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Earl Clark feature: My name is Earl

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E.C. Does It.

“We are losing Los Angeles”! Nick Nolte’s grumble in the latest cop and robbers classic motion picture ‘Gangster Squad’ may as well be applied to the current state of the damsel in distress that is the L.A. Lakers. This Summer blockbusters where made to take this Hollywood team back up to the Miami Heat talents of the NBA. Yet almost halfway through this season this gang of All-Stars is losing it’s city, players (the alumni of Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes and the always what could have been of the nixed Chris Paul) status and STAPLE to the Clippers of all teams.

There’s no surprises in this league these days but a few years ago you would have scoffed at this notion. Just like the fact that the best team the Lakers have ever had on paper is the worst performing team in the Kobe era (we hear you Ben Collins of SLAM, ‘L.A. Noire’ is THE article). Just like the idea that at 34 years of age Kobe Bryant would be playing some of the best basketball his career…then again that’s not too hard to believe, it is Kobe after all. The remaining years of his career deserve better. It seems like the pairing of Bryant and Howard really is the new Bryant and O’Neal as these two inside and out stars are fighting like Shaq and Kobe’s. If that isn’t enough of a one-two punch for you, the great Steve Nash isn’t getting any younger and right now the down and out Pau Gasol isn’t getting any healthier.

This team shouldn’t be like this. Not a team that can leave the likes of Metta World Peace and Antwan Jamison on the bench. Now it seems like the only new stars on the floor are the ones surrounding the team logo midcourt (great look by the way). Just think Phil Jackson was even one stroke of a pen away from fixing this mess before the Lakers traded Mike Brown for D’Antoni. Now everyone wants him and almost everyone else ran out of the door faster then one of his plays and on a ‘Buss’ out of Los Angeles.

It’s not all bad however and there is light at the end of the STAPLE Centre. Besides this is L.A., where dreams are made and the NBA where teams get it together after the All-Star break. Consistency and staying together is the key. The “wrecking ball” has swung enough. Its about Springsteen blue collar hard work in a movie star city. Haven’t they learned from Boston time and time, decade and decade again? Some get it, Kobe of course and some others will…eventually we hope. There’s a silver lining in this playbook however and like Bradley Cooper possibly winning an Oscar its a real, pleasant surprise. There’s one guy in the middle of this hangover that Kobe can be proud of right now. His name is Earl Clark.

Part of the mega Dwight Howard package deal that’s an even better piece then the projected, reliable point backup of Chris Duhon. Hell, right now Earl Clark is the best thing about the Dwight Howard deal. That is until Dwight finds himself and commits to not just escaping from Los Angeles once he’s a free man this Summer. The 6 foot 10, 225 pound, 25 year old is a prototype, prime-time role player. Wearing the number 6 and standing next to Kobe with a smile. It hasn’t looked this good since Eddie Jones. This guy, sure is no All-Star, but he’s one of those glue guys the Lakers should really keep hold of and not let go like they’ve done countless, foolish times before. The winning x-factor Trevor Ariza comes to mind (Devin Ebanks your closer than everyone thinks). Besides this is a team that was better off with Odom, Bynum and Fisher, then Howard, Nash and Jamison.

Straight out of Plainfield, New Jersey this kid knows that ‘boss’ hard work and is set to ignite the Lakers like gaslight. The Earl of Los Angeles is beginning to show not only his new city, but the league that his 14th pick out of Louisville is more than a sleeper…it’s justified. A points, rebounds and steals man with athleticism in limited minutes can maximize his time and potential. Just reference his 22 points and 13 rebounds in 27 minutes against storied last decade Laker rival San Antonio. In a breakthrough game this young buck earned his spurs in a wild-west showdown. This once raw talent is ready now and is an off the bench burner who can give the microwave tasting Lakers a healthy kick.

“Phenomenal” is how Mike D’Antoni put it…and he’s right. The walking double double machine had three in six games and has more than made up for the losses of Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and last years Laker sleeper Jordan Hill. This frontcourt force has been formidable enough to be a well deserved, more than most starter and his rise on the slumping Lakers gives hope to a purple and gold side of the city that recentely has had to look to the STAPLE ceiling with rolled eyes and a sigh for inspiration. This is a banner year for Earl Clark. Sure he can’t do it on his own, not even Kobe can, but amongst all the doubt and uncertainity at least the Black Mamba has some more venom in his fangs. He has a sure thing in Clark. Some say the Lakers are finished and this year they may be right, but right now with Earl they have a little more fight in what’s been a losing battle. Now that’s at least a start.

NBA

New Toronto ‘City’ Jerseys Point North To The 6

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IMG 20180115 092655
Six Flag

Better late and sharp to the party than never looking fly.

Sometimes in the streets of Toronto you just have to wait for a good thing. Like that CN Tower forever in the distance drive from Pearson Airport to the downtown dot. Or waiting for a table and menu for something good to eat at Jack Astor’s on any given night. But Drake always delivers from serving up playlist picks to albums that offer ‘VIEWS’ that honour the great city of the six. So you know if you’re reading this it’s never really too late.

Now after Nike just gave us ‘Association’, ‘Icon’ and real ‘Statement’ jerseys for the new season where they are now the official uniform supplier of this National Basketball Association the ‘City’ line is complete like riding a Matt Bonner tram from King Street West to the Air Canada Center. As Toronto didn’t want to be left out like Kyrie Irving didn’t want to be the next Dwyane Wade. Now the only one rocking sleeves like Adidas is Lakers rook Lonzo again, looking to ball like his UCLA alumni days. Forget Christmas Day, unless you’re rocking Sixers script. As for the 6, the new Toronto Raptors jerseys that go back to black like the late, great Amy Winehouse with Octobers Very Own gold, couldn’t be more Drake or OVO if they had that Owl hooting from the shooting shorts. And you know these third blackouts will be a permanent fixture on ‘Drake Nights’ when the Raps court will be decked out in the black gold same lining.

But these new duds that All-Star ‘Step Brothers’ DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry will rock like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly did ugly sweater vests are less ‘Hotline Bling’ and more for the town he calls his own for the citizens of Toronto. ‘They The North’ and have that in six court copying chevrons that in glittering gold, road point to this very Canadian NBA destination. Do you see. And if you don’t know, now you know…player.

This is B.I.G. for the notorious north OVO town of the six. We’ve had the ATL neon, Boston parquet, Lakers Black Mamba snakeskin, Cleveland Land, Detroit ‘Motor City’ industry, New York’s F.D.N.Y. department, the Suns not losing the ‘Los’ love and Chicago’s classic city edition. But nothing for the homestand looks as good as this to the T-Dot.

And with all six signs pointing north to Toronto, we only wish these Raptors threads could be put on for the city every night.

Now the only ‘Fallen Kingdom’ in this Jurassic World will be found in cinemas with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum this summer season Blue.

It took a minute for the sap to meet the tree but the Raptors and the Toronto city they call home are far from extinct.

Nike finds a way.

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The ‘Human Highlight Film’ Dominique Wilkins Almost Made ‘Showtime’ Worthy

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Wilkins
How Unique Would The Lakers Have Been With 'Nique?
Hollywood’s show kept fast break rolling last night like a Golden Globe as the young Lakers finally snapped their losing trend by clipping the Atlanta Hawks, 132-113 at STAPLES. All behind 20 points from Brandon Ingram, 15 and 9 from Julius Randle and 13, 10 and 6 from rookie Lonzo Ball. J.C. with 18 and K.C.P. with 14 also had three three’s each as the Lakers made a sweet 16 season best from downtown, to go along with a franchise record 42 points off fast breaks on a momentous night for the storied franchises record books.
It kind of looks like Showtime’s go on all over again.
But straight from the Fox Sports hole pregame did you know that back in the 80’s day the NBA’s Hall of Fame, Human Highlight Film, Dominique Wilkins was almost drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers to be the centerpiece of Showtime? The Atlanta Hawk legend who has a statue outside the ATL arena like all the Magic, Kareem’s, big fellas and logos outside Lakerland told us himself play-by-play as part of the pregame panel.
“Jerry Buss didn’t want me but Jerry West did”, ‘Nique said with warm affection to what could have been. And we can’t help muse like Shea Serrano’s brilliant ‘Basketball And Other Stories’ book to what legacy and Laker legend would have been like if the Basketball God’s didn’t cast down a thunderbolt. You see apparantly it all came down to an injury to Lakers Celtic bruising forward Mitch Kupchak, which will no doubt leave some Laker fans thinking this may be the first time but not the only time their former G.M. Mitch has messed up things for the Lake Show.
Kupchak’s season crippling injury made Buss want to go bigger and taller. And the rest is Big Game history as the Lakers drafted Wilkins’ fellow North Carolina alumnus James Worthy who made his own H.O.F. career more than just his second name that resides in the forever rafters like 42. The second in goggle command behind Cap remains one of the Lakers and the league as a whole’s most underrated legend.
But we can’t help but think what it would be like if we just looked up at the STAPLES ceiling and saw Dominique’s name up there like Kobe’s too (or two) with his 21 in that acclaimed area. It would have certainly brought more hard-nosed hostility to those Larry Bird fights and more Hollywood to that iconic Slam Dunk Contest between the Human Highlight and the G.O.A.T., M.J. And could you have imagined the Magic between a player who finished his career with Orlando and actually the legendary Boston Celtics and the man with the top hat himself Earvin Johnson? Now you thought watching Lake Show greats A.C. Green and former coach Byron Scott was good.
In the end it was all scripted the right way. The Lakers had their own Big Game dunking James worthy of a King and Dominique Wilkins soared as a Hawk in the A. But if Magic’s all smiling Showtime had a few more Human Highlights for the film? Now that would be something straight out of Hollywood.
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LeBron’s Land Now Has I.T. Support

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Portland Trail Blazers V Cleveland Cavaliers
I.T. Follows All The Kings Men

Cleveland plainly dealed their point prince Kyrie Irving away from the King’s Cavalier land this Summer, to make the NBA’s historical Boston Celtics storied again behind their new superstar handle. And in return they got a glorious gunner with an 80’s iconic name, albeit one hip checked to the new year with injury.

But even if Christmas has come late this year like changing your calendar to 2018, Isaiah Thomas is back like you’ve never seen him before, like a Detroit Piston legend kissing and making up with an 80’s Showtime one in an emotional NBA TV reunion.

Now that’s Magic!

Like Pennywise the clown, injury tempted I.T.’s reign into the gutter for the opening chapter of his story with the King like he was wearing a yellow raincoat. But just wait for part two…it’s about to get slicker as forget arms, Thomas is about to take everyone’s legs off from the ankles up.

He’ll float too.

The land was in need of a hand. One that even the way of Wade couldn’t help after the thorn that went in probably retired, former franchise player Derrick Rose’s side. And now they have it all for one and one for all in I.T.’s support. The King now has a fellow crowning talent ready to hold the throne with. Isaiah Thomas’ return to the trail against Portland was blazing too. Normally a nice 17 points and 3 assists would seem modest for a pocket dynamo of this young Iverson’s stature, but when we answer that it came in just 19 minutes of burn than you know it’s something else altogether.

It’s the makings of something greater.

But all that failed to blend in Beantown as his reunion with the Celtics he was supposed to retire with and his renewed rivalry with the guard he was traded for was put on a DNP-CD hold (at least he too made up with 80’s great Danny Ainge). But the whole event game of the night turned out to be a wash-out as the Celtics 102-88 scrubbing of the Cavaliers on polished parquet only saw the real rivalry of James (19) and Kyrie (11) amass less than 20 points each when this explosive TNT match-up should have gone 30 for 30 for ESPN.

Still Ohio will rise again when the King and I.T. return to their land and maybe even the promised ones of the NBA Finals. As another Celts/Cavs conference finals match-up without Gordon Hayward and this time more Love could beat towards the heart of a lion. And the five foot something with a headband has plenty of that under his too.

And you best believe tooth and hip surgery nail he’s going to leave it blood, sweat and tears all on the parquet this playoff postseason.

But this time instead of against one, Isaiah won’t just be running alongside a King…he’ll be one.

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