009 All rights reserved.

I could list a number of reasons why Ron Artest is a better player than Trevor Ariza. I could also, and will probably do so in the not so distant future, write about how Ron Artest single handedly keyed a Lakers victory or clutched one from the hands of defeat. But this is not about Ron Artest. This is about Trevor Ariza and the contributions that he made which helped bring the 2009 NBA Championship to the city of Los Angeles. Without his timely offensive and defensive contributions, the Los Angeles Lakers would not have won the title, let alone, made it past our Western Conference foes.

Do not forget the steal. The Western Conference Finals would have gotten off to a horrible start had Trevor not cut into the passing lane and picked off the inbounds pass to Chauncey Billups. We could easily have been down 0-2 going back to Denver. And again in Game 3 on the road, Ariza picks off a Kenyon Martin inbounds pass and forces Carmelo Anthony to commit his sixth foul putting the Lakers up by 4 with under half a minute to play. He saved two games all by himself.

Do not forget the big shots. The acrobatic windmill jam that posterized Dahntay Jones. The corkscrew slam in traffic. The key treys in Game 5 of the Finals that effectively caused the Orlando Magic to float to the surface, belly-up and eyes closed.

Do not forget the passion. Head-to-head with Hedo Turkoglu, calmly explaining to the Turkish forward of his impending date with defeat. Eye-to-eye with the entire Portland bench after his near swat on Rudy Fernandez. Barking at Sasha Vujacic for jacking up another selfish shot and not running the intended play.

Do not forget the intangibles. He never complained or created any off-court drama. He did what was asked of him. He was a good teammate and a fierce competitor. He improved over last season and was intent on further improvement. He made big plays amongst a roster full of stars. (Think of the contributions that players like Kurt Rambis, AC Green, and Rick Fox had brought to championship teams of the past.) He did not demand the ball, the limelight, or the attention, but always rose to the occasion.

It’s hard not to cheer for someone who finally makes it, through hard work, perseverance and dedication. It’s even more difficult when that person is homegrown and part of the community. Top it off with the fact that he appears to be a genuine nice guy, and his departure is akin to your best friend moving away clear across town. Sure, we’ll all learn to eventually like the new kid, but this wasn’t a move that Ariza chose to take. He was the jilted lover, the good guy that finished last, the sidekick and the supporting actor. Never truly forgotten, but never truly remembered either.

You want fellows like Ariza to succeed. I’d love for him to score 40 points against his former teammates, but only as long as the Lakers prevail and win the game. I hope he becomes a perennial all-star to prove his doubters wrong, as long as the Lakers keep beating the Rockets. And I hope that he’ll consider coming back home once our replacement model breaks down and it’s time to go car shopping again. Thank you and good luck Trevor Ariza. I for one will not forget you.


About designEDGE

20 years advertising and marketing professional specializing in graphic design, print production, project management, art buying, studio &a
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8 Responses to Farewell Trevor Ariza

  1. David says:

    I think it would have been wiser to go with the youth and potential of Ariza. We knew what we had with him. With Artest, it is a roll of the dice with a short sighted return.

    Now what happens if we don’t get LO back? And do you think he wants to come back and be a bench player again? hmm. How do you think Ron Ron will react when we lose a few games and he is told to come off the bench?

    Not sure anyone caught a comment he made the other day. Something to the effect of “it is all good if we are winning.” Translated: If we start to lose, I am going to be a big pain in the ass. I don’t think humble Trevor Ariza would have said that.

  2. mikeshoys says:

    like in the reg season when the lakers went east, beat the celtics, then whooped the cavs at home when Ariza actually made life tougher for Lebron James by getting his hands on more balls than a fluffer…

  3. mikeshoys says:

    LA at Portland 3-9-09…

    it was good hustle, but the play in its entirety was a lowlight in my opinion due to fernandez hitting the deck because he was hit out of the air pretty hard. i’m a lakers fan and a fan of ariza, but causing another player to fall hard due to hitting him with a wild swing is always a lowlight to me. i’ll miss him, there are plenty of better examples of his good play than a flagrant foul…

  4. Lake_Showman says:

    Lowlight!?! Which game were you watching? Ariza clearly made a play on the ball.

  5. mikeshoys says:

    “Eye-to-eye with the entire Portland bench after his near swat on Rudy Fernandez” Heres a case of media perception. Had Artest been the defender on this play, all we’d (you’d) be talking about is the flagrant foul part of that play, but in commemoration of Ariza, you give him credit for knocking Fernandez out of the air with a wild swing, then staring down his rightfully upset teammates? Come on. Good article, but you’re trying to squeeze a bit much out of Ariza’s time in LA by somehow changing that lowlight into a highlight.

    • David says:

      Give me a break!

      Watch the play again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdZBcbSE0Pc&feature=fvst

      He was trying to hit the ball. He barely grazed his head. Barely! He missed the ball but got his arm which swung Rudy around. Even then, he didn’t hit the ground that hard.

      “Eye-to-eye with the entire Portland bench…” huh? Unless I am mistaken, it all happened in front of the Laker Bench. There was no staring down going on.

      Besides, it was Roy that turned the whole thing into mess. He went after Ariza and instigated the whole thing into more than it should have been. My guess is that if Roy had not done that and everyone just chilled for a second Ariza would have gone over to see if he was OK. My guess is Rudy would have gotten up much sooner instead of faking it.

  6. Lake_Showman says:

    Good luck Trevor, just don’t knock down any threes against us. Take it out on the Queens.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Perfect! I wonder if the same could be said about Artest!

    Maybe Ariza will be back.

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