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Kobe Bryant: Dreams + Arts + Culture

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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