Blazing A Trail.
Roses are going to be sent from the city famous for them to every other town in the United States Of America that a professional NBA playoff team calls home! Why? Because LaMarcus Aldridge is making a killing. Just when the SLAM cover star Damian Lillard, fast-paced, hipster hot Portland team that where Blazing a trail looked to simmer and run out of steam, the greatest big-man in the league right now showed Tim Duncan and the rest of history that there might just be another big talent looking to scawel high enough to carve his own Mount Rushmore moment. Just when you thought the Miami Heat and the South Beach talented east dominated everything championship wise this side of the Thunder of Oklahoma City, you didn’t count on the blazing hot outstanding team in oregon that showed the state of hoops still belonged to the West best hot-bed that was more than Kevin Durant’s MVP and king throne stealing season, or the saged age and amazing defying strek of those old clicking spurs led by the robot Tim Duncan, the best Power Forward of all ti
me bar none. If Duncan’s the best, than his successor is about to match up with him as the robot will need more than a short circuit to beat the electro, super-charged android that is Aldridge. Fundamentally just like Duncan, but with a little more “fun”, LaMarcus is not only better than the scorching steal of Lillard, he may just be the best Blazer ever as USA Today report. Yeah there was the Glyde of Clyde Drexler and the brute force of the big, friendly giant Bill Walton, but Houston and Boston knew these legendds and laid claim to them respecitively too. If big L.A. stays put he’ll define Portland purist hoops like only Terry Porter, Cliff Robinson, Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudemire wished they could have.
It’s just that simple. He’s just that great and more than the dynamic duo and one of the L’s best he forms with his foundation with Damian he’s one of a kind. Forged from the rocks of a Tim Duncan prototype, but with that fire and flair of a LeBron the one that burns inside of Timmy, but tears down the rims in LaMarcus. These times in Portland are looking like the early new milleniuum when the Blazers where right there with Duncan’s San Antonio team and Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. Now though with the Spurs still in it and OKC’s Kevin Durant reaching up and taking the baton off Kobe like Mike did Magic, this new Portand team have unchained themselves from those old ‘Jailblazer’ days and are as free as Django. No more guns or weed, just X’s and O’s from a team that takes over the slowing down pace of Indiana as the outside prediction from insiders to take it all from the core of Miami’s Heat heartbeat. As classic as their red, black and white jerseys and their pinwheel logo there’s more to this team than meets the critical eye. From Nicolas Bantum to Robin Lopez and Earl Watson to Mo Williams this team are stacked for the ‘chips and as quickly as Wesley Matthews, or the former Heat future Dorrell Wright will rise this team will. Still, through all the great players and performances it’s abll about their duo and the man who leads it much like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook out in Oklahoma. As Westbrook’s energy and enthusiasm complement Durant’s all scoring and killing game, Lillard does the same to Aldridge, fuelling his fire. Out of the two you’d probably take the Thunder and you probably wouldn’t be wrong, but in a league that’s donut starving for central players surely as the years go on you’d like to take it a little more inside with a man that’s revolutionizing the lost and dying art of paint performances, even going over Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets in a serious series like the hate-filled Laker fans can only watch with wonder and wish.
Portland have had big, big players before. Technically with Rasheed Wallace and the heart and soul of Brian Grant…and who can forget the unfortunatly behind his time Arvydas Sabonis, who if in the NBA sooner would probably be the Blazer best and still regardless is one of the best big men in all of hoops all time. Still, that was the past and this is the future and it it comes round to the 20 and 10 potent, power threat that is L.A. ready to rule the rest like Kobe and his Lakers just a few years ago. Ravishing rebounds and duking it out with dunks this guy is a joy to watch, but behind the style is a stat-sheet substance that can post-up and back down anybody all the way to the pick and roll of easy but hard-worked basket after baskets that leave the defence with a hard case to solve. You just can’t stop this kid in the key. Give him anything more than 3 seconds and the whistle will be called for you to push it back down the floor. As of right now ‘Marcus rocked the Rockets on the road with a 46 point and 18 rebound effort in game 1 followed by a “lesser” (yeah right), 43 and 8 one in game two. In the payoff of the playoffs this guys not wilting, he’s making Chamberlain numbers. One day you may just call him a 40 and 10 threat as he raises the bar for the few forward thinking power post players that will come after him. He’s the first guy since the elite company of the king LeBron to have consecutive 40 point outtings. He’s the first guy with consecutive 43 plus point games in the playoffs since the great Tracy McGrady tried to escape the first round and is 89 point total in these two only pale in comparison to the multiple work of the clutch of Jerry West and the greatest of all-time in that guy called Mike. Even Jordan would have to shrug at the Blazers when it comes to this. Even the best doesn’t know how great this guy could be. Do we? Of course not…but we’re dying to find out right?
This L train won’t stop as it rises above the city. The Blazer best yet is the only Portland player in history to have two 40 point games. Even the great Jordan pretender Drexler had to give Houston his second 40 point playoff game and now against the Rockets who knows whats next because at press time the ball hasn’t even gone up for Game 3 yet. This guy could average or simply record 40 points over seven games in a series…but you know what? We don’t think it’ll get that for. Sorry Dwight but your Rocket is about to be grounded by the Trail of the Blazing Aldridge with a real problem for Houston that’s going to make James Harden wish the Thunder never let him slip down the sink like his stray beard hairs. I hope these guys like fishing, because as they prepare their bait and tackle the only thing Aldridge and Portland are going to catch is compliments, because they’re really coming on. At 28 years old, a three-time all star in his 6 foot 11, 240 pound for pound prime its easy to forget this guys been around for the best part of a decade, but still young and with a veteran saavy to go with that youthful exuberance you best believe the guy that was the true free agent to go after last year (not Howard…sorry, and I’m saying this as more than just a Laker fan) will be a Blazer lifer, Basketball God’s permiting. As these road warriors shake off those old troubled times they will begin to become one of the most recognisable and successful franchises that are the face of this new, next generation of new milleniuum storied teams that the likes of the San Antonio Spurs define, like the Sixers and Celtics of old testament time. Kobe can only hope there’s still room for his heel and the legendary Lakers. With purple bruised injury the gold is now in reach of Oregon.
A natural Power Forward that can swing to the dying need and breed of centre this guy couldn’t be more like Tim Duncan if he went out there and beat him man-to-man, one-on-one in a few weeks and brackets time. The Texan high schooler and college star may be a ways from the Texas triangle these days but he’s about to take out one of the corners in two games time. The Chicago Bulls wish they would have kept their silent second pick in the first round of the 2006 draft because with Rose wilting, the future of this league is getting bigger and better in Blazer town. The passion of Joakim Noah can’t match up with the arc of talent that is LaMarcus, the Bulls lost their horns the day they stampede shipped Aldridge’s draft night rights over. The guy could have been the central core of the New York Knicks too. Phil Jackson would have loved that especially alongside Carmelo Anthony, because right now even though he may have burned bright in his west domination as a Sun, The stat’s of Amar’e Stoudemire just don’t compare to this stud. Guys like Tyrus Thomas, Viktor Khryapa and Eddy Curry that where involved in the exchange for the great deal of LaMarcus Aldridge are basically Sam Bowie’s to these teams. I guess afte and things do work out for even the most unluckiest of teams after all with Portland’s time and tide right now. Now can we get another Jordan shrug? The former draft sleeper is waking everyone up…the ones he doesn’t put to sleep however. Those injured days alongside the great combo that could have been in the ill, injury-fated Brandon Roy now upgrades itself to the unique one-two punch of L.A. and D.L. that take the rest of the league inside and out. LaMarcus has got over his own potentially career ruining Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome heart problems to show he is the soul of the Blazers and basketball with his surgical precise game that is cold and calculated for the divided and cut-open defences he faces. Oh and biy can this guy take it off you on the other side of the block too. One of the leagues most compleye players will be that word himself when he is matched up with another one beginning with ‘C’. Larry O’Brien knows it could happen. The trail of this Blazer and his beautiful buoquet of basketball brilliance will lead him and his to the superstar status that will come up smelling like roses. You get the flowers?
Augustus In Los Angeles. Seimone Signs With Sparks
The balance of power in the WNBA has shifted like this league of its own has shifted the gender gap in this sport.
Google, “Seimone Augustus, Los Angeles Sparks” and you’ll find a picture of the former Minnesota Lynx running the break and howling like a Timberwolf, as Sparks superstar Nneka Ogwumike is left lying on the court like it was a canvas and she Sonny Liston.
But that won’t happen anymore.
Don’t worry the Roman emperor Augustus isn’t joining former Minnesota dynamic duo teammate Maya Moore in not playing this August…although this will be her final season (and as an aside we nothing but salute you for your stand Moore). But the Lynx now lose the legacy of this legend too in the same fortnight the Twin Cities celebrated the dynamic duo coupling of Karl-Anthony Towns and best friend D’Angelo Russell for their Basketball brotherhood. But like losing Showbiz and K.G. this WNBA big ticket will be back, all the way to the gate receipts.
Instead it’s because Seimone is now a Spark. Soon you’ll have no trouble finding her in the purple and gold as she follows the fast break of the twinning and winning Ogwumike sisters and superstar Candace Parker leading the charge for the best big four in L.A. all day since Shaq, Kobe, ‘The Mailman’, Karl Malone and ‘The Glove’, Gary Patyon brother a new trend in billionaire boy club basketball. Cue Candace’s Dunk Contest judge reaction face last weekend at All Star, Chicago. This one is all tens for a 50 that can’t not win.
This is straight unfair too “like” when La La Land script sent tried to combine Kobe and CP3. But with respect to the one and only commissioner (rest peacefully) nothing is nixing this (and I’ll always love that move because Pau stayed where the second best European player until Luka finishes this season belonged like Gasol does up in the same STAPLES rafters). WoW!
Champion Elena Delle Donne and Co may have resigned with the mystifying Washington Wizards, but D.C. aren’t going to have as easy a time re-upping next year…if they even make it that far. Especially in the same week of a freeing, free agency of players with their own one, almost as crazy as last years NBA one. One that has already seen Skylar Diggins-Smith rise to Phoenix to form Mercury with the one and only, G.O.A.T. Diana Taurasi. As the hardest player in the game and the one who played whilst pregnant last year (before a game changing CBA agreement finally gave the great expectations of players like Diggins-Smith her due after watching her work like that) form like the heat of voltron. All for the best legend and superstar one-two punch since the Sparks plugged both pioneer Lisa Leslie AND the prolific Parker.
AND we haven’t even mentioned that similar Seattle score of the Storm’s Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart still wanting that reign back like the city that wants the Sonics (respect to Shawn Kemp and his old Oskar’s Kitchen bar and grill downtown tuning into this league with his 40 piece handing behind the bar like a retired rafter). The West is going to be even wilder than when Will Smith did that one bad movie (yeah I said it Bad Boys…I loved ‘Gemini Man’).
From rivals to sisters the 35 year old, four time champ brings experience and pedigree to this powerhouse franchise in her Tamika Catchings chapter of what will surely be the swansong of another Hall of Fame career. Inking the last, lasting part of her legacy like the tattoos on her diving for loose balls, put the Spalding down arms as colourful as the magnificent and moving murals that honour the Mamba and Mambacita in her new City of Angels.
Now how’s this for a Hollywood ending in the Kings town? And with love to LeBron we’re talking about King Kobe. But now the sisterhood of the Sparks now has more than three queen’s as these crowns go for the throne in this game.
The 2020 vision of the Sparks is set to be electrifying before these best of the best go for gold in Tokyo, Japan for the Summertime Olympic Games. And even though legend Alana Beard ready for the rafters has retired her gold standard purple reign, the Sparks also have sharpshooting Chelsea Gray and another big name addition in Kristi Toliver to add to their who’s who roster of the elite.
Make that a Famous Five and 6 God, Sixth Woman.
Or how about a Sinister Six to marvel?
Soon the best Basketball team in L.A. won’t be the Lakers OR Clippers.
Clutch Lakerland and Coach Fish has really gone all, “Go Fish”.
In these Star Wars, they are the Sparks that will light the fire that will burn the house down.
Chicago, All-Star 2020 blows in the Windy City for Kobe
Like Eliot Ness, that’s what Common’s city of Chicago is when it comes to this court. All greatest of all-time thanks to the statue outside the United Center that they have to bring in from the cold when ice gets in it’s cracks like the veins of new Minnesota Timberwolves cold front player, D’Angelo Russell (he should be here. These lost Lakers are just glad Brandon Ingram is). Forming a duo with Karl-Anthony Towns as dynamic as that one of Star Marbury and the uncut gem of Chi-towns own Kevin Garnett heading for the Hall.
And just like the Big Ticket, the Rose that grew from concrete and the way of Wade who was moved to tears, the rapper slash actor, author and Microsoft poet Common (who fittingly won MVP of the Celebrity Game in his city. Even after Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith said “c’mon Common you can’t even dunk donuts in coffee” after giving Dwight Howard’s athletically graceful, camera flash freeze, cheese smile, spin dunk an 8 (Kobe?)) put on for his city like Barack Obama and of course the statue of the G.O.A.T. M.J. with a poetic rap that waxed lyrical on hoops history and it’s nuanced nostalgia.
Shouting out the real King MLK and Kobe before Magic made a moving speech, all players behind him dressed in warm-up white and Jennifer Huston brought the not a dry eye in the arena, house down with her tribute that beat the hardwood like the commercial Dr. Dre one for this California love in Chicago, like the National Anthem of treasure Chaka Khan in a 23 jersey.
Common also had rhymes for each player introduction for all those who would take to the floor dribbling across the Chicago skyline, as he rocked the mic like fellow Chicagoland legend Chance The Rapper halftime and injured All-Star Dame Lillard, who still got to play this weekend as Dame D.O.L.L.A. The first player to perform on this stage of Basketball’s Grammy’s, bringing out ‘Tha Carter’ himself Lil’ Wayne and a Mamba Forever leather that we all want to cop for this year’s Winter jacket.
From saying “Sixteen-time all-star, three-time NBA champion/ We continue to witness his reign / One of the greatest to play the game/ From the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James”, to “A four-time all-star / He handles the rock like Gibraltar / From the Boston Celtics / Give it up for Kemba Walker”.
But hey, I’ve got one for you all, “like the Beard and the Brow he runs the show/so where the f### is Alex Caruso”.
But to the beat of his own raps and his milk carton brother Kanye, even if every event was set off by the “GO” vocal of guitar hero John Mayer on his Common collaboration with ‘Jesus Is King’ walking God, Mr. West (from the bam, bam Bam Adebayo BAM Skills Challenge bucket win. To the Buddy Hield buzzer beating on the last ball of the last rack, Devin booking, beating and winning the Three-Point Shootout (still one of the best and most underrated events of the weekend)), this night of all the All-Stars was all about the one who should have been in the crowd cheering with his daughter courtside.
From Superman, Dwight Howard returning and bringing back the red cape out of the phone booth, with 24 on the chest, to Man Of Steel and former Lex Luthor like enemy Shaq filming on that old camcorder again. In one of the best but most controversial dunk contests that saw an all 50 and 7-foot-5 Tacko leaping Aaron Gordon robbed again like when he cleared the mascot (seriously I don’t mean to leap to conclusions, but these guys need to get over jumping over things…literally. Only Leonardo DiCaprio gets over this many people).
This time by the South Beach, bringing the Heat in the Windy City, tornado storm of Derrick Jones Jr. Air Gordon won’t be back (thanks for that judges. Dwayne Wade said in the Skills Challenge his mind can be changed…ain’t that the truth), but let’s hope the backboard ball touching, Woody Harrelson Venice Beach wear honoring Pat Connaughton will be. Because white men can jump too in an epic exciting weekend of Chicago, 2020 that in the Olympic year of Tokyo, 2020 showed all the world’s a Basketball stage like the Rising Stars game (Konichiwa Hachimura).
For the main event of the biggest weekend on the schedule itself Team LeBron all wore number 2 on their blue jerseys for GiGi and Team Giannis 24 forever for Kobe (a bald Khris Middleton even sometimes from the nose bleeds making it look like Mamba was there…which spiritually he was like his mentality), to another LeBron like Kobe dunk running the floor like Bean and the 24 second shot clock that decided the fourth quarter of an entertaining All-Star Game that was more than the legendary lay-up line and was actually a competitive affair.
That’s just what happens when you win the game on a free throw (157-155, King over Freak) as Laker and hometown Chicago hero Anthony Davis did the honors after filling the stat sheet with the game on the line. But, the All-Star MVP now beautifully renamed the Kobe Bryant award went to another Los Angeles King in Clipper Kawhi and his 30 points. Who dedicated his award to the late legend it’s named after, as fans had their fill of their favourite weekend of the mid-season they love like the hearts of a mid-Feb Valentine.
Just don’t ask him what he had for dinner.
For Team LeBron. For Kobe. For GiGi.