Every member of the Los Angeles Lakers makes more money for one single game than most people would make for a year’s work. In some cases, like Kobe Bryant’s salary, one game’s wages is comparable to years and years of an average yearly income. The financial rewards for being a professional basketball player are indeed astronomical.

At this time of the year, the losses may derail a quest for a championship. A global audience may be watch and certainly each game is followed by basketball fans around the planet. Basketball is an international sport and some players, like Kobe, have one name recognition.

In light of the importance of the games, it is baffling that the L.A. Lakers turned in such a lackadaisical performance in Game Four of their playoff series with the Houston Rockets. Now there is a focus on Coach Phil Jackson and what he must do to motivate his team for Game Five.

Do professional athletes, playing for the championship of their sport, need to be further motivated?

It seems inexplicable that a coach would have to cajole, inspire or motivate athletes at this level of competition. Where is the pride of giving one’s best effort?

Phil Jackson may want to show his players some footage from March Madness, the collegiate basketball championship. The collegiate championship is played by amateurs. For a small per centage of the collegiate players, there is the possibility of a professional contract. However, for most of the players, this is possibly the peak of their athletic dreams. There is no question of effort or desire or ‘heart’ with the college kids. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the professionals.

Catherine Forsythe