AWARD-WINNING STORY: Lakers Veterans Preach Patience and Peacefulness After Eventful Evening Against the Suns

Jordan Pagkalinawan
Boundless & Ballin’
3 min readOct 26, 2021

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Image via MARCA

This story was written on October 23 and submitted for Cal State Northridge’s “Journalism Day” Conference, where it received first place in the “sports writing” category.

Pushing, arguing, and chaos on the bench.

That dramatic scene is all too familiar with any team, especially a new one trying to get its legs under them. But for a Lakers squad filled with veterans that preached chemistry as a key to their season, it certainly did not show when Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into a heated scuffle on the sidelines, televised on ESPN for millions of people to see.

The reaction to the fight was present all over social media, with NBA Twitter mocking the Lakers and Lakers fans going into shambles. A 30-point deficit in the second half certainly did not help the situation either.

However, the team’s veterans were quick to assuage the fans’ and media’s concerns, trying to convince them that the sky was not falling in Lala Land.

Davis brushed off the incident, saying he and Howard were “Two guys, very compatible, just wanna win games.” He added that everything within the locker room is no one else’s business but theirs.

LeBron James, cognisant of his team’s 0–2 start and the expectations placed upon himself and the Lakers, emphasized that patience is key.

“There is a process to become the team you want to become,” James said. “I know that firsthand. I know the shortcomings that happen when you’re trying to build something special. It’s not gonna happen overnight…It just takes time, and we’ll know when that time is.”

The Lakers added a multitude of players, many of them over the age of thirty. They have surely heard all the insults thrown at them, from being dubbed a “retirement home” to being nicknamed “LAARP”. But the Lakers veterans don’t see it that way.

Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard have openly expressed that they see the experience that lies within this group of old heads. Russell Westbrook, being the high-energy player that he is, echoed the sentiment on a sports podcast, saying the Lakers were ready to go after the younger players in the league, to put it mildly.

In spite of all this talk, actions truly speak louder than words. Last night’s eventful game against the Suns served as one of many tests that this veteran-laden team is bound to face as it strives to raise an eighteenth banner in STAPLES Center. The responses from James and Davis gave a small glimpse into the locker room that, as Davis pointed out, deals with its matters privately.

After all of the chaos that occurred Friday night, from a fan getting kicked out for making contact with Rajon Rondo to the officiating that rubbed LA the wrong way, James noted that there was little frustration with the team, stating, “There’s moments when you’re frustrated ’cause you want to be better.”

This response from some of the Lakers’ key veterans has been a major component of their identity, wanting to be seen as an experienced roster with championship aspirations that knows how to handle the bumps in the road.

“We like the adversity, I like the adversity,” James commented. “And I like it even more when two men on the team can come together and talk about it and move on.”

The King encapsulated his press conference with a key takeaway from the tussle, one that set the tone for the 2021–22 Lakers and their identity.

“We’re competitors. If you don’t get mad at certain things on the floor, what are you here for?”

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Jordan Pagkalinawan
Boundless & Ballin’

Top Writer in NBA & Sports. Student journalist & podcaster. Socials manager at PerThirtySix, editor for Last Word on Hoops, & writer for YRMedia. Emerson ’26.