And for his next trick Magic Johnson will make the Los Angeles Lakers gold again without taking a single shot.
Just like the good old playing days of purple haze.
Earvin Johnson’s number 32 jersey resides in the rafters with the Worthy’s and Wilt’s…he’s been retired for decades now. Just like all the Shaq’s inbetween. His bronze adonis of a statue greets you at the entrance to the STAPLES Center with all the Kareem’s and Jerry’s. He’s a Laker legend for life.
But now the part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, who has been trying to bring a NFL franchise to the City of Angels he helped Starbucks spread its wings and latte orders in continues his status as king of L.A. by completing the sporting holy trinity and making sure his Los Angeles Laker legacy lives on. Arguably the most loveable and favourite player in the history of LAL that has lead the team from Point Guard to the head coaching position can now add another Hollywood moment to his purple and gold resume.
From Showtime to running the show, the outspoken when it comes to L.A.’s woes Magic has left his sideline gig at ESPN to be the Lakers new President Of Basketball Operations. It’s been looking like a script was about to be flipped for weeks, from meetings with Jeanie Buss to new Laker Point Guard leader D’Angelo Russell, but now it’s official. Just call him Mr. President. It’s no illusion. As Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss were fired and the Magic man was hired. But nothing was behind the back from the most unselfish basketball player in NBA history in a league, let alone Lakers based on showmanship. Everything appears above the boards.
Although this must be a dream for Jeanie. It doesn’t come without lost sleep for the Lakers first lady and president. Letting go of her brother must have been as tough as seeing beau Phil Jackson leave his head coaching position. But it was clear for awhile that the late, great redefining owner Jerry Buss’ son wasn’t cutting the Laker gold mustard. You have to feel for Mitch though. Just like during his playing days riddled by injury the former big forward of promising power has been unlucky when it comes to missed potential. From the nixing of the Chris Paul trade to the career crippling injuries to Kobe Bryant that vetoed the final curtain of his closing court chapter. And everyone in Lakerland remembers Dwight Howard don’t they?
Apparantly the final pink slip in Mitch and Buss’ in-tray was the failure to land DeMarcus Cousins across California from the Sacramento Kings from a G.M. known in his playing days to help the Lakers find their future (just Google who Laker legend Vlade Divac was traded to Charlotte for in ’96). Although DMC would have formed a formidable U.K. BBN frontcourt with Julius Randle in L.A. he ended up forming a twin tower one with fellow Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis in the N.O. L.A. All because the former Buss brass and Kupchak were unwilling to let number 2 rookie Brandon Ingram go for a Boogie Wonderland in Hollywood’s new Showtime.
But from D’Angelo to Jordan. Larry Nance to Zubac and of course Julius and Ingram, Magic has made it clear as a reveal that the youngsters are the new untouchables. Despite a crazy rumor involving the Chicago Bulls disgruntled Jimmy Butler and Michael Carter-Williams for Randle, Clarkson and for some reason the Sixth Man Of The Year the Lakers keep dangling as bait, Lou Williams (BREAKING: At press time the Lakers sent the sparkiest of plugs Lou Will to Houston for a future first round Rocket pick and talented swingman option Corey Brewer). That sounds like a team gutting awful trade. On the other hand finding a deal that brings Brandon’s fellow Duke Devil Jahil Okafor on board feels more like serendipity than restaurants in New York’s Little Italy that became John Cusack movies. As it’s no secret that coming in second for the last two seasons the Lakers wanted their new big man for the 7 feet and rising Laker legacy that has stretched from George Mikan to Andrew Bynum (well…for a stunted season or two), even if they aren’t cooling on the man with ice in his veins who they ran with instead. Still it’s clear the Lakers have a glut of guards, just like the Sixers have more big stakes out in Philly then they have in cheese. Perhaps the Lakers could offer All-Star Luol Deng, a veteran back-up point like Calderon or Huertas and someone like Ivica Zubac as a package for Jahil and maybe another name (but Philly may not go for it without someone like Nance). If a deal is made for Okafor in the next two days he may be the final piece in this Russell/Randle/Clarkson/Nance Jr and Ingram jigsaw that could come together in completing the contention that Magic sees coming in the next couple of years.
But for now it seems like President Johnson is looking to bring back Bryant out of retirement (not to play, settle down) and Kobe’s agent Rob Pelinka of all people for the G.M. spot.
Major moves are happening from the M.J. before Mike just like the no looks he used to pass right before your eyes.
Don’t look now…it’s time to believe in Jeanie’s and Magic again.
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 courtside.
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?
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.
Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honour after the suited courtside 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 honoured 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 offseason, 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.
But 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.
Philadelphia 76ers’ make Marial Shayok Ottawa’s first-ever NBA draft pick
Ottawa’s Marial Shayok has achieved his ultimate dream — becoming the city’s first-ever NBA draft pick. The Philadelphia 76ers selected Shayok with the 54th-pick overall in the second-round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
The former St.Patrick’s Irish high school standout celebrated his special and emotional moment at home with family and friends.
“You did it bro, you did bro…”
“Let’s go baby! You going to Philly…”
For Shayok and his family the historic moment is a culmination of life-long sacrifices that started in South Sudan with his 6’9″ father Makor Shayok moving his wife and three-daughters to America. The elder Makor set post at Alvin Texas Community College and earned a scholarship to the Dayton Flyers, playing from 1990-1992.
Makor’s eldest, Shayok Shayok (born in Miami) and his sister Yar Shayok also followed dad’s footsteps and played NCAA basketball – Shayok going to Bradley and transferring to UMKC and Yar playing with Detroit Mercy Titans women’s program.
The family migrated to Ottawa, Canada in the mid-90’s and on July 26th, 1995 the youngest Shayok was born.
Marial left Ottawa for New Jersey’s Blair Academy after three-years with the St.Pats Irish — he originally committed to the Marquette Golden Eagles but transferred to the Virginia Cavaliers after the coach (Buzz Williams) that originally recruited him bailed on the program in 2015.
Shayok had busy NBA draft process – showcasing his versatile skill-set to 14 NBA front offices. Here is footage of his 76ers’ work-out.