By Julie Buehler

Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball.

Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich.

Salma Hayek in Frida.


All beautiful women who look ugly for a time in order to set up entertainment for millions. It makes sense. Because as rough as those ladies looked in the movies, the reality is they can re-adjust their appearance and return their beauty at will.

No such luck for the Los Angeles Lakers, who used to be the NBA’s most illustrious franchise. Dressed in the finest NBA Championship banners, strutting their designer digs down Rodeo Drive and titillating the imaginations of southern California basketball fans with big names and bigger plays, the Lakers looked and performed like true A-listers.

But then Phil Jackson retired.

And then Lakers hired the Mike Brown. Fired him. Looked to rehire Jackson. Flipped a U-turn and hired Mike D’Antoni. From there, the beautiful franchise that, perhaps at times, played a role that was less-than-attractive, like Demi Moore in GI Jane, you just figured the squad would grow back it’s charm and vibrancy.

Except it didn’t.

Kobe blew out his Achilles. They begged Dwight Howard to stay. The season began with a roster than couldn’t strike fear in the minds of D-leaguers and made less sense for a team that had a coach who wanted to run.

But at the beginning, Lakers fans at least clung to hope. The clung to the notion Kobe would return, the team would regain it’s fire and passion and the season could be saved.

But much like watching Charlie Theron in Monster, the Lakers are unrecognizable from their former self.

Except no amount of Hollywood makeup can mask their glaring issues.

They recently needed to employ their video coordinator and assistant coach Mark Madsen in scrimmage to have 5-on-5 practice. Nick Young joked about pulling his coach out of retirement and signing the coordinator to a 10-day contract, but the joke wasn’t far enough away from reality to actually be funny. It was a cry for help.

Meanwhile, as Mitch Kupchek offers public endorsements of D’Antoni, you can sense the ending of this flick isn’t going to be happy.

Yes, the Lakers have insurmountable injuries, but more importantly, the team has been quitting in games. Leaving defense at the door when they come out at the half and allowing teams to blow them out night in and night out.

It’s not pretty. And for a franchise that used to be a beauty to behold, the real question is how long will fans be watching?

There’s no easy solution and certainly no quick fix. Laker fans will just have to hunker down, and get used to their newly de-beautified team.

Julie Buehler hosts the Coachella Valley’s most popular sports talk radio show, “Buehler’s Day Off” every day from 3-6 on 1010 KXPS, the valley’s all sports station. She’s an avid gym rat, slightly sarcastic and more likely to recite Steve Young’s career passing stats than American Idol winners. Tune in M-F 3-6 pst at or watch the show on Ustream.