STUDIO: Warner Home Video
$19.99 (Both)
RATED: Not rated (Both)

60 minutes and 100 minutes

- Kobe Bryant Slideshow
- Pau Gasol Slideshow
- Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers: All Access 12/25/08
- Cleveland Cavaliers at los Angeles Lakers: All Access 1/19/09
- Lakers Roundtable
- 4th Quarter: Game 7vs. Houston
- 4th Quarter: Game 6 vs. Denver
- Timeout: Trevor Ariza
- Spotlight: Derek Fisher
- Focus: Lamar Odom
- Kobe 81
- 2009 Playoff Overtime Goals
- Best of NHL 2008-2009
- Bill Guerin Practice Wireless
- Game 7 Celebration
- Parade

The Pitch

The Lakers and the Penguins are the champions.  No time for losers ’cause the
Lakers and the Penguins are the champions.

The Humans

The Lakers and the Penguins…oh, and uh the Magic and the Red Wings.

The Nutshell

The champs are both crowned, so it’s time for the NBA and the NHL to try to squeeze some more coin out of the whole affair.

The Lowdown

It happens every year with every league in every sport here in America.  The athletes go to war to get their rings or Lord Stanley’s Cup, along with bragging rights forever, and there’s a DVD made of the whole thing.  Nothing wrong with that of course, but generally these are niche programming for either die-hard fans of the team or sports fanatics…or DVD reviewers as the case may be.  Take the Lakers for instance: I live in L.A., have followed the Lakers for years and am a fan of Kobe, Fish, the Zen Master and the whole gang.  Glad Kobe could ask Shaq how his ass tasted finally.  But would I buy this set, Los Angeles Lakers: 2008-2009 NBA Champions?  Nope.  And since I’m not a hockey fan per se, at least until a Game 7 of the Finals, I wouldn’t shell out for the Pittsburgh Penguins: 2009 Stanley Cup Champions either. 

“Damn, this tastes like Shaq’s ass…”

Be that as it may, that’s not to say that someone wouldn’t enjoy these sets, because both the NBA and the NHL know how to capture the flavor of their respective leagues and make it entertaining, especially when it comes to chronicling championship runs.  With the Lakers set, for example, they start off with putting the Lakers dynasty into perspective, going back all the way to the days in Minneapolis, through Showtime, and the Shaq / Kobe three-peat early this decade.  They hit all the expected notes, including the Lakers’ Game six drubbing by the Celtics last season.  They break down the games, get input from the players and coaches, give a season precis and start things from the beginning of the playoffs and show us how the Lakers wrapped things up in five games in Orlando.  It’s all competently done, but ultimately quite  predictable.  The stuff that was of most interest to someone who watched most of this unfold this spring, was the things we don’t get to normally see, a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff, and they have a good amount of that.

“Yep, here you’re looking at the next generation of WNBA play- um professional Tennis player…”

As for the Penguins set, circumstances were almost exactly the same.  In 2008, the Pens lost a Game 7 at home to the Red Wings in the Finals.  Fate would see the two teams brought back together under exactly the same circumstances, but in reverse.  The Pens had to go to Detroit and capture the final two games to return the favor.  Led by Malkin, they did exactly that.  And like the Lakers set, this one does a good, if slightly predictable job of capturing the story.  They start with the Wings’ victory last season, then touch upon this season’s highlights, move on to the playoffs, including the great series with the Caps, and finally wrapping things up with the seven game series with some Red Wings who were determined to repeat. 

If you’re a fan of either team, you’ll probably be reliving a lot of recent history, but seeing your team heft the championship trophy never gets old.  But you may have seen it all before.

“Did we win?  Did we win?!”
“Nah, just another fight…”

The Lowdown

The footage of both teams is excellent, as usual.  The professional leagues are never hurting for good camera work and editing.  Sound is also suitale, including the excited exclamations of the announcers.  In terms of Special features, the Lakers set is a lot more stacked, including Kobe Bryant Slideshow and Pau Gasol Slideshow which feature the stars commenting on footage and pictures from their pasts.  Boston Celtics at LA Lakers: All Access Pass 12/25/08 and
Cleveland Cavaliers at LA Lakers: All Access Pass 1/19/09 are two ten-minute pieces that feature behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, game footage and recaps from the two games.  One of the better features is NBA Roundtable: LA Lakers, which features a group discussion from former players including Magic, Jerry West, Rambis, Byron Scott and James Worthy among others.  It runs 22 minutes. 

There are two 4th Quarter segments: Game 7 vs. Houston and Game 6 vs. Denver.  Both 4th quarters are shown in their entirety and total nearly an hour.  Timeout with Trevor Ariza is a three-minute spotlight on Ariza, who is from LA originally.  Spotlight: Derek Fisher is a much-deserved highlight on D-Fish. Focus: Lamar Odom is a similar piece on Odom.  Finally, Kobe 81 is a great feature where we get real behind-the-scenes access on Kobe (he puts on deodorant even!) where he’s interviewed about the day he dropped 81 on the Raptors (I watched that game and my jaw was on the floor for most of it).

The Pens’ set includes 2009 Playoff Goals that runs about eight minutes and shows all the thrilling goals scored scored during the playoffs.  Best of NHL 2008-2009 is a quickie one-minute highlight reel from the season.  Bill Guerin Practice Wireless has Guerin wired up during a practice session and runs about ten minutes.  Game 7 Celebration is 15 minutes of the victory festivities including interviews and locker room champagne.  Finally, Parade is ten minute coverage of the championship parade in Pittsburgh.

The main program of the Pens is comparable to that of the Lakers, but when it comes to special features, the Pens get blown out of the water.  The Lakers set is the much better of the two. 

Lakers: 7.7 out of 10
: 6.3 out of 10