Sneakers squeak down the corridors of the Hall of Fame like they did down court in what only seems like yesterday. Draped over the tongue is the turn up of some pants not as baggy as usual, but still no Stockton. The dress shoes will be changed into in a minute. But he’ll be damned if he doesn’t get to walk on air one more time. It sure feels like it. No question.
Towering over him with careful strides is a giant of a man that moves with agility, but grace. At first it looks like the weight of the world has been placed on the shoulders of his suit jacket. But when you look into his eyes you see he could take it…and make it. He has to duck down as he unassumingly enters the room that’s held for him. Everyone else takes a bow.
BOOM! Then there’s a rumble through the auditorium. It sounds like a quake. Ushers are holding the door frames. Does somebody have a richter? Peoples glasses of water are vibrating like ‘Jurassic Park’ for the greatest Goliath since the T-Rex comes bounding towards the stage. That’s a big “son of a b####”! And just wait until you hear him roar…
…Caaaaaaan yoooooou diiiiig iiiiiiit?!
That ladies and gentelmen is your big-three that headlined the Class of 2016 for Basketball’s Hall of Fame. An a academy of acclaim that also featured inductees coach Tom Izzo, the man who helped architect Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls twice three-peating dynasty; Jerry Reinsdorf and one of the original and best legends of WNBA hoops; Sheryl Swoopes.
But the big-three that held the room really were larger than life in more ways than one. And these contemporary peers and great friends were all great rivals too in battle as their hilarious and heartfelt speeches traded war stories and touched on peace making gestures of humour and humility too.
The 7 foot 6 inch Yao Ming took the biggest standing stage as he wasn’t only inducted for the player he could have been but the man he was and will always be. Breaking down barriers in this border of Basketball, literally the biggest man from China to ever play basketball, not only opened the door for his country, but the whole continent of Asia too. Had injuries not derailed his classic career he could have been one of the best players the NBA has ever seen. Regardless like his honoary inductees, Bill Russell, Bill Walton and Dikembe Mutombo he will go down as one of the leagues greatest big men of all-time anyway.
Standing a whole foot and six inches shorter you couldn’t tell, because Allen Iverson’s heart is huge and he walks as tall as them all. Just like the amount of times as a player he drove back into the paint, again and again. No matter how many times he got knocked down, or who stood in his way as Shaq attests. Draped in the love of his family and friends (including his son; Allen Iverson II whose look and mannerisms are only a goatee and a throwback away from getting up as his pops for the next fancy dress party he goes to in college) and drenched in the tears that champagne never made, Bubba Chuck finally won. Like Rocky for Philly he’ll always be the champ. I mean who else enters the Hall to chants of MVP?
And then it got really B.I.G. Notoriously so. Shaquille O’Neal took to a stage that looked like a spinning top in his huge hands as the great, great man spun his Hall of Fame speech into the greatest comedy roast you’ve seen since the late, great Richard Pryor turned the table on his own one. A.I. may have been the first inductee to reference Chappelle Show as his epic, emotional speech also had its lighter moments as he stepped over Cav champ coach Tyronne Lue again and Yao may have had jokes too. But not like Shaq who got everyone back. Everyone could get it. From the sage of Phil Jackson, to of course Kobe in one of the funniest moments of the night that had twice-time teammate Gary Payton in stiches even the glove couldn’t keep still. Even Dick Vitale got his. As Shaq looked into the camera and then at his contemporaries with warm, accepting affection after each joke you knew it was all in good nature. For arguablly the greatest, most candid Hall speech since former frontcourt partner Dennis Rodman’s one of brutal, but brilliant honesty.
Honestly it sounds like a cliche but this was one of the best classes in years. You could just tell from the half hour speeches that felt like a quarter of that. That for once showed these guys couldn’t beat the buzzer as the red lights of 0.00 that told them to “Wrap It Up” may aswell have been shut down themselves. And what a diverse class too of all types of people that just shows the range of this game and how far it and we as fans have all come.
We can’t wait for the reunion.
Lakers Finally Get Anthony Davis. But At What Cost?
Like a rat crawling over some controls and releasing Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm in this Endgame, just like that the Lakers have their Ant-Man. And it’s an avenging, giant, levelling up move.
Anthony Davis is finally a Los Angeles Laker.
Still I hate to piss on this parade and sound like Morgan Freeman in ‘The Dark Knight’, but at what cost?
Well to be specific here’s the receipt.
Lonzo Ball (bad move).
Brandon Ingram (okay we expected that, but still).
Josh Hart (what?!).
The fourth pick in this weekends draft (or should we say Cam Reddish).
And a load of other picks over the next few seasons. Or should we say a couple of Jordan Clarkson’s and Larry Nance Jr.’s.
Well at least they got to keep Kyle Kuzma for a formidable frontcourt that might be the new, next big three.
But the young core and that keep the hash-tag campaign is officially the casualty of this trade bait like the jobs of Magic and Dell Demps, that’s been fish on the line dangling for longer than that Kawhi Leonard rim rattling shot against the Sixers.
Rob Pelinka’s a beast…and not in a good way.
We will say it again. That clip of Rob Pelinka claiming he set up a meet between Kobe Bryant ans Heath Ledger after Mamba watched ‘The Dark Knight’ is beyond messed up. We all know Heath passed away before the film even came out. Don’t disrespect the dead. Can’t buy character. But can sell your integrity.
That’s who you are dealing with Lake Show.
Hollywood’s Rob Lowe would have been better.
Let’s see who you’re not dealing with anymore.
D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, Thomas Bryant, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart.
Is that everyone?
What you wanted more?
All the years all the young guns with plenty more calenders left in their clips. All gone.
And they didn’t even ask for Julius Randle back as part of the trade kicker.
But look to him staying in New Orleans now with Ball, Ingram, Hart and whoever else would have ended up in Los Angeles with that luck of the lottery fourth ball. And the Pelicans about to fly with the road to Zion looking like the closest thing to what would have been the young Lake Show for the future Mardi Gras in Crescent City.
Don’t write off NOLA it’s all about to go down smooth in the Big Easy.
But after months of speculation, social media tweets and articles I rest my case, I’ll say no more. But you know how it is.
On the bright side in sunny California…Anthony f##### Davis.
The Lakers finally have their man. And next to LeBron the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe…sorry Pau. It could be Finals…it’s at least playoffs.
Now it’s time to put another great core together.
Kemba? Three Kings?
Kyrie? Kevin? Kawhi?
Cue that laugh…hey we all have dreams in Hollywood.
Free agents will be more likely to join the ‘Space Jam’ show now too, but whoever LeBronland casts like throwing up movies off your phone on to your T.V. it’s a whole new world in L.A. now the Genie (or Jeanie) has finally granted their wish.
But how about two more Aladdin? On the spirit of Robin Williams help us Will Smith!
Then that will make up for all the young princes they’ve lost for one King.
As of right now like Swiss, this team has more holes than “fashionable” hipster t-shirts on Rodeo. There’s no starting point for one. And not having Lonzo ball out on the tutoring of both legendary super sub Rajon Rondo and the fellow pure point Basketball I.Q. of new assistant coach Jason Kidd is a real shame. Like losing a pure scorer like Ingram (or *clears throat* D-Lo). Or the best role player the Lakers have ever had since the days of Horry, Fox and Fisher in Josh Hart. Not to mention whoever would have come next starting this weekend.
All for a guy who was going to come to us next Summer anyway and in these changing player power times could still walk away next season anyway.
All for nothing?
I guess the Lakers looked at Leonard winning it all with Toronto and thought it was all worth it.
But at least it’s all done. It’s over now. And for now Anthony Davis in that Glen Rice 41 is the next big man great in the legendary Laker lineage of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Pau.
Just don’t Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard this up.
Rich Paul for MVP.
That’s all folks!
The Six In 6. Toronto Become First Canadian NBA Champions
They the North did it.
Last night in the Bay the 6 got turned upside down with no need for a seven right now. As Drake’s really big team got some really big rings.
And with a 114-110 win in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. After almost a quarter century the Toronto Raptors became the first franchise outside of the United States to win the National Basketball Association finals to make history and become Canadian champions.
And in their Canuck colours pointing to the North from California with the gold, these red and whites flying the flag in the U.S. did it for all of us as they truly changed the game.
It started with an expansion 24 years ago in Toronto. Alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies. It ended with them being the sole franchise outside of America in the NBA as former Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol joined another former gritted Grizz in the form of his big brother Pau Gasol to be the first siblings in hoops history to be NBA champions.
It started with throwback cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady in Dino unis, throwing it up and putting it down. Bringing the Air to the Air Canada Center. It ended like Vinsanity in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest for a new millennium. Looking at the camera after honey dipping and putting it through the legs, telling us emphatically with cutting hand gestures, “it’s over”.
This is for him. Mac. Mighty Mouse. The Camby Man. The Junkyard Dog. Iron Man, Mo Pete. Chris Bosh.
You know it’s for DeMar DeRozan too especially.
Kyle Lowry (what more can you say with 26, 7 and 10 leading the way?). Gasol. Siakam (G-League to big league champ). VanVleet. Ibaka. Lin. And of course quite possibly now the greatest player in the world right now and Finals MVP (joining Kareem and the King as the only Most Valuable Finals Player with multiple teams), sinking that last free throw as epic as his around the world and a day buzzer beater against the Sixers in the six, Kawhi Leonard.
Nick Nurse the architect. And of course another one, James Naismith. This game was invented by Canadians, played by Canadians and like the first ever game in NBA history, this victory belongs to Canadians.
Drake. Real superfan Nav Bhatia and the Canadian coffee house company Tim Hortons raising a cup to him commercial tribute. Everyone in Jurassic Park roaring like T-Rexes for these Raptors and of course all of you. Truly bringing the buzz to basketball.
This if for the real Warriors too. Five straight finals for the first time in a half century, 50 years (love Commish Adam Silver’s lining tribute). The dynasty that is nowhere near dead as they fought to the end for their last look in the Oracle in those Town across the chest jerseys before moving from Golden State across the Golden Gate to a new era of dominance in the hilly streets of San Francisco (the next time we’ll see Toronto is in Tokyo, October for our very own NBA Japan), where that digitally developing skyline from those tram peak points is the limit. No matter who stays or goes in this Curry, Durant, Draymond and Klay juggernaut with guys like Igudola and Cousins relating too. This is for Kevin Durant (who we apologize to for every Canadian fan who cheered his injury in Game 5. Although Warrior fans cheered for an injured Kawhi back in the day too) who played to the pain as all heart he proved everyone wrong and did it all for his team. And true Warrior mode Klay Thompson who went down with a crippling injury too in this final game and came right back to the right kind of cheers. This superteam and one of the greatest in history is far from extinct.
But right now for the Toronto Raptors it’s Jurassic World and the Golden State Warriors for the last time, fallen kingdom.
And as the final horn called for the last game of the season all hands were kept high for the North who overcame all the cold to break the ice for the first championship. And the champagne no longer on ice tasted as good as these underdogs proving everyone wrong as they bit back.
I’m not crying…we’re all crying.
We the champions my friends and Canadian countrymen.
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