by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Listen, Los Angeles. Hello? Excuse me? Los Ang—-


I figured that would get your attention.

Sorry to disturb the morning cappuccino, kids. But I have come from the Motor City to pass on a message that dates back to the Bible (you remember the Bible, don’t you? Charlton Heston? Lots of sand?). When God made heaven and earth, He looked it over, leaned back, and said: “Nice job, Big Fella.” And he left it alone.

Get the message?

Not everything has to be done twice.

Move it on over, LA. Detroit wins the NBA championship. Write it down. Better yet, let’s get Mikey: He writes anything. Look at him over there. Hey. Wait. I just saw a video with him in—-

Uh, never mind.

Forget the face. Look at those words! He’s writing that LA will win this thing again. What’d you do, Mikey? Mail in last year’s column?

Come in out of the sun. Does everything have to be a sequel out there? I swear, if Californians could do it, they’d go through puberty twice. “Part II: The Prom Years.”

Let’s be honest, Mikey. The Pistons were nice to the Lakers last season. We had the championship won in six games, went down to the last minute, and then, like good Americans, we put our faith in the referees.

They called a foul on Bill Laimbeer, gave Kareem two free throws, and strangled us.

OK. Fine.

These days, we have no faith in referees, we do not believe in being nice. These days we bump you, stump you, thump you and dump you. Bad Boys. This is our postgame quote: “Where’s the plane?”

And it works. Look around, Mikey. Recognize this place? This is not LA. You can tell by all the people actually going to work in the morning. I know this upsets you. Because of this series, you had to give up your place in line at Spago. What’s it been, nine months? You were almost at the front, too.

But Mikey, you are here for a reason. The reason is this: The Pistons, not the Lakers, won more games than anybody else this season. They have the home-court advantage now. When this series winds down to a sixth or seventh game — if Kareem’s oxygen holds out — there will be no Laker Girls to distract the referees. No Nicholson. No Dyan Cannon. Just us. You remember us, LA. Your worst nightmare? People with wives, kids, and no beluga in the fridge.


Three-peat? Really, now, Mikey. It sounds like something you put on your lawn. I thought last year we could still save your soul, dip you in motor oil and remind you that when people say, “I work for a living,” they do not mean checking bubbles in the tub.

But no. You used to be one of us. Now, like the pod people, you are one of them, swallowed up by a culture that believes serious reading is “Vanna White: My Story.”

So let me put this in terms even “Entertainment Tonight” can understand: We’re back (Poltergeist II). We’re Bad (Michael Jackson). And this time it’s personal (Rambo III).

Got it?

Fess up. Even you can’t believe you’re here. Just a few months ago, the Lakers looked like trout. Then played like perch. Then they hit the Western Conference playoffs. “OK,” said the opposition. “Let’s just all fall over and die, shall we?” No wonder LA swept. Seattle? Phoenix? What’s their motto? Touching another player gives you cooties?

Now you are here. Against the Pistons, a real man’s team. Got your Ben-Gay ready? Or just rub Pat Riley’s hair. Same thing.

Let’s talk players. Let’s talk Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who calls himself “K” these days, because he is too tired to say the whole name. How old is he now, 78? Hey. Kareem. Give it up. Or when they retire your number, you may still be in it.

To answer Kareem, we have Bill Laimbeer, who can’t run, can’t jump — and still will outplay Jabbar or Mychal Thompson, who thinks he’s John Salley, but isn’t as funny. We also have Mark Aguirre, who knows you backwards and forwards. And James Worthy? James, we have something to throw at you. His name is Rick Mahorn.


Man, he sure can run.

Yes, Magic Johnson is great. He comes from Michigan, remember? But, can we drop a just-defeated name here? Michael Jordan. You may have heard of him. Sometimes goes by his NBA nickname, God. Just try playing six games against that guy. The last time a ref called a foul on him, Jordan was wearing braces.

Look, Mikey. See Isiah. See Isiah run. See Isiah wear no bandages on his ankle this time.

And Dennis Rodman. You don’t know what to make of him, do you?


Neither do we.

Kind of frightening, huh?

Hey, Mikey. All kidding aside. Can I ask you a serious question? Was that Rob Lowe video any good?

Sorry. None of us has seen it. We’ve been too busy, you know, producing things like American cars, which most Los Angelenos have never heard of. Parts come in for that Yugo, yet, Mikey?

What the heck. It all boils down to this: You say you have a nice-looking team. I say so what? “Teen Wolf’ was probably a nice-looking movie. What it was not was deep. The Pistons are deep. They are so deep, Hermann Hesse doesn’t understand them. Let me throw a few bench names at you. Aw. Let me throw the whole bench. Johnson, Rodman, Salley, Edwards. What can you throw me back? Michael Cooper? Of course you can throw him. The guy weighs 12 pounds.

Enough. It’s finished. Read my lips, LA: Pistons in seven. No more NBA sequels for you. You’re old. You’re dull. Who wants to see Byron Scott doused in champagne again? Who wants to see Kareem, looking like a big, bald Spiderman, telling Brent Musburger, “This one is sweeter than the last time”
? Hey. Even Magic is getting bored. Why do you think he shaved?

Move it on over, LA. Bad Boys are comin’. We are stealing your thunder. We are stealing your crown. And when we go to LA, and you put us up in one of those real nice Southern California hotels? We’re stealing the towels.

By the way, Mikey, I got some Spago. My dog loves it.

Have a nice day.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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