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In Praise of Ronny Turiaf ~ LA Lakers

Ronny Turiaf, LA LAKERS

Sure Kobe's the best player in the NBA, Jordan Farmar is a home town kid and is making a bit of an impact off the bench, and Andrew Bynum's the league's youngest player with huge upside.

But our favorite Laker is Ronny Turiaf. He may not be the smoothest offensive player, he may miss his rotation on defense sometimes, but he's a fierce defender, can be clutch when it counts, and most of all plays with more heart and soul then anyone else on the team if not the league. This is kind of ironic, given that Ronny almost had to end his career after being diagnosed with an enlarged aortic root and underwent open-heart surgery before his rookie year. The Lakers, despite having no guarantees that he would ever be able to play for them and having voided his original contract, underwrote the surgery and Ronny came back in a big way to make a real impact with the team this season. Next time you're watching a game, and Ronny's not in, watch the bench. He's the first one to get up and celebrate a big play, he's the first one to welcome his teammates back to the sideline, and he never misses a second of the action. When he does get in the game, he can be a stopper on defense and a superb offensive rebounder. Here are some things you may not know about Ronny:

- He's French. He was born on the French Island of Martinique, and attended High School in France.

- It's pronounced Rone-y, rhymes with Pony.

- He went to Gonzaga, and was conference player of the year in 2005.

- He was offered more money post-surgery to play in Spain, but signed with the Lakers instead.

- He's 6'10", making him the Lakers' 3rd tallest player after Andre and Kwame. (Lamar is also 6'10").

- Someone loves Ronny as much as us and has put together a remix of his best on-court plays and a couple bench dance moves:

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