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Outside » Outside Features

Take Your Ball and Go Home: The Lakers get swept from the playoffs, then take off their shirts

Well, L.A. Lakers, you win some and you lose some. And when you lose some, you apparently start body-slamming people in an attempt to embarrass your soon-to-retire coach.

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Well, L.A. Lakers, you win some and you lose some. And when you lose some, you apparently start body-slamming people in an attempt to embarrass your soon-to-retire coach.

Rarely has such a hyped team of reality television stars and veteran players flamed out so badly in the NBA playoffs. The Seattle Sonics (they don't exist anymore) did it back in 1994. The Spurs kind of did it this year against Memphis. But the Lakers' four-loss flameout to the Mavericks was perhaps the most unglamorous playoff series loss and it came from the NBA's most glamorous team - and one that many thought might be on its way to a third consecutive world championship.

But instead, The Lakers dropped a pair of home games to Dallas, one by a bucket and the other by a dozen points. Then, on Friday night, Kobe and the gang masterfully blew a late-game lead, setting the stage for Sunday's 36-point blowout loss. It was in the last quarter of that disaster on Sunday that the Lakers really burned out, realizing that the only way to stop the Mavericks three-point attack was to start physically assaulting their opponents by "throwin' 'bows."

First, Lamar Kardashian-Odom met Dirk Nowitzki at the top of the key and applied a right elbow hook to the German's chest. Kardashian-Odom was promptly ejected from the game, at which point he probably started filming season two of his offensively moronic reality program from the locker room, complete with baby talk. If you've never seen his show, I'm jealous of your unscathed eyeballs and eardrums. Then, as Kobe was frantically tossing up long-range bombs, hoping Phil Jackson would approve of his effort, Andrew Bynum was all like, "I don't need this crap," and promptly delivered a half-assed-yet-wildly-effective clothesline, tossing Jose Barea to the floor.

Bynum was immediately ejected and did the classiest thing he could think of - take off his shirt at mid-court and strut out of the arena, with a comforting pat on the back from Ron Artest, who was ejected from game two of the series for also clothes-lining Barea (and is an expert at ejections and/or punching fans).

In the end, Bynum's bare-nipple salute probably wasn't the best parting gift for Phil Jackson - if he is, indeed really retiring. The guy has more championships rings than I have rings of any kind, shower rings included. He deserves more respect from his players... but I have to admit, I'm not entirely opposed to Bynum's frustrated jersey removal. In fact, I think more of us should practice this in moments of extreme displeasure.

The next time I catch a case of writer's block. Bam. Shirt off. Walk out of the office. I don't care what my coworkers think of my body hair.

The guy behind the counter at my favorite burrito joint gets my order wrong... shirt off, out the door.

Old lady in front of me at the bank busts out a jar of pennies for deposit... shirt totally off, thrown over the counter. I don't care if it's caught on security camera.

My wife tells me I need to fold the laundry. Yup, you got it. Shirt off (which I won't fold) and out of the house I go.

Now, if only I could hire Ron Artest to join me in these protests, I'd be right on track.

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