Kobe Bean Bryant;
In every man’s life, one needs a superhero. What is a superhero to me? One who stands for what he believes in. While conducting it in his own fashion and that action being inspiring for others. I’ve heard and seen with my own eyes people cheer you on and bash you in the worst possible way one can be bashed.
From hearing people describe you as a ball hog, selfish, bully, ignorant and so on. You kept this unique composure. Many wondered who is this guy? Why isn’t he going down like the world around him wants him to? Because they would soon find out that you we’re not just an ordinary athlete, you were as the basketball world would know you as the ‘Black Mamba.’
The name originating from many snakes. Your comparison was to the black snake known as ‘the venom’. This snake is known to be very toxic. It can also bite people at a very rapid “succession”. Kind of how you can ‘kill’ your opponents in a rapid matter of time. Where I’m from (the hood) people often describe others as snakes mostly when someone offends a person in a very discreet way. But sometimes it’s all a matter of a misunderstanding between two individuals. In one’s mind a certain action can be viewed as good. However, in that other person’s mind it can be looked at as “snaky”.
Some may call your actions throughout your career as snaky but I call it Iconic. Throughout your career you had a certain way of thinking. Despite many people not liking it, you’ve made everyone respect you! It goes beyond all the accomplishments you’ve acquired in the NBA while having a negative look. You used basketball as a healing tool, a fun activity, a heartbreaking story and a heroic one. I remember growing up, I knew I loved basketball because it was a culture instilled in the hood. It was one of the only things a young, black, poor kid could do better than the average teen. However, I still looked at basketball like just a regular activity. Then growing up playing NBA 2K series and watching the NBA here and there something hit me! I started thinking to myself, maybe around grade 10 that basketball was not just a game. I don’t know much about other sports because I have never payed close attention to them, but to me basketball is the best compliment to the hip-hop culture.
With crossovers, dunks, 3-point celebrations and rap songs being played over the best NBA moments, the NBA was the cooling thing to me. I felt like NBA players we’re acting like rappers and rappers we’re acting like NBA players (or at least shouting out the HELL out of them in their songs).
Michael Jordan set the tone for how big the game of basketball has become, and not just by his style of play. His shoes alone have made him more money than he’s ever made in his career. The Jordan sneaker series have made him the richest and easily the most successful athlete of all-time. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see M.J play live, in-person, but I have seen a man named Kobe Bryant play on February 12th 2012 vs. the Toronto Raptors. It was my second-time going to an NBA game, this time my favorite player was playing, Kobe Bean Bryant.
I remember rushing to the Air Canada Centre and forcing my way behind the Lakers bench at half-time. It was a close game. I remember taking a video with 58 seconds left in the game, I said ‘Kobe Please’ and you hit a three-pointer to cut the Lakers deficit to 1. The whole crowd screamed, some booed, others like me cheered. To my surprise the show was still not done. You started biting your jersey with a scary look on your face. You stole the ball during the Raptors next possession and ran a fast-break with Metta World Peace and he finished the fast-break you created, with a lay-up. The following play Jose Calderon hit a jump shot to take a 1 point lead with 16 seconds. Fans around thought the Raptors had stolen the game. But I knew better than to doubt you. You hit the game winning shot on James Johnson and the whole crowd went crazy. Then as the Raptors tried and tied the game. You asked to guard Calderon who was hot that game while still biting your jersey.
A clear play designed to give Calderon the ball, you guarded him and forced a five-second violation. The Lakers won and at that moment right there, in front of my very own eyes I saw that you we’re indeed a superhero. What I didn’t know was that the young boy running to the stadium was running to his soon to be dream.
After that game I remember thinking wow, that atmosphere is easily the best I’ve ever been around.
From hip-hop music playing, to fans booing and some cheering to professionals playing the game I loved growing up so properly. I knew right then and there that I want to make a living working for an NBA team. Kobe Bryant made me develop a dream for something I view as art and life.
To me no one has ever demonstrated the art of basketball like you. You’ve worked like no other athlete could work. You’ve done everything a man can hope to do on a basketball court.
After all 81 points!! Shots after shots, I could go on forever with all you’ve done for this game. But your greatest accomplishment is easily the fact that you poured out your heart and gave absolutely everything you had to the NBA and the Lakers uniform. It’s helped you mature, love, appreciate, help, share, win, lose and accept. Now I am accepting that you are retiring. You don’t owe me anything, you’ve already demonstrated how much bigger basketball was then how people perceived it. How it’s an art and inspires millions and millions. You’ve impacted me and many other great ones. Because of you I am now a 21-year old basketball writer, scout, coach and I do believe I will work in the place you’ve made me develop a dream for ‘The NBA.’
Rest well! You’ve created dreams, set the standard for players, made us cry, made us smile, made us hate and now will miss like no other.
See you soon MY SUPERHERO,
Knicks RJ Barrett: Basketball + Business
Canadian RJ Barrett sits down for a very candid interview with agent Bill Duffy and “The Boardroom” host — former no. 1 overall pick Jay Williams to discuss basketball and his business ambitions and aspirations.
Barrett is expected to be amongst the highest global sponsorship earners of his generation and is represented by agent Duffy — who has done over 3.5 billion dollars in contract negotiations and also represented Canada’s greatest basketball player to date and RJ’s very own Godfather Steve Nash.
Under Duffy’s direction, Barrett is expected to capitalize on the immediate rise of Canadian Basketball and the national corporate entities looking for an immediate association with the rapidly growing sport.
Barrett has already inked deals with financial powerhouse Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and global leader in made to measure apparel company INDOCHINO — Which costumed designed his Draft night suit.
Globally, with Barrett’s ability to speak French, Duffy also sees a market in China but as well as untapped African market. After all, Duffy is somewhat responsible for Yao Ming’s massive success in the Asian-Pacific markets.
When it’s all said and done, Barrett stands a chance at being Canada’s top-earning athlete, both in salary earnings and corporate dollars.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Real MVP
Santa Monica, California was on an award tour like A Tribe Called Quest for the NBA’s end of season grand prize spectacle last night. Hanging out in the coolest performing arts theatre in all of Los Angeles (my apologies to the Hollywood Bowl), the converted airplane Barker Hangar played host to the 2019 NBA Awards. The Emmy’s, Oscar’s and Grammy’s of hoops Tony.
The best of the Basketball best and the cream of the future hops crop descended on this hangar, suited and booted like they were flossing injured court-side.
Shaq sized in the perfect setting in a place that houses feats of brilliance that take flight like Mike, this event could only be hosted by the one and only, Big Aristotle of the Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal (sorry Drake. Although you troll NBA players better than Kevin Hart telling Kenny Smith he’s so ashy if he smiles his lips will bleed as he goes to take a sip of his water). And the most entertaining NBA player ever (give him his award) laughed, joked, sang, rapped and danced his way to an enjoyable evening in the place he racked up three rings on repeat.
But how about the prize giving? Well your real Most Valuable Player this year is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Say what you will about last year’s MVP and this year’s runner up in the closest of recent races as tight as the Rookie of the Year voting, James Harden racking up triple-doubles like Charles Barkley says Lonzo Ball does triple-singles, but it’s the Alphabet’s time now after slaughtering this season gone. Sure he didn’t come away with the ‘chip like worthy candidate Kawhi Leonard and his (we still hope) Toronto Raptors, but that is his next challenge for the Mamba Mentality tweeted in congratulation by Kobe Bryant who predicted this MVP years back. And in a beautiful and emotional speech, Giannis dedicated all this to his dearly departed dad and his brothers and mom in attendance as every eye not dry in the house got out their seats in unanimous ovation.
And in a truly global game flying the flag outside the United States for each category winner, Antetokounmpo almost doubled up, finishing in second place for Defensive Player Of The Year, under the stifling Eiffel of French fly swatter, Rudy Gobert. As Paul George after an incredible season-no lucky shot-came in third place like he did for the MVP voting. Toronto not only got the ‘chip in the Six however as their X-factor Pascal Siakam came up with the Most Improved Player award ahead of Sacramento sophomore De’Aaron Fox and Brooklyn’s own (if they play their free agent cards right), D’Angelo Russell.
Coach of the Year was bucked by Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer dry-erasing for the MVP. And Bradley Beal was passed the Community Assist Award for all the good this All Star has done. Give him a hand for all the ones he has. Whilst the Sportsmanship award went to new Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., who also racked up the Teammate Of The Year award for his grit n grind time with the Memphis Grizzlies. But who else for the Sixth Man of the Year award then the ‘6 Man’ of all-time, Lou Williams? Joining Clippers teammate Jamal Crawford as the only player to win the Sixth award three times over.
And the House Of Highlights Moment of the Year of course went to Derrick Rose. Can you guess for what game?
We have a ball rattling around the rim forever in Toronto that shoots for even more stars though.
But how about that Rookie of the Year award? Who you got? Because in narrowly beating out Atlanta Hawk Trae Young it’s clear the award belongs to superstar right now Luka Dončić after a Maverick season in Dallas. Where the Texan gunslinger from Slovenia is about to draw on them all next season. Look out for the kid like Pat Garrett, Billy.
Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honor after the suited court-side with a microphone presenter. And her “make your mess your message” speech was the most inspiring of the night after her fight against breast cancer and bone marrow disease, raising awareness.
Executive of the Year went to Jon Horst of the Milwaukee Bucks (sorry Rob Pelinka…jokes) but the Lifetime Achievement? Well that went to a former President who has just left office. No not Obama (although POTUS does have game…WAP!). But the Magic man, Earvin Johnson. The Laker legend honored in California for all he’s done since starting the fast-break of Showtime, to changing the game behind the back without taking a single shot. All the way to walking away from it bravely when he was diagnosed with HIV and then making a comeback so beautifully for the man who will always be purple and gold with all this entrepreneur pulls out the empire of his top hat. Say what you will about his presidency residency but as we look to free agency this crazy off-season, remember who started all this off by bringing the King to Hollywood last Summer, waiting outside his house in his car at one in the morning.
Now that can’t be tampered with.
Apart from with this. How about one better? In a courtship of rivals and a year of what could have well just been shared MVP and ROY honours, Magic Johnson shared this award of a lifetime with his former, rival and friend Larry Bird. The college to big league opponent who was a Celtic classic legend from downtown Boston. All the way to the parquet green pride of more smoked Red cigars. Two lifetimes for the price of one. Now who cares whose coming in second place?
Because all in all last nights NBA Awards show of All-Stars showed us one thing like the NBA Finals. No matter who took home the gold, we all came away winners.