Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Shears all set for editorial stint on PTOn 11 May 2004 in Personnel Today BeverleyShears, HR director for South West Trains, will be guest editing our 15 Juneissue. AsHR director of the largest and busiest commuter train operating company in theUK, Shears brings a wealth of experience to the paper. In her five years at thecompany, she has put in place a cohesive and coherent people strategy,delivering improved business performance and customer service in an extremelychallenging environment. And on top of that, she scooped HR Director of theYear at last year’s Personnel Today Awards. Aspart of her editorship, Shears aims to get to the heart of the hot issues forHR directors. If you have any issues you would like her to address, or anyquestions you would like to ask, be they strategic, operational orcareers-focused, then e-mail them to [email protected]
That is what keeps the Lakers watchable, sometimes nearly relevant.Kobe Bryant is fine.Maybe not M-V-P fine, as the fans still chant when Bryant steps to the free-throw line. Certainly not playoff-fine, unless Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss get someone else’s general manager drunk at the trade deadline.But fine enough to get the Lakers past the young and restless Toronto Raptors, 129-122, at Staples Center on Sunday night.A Laker victory had been a rarer sight than rain. They were 3-13. The Raptors were 13-3, with the best record in the Eastern Conference. But Bryant not only rose above all the ambitious Raptors, he became the first NBA player ever to get to 30,000 points and 6,000 assists while notching his 20th triple-double. Wesley Johnson worked out with a recuperating 36-year-old through the broiling days of July.Naturally, a lot of his friends wanted to know how the old fellow was holding up.“I didn’t really tell ’em,” Johnson said late Sunday night. “I’d say, ‘You’ll see.’ Because sometime in late July, I saw him begin to ramp it up. I thought, OK, he’s going to be back. He’ll be fine.”That is what keeps the people coming back to Staples Center, paying $25 to park, enduring losses disgusting enough to make the banners turn their backs in disgust. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error What did that milestone mean?“It means I must have passed more than people say,” Bryant said, with the barest outline of a smirk, as he chilled his legs in an ice bucket.Bryant gave the Lakers a leg up at the end of the fourth quarter when he went 94 feet for a layup, with several Raptors in wait for him, and then drove the lane and hit Nick Young for an unaccompanied 3-pointer that swished.He almost precluded overtime with a drive at, and a collision with, Toronto’s 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. But no call was forthcoming, as the officials put their hands up theatrically, and Bryant had to steam and stew for five minutes more.Bryant had six points and three boards in overtime. He had eight points in the fourth quarter even though he missed three foul shots. He had 21 points in the second half, but began the game benevolently, dealing out eight assists and taking only four shots in the first half.“I’m going to have some wild stories to tell my children and grandchildren about playing with him,” Johnson said. “Those numbers in his career, they’re just crazy.”The significance of Toronto’s visit was manifold. This is the same franchise that took an 81-point backhand slap from Bryant nine seasons ago. And it is also the same franchise that did everything but send the RCMP to Phoenix to sign Steve Nash in the summer of 2012.The Raptors showed Nash, the Pele of Canadian basketball, an inspirational video that appealed to his true patriot love. They offered him a handsome contract to run the Raptors’ offense. Nash was reportedly moved to tears.Then he signed with the Lakers.As Toronto Sun columnist Steve Buffery and others have pointed out, Nash’s “no” was a huge “yes” for the Raptors.Seven days later they got Kyle Lowry from Houston in exchange for Gary Forbes and a first-round draft choice that became Steven Adams, who is in Oklahoma City.The Lakers didn’t get a drop out of Nash in his three years. Meanwhile, Lowry is the very kind of volcanic competitor they need, regardless of position.And in one of those delicious twists, Lowry re-upped with Toronto in the offseason when the league was waiting for him to leave as a free agent. Yes, Lowry prized Canada more than Nash did.A city that had already lost Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady now embraces Lowry as tightly as any Maple Leaf, especially since he doesn’t blow as many three-goal leads.“Meanwhile, the Kleenex plant can’t produce enough tissues to dry the tears of Lakers’ fans.This year Lowry, a 6-footer, averages 5.3 rebounds, along with 18.6 points. He had six and 29, plus nine assist s Sunday.Sunday night Lowry got the Raptors tied with a drive that produced two foul shots and a drive and pass to Ross. He could have won it for the Raptors as he drove the lane again, but Ronnie Price contested him, and Lowry was called for a reacharound offensive foul.Along the way, Lowry and the Raptors learned what Wesley Johnson had known for months.