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Do Kobe Bryant And The Lakers Have A “Big” Problem?

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Giants of this game! You uses to find them in purple and gold. The same colour as the ticker tape falling in Los Angeles Lakerland as they looked up to the rafters that wasn’t that out of reach to them. The rafters that would one day hold all their names and achievements.

George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal…

…and then along came Kobe Bryant!

Gail Goodrich, Elgin Baylor, the logo Jerry West and of course THE Magic of Earvin Johnson can guard the fact that the Lakers weren’t just a “Centre” of attention franchise, but still this was a town in the state of California that was known for having the only thing taller than the Hollywood sign being the big basketball stars that all the movie makers and musicians came to watch play with all their millions and minions in Laker yellow.

“If you f### this up, you’ll be a big idiot”! Nope! This isn’t a recap of Kobe’s greatest hits. Instead its actually a comment he made to Lakers rookie Julius Randle this week, who has taken his literal, positioned place on the latest SLAM reissue rookie wall cover originally seen in Kobe’s debut year in ’96. This is only a nice 19 year old kid that just graduated from the humble and hard working Kentucky too. Although these actual words of encouragement where actually taken in all team building fun it reminds us of something. A little like when Michael Jordan on his last legs took apart then Washington Wizards number one draft bust Kwame Brown…coincidentally a former teammate of Kobe’s.

It just seems like ESPN’s 40th best player (COME ON!) knows how to get to people too. For better or worse.

This comes with the sourced news this week that some people believe there’s more than a few big names that don’t want to play with the Mamba! Intimidated? I guess it all depends on how you look at it, but to some it all adds up to why thus Summer the Lakers couldn’t land LeBron, Carmelo or even Chris Bosh. Then there’s that report that ‘do everything except but play this year’ franchise face Paul George is turned off ever playing for the Lakers because of Bean. Then there’s that rumour that the Steve Nash trade almost didn’t happen because of him. What else? How many negative news stories have to come out?! And I promise this really isn’t one. Even some kid from the Jazz crossed Kob’ up and almost sent him back to the year long injured list, laced with broken ankles. The same Utah franchise he air-balled at when he was a rookie.

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Thank the basketball God’s for those comeback 26 points.

You think Kobe doesn’t play well with others? The Alpha doberman dog in need of something beta. Maybe it’s a “big” problem. Maybe its smaller than that. When Kobe played with Shaq it was magic like Johnson and Jabbar but after a while O’Neal’s talents where run out of town to South Beach. How about a sequel? Superman 2? Dwight Howard?! We all know how that turned out! Just like we all remember that caught on camera Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd vid. “Ship his a## out”! Heck even the man his draft rights where traded for was big, promising big-man Vlade Divac (speaking of Kobe telling Andrew Wiggins former Cleveland Cavaliers that they are the new Charlotte Hornets), who actually in his younger days was a lot like a future Laker 7 footer.

Pau Gasol! Another post player who like Howard, Bynum and Divac deserves a special place in Lakers lore when it comes to big-men, just like the Mikan, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq best, could have been even so much more if he stayed. Still after years of being unfair trade bait, this man drew his own line and the winds of change now finds him with the stampeding, Rose blooming Bulls in Chicago. Still Bryant loved him, like a best friend. A lot like another champion, big man who could spread the floor like Magic in the one of a kind Lamar Odom, before reality went crazy like a Kardashian. Maybe it’s just Kobe prefers to run with more mobile big men. Which is great for Julius Randle! Or maybe this guy just HAS to be the biggest man on his team regardless. Which, well kind of sucks for everyone else. Still if this team with this former MVP and champion, second only to Mike, with a competitive edge like no other wants to win they have to except everything that comes with this killer instinct of one of the best players in the NBA, all-time and still now today.

Besides even if he played with his idol Jordan he’d even want to best him and show him who’s the man. 24! One over 23! Jersey about to be raised…maybe with another banner.

Now what’s bigger than that?

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Millsap Mishap Could Keep Forward Behind 3 Months

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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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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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