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Like Jordan, Kobe Must Be A Mentor For The Lakers D’Angelo

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Sports Illustrated cover writer Lee Jenkins painted the perfect portrait to why the Los Angeles Lakers passed up on Duke 7 footer Jahil Okafor with the second pick in the 2015 NBA draft, which now left the third choice by the 76ers joining literally the biggest big-three ever in Philadelphia.

In his latest article Jenkins made the case for the Lakers joining the small-ball revolution that Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors across California have championship certified, by going with the changing and selecting of a guard instead of their nostalgia of Hollywood Hills tall players.

He says for Lakers. G.M. Mitch Kupchak (a big man himself, and in the 80’s Showtime days one of the best, big-men role players the franchise has ever had) the moment of epiphany came when the General Manager looked at the adorning arena wallpaper that is retired jerseys all the way up there in the Lakers rafters of legacy and championship legacy. All the names and numbers that could reach there. Guys like Mikan. Wilt Chamberlain’s 13. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 33. Shaquille O’Neal’s 34. A long line of legendary big-men that have left their huge sneaker stamp on Lakers and NBA basketball, leading the Lakers to look for the next in line from Pau Gasol to Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard…and this years NBA Draft and upcoming free agency.

Then however, as S.I.’s Jenkins wrote; when Mitch looked to his left, he saw other names. Names like Gail, Jerry and of course Magic. The Lakers has just as good-if not underrated-legacy of legendary guards.

And soon they’ll add the number 24 (or 8) of Kobe Bryant to that list.

That day is soon coming. No matter how much Kobe, the Lakers or the NBA as a whole don’t want it. Like the end of Michael Jordan’s reign or the greatest since him to ever do it in second place. Still, however with the last few years riddled by season ending injuries and critical career calling write offs, Kobe is back and still very much in this game until he say’s so. He’s still the man on this team able to take the them and his town back to glory. But after he does it’ll probably be his time and time to pass the torch, like Magic did to Mike before 23 was followed by 24.

Everyone has their time…and then everybody in turn has their time.

This is when the taste of making it with victory champagne is replace by the finger-crossing of becoming winners in the lottery and now after his draft the Lakers have their ticket to ride into the future. In selecting D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State to shake Adam Silver’s hand, instead of handing the keys to Okafor for a big and tall future, the Lakers now have a big-three for the future with last years rookie surprise Jordan Clarkson and the sophomore status of last years injured rookie and top ten pick Julius Randle…a big-man of the future himself. That is unless the Lakers try and relate across the Californian county to Cousins of Sacramento. Which as star-studded and successful a move right now this potential trade would be, switching up three faces of the future across all the major positions, in a league today built on big-threes for one DeMarcus would be as volatile a move as the man himself. The thinking is with these new young guns, a supporting cast as raw and freshly talented and of course Kobe the Lakers will be able to pursue a more seasoned big-man of legend in the open free-agent market from interested parties like LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, to former draft pick Marc Gasol…or a combination of sorts. The draft is as smart a move as what’s about to come for a team that has courted interest from the likes of floor wings like Jimmy Butler, but know in turn the contract for his Buckets is restricted by the Bulls. With a lot to consider, after this summer the Los Angeles Lakers may be good enough for this season right now.

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Even if this is the case, the point is the Lakers have to cultivate for the future of California once Kobe fades away into the sunset and the ageing Vino has to be a fine-tuned part of that. Just like his season ending injury helped him nurse rookie Julius Randle’s own campaign crucifying one. As bad a break anyone can get, that heartrendingly came for the kid in the confidence crushing first game of last season. Just like Kobe’s courtside collaborative position last year helped him coach Clarkson from the Point Guard position into being the heir Jordan of this squads season to come. The same must happen with D’Angelo. Russell is the athletic young understudy of Bryant and Kobe must become his mentor, because let’s face it soon the kid will be the icons replacement in guard position (forming a brilliant and booming, ballistic backcourt with Clarkson) and star status just like Kobe was to a former purple and gold All-Star swing-man called Eddie Jones.

Kobe knows this and despite what critics think will be perfect in orchestrating this, X and O for dry-erase (just look at his mature handling of other rookie Larry Nance Jr’s now infamous, ill-advised tweet from 2012) in what will one day play as D’Angelo Russell’s team when the former zero becomes hero and like the back of his vest now possesses (Nick Young still holds ‘0’…for now); the number one in Lakerland.

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La La Lakerland Played Host To A City Of All-Stars At The Weekend

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Verizon Slam Dunk Contest 2018
Like Father, Like Slam,

Los Angeles, it doesn’t get much more Hollywood than this. Even if Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Chris Tucker and even the other Michael (B) Jordan were taking in all the lights, camera action court-side.

After the 2017 Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year and two calendar’s after our native Toronto held the All Star Weekend in Canada, the sixth A.S.G. in the Clipper and Lakerland of the downtown STAPLES of L.A. was the first of it’s kind. As two of the best players in the association and reigning finalists decided to draft their own pool of players against the wall for the ultimate black and white pick-up game between ‘Team Stephen’ and ‘Team LeBron’, for all the marbles of which of the last two champions would be King.

Well it certainly helps if James picks his rivals reigning MVP teammate Kevin Durant and his own former partner in pine championship crime Kyrie Irving for the big shots first.

But before all that it was down to regular festivities to begin the weekend of All-Star. Basketball’s equivalent of music’s Grammy’s or movies Oscars in Superbowl February. Opening these ceremonials Team World beat down Team USA 155-124 in the Rising Stars game that should really tell you something. Despite home court advantage rookie steal, Kyle Kuzma notching 20, fellow Californian franchise face Buddy Hield was king as the Sacramento star hit 29 as the two sides wore Clipper and Laker interloped Buffalo and MPLS throwbacks for the Hollywood script. And after Quavo of hit duo Migos took home the Celebrity Game MVP as Team Clippers beat Team Lakers 79-66, Spencer Dinwiddie paid the bills in a superior skills comp. Before scorching Sun in California Devin Booker showed his career high 70 was no one-hit wonder as he burnt down all the nets and the money-ball rack. Winning the three-point contest showdown from reigning winner and sixth man Eric Gordon. Grounding the Rocket as this Phoenix rose. Book it!

But after the most therapeutic competition of All-Star weekend it was time for the most exciting one just as compelling. And in honoring his father Larry Nance, the 1984 winner of the inaugural Slam-Dunk contest, Larry Nance Jr. rocked the baby cradle, like father, like dunk. As he even rocked the old-school Phoenix Suns jersey, short shorts and high-socks for an inspired imitation. But under the magicians cloak, those Los Angeles natives in attendance draped in gold wish he had turned into someone turning back the clock and wearing a Lakers jersey (those Lonzo assists with the ball would have helped). As what would have been a long awaited, eagerly anticipated home-team representation turned into an Akron homecoming for the Ohio hometown hero like LeBron in the Kings land once the trade deadline passed.

Pops Nance loved it though after he himself played the lions share of his career in Cleveland as a Cavalier. Even assisting his boy on his second slam, before he blew the house down with a windmill that even rocked Chris Rock and then double tapped an Instagram worthy picture perfect dunk that if your phone blinked, you’d have had to instant replay it to not miss it and believe it. But all this court creativity wasn’t enough like Maverick rookie Dennis Smith Jr.’s 360 reverse, through the legs 50. Or All-Star Victor Oladipo getting an assist off King T’Challa himself Chadwick Boseman, suiting up in the Black Panther mask and clawing a tomahawk. And if you think that was special, if only you were a fly on the wall for the moment entertainment megastar Jamie Foxx told Vic he loved his album and started singing ‘A Song For You’ with him in the parking lot (as told by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins). As Utah’s jazz man Donovan Mitchell won by jumping over Kevin Hart and his family (Come on! How hard is that? The comedian was even crouched down. Seriously?! He could have even been sat on his shoulders and Mitch would have been good), and then breaking out the classic Vince Carter Raptor jersey and doing you know what.

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The whole weekend turned out to be a testament to a throwback tribute despite Nike’s brand new Team LeBron and Steph duds. Last years All-Star representative, Pelican Anthony Davis paying tribute to his injury fallen teammate brother Cousins by wearing what would have been his numero zero jersey. Free agent suitors beware, DeMarcus is going nowhere now this summer after this. You see he saw on I.G. but look at the shot. How s### was his seat for a would be player?

But after Black Eyed Pea Fergie caught flack for her soulful and sultry rendition of the Star Spangled Banner national anthem (hey, you didn’t complain when Marvin did it) the game hit all the high-flying, dunking high-notes. So much so fans needed throat lozenges like Pink! Even if there wasn’t a single Clipper or Laker representative in the game itself. Despite the lobbying for 6 Man, Lou Will and new Laker Isaiah Thomas only recently being LeBron’s actual teammate.

The King took the MVP crown himself as his 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists helped turn a 15 point hole into a 148-145 victory. And from the look on his face as he leapt into Kevin Durant’s arms of all people, it looked like he just won the NBA Championship back. And from the look on Steph’s face on the receiving end reply it was hard to disagree.

You may be the champion, but I’m the best in the world those eyes said.

Well it’s up to you to decide when round 2 of the All Star draft is televised next year for all to see in M.J.’s land of the greatest.

Charlotte’s going to be good!

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Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

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Usa Today 10601289.0
IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that in regards to loyalty in this league it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that the former tooth chipper is now a befallen superstar by way of injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

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Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship between this point prince and the King of the Ohio land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles

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Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

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