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Cedric the Entertainer

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(This article was meant to serve as an interview with Cedric Ceballos, but following his recent ill-health we post this to tribute and wish him the best. get well soon champ.)

Open your eyes to someone who really sees the game for what it is.

All eyes are open and on the one man with his eyes closed. A man holding court on his own, decked out in purple on the decked out hardwood. Players and fans alike are pointing and whispering something like; ‘he can’t do it’! Before more doubt is shed the man starts running like he’s heard the starters gun for the 100 metres, cradling the peach awkwardly and carefully like it was a full bucket of water. It all looks a little too awkward or party pinyata like until the man begins to soar. Part M.J/Dr. J, part American eagle outfitted in a black bandanna. What seems like a thousand camera flashbulbs pop, while the same number of mouths drop. SLAM DUNK! The man lands back down to earth with a chorus of champion cheers, while pulling the blindfold off his eyes. All Cedric Ceballos sees behind a sea of white teeth is nothing but tens.

Cedric Ceballos was a Slam Dunk winner for that legendary dunk, but this former star player of the NBA was much more than that. Can you count to 50? Ced can too, but with buckets. Hitting them high with more than his space jams, joining the half-Wilt, half-century and over club before he hit his 30’s. He was part of the elite class of the 90’s, arguably the greatest decade of NBA history. An academy of diversely talented players who would have been kings in another time, but like princes they were overshadowed by Michael.Ced could dunk like Mike, score like his fellow number 23 in some games and before his mid-nighties Lakers gave way to the next one in Kobe Bryant he was a potent scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. He would have made for a great, much-needed then third shooting option behind Shaq and said Jordan mark two. His wonderful, aerially amazing wing game developed with the association’s change towards that style of play.

With a ‘tache and high-top fade this prototype basketball player defined the nighties and the changing of the guard…literally. Playing like a 2 at the small forward position, opening up the game like he did the court. L.A., Phoenix, Detroit, Dallas and Miami were all shown that this man from Hawaii was more than a journeyman. Hapoel Tel Aviv, BC Lokomotiv Mineralnye Vody, San Miguel Beermen and the ABA also benefited from all the talent of this all star. Ceballos saw it all and did it all and made a damn good career out of it.Still they took a man who once hit 50 like his name was Ghostface, two positions lower in the draft. Well like most late picks he made other teams realize they shouldn’t have passed him up…early. Waking fans up with his dunks, leaving opponents sleeping on defense. Still Ceballos was more than just the wow factor of dunks and microwave plays (much love to Vinne Johnson), he had much more cooking.

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Take off the blindfold and plug into youtube to spark off nostalgia and you can see that Ceballos could score like a pro. Leading the league in Field Goal Percentage in 92/93 with 57.6%. This Sun burnt brighter than his doubters, with a vibrancy that matched the jersey’s he rocked in Arizona and California. In Los Angeles he even led all Lakers during the 1994/95 season with an average of 21.7 per, he really was an option. A year later, the second round was again on him as he led the Lakers with 21.2 per, including that career high game, which was the first time a Laker had hit 50 in 20 years. That was before James Worthy and that was before Kareem. That’s truly magic, when you realize these legends had their offense served to them on a plate by the tricks of Earvin Johnson’s trade. When he was hot, Cedric cooled teams off and put games in refrigerators faster than Chick could call it. Not only did he take Hearn’s ‘slam-dunk’ phrase and own it, he gave his own name definition as well.

Today Cedric is ever the entertainer, still bringing a smile to peoples faces almost bigger than his. The Phoenix Suns passed the mic back to this player/rapper as he became the teams in-arena emcee in 2004, whilst also making the rounds on city radio and on the internet via his webcast, ‘Nothin’ but Net’. Of course a man who once released a hit single with West-Coast rap legend Warren G. (‘Flow On’) to go along with an album (‘ B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret’) was a natural at moving the crowd even when he wasn’t regulating opponents. Following some assistant jobs Cedric this year has been playing with the ‘USA Legends’. Forget the ‘World All-Star Classic’ this former player is making dates and moves like a Globetrotter. From the scoring to the showboating this man charms the crowd with his infectious character and irresistible charisma. Ceballos put in an MVP performance this June as his legends beat the Malaysian NBL All Star, despite Ced’ lending his talents along with a Malaysian jersey to play for the opponents for a few minutes.

That’s Cedric for your willing to play with anybody, or do anything just to entertain you. This guy is all-time, dedicated to the game and putting a smile on peoples faces in the name of fun. Seriously speaking though, Cedric still played like a pro, but one that wasn’t afraid to let his love for the game and his moment show. After all isn’t that what sport is all about? Anyone who disagrees can put the blindfold back on. In his NBA career Ceballos opened eyes and made those who loved the game look at Basketball his way, the entertaining way. He still does that today. Can you see?

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Kuzmania Starts A Forum For The Lakers To Play A Game In Inglewood Next Season

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For The Forum.

Holding the leather Spalding up in the air like it was the Larry O’Brien trophy, a game before the Los Angeles Lakers 2017/2018 season would officially end before the playoff campaign. Head coach Luke Walton, suit-jacket off and relaxed asks Andre Ingram how long he’s been playing in the D…excuse us, the G-League for. “10 years” the decade, 32 year old vet (who Brandon calls cuz, but isn’t actually a relation…although he’s now a Laker brother) replies after posting 19 exuberant points in his NBA debut. Just days before he would throw out the first, ceremonial baseball pitch at a L.A. Dodgers game. “Hell of an opening night man” coach says in kind as he shakes his hand, follows with an embrace and then hands him the game ball before ‘Dre’s day ends with a fingers to the sky team huddle of “together” on three.

That’s just the kind of season these young Lakers have had.

But how can yet another losing one bring so much joy, let alone hope?

Let’s write it out again…

That’s just the kind of season these young Lakers have had.

And if it leads to free agents like hometown hero Paul George signing. Or even the King, LeBron James in La La Land for his closing Hollywood career chapter on court. Then you couldn’t even script it better than Lavar wanting all the Ball boys on the floor at the same time.

And who knows who they’ll win in the lottery when the draft balls fall this Summer.

But even if all this becomes a bust the Lakers still have an incredible young core lead by Lonzo, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and many more late round steals like Ivica Zubac and this years class class of Josh Hart and the new Bryant, Thomas. Kobe who? All this after even losing Six Man stud Jordan Clarkson and slam show stopper Larry Nance Jr to Cleveland. But they did get still all superstar shooter Isaiah Thomas in return and maybe more to join vets like downtown big Brook Lopez, K.C.P. and the milk carton of Luol Deng.

Even some of their young, South Bay Lakers affiliates have come up big like Ingram. From son of the glove, Gary Payton II, to Alex Caruso ending the season starting at the point with Ball at the baseline sidelines. Even Travis Wear has gone from 10 days to shooting the contract three like Mike Penberthy.

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Yet one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the season has been the Kuzmania (time to get your t-shirt) of the Kuzmanian devil, Kyle Kuzma. From a Nick Young jersey zero to one of the top ten Rookie of the Year heroes. From Summer League to preseason and now his regular one exit interview, K has had just as good if not better rookie year than his number two running mate with the second pick in the NBA draft.

And from bringing the Kareem sky-hook back to rocking the number nine Nick ‘The Quick’ Van Exel Champion jersey pregame, the kid is a throwback like the Clarkson fashion taking over chinchilla coat he rocks as he walks into STAPLES. But now Kuz wants to take that old school trend setting to Inglewood, like when he drove a burgundy 70’s Cadillac DeVille to an iconic parking lot for a recent feature shoot for SLAM magazine.

Kyle thinks the Lakers should play a game in the hallowed halls of The Forum next season.

And as much as we like the lights out downtown future of STAPLES (or as much as T-Mac warned him about the vintage facilities on ESPN’s The Jump) we couldn’t agree more for a league that loves to pay homage to their hardwood classic history like Mitchell and Ness.

Joining the Forum club again like when Magic and Cap made the 80’s Lakers ‘Showtime’ and put the Hollywood in basketball would be a nostalgia trip, especially for the clubs President. It would make a nice 20 year plus comeback (save 2009) after new millennium rival San Antonio swept them right out the stadium in ’97. This is the Lakers Boston Garden. Their Spectrum. Their court coliseum. And those marble pillars over red still stand strong like the statues of the greats from Chick to Elgin outside STAPLES.

Besides ‘Bron and P.G. would love it.

Time to get those baby blue MPLS jerseys ready.

And don’t forget about ‘Dre.

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Lakers Statue Preserves The Ice Of Elgin Baylor’s Legend

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Lakers Baylor Basketball
Brothers In Bronze

“Elgin should be here”!

That’s what the ever humble hero of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry West said when the famous franchise unveiled Mr. Clutch’s statue back in 2011. That’s what the actual, still to this day logo of the National Basketball Association said about his symbolic teammate in his signature moment. The ‘Ice’ to his dynamic duo nicknamed ‘Fire’.

And now seven years sealed later Mr. West joined recent bronze brothers and goliath giants Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and President Magic, as the storied Lakers franchise finally gave the 82 year old Elgin the epic ending his Hollywood career deserved in engraved writing.

The number 11 in SLAM magazines recent ‘Top 100 Players of All-Time’ issue, whose 22 already belongs in the rafters with all the aformentioned, both of Oscar winner Kobe’s digits and all the other Worthy Laker legends now joins Shaq, Cap, Earvin and Chick in stone setting. So much so that the Lakers will soon run out of places outside STAPLES to put their legends (especially if they give Kobe two statues). At this rate if he does come over they may have to put LeBron over in the Nokia Theatre’s parking lot. That was just a joke King…please still exile from The Land.

Without Baylor we may have not had the Dr. J. like high-flying legends of M.J. or King James. As this guy revolutionized the dunk aswell as his sky-hook impossible to guard hanging jump shot that brought career averages of 27 and change, hung with around 10 boards. And this guy stood at a Chuck power move mound rebound like 6, 4. It was this kind of offensive arsenal that set the tone with a back in the day greatest one-game point total of 71. Before Laker great Wilt’s 100 stunted that in Philly, generations before Kobe tried to beat all that with 81 (the Mamba man via video tribute telling Elgin he stole so many of his moves, “it wasn’t even funny”).

Legendary Lakers Pulitzer beat writer Jim Murray-whose L.A. Times behind the desk deserve their own statue next to Chick-compared Elgin’s Empire scaling career to King Kong. Knocking away defenders like bi-planes, who roach scattered like bust up craps games. But Baylor was more to this game then just Hollywood Laker flash. One of the first African American sports superstars in Jackie Robinson’s time also lead a Players Union protest before the 1964 All-Star, which truly changed the game and gave these players the rights they have today. After he hung them up he also won an ‘Executive Of The Year’ award across the hall with the rival L.A. Clippers. R&B superstar Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, better known as Ginuwine was also named after the Hall of Famer and called a judge character off his coming of age album ‘The Senior’ after the NBA great who starred alongside both the Jackson 5 and Buck Rogers. Don’t believe us read all about it in Baylor’s new book named after the best damn Basketball drama, ‘Hang Time’ that will be put up on shelves to end this month.

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Elgin Baylor was the blue and white/purple and gold, post-Mikan and pre-Wilt Laker bridge between Minneapolis and Los Angeles. So it was only right his multiple arm dunking statue was curtain called at the half between a Lakers game with Minnesota. It wasn’t fitting however that donned in Mamba snakeskin black L.A. lost 113-96 to the Timberwolves with the black tux service of Jimmy Butler’s draped 18. An Elgin epic like 20 and 10 from both Lakers future Julius Randle and rookie Josh Hart (actually 11 rebounds) weren’t enough after Kyle Kuzma left the game in the third with a sprained ankle. Neither was big from downtown seven footer Brook Lopez’s starting 15 that was so tight it tagged ‘Lop3z’ Twitter trends.

But by the end of this almost 82 game closing playoff push it wasn’t all for the win, but the 82 year old that changed the game.

When you think of the golden days in Lakers purple, Baylor made this franchise like he did their storied history.

All you need is the record books to read his story.

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Will Three ‘LABron’ Billboards Outside Downtown L.A. Lead To A Hollywood Ending For The King?

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Screenshot 2018 03 28 11 35 31
Talk Of A New Jersey?

Hollywood comes calling…

…but still no decision…

…how come King James?

‘Dear Basketball’ last month Laker legend Kobe Bryant won NBA’s first Oscar (yeah I know how can the Academy not award ‘Space Jam’?). Putting number 24 ahead of number 23 in gold statues (the Mamba still trails the G.O.A.T six to five in gold rings though). When the closest STAPLES normally gets to award showcases outside the hosted All-Star game during the February love in is when they take a break to host the Grammys.

But it looks like another 23 could make another Lake Show stopper move this Summer straight out of the script of tinsletowns biggest picture.

Despite a decision that took his talents from South Beach, back home and to the promised land years ago. Cleveland’s own LeBron James may be playing his last campaign as a Cavalier. And the final chapter of his storied career could have a Hollywood ending for the King with one of NBA histories most storied franchises.

It could be ‘La La LeBron’ in Lakerland’s city of stars.

Especially if some billboards outside downtown Los Angeles have anything to do with it.

Taking a cue from ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Best Actress Oscar winner Frances McDormand’s movie (who the actress sent up herself with Jimmy Kimmel with her own trio of billboards after someone stole her Academy Award. Don’t worry she got it back like the Cavs want ‘Bron), a superfan in Los Angeles set up some real estate with some advertising hoardings like Paul Rudd in ‘I Love You Man’ (“License To Sell…that’s hilarious!”) hash-tagging the new free agent trend of ‘LABron’.

Three other towns have hung ‘Bron billboards with an outside chance of landing the King. From his Akron birthplace who refuse to witness throwing rocks at the King this summer, declaring “There’s No Place Like Home”. To even hilariously a New Zealand ballclub wanting to turn the King into a Kiwi. But Philly started the process first. Although L.A. doesn’t want James to trust this but believe instead in the banners that could hang in the royalty of their rafters. Along with they hope his number 23 one day for the one who is still in his prime at a Kareem jersey age.

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And when the King was in town to witness all this last month he put on a show in President Magic’s city of Showtime. From the best damn no look pass of his career period. Which drew go fetch tennis ball, dog owner comparisons. To bounce passing the ball between Ball of all players legs.

And with a Lakers/Cavs deadline day trade that saw L.A. and Cleveland clean house and land for LeBron. Further fuel has been ignited to the ‘Casino’ like behind the jersey talk that has everyone betting on ‘LeBron Ball’ for the ‘Lonzo Angeles Lakers’.

The Lakers may have lost two of their sharpest shooting, youngest guns in ‘Sixth Man’ sure-thing Jordan Clarkson and all dunking Ohio son Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland. But they now have All-Star I.T. support. However whether LeBron reunites with former Cav superstar Isaiah Thomas remains to be seen in more ways than one.

It’s all up in the smoggy air of the summer breeze atmosphere whether Christmas will come early for tinsletown. Like whether another hometown hero superstar Paul George will leave the Thunder and align with the King in the city that never rains (but reigns in purple like Prince), to help make the Lakers young core of Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and Ball be all they can be right now.

Then that will be something worthy like James to hang on the three pillars of Hotel Figueroa outside STAPLES.

The City Of Angels will be praying these billboards bring banners.

Only in Hollywood.

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