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Neither Kobe. Nor LeBron. Who Is The Greatest Laker Ever?

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Cleveland Cavaliers V Los Angeles Lakers
"It's OK! You're Still Number One To Me!"

Showtime!

Your wish has been granted. Now the new Nike Lakers jerseys throwing it back to the traditional golden era 80’s with all the trimmings have finally been unveiled (thanks Modell’s Sporting Goods). And as this writer has ordered his Association Edition white number 23 to wardrobe go next to his purple and gold 24. It remains to be seen when it all heads up to the rafters with all those banners who will be the greatest NBA player in history to thump the storied Lakers across his chest?

In a twist of fate will number 23 be higher than 24?

Or will the man who wanted one more than Jordan and was the closest but no cigar to him, always be that Laker who bleeds purple and lives gold?

No!

Neither!

Not the Oscar winning superstar who resembled M.J.

Nor the Oscar numbers of a superstar who resembled another M.J.

Put it to rest like saying either of these guys are better than the real greatest of all-time. No matter how much like all of us tube sock dunking on our plastic baskets above the posters on our door as kids they wanted to be like Mike.

Not Kobe Bryant.

Not LeBron James.

Although they are top five, dead or alive in Laker lore or the NBA’s Mount Rushmore.

So who is the greatest Laker of all-time?

Lonzo Ball?

Lavar?

Please!

Nope!

Don’t make us Rondo, Beasley and Lance laugh like that Laker ‘Friends’ Twitter trending video.

Barbershops ready? Water-coolers ready?

Not even the self-proclaimed, “Most Dominant Ever”, Shaquille O’Neal. Who yesterday revealed to TMZ that his former foe Kobe was coming out of retirement to partner up with LeBron. Now here’s an exclusive for you people, relax…it’s just TMZ.

Not even arguably the actual most dominant seven foot center of attention and all-time, not wearing 11 rings on his fingers and toes, Wilt Chamberlain. The Big Dipper who scored 100 points in a single game…himself.

Not the actual NBA logo, Jerry West. Or the cold ice hang time to his fire Elgin Baylor.

Not the great Gail Goodrich. Don’t sleep on the real legends of the game for the second straight countdown decades later SLAM magazine.

Not the original Big Game James who is still Worthy. Or the smooth silk of Jaamal Wilkes.

Not even the real Sixth Man behind the mic, Chick Hearn. Or our writing inspiration, Jim Murray.

Jack Nicholson courtside?

Not even role playing legends like the big-three of Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, or Robert Horry. But without them a three-peat would have just been clutching at brooms.

Not the Glove of a chattering Gary Payton and the second coming potential of his son. Or the Mailman of Karl Malone who always delivers until his knee gives out.

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Coach Jax or Coach Walton.

Any member of the Buss family. From the late, great J.B. to the dream of Jeanie.

Not Ingram…give it time. Soon the kid will be known only by the name on the back of his jersey.

Not Jordan (Clarkson). Or Kwame Brown. Smush?

Not Kawhi Leonard. We learnt from hometown hero Paul George not to wait. But it’s O.K. P.G. Do your thing at OKC.

Not Pau Gasol. Now this is no joke. Respect that the greatest European player of all-time not named Dirk or Drazen is a Laker legend and one of the best ever. Not just in their legendary painted lair of big-men. Sorry Vlade (but you know your one of our best bigs ever in a lengthy long lineage). You better read a newspaper or something.

Not even the original Laker legend by way of Minneapolis like Prince before the purple, George Mikan.

Not even the original Captain. The other big spectacle of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who actually leads NBA history in points scored with that unstoppable sky-hook (we see you Kyle Kuzma). A giant figure of a man who in Time and the amazing, snug and tug autobiographies he pens (how many has he wrote over the last year?) may just be as good a writer as he was a ball player when it’s all said and done. And that’s really saying something!

Nope. The greatest Laker of all-time is Cap’s running mate. A Point Guard who could play front and center with that smile. The type of player that could unselfishly dominate the game without even taking a single shot. So don’t look the other way because isn’t that what teammwork and playing the game is all about? Architect John Wooden coaching a young Lew Alcindor would certainly agree. Wouldn’t you?!

“Never fear, Earvin’s here”!

Not only the best ever in purple and gold. But the greatest NBA player of all-time after M.J. And an M.J. himself. Number 23 held up in a mirror. Who else but a man who as President Johnson actually assisted in bringing ‘Bron to this La La Lakerland city of stars. Take that Mr. West. Only in Hollywood. A legend in two games, on the court and behind the desk. Obama would be proud. As a matter of fact he had to leave his phone call on hold. Now what do you call that? Like a behind the back rabbit out the hat…

…Magic.

Now as to whose better, Kobe or LeBron? Well…we’re just going to have to save that for another article…

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Business

Knicks RJ Barrett: Basketball + Business

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Knicks Rj Barrett Basketball Business

Canadian RJ Barrett sits down for a very candid interview with agent Bill Duffy and “The Boardroom” host — former no. 1 overall pick Jay Williams to discuss basketball and his business ambitions and aspirations.

Barrett is expected to be amongst the highest global sponsorship earners of his generation and is represented by agent Duffy — who has done over 3.5 billion dollars in contract negotiations and also represented Canada’s greatest basketball player to date and RJ’s very own Godfather Steve Nash.

Under Duffy’s direction, Barrett is expected to capitalize on the immediate rise of Canadian Basketball and the national corporate entities looking for an immediate association with the rapidly growing sport.

Barrett has already inked deals with financial powerhouse Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and global leader in made to measure apparel company INDOCHINO — Which costumed designed his Draft night suit.

Globally, with Barrett’s ability to speak French, Duffy also sees a market in China but as well as untapped African market. After all, Duffy is somewhat responsible for Yao Ming’s massive success in the Asian-Pacific markets.

When it’s all said and done, Barrett stands a chance at being Canada’s top-earning athlete, both in salary earnings and corporate dollars.

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NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Real MVP

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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Veronica Antetokounmpo
You're The MVP Too Mom...

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 court-side.

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? Joining Clippers teammate Jamal Crawford as the only player to win the Sixth award three times over.

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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, Billy.

Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honor after the suited court-side 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 honored 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 off-season, 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.

Apart from with this. How about one better? In a courtship of rivals and a year of what could have well just been shared MVP and ROY honours, Magic Johnson shared this award of a lifetime with his former, rival and friend Larry Bird. The college to big league opponent who was a Celtic classic legend from downtown Boston. All the way to the parquet green pride of more smoked Red cigars. Two lifetimes for the price of one. Now who cares whose coming in second place?

Because 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.

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