Handicap Hysteria! Why Andrew Bynum Is Public (Parking) Enemy No. 1

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God bless journalism in the middle of the summer. Specifically, God bless the muckrakers out in Los Angeles who decided to launch an investigation into whether Andrew Bynum was illegally parking in handicap spots.

LA Lakers center Andrew Bynum has allegedly been caught on camera parking his black BMW in not one, but two parking spots reserved for the handicapped. The photos, provided exclusively to NBC4, were taken by an LA Parking Enforcement official at the upscale Bristol Farms Market in Playa del Rey. 

NBC4's exclusive interview with the parking official who took the photos here.

That must have been some interview.

"Uhh.... Yeah, so, this is how I took the photos."

"Yep. Just pushed the button right there."

But wait, I'm not sure we understand why parking in handicap spots is bad. Somebody better call in an expert to explain this phenomenon in the most melodramatic way possible.

Oh, thanks NBC!

"It’s a terrible image and perception when something like this happens," said Vito Scattaglia, DMV deputy chief, after NBC4 showed him the pictures. The pictures appear to show Bynum lifting his groceries into his car and then driving off. "That does infuriate me, because there are those people that truly need that space," Scattaglia said.

You know what this needs now? SPORTSWRITERS. Here's Kevin Ding at the OC Register:

But parking in a handicapped space – as Bynum was shown to do in KNBC/4's report – is just the sort of small act of privilege, short-sightedness and inelegance that fits Bynum because he has a history of small acts of privilege, short-sightedness and inelegance.

...if you take the long view, Bynum actually has come a long way since being the youngest player drafted in NBA history in 2005. He was shopping at Bristol Farms for presumably fresh and healthy groceries when he inexcusably parked his convertible awkwardly in the handicapped space and over into the handicapped loading ramp area, maybe shopping for his nutritionist to cook one of her all-natural meals instead of swinging through the McDonald's drive-thru the way he would in his really misdirected years as a professional athlete.

Okay, so this proves that Andrew Bynum's still immature, but it also proves that he's more mature than he was as a rookie. Got it, but there's an uncomfortable amount of nuance there. Can we get a little bit more outrage please? Wait a second, that's Bill Plaschke's music!!!

His conscience is paralyzed. His sense of entitlement is blinding.

So, no, actually, I wasn't surprised to see this week's photos of Andrew Bynum leaving his convertible sitting across two handicapped parking spaces while he shopped at an upscale grocery store in Westchester.

If there's one Laker who suffers from a disability of maturity, it's him.

Holy shit.

The sight of this strong, able-bodied basketball star exploiting a benefit belonging to the physically challenged would have been only sad, if it weren't also so expected. The photos, unveiled in an NBC4 investigation, did not result in a ticket because there were no parking cops around. However, this was the latest in a string of incidents that have left the big man looking small.

Should L.A. trade Andrew Bynum, or just kill him?

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...Okay, hold on. Lamar Odom was in a car that killed a 15 year-old kid last week. That shouldn't reflect on Odom, either, but it should help put this in perspective. Kobe Bryant was accused of rape. Shaquille O'Neal is being accused of ordering murders while he was on the Lakers. The worst, most horrible thing that can happen here is someone has to find a parking space further away.

Everyone calm down.

It's July, it's hot, and nobody has anything to write about. But that doesn't give everyone the green light to go drawing parallels between a hidden-camera parking investigation and a basketball player's value. Just stop and think about how ridiculous that sounds when you say it loud.

Really, while everyone in L.A. tries to make this into a story, there have been like eight million stop signs ignored. Isn't that more dangerous than parking in a handicap spot?

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