For a year he's taken the high road, staying above the mess that had become his Lakers career, refusing to indulge in the finger-pointing and pity that collected around his feet like piling garbage.

He was blamed for last year's playoff loss, yet he didn't blame back. He was traded, then the trade was nullified, yet a smile, however forced, remained. He never whined. He never moped. He began this postseason as a third option in an offense that he once helped dominate, but he still had not griped, refusing to reveal anything that would let us know exactly how he was feeling.