NBA players -- and coaches -- have to get somewhat used to losing. Even the best NBA teams usually lose in the neighborhood of 15-20 times a season (while a great NFL team might lose only 3-4 times, or less). And an average NBA team loses at least 40 times.
So you get beat. You talk about it with the media. You move on.
That's not how it went with the Lakers' two biggest names Monday night, though, after Charlotte's 109-89 whipping of the Lakers. (Here's my column about the game).
Total time allocated by Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant to the media Monday after the loss: Ten seconds.
Those 10 seconds all came courtesy of Jackson, who took no questions at his "press conference." He walked out of the Lakers' locker room, looked at the assembled media (which included me) and said: “I just have one thing to say: I am very disappointed in our performance tonight. We are embarrassed about what we did and that’s it.” Then he walked off.
As I noted in my column about the game, Jackson's entire statement could have fit inside a standard, 140-character "tweet." It was apparently one of the shortest -- if not the shortest -- postgame press conference Jackson has ever held as Laker coach.
But that was 10 seconds more than Kobe, who ducked the media entirely, leaving the locker room before it officially opened to reporters and never reappearing.
Ah, well. The Lakers are a proud and talented bunch, and losing eight of their last 10 to the Bobcats must gnaw at them. And the way they lost was surprising, I'm sure -- the 2-time NBA defending champs hardly ever play that badly. (And the Bobcats rarely play that well).
But still, it struck me as a "sore loser" sort of thing. Doesn't Jackson owe the general NBA fan a better explanation for his team's performance than those 10 seconds? Shouldn't Kobe say something?
It happens. It's not a huge deal, I know. I also know I've lost some games in my own small-time sporting career in which I didn't want to talk to anybody afterward. I just wanted to sulk, or think, or something.
And it should be fairly noted that there were many Lakers -- Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher among them -- who addressed the media at length after the game.
But still... I thought Jackson and Kobe -- and I respect both of them greatly for all they've done in the NBA -- should have behaved better Monday.