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Eddie Jones Feature – A Basketball Jones

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The Sixth Sense.

Listen like thieves! Before Kobe and after Jordan there was an in excess, laundry list of swinging Shooting Guard and Small Forwards who where running the new era show of golden time basketball to become the next heir apparent in wing waiting. Sure Michael Jordan is the greatest of all-time and Kobe Bryant has been the best since and before King LeBron James NBA reign, but a former Heat and Laker was a star in South Beach’s Miami and California’s Los Angeles. When Jordan was swinging between baseball bats and bunnies named Bugs you couldn’t even find Space Jam on your NBA Live 96 video game (you could find a certain someone on ‘Shootout ’97’ though) and a young Bean named Bryant was months away from being drafted by the Hollywood Lakers via a Charlotte Hornets trade that saw L.A. centre Vlade Divac make way for the kid, the Big Fella, Shaquille O’Neal and the next dynasty of domination in the post-Jordan league of epic eras. Between all of the strike outs and air balls however there was a guy stealing basketballs like Mike wanted to do bases. A Bball babe like Ruth, taking the rock and rolling with the attention so much that even this young English writer saw his number 6 purple and white trimmed gold jersey everywhere whilst travelling in Paris on a childhood Summer vacation…and this was before Tony Parker was even old enough to draft graduate. Hey…maybe it was him!?

There went those old Showtime Laker jerseys that E.J wore, but we’re not talking about Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson here but the tricks of the trade of Eddie Jones. A player that represents more than tradition of transition but can be found in the NBA vault and Lakers history books between the times the M.J’s of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan and then the 8 and 24’s of Kobe Bryant’s NBA rule. Whether wearing 25 (given up for great Gail Goodrich’s rafter retirement) or 6 (after who else but in honour of the good dunk Doctor Julius Erving?) Eddie had the Basketball sixth sense to steal and dunk his way to a new Showtime on the sacred ground of the fabulous Forum before it was hollowed out to be a new arena STAPLE along with a new jersey look led by the ‘fro of Kobe all the way to three-peating a dynasty over everyone including Brooklyn Jason Kidd’s old Net team. Before role playing big-three Robert Horry, Rick Fox and Derek Fisher came into town and backed a crowed all star unit of Shaq, Kobe, Eddie and Nick Van Exel that all made the West team that year (congrats on the All-Star most valuable E), fastbreak Eddie and Nick ‘The Quick’ made a best and beautiful backcourt for the mid-nineties Lakers team that featured guys like Divac, Cedric Ceballos, Elden Campbell, George Lynch, Corie Blount and much more talent in the late, great Bill Sharman era (around the time this then 11 year old kid from the land of Football became a fan). The stealing and scoring star Jones could have been an even bigger name in the city of angels if he was handed ther Kobe keys.

Even die-hard Laker fans where looking at Kobe’s drafted in scouting report and thinking ‘hey he’s 6 foot 6 like number 6 Eddie, similar weight too! Still, he’s a rookie and a high schooler at that I guess he’ll be backing up our man, but he sure looks talented’. Talented enough to make quite a twin wing tandem as dominant as those ‘twin tower’ duos, like Ryan Giggs and David Beckham in soccer for Basketball’s Manchester United. Still in the Hollywoodland of rock and movie stars this town was only big enough for one big picture highlight reel and Kobe stole the show in his warm-ups like he did on the lay-up line of his rookie Slam Dunk Contest. Then and now Eddie Jones represents the first of a lay-up get in line of talent that left the Lakers too underrated and too soon. These days you can add the likes of Caron Butler, Trevor Ariza, Devin Ebanks, Earl Clark and the Lamar Odom we knew plus many more to the Mitch Richmond, Aaron McKie and Jimmy Jackson like playtime time cut. Sure it would have been great to have Jons back up Kobe…and even Divac back-up Shaq for the ultimate inside and out, starting and bench, all-court domination but this wasn’t the big business age that we see before trade deadlines today. This was a time when the big contract of Shaq and the huge risk on a young rookie was big news for this big league about to go truly great and giant.

The Laker legend people forgot in a time where C.D.’s didn’t know iPods and your DVD’s stopped halfway through the film abruptly because you had to flip it over to the other side like a cassette. We’re making you feel old right? Can you believe this kids now 42? Still, thanks for the memories but the Lakers fall out meant Eddie ended up in the same place as Vlade as he headed to Charlotte to become a Hornet and sting opponents with his Bobcat out of the bag ferocious fire on both ends of the floor. Make no mistake though, Kobe didn’t kill Eddie’s career, just like Shaq didn’t Vlade’s despite the Shaqramento dethroning. Soon Eddie left Charlotte like the New Orleans ballclub before they became the Pelicans. The Florida native from Pompano Beach took his talents South to join a Miami Heat team of Alonzo Mourning, Brian Grant, Caron Butler (these last two future Lakers) and Tim Hardaway team that looked as hot as his one in Los Angeles, circa California ’95. Just like Kob’, there was a pretty nice team in place before the ‘Bron birth with Eddie’s house. The Temple college star brought his defensive body of work and second-option scoring skill to his veteran years of elite experience to another hot town team that was going to burn even brighter in a half decade, half light before anyone even knew or thought about it. This 10th draft pick was a top ten, no nonsense, do it all guy in a time where the new NBA entertainment age was dominated by Magic personalities or the Jordan/Kobe alpha male characteristics.

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Still the three-time All-Star led the league in steals in his first season with the Heat in his Laker/Miami matched years that make him just as much of a Heat and L.A. legend like Shaquille. After a roll in the rock city of Memphis which saw him trade off talents like James Posey and Jason Williams back to the Heat, Jones returned to Miami before closing out his classic career as a Maverick. All-time averages of around 15 points, 4 rebounds and a shade under 2 steals made this guy an all-round talent. The type that get unamiosuly underrated but are still unquestionably unique. Mr. Jerry West, Laker legend and then General Manager knew though as he clutched this “pure athlete” from the ’94 draft to a log-jammed wing of backcourt players including names like Sedale Threatt, Anthony Peeler and Doug Christie before Kobe even came to town…and you thought he stole peoples jobs. Critics soon turned their ink to inspiration and even the dean of Los Angeles Times sportswriting Jim Murray got his hands on as many robbery references as the late, great legend could for this thick as thieves talent. Chick Hearn also took notice to a guy who could slam as well as he could steal, no contest. He flew high like his rap second-namesake Jim, a true dunking diplomat with defensive immunity. Power electric, spark-plug tandem tool guys like Josh Smith take note, like you Eddie Jones finished as many fast-breaks as he started, often doing it all himself. Those fleeting Forum days with Kobe are well worth a rarefied air out and dust off of the V.T.

Today Laker fans may be screaming “what have you done for me lately”?! In a raw and delirious frenzy of Mamba mentality, but they where shouting “EDDIE, EDDIE” like comedian Murphy’s girlfriend at a Forum of home games for seasons later. Nothing was funny though, as even a starting Kobe missed his mentor before Jordan’s Chicago Bulls running-mate Ron Harper took over that mantle a he came into LAX from United with the Zen of Coach Jackson. Even if Glen Rice’s sharp three-point shooting was brought in from Charlotte, Lakers fans still miss Mr. Jones today like he’s still playing. From Shaq’s ‘taco-neck’ Bell commercials today you can still see this guys legacy is part of Laker lore like his versatile, various legendary Jordan XI endorsed sneakers (his career was iconic no matter the colourway or shade of brilliance) that may have heated up along with the hurt Californian feelings once he decided to play for Miami. You’ll find no burnt Jones jerseys like James’ wine and gold however as all the Lakers fan family wish for was more champagne during his purple tape. He deserved the celebration at least. All he did was steal our hearts. A Basketball Jones for you to get a hoop high on, soaring higher than his flyest, falcon dunk of marvel at a Barry White drawled slow motion of instant, inspired replay. Just wind it back like your old tape decks with the heartfelt wrote on label…it’ll never really fade, like his hair or shot. It’s time to keep up with the Jones, a Laker legend amongst legends. You may not see it up in the rafters everyday, but you would have saw it on the Forum floor every game. That’s what Eddie did for the Lakers lately.

#NBANostalgia

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NBA

Millsap Mishap Could Keep Forward Behind 3 Months

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Usa Today 10318599.0

Poor Paul Millsap.

This campaign after becoming one of the biggest free agent pick ups of the offseason, one of the leagues leading Power Forwards has been put down on the medical report with an injury that could call him off sick for a quarter of a year.

The most reliable player over four periods has spent the bird share of his career helping his former Atlanta Hawks make it to the first round knockout stakes of the playoffs each year. But following the season where they didn’t make the cut of the second one, it was time for a change for the 32 year old number 4 who once looked to be the Utah Jazz, Karl Malone replacement Carlos Boozer didn’t turn out to be early in his career alongside former leading Point Guard Deron Williams.

And in the mile high city of Denver with a would be big-three of sophomore sensation Emmanuel Mudiay, dreaded defender Kenneth Faried and of course The Joker with the last laugh Nikola Jokic, these Nuggets in their new Nikes looked golden and finally past that baby blue Carmelo era (they may as well be as Anthony, now with the blue, white and orange of the Thunder isn’t even a Knick anymore (it’s ‘Old York’ now Knickerbockers)). But now like Ben Affleck looking at the ‘Justice League’ box office returns it’s time to ask the Nugs “why so serious” Batman as an injury to their versatile veteran forward of seasoned upon seasons of experience doesn’t exactly put a smile on their face.

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The All-Star was averaging a helpful handful of exactly 16 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists before tearing the ligaments in his left wrist in a 127-109 loss to the Lakers who themselves recently lost all dunking son Larry Nance Jr. to a broken wrist, but are thankful to be having him return after they cut the turkey this thanksgiving. Millsap and the Nuggets are looking at second opinions from docs offering the same sort of speedy recovery that doesn’t sap their frontline. But if they concur with the original diagnosis, it’s three months in a suit and tie and not to mention cast for Paul who will return in late February after the All Star break he normally never takes off.

The man with the three year, 90 mill deal helped make this outside eight seed threat Denver the new gritty, grinding Memphis of the West. Now without him the older than Richard Jefferson roster is thinner than the air up there in Colorado.

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Somebody Stop The Mask Of Kyrie Irving

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USP NBA: BOSTON CELTICS AT BROOKLYN NETS S BKN BKN BOS USA NY

Smokin’!

Even that phrase delivered at a perfect Jim Carrey pitch can’t quite put into perspective just how hot Celtic Kyrie Irving is right now. Especially in the Boston green, Rip Hamilton face-mask.

Maybe those three little letters would do more justice for this league leader?

You know Menacing, Versatile, Phantom?

No?

How about M-V-P?

Kyrie joins Kobe, former Cleveland Cavalier teammate LeBron James and the man whose about to pass him the Maurice Poldoff torch, Russell Westbrook to be an absolute menace in the Phantom of the Opera face-mask, leaving other teams dead on basketballs biggest stage. He may have fractured and broken some bones in his face, but that won’t stop him as he fractures and breaks the backs and hearts of the faces of all the other franchises he faces off with night after excruciating night.

Those who used to say it must be the shoes (and have you seen his best in show sneaker designs complete with shamrocks like Starbucks on St Patrick’s Day this season heads? Those halloween pumpkin ones were the spice), are now saying it must be the mask.

Sure the plastic profile guard makes for some meme worthy Pinterest fan art appreciation but this guard has made a point at hating it…the sweat inducing mask that is, not the love. These kind of covers can blind you, but like the concussed legend of Celtic great Larry, letting it fly like a Bird above the baskets in the Boston Garden all the way to the rafters (as he saw too hoops like 80’s girls earrings and just aimed for the top one), Kyrie plays through all the pain and frustration. Taking it out on the ball (like opponents on Lakers rookie Lonzo) and the other teams hoops that to him seem bigger than those ones Bruno Mars sang about.

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Take Dallas for example. Irving just masked all his pain by taking the Mavericks for 47 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists in the last contest that took the Celtics to a sweet sixteen straight. After dropping two games following Gordon Hayward dropping out of the new season before the second quarter of his opening game one even played out, everyone was calling time on these new Celtics as soon as Gordon turned his ankle counter-clockwise. But now one of the best in the association Kyrie is showing LeBron and them he’s just as good as them or anyone alone like this man from down under always wanted to prove. This definition of clutch, who leaves everyone else in the fourth with straws has already shown on a championship scale against Curry of all hot guards that he can take the last shot that really matters. Now forget the Most Valuable Player award for a waning second or even the time his dynamic duo partner in pine Hayward comes back, Irving has the power to dribble drive all the way to the crown on his own.

And it’s going to take more than a mask to stop him.

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The Wind Brings The 2020 All-Star Game To Chicago

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IMG 20171111 201754

1973. And the first NBA All-Star Game to play in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois features the last All-Star game in the last season of two lasting Los Angeles Lakers legends. One man who scored 100 points in just one game, Wilt Chamberlain. And one man who was and still remains the one and only logo of this National Basketball Association, Jerry West.

1988. And arguably the greatest All-Star Game of all-time and an even better, best ever All-Star weekend sees Michael Jordan become Michael Jordan. M.J. scored 40 in an 138-133 O.T. A.S.G. win for the East meeting the West. But a day before all that he and the Slam Dunk Contest became even more legendary. As mere moments after storied Boston Celtic great Larry Bird asked “whose coming in second place” before raising his finger in victory before the ABA coloured moneyball ripped through the twine (no Nick Young swag), Money took off from the free throw line like a good doctor for his above the rim J and jumped over everybody including Atlanta Hawk wing spreading, sky-soarer Dominique Wilkins.

Now more than 30 years later after next years All-Star Game in the purple and gold city of Los Angeles and the 2019 one in the redeemed city of Charlotte, the 2020 and 69th All Star Game will be played in Michael’s old town of Chi-city. In the same year as Tokyo, Japan will hold the next Olympic Games, the game of basketball will go back to it’s 90’s roots and an inspired iconic landmark of hoop heaven that didn’t really have the same spirit in the seventies, but really Jumpman took off in the golden era eighties. So much so that the old ’88 All Star Weekend t-shirt is a historical thrift store must find for more than it’s 80’s Tron like, cool, retro logo.

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And with mid-February lovers big blockbuster basketball coming back to the city of wind like the river that runs through it, Chi-town needs this like out of towners need deep dish pizza. You only have to listen to the news or the Common album ‘Nobody’s Smiling’ (you know the legendary M.C. who used to wipe up Jordan’s sweat off the old Chicago Stadium hardwood has to perform at the mid-season classics halftime show) to know this classic city is marred by violence that burns through this second city like fire. The beloved Bulls have even become a “garbage team” to root for too, losing the big-three likes of last seasons Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade (who may even be on a farewell All Star tour once his hometown All Star weekend comes crossed off the calendar and everyone is united in the airlines center).

Now this team who relies on sophomore stud Denzel like Oscar hopeful movies will hopefully be back by the next few valentines. As the heart of the city in twenty twenty will want to see something as visionary as Sinatra’s kind of towns history.

That’s just the Chicago way.

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