Almost a decade of eight years ago, Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers took on K.G. and the big three’s Boston Celtics for a full seven games of the 2010 NBA Finals in the third historic chapter of these storied franchises clashing like Basketball titans. Decades after Wilt and West versus Bill Russell and the rest and then the 80’s golden Magic and Bird era. Stay tuned for the King v Kyrie part IV sequel to the trilogy coming to an arena near you…soon. This writer living in a small seaside town on the other side of the ocean however had to watch this all unfold on tape delay, thanks to the time difference and a need to hold onto my minimum wage job that didn’t permit me staying up all hours in the AM to watch live Basketball. Especially since that was the time I was usually clocking off from my night shift pushing plates and drunks out the door past closing. And if you thought that was bad, go back 20 years to the Jordan age were around 10 years old the only way I could come close to simulating a real basketball game was by playing NBA Live ’96 on my dad’s PC. And did you see the graphics back then?
Thankfully one of my fellow waiters and an all round legend to boot (what’s up Dan?!) felt my pain and passion for sport. Although he was more West Ham than West Coast going H.A.M. After plenty pleading he recorded all the games for me and not just that. Legend also watched them all with me with no spoiler alerts in the beginnings of the social media Twitter trending news cycle that you can’t even log onto now without seeing a ‘Game Of Thrones’ or King James thread that ruins everything you’ve been living in a hole and waiting for. To make it interesting as well my boy decided to root for the Celtics to boot. Because what’s a rivalry without making the most of it? I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again and always (sorry other Dan). I may bleed purple and gold but I still love our enemy as much as I love the beautiful Boston as a city (see you in a couple of weeks Beantown for I don’t know how many times it’s been now). And as it got to the do or die, banner or bust, W or W.T.F. final fourth quarter wire of the ultimate, deciding Game 7, what would you know the recording stopped early. As we both stared at the finished screen like the product of our angered disbelief (you know when a man’s mad when he just shakes his head and says, “unbelievable”!) glares was going to be the DVR saying, “just kidding fellas. I’m just messing with you. Here’s the rest of the game. Enjoy!” That’s what happens when you call all those timeouts coach. All that for that. We missed the end of the game. And whether Kobe would avenge walking out of the garden with his head down amongst confetti falling like balloons on the Forum. And even whether that Metta World Peace prayer would come with an amen. So to his computer we went to log onto NBA.com and with some real-time paused disappointment find out what the final score was and who won. Oh and this computer may not have been connected to a dial-up broadband but it wasn’t calling in any favours with the fibre optics either. So when it finally loaded up and I saw that my Lakers had won for the first time since big Shaq the euphoria was as real as the egg-timer tension as the site loaded slowly, scrolling down at a picture of purple and gold hands hoisting the legend of Larry before Bird town. That connection may actually make up for my favourite basketball memory since seeing the Lakers live for real in Hollywood for the first time in 2006 when they lost Shaq and got Smush…and Kwame Brown
Even my friend embraced me. And short of kissing him how could I repay him for this kindness in bringing me my first NBA seven game final win for the team that I would die for…or at least go to the other side of the world for (see you in a few LeBron)? Well I gave him the jersey right off my back…or should I say trapped in the closet. My number 34…Paul Pierce jersey. Yeah…I know! I told you I loved the enemy. Sorry Dan (you know which one). My friend deserved it. Besides what self respecting Lakers fan should own a Celtics jersey in this day and age? Even if Paul Pierce is from L.A. You saw what he did with that wheelchair.
My friend who grew up kicking the ball and not palming it like this white boy that can’t crossover as much as his attempt to add jerseys to his wardrobe would like. In soccer (we call it football…but O.K.) players swap jerseys all the time. It’s not almost a post-game tradition…it is one. Even though my friend never did give me a West Ham one in return (what’s up with that Dan?). But this season it seems like the NBA is picking up on this trend. Like we all wish we could with even more great Nike’s than Jordan’s. Or at least one Jumpman in particular.
Gone are the days of trading kicks. Maybe because so many players signature lines have so many rarities they don’t want to even think about unlacing them…let alone unloading them. A game after hitting a career high 31 (already…but we think he can top it too, even this campaign), Dallas Maverick Rookie of the Year shoe-in Luka Doncic asked Laker king, LeBron James for his jersey pregame. Which ‘Bron provided with inspired autograph signature, stating that the man he was giving the hem of his threads to was the next in line. But it’s another Miami Heat legend heading to the sun one last time who is currently making it a nightly Instagram highlight reel.
The Flash of the ultimate Heat hero Dwyane Wade is having one last dance before his career hits the pan. And even though the greatest Miami franchise player of all-time (sorry Zo…cue that anger to acceptance gif) is not getting official gifts from each team he plays, he’s determined to get a souvenir from each team shop and make the most of his rocking chair tour retirement circuit. He’s already swapped jerseys with the likes of Portland Trailblazers swingman C.J. McCollum, who had no trouble giving his up for the camera as he showed off how much he’d been hitting the weight room this Summer. He ain’t no size small anymore. And after doing the honours with the Kings, Magic and more. We can imagine Dwyane will end up doing this on every stop of his 82 game goodbye. Anything to get a Lakers LeBron from his former champion collaborator and last season Cavalier teammate in Cleveland hey King?!
But the other night was something special. South Beach saw the talents of two soaring and scoring father time legends. Who even though both circled 40, also still in tandem, albeit on opposing teams still played and looked above the rim like they were still in their twenties. And after going at it for four straight quarters Dwyane switched his iconic number 3 white hot Heat jersey for a new classic in the neon number 15 of Atlanta Hawk and our generation legend Vince Carter for a real highlight in the limelight. And after a 123-118 Games win over the Heat (with 12 from V.C. But 19 from D), as they posed for a soon to be I.G. favourite for a platform which wasn’t even around when these two O.G.’s first took off the floor for their R.O.Y. NBA careers, it was a moment to savour. Two generational greats who can still play to this day. Side-by-side after going toe-to-toe for what looks like the last time. The love and respect was as real as these players amongst the all-time best get.
It’s time to get a quick dash of the flash before he runs out and Wade’s world stops turning when the ball stops bouncing. Besides everyone’s going to want a piece of those new Miami Vice nights ‘City Edition’ colorways just released like last year’s white album edition before it all fades to neon black.
Dwyane who changed the game as one of the top five, dead or alive Shooting Guards has really started something like Michael.
Flashpoint for your flashbulb memories.
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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