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Roland Lazenby’s ‘Showboat’ Biography On Kobe Bryant Is A Great Show And Tell All

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Rolandlazenbyauthorphotocscottcunningham

The greatest of all-time Michael Jordan wept as his Chicago Bulls won his first NBA Championship in 1991. With his father James by his side his championship baseball cap almost fell off as he sobbed into the gold basketball orb of the Larry O’Brien trophy.

He had made it.

A decade later the greatest to ever come close to the G.O.A.T. Kobe Bryant sat alone in the solitary tiled walls of a shower cubicle in the visitors locker of the First Union Centre in his hometown of Philadelphia. Dressed in a Los Angeles Lakers NBA Championship cap to match Mike’s and a gaudy leather baseball jacket with banner like patches over his purple and gold uniform. And with his head in his hand and his eyes cast down to the bottomless pit plug hole of the floor he cradled the same trophy in his arms to what the naked eye would look like almost a mere afterthought.

He had made it…but at what cost?!

Last year even outside of court circles all everybody was reading was the latest and greatest biography of the God like icon of basketball Michael Jordan. Seems as number 23 may never really put pen to lengthy paper unless for a Nike Air Jordan sneaker tie in book and also judging from his akward but amazing Hall of Fame speech this is the closest we will get to the greatest. Thanks to the man that wrote the book on the logo of the NBA Jerry West (before Mr. Clutch himself gave us his charmed and tortured life with ‘West By West’), Roland Lazenby.

Now after giving us ‘The Life’ of Michael Jordan that is currently being translated to Japanese audiences as we read, the only way Lazenby could follow Mike is with Kobe. And in a fall that has seen everything from this years ‘Gone Girl’, ‘The Girl On The Train’ movie adaptation, to ‘Born To Run’ rock and roll boss Bruce Springsteen finally giving us an autobiography climbing the bestsellers list your coffee table is about to get even bigger. Make it a double shot to keep and stay up.

The ‘Showboat’ sequel to the greatest is here.

The life of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant by Roland Lazenby follows where Michael Jordan left off. An in game portrait over a black sleeve and purple and gold iconic typography takes centre stage. But past the judging of a classic cover comes the depth of another 600 page pushing and turning opus that is almost big enough to keep your bedroom door from rattling this Winter. But you’ll want it on your bedside table next to your glass of water and alarm clock. Because you’ll be reading this one way past the magic hour and way through the night. All the way to your bus ride to work next day…that is if you wake up in time to make it.

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You’re going to want to find this biography from the father of basketball books with the Saint Nick beard under your tree this Christmas. Becuase Lazenby delivers it all. From Kobe’s dad Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant’s playground like NBA playing beginnings in Philadelphia, to their move and Kobe’s raised days in Italy. All the way back to the school days of his high life in Lower Merion and of course his Los Angeles times with the Lakers. From his ups and downs. His purple and golds. His Shaq and Phil Jackson’s. His Pau Gasol’s and those damn injuries. All the way from those Utah Jazz airballs as a rookie to scoring an amazing, record 60 points against them in his farewell game this season gone. And of course the amazing 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors (sorry fellow Canadian’s of this site) and all the 82’s between.

It’s a storied career worthy of a book…and here it is no less, mere months later.

With the help of countless court contemporaries like backcourt brother Derek Fisher and writing ones like the legendary friend and confidant of this hip hoops generation Scoop Jackson, Roland gives us a behind the locker rooms and screens look at the legend. From sidebar stories and personal accounts that get to the heart and family of what matters most to this mans soul beyond basketball. There’s more than just inside knowledge here from this book longform genius who writes like a master storyteller with Sports Illustrated cover article worthy smarts. ‘Showboat’ is more than just for show. It’s a tell all that shows us there’s more to a man than the name on the back of his jersey…or even the one on the front.

Like the Black Mamba himself don’t pass on this one. Like Mike before him, if you think you know everything there is to know about Kobe Bryant then think and read again. And if ‘West’ by Jerry West is anything to judge. Perhaps Lazenby’s back-to-back books of basketball will inspire number 23 and 24 to write their own memoirs in reply. A purists can only pray and hope for this prose.

Either way we can’t wait for the day Roland coronates the King.

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The Six In 6. Toronto Become First Canadian NBA Champions

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The Six In 6 Toronto Become First Canadian NBA Champions
Kawhi Not?

They the North did it.

Last night in the Bay the 6 got turned upside down with no need for a seven right now. As Drake’s really big team got some really big rings.

And with a 114-110 win in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. After almost a quarter century the Toronto Raptors became the first franchise outside of the United States to win the National Basketball Association finals to make history and become Canadian champions.

And in their Canuck colours pointing to the North from California with the gold, these red and whites flying the flag in the U.S. did it for all of us as they truly changed the game.

It started with an expansion 24 years ago in Toronto. Alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies. It ended with them being the sole franchise outside of America in the NBA as former Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol joined another former gritted Grizz in the form of his big brother Pau Gasol to be the first siblings in hoops history to be NBA champions.

It started with throwback cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady in Dino unis, throwing it up and putting it down. Bringing the Air to the Air Canada Center. It ended like Vinsanity in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest for a new millennium. Looking at the camera after honey dipping and putting it through the legs, telling us emphatically with cutting hand gestures, “it’s over”.

This is for him. Mac. Mighty Mouse. The Camby Man. The Junkyard Dog. Iron Man, Mo Pete. Chris Bosh.

You know it’s for DeMar DeRozan too especially.

Kyle Lowry (what more can you say with 26, 7 and 10 leading the way?). Gasol. Siakam (G-League to big league champ). VanVleet. Ibaka. Lin. And of course quite possibly now the greatest player in the world right now and Finals MVP (joining Kareem and the King as the only Most Valuable Finals Player with multiple teams), sinking that last free throw as epic as his around the world and a day buzzer beater against the Sixers in the six, Kawhi Leonard.

Nick Nurse the architect. And of course another one, James Naismith. This game was invented by Canadians, played by Canadians and like the first ever game in NBA history, this victory belongs to Canadians.

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Drake. Real superfan Nav Bhatia and the Canadian coffee house company Tim Hortons raising a cup to him commercial tribute. Everyone in Jurassic Park roaring like T-Rexes for these Raptors and of course all of you. Truly bringing the buzz to basketball.

This if for the real Warriors too. Five straight finals for the first time in a half century, 50 years (love Commish Adam Silver’s lining tribute). The dynasty that is nowhere near dead as they fought to the end for their last look in the Oracle in those Town across the chest jerseys before moving from Golden State across the Golden Gate to a new era of dominance in the hilly streets of San Francisco (the next time we’ll see Toronto is in Tokyo, October for our very own NBA Japan), where that digitally developing skyline from those tram peak points is the limit. No matter who stays or goes in this Curry, Durant, Draymond and Klay juggernaut with guys like Igudola and Cousins relating too. This is for Kevin Durant (who we apologize to for every Canadian fan who cheered his injury in Game 5. Although Warrior fans cheered for an injured Kawhi back in the day too) who played to the pain as all heart he proved everyone wrong and did it all for his team. And true Warrior mode Klay Thompson who went down with a crippling injury too in this final game and came right back to the right kind of cheers. This superteam and one of the greatest in history is far from extinct.

But right now for the Toronto Raptors it’s Jurassic World and the Golden State Warriors for the last time, fallen kingdom.

And as the final horn called for the last game of the season all hands were kept high for the North who overcame all the cold to break the ice for the first championship. And the champagne no longer on ice tasted as good as these underdogs proving everyone wrong as they bit back.

I’m not crying…we’re all crying.

We the champions my friends and Canadian countrymen.

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Last Night Ruined The NBA Finals

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Last Night Ruined The NBA Finals
He The Hero...

Last night Kevin Durant returned for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors who were up 3 games to one in the series. 48 minutes away from becoming the first Canadian champions in basketball history.

Last night Kevin Durant came back from injury and played. And you know what? It absolutely ruined everything. Even the game we love with all our hardwood heart, sweat and soul.

Why?

Because of you.

Yeah I said it…you!

If you cheered that is.

The Toronto Raptors where the underdogs about to extinct the notion that basketball up north meant nothing as they, behind a Drake all in good sport taunt and smile were going to give us court-side views to a death of a dynasty. Like LeBron playing David to this Golden State Goliath in 2016, before the digital San Fran age for the Warriors in Silicon Valley next season. But this time no team was going to make hoops history from 3-1 down.

The Raps where going to wrap it up on their home-stand floor and in their country with only every fan in the building singing the “Oh Canada” national anthem in a moment of beautiful unity. No Ne-Yo or Metallica metal. Just the mettle of every man and women in the six. Thousand dollar seats to nosebleeds and all the ‘Jurassic Park’ fans perimeter fence contained outside, spark plugging it all like the ultimate 6 man. Sorry October’s Very Own. Your Owl has nothing on these prehistorics.

Warriors Kevin Durant Injures Right Achilles 2019 Nba Finals Game 5 Vs Toronto Raptors
Warriors’ Kevin Durant Injures right achilles 2019 NBA Finals Game 5 vs. Toronto Raptors

By then the greatest offensive player in the league teamed up with the 48 points per of Steph Curry for Basketball God’s sake and last night was history. Durant hero ball pushed back and returned when he was still hurt. When he shouldn’t have. Talk that talk about him now. Scoring 11 by the second as Durant looked poised for 40 the Warriors would end up winning by one (106-105) with a chance to go back home and even up the series for a do or die Game 7 with both teams end on the line. But all that didn’t matter. As Durant went all Kobe with his own type of Mamba moment he didn’t want, injuring his Achilles in the second quarter and going down for good in the 2019 Finals and who knows what else for the free agent to be stock.

Looks like Toronto could truly take it now no matter how many games are left right?

Cause for celebration right?

Right?

WRONG!

This morning we’re writing a whole different type of article than we thought we would have been last night.

Call Durant what you will. A snake. A troll. The best player on this planet in the National Basketball Association. But cheering as a man goes down injured in pain is wrong. Celebrating and shouting and waving bye bye as Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry helped the same man who greeted them all in the tunnel after the previous game’s heartbreaking loss (even the walking off before the final horn King James doesn’t do that) off court is beyond poor sportsmanship, or crass cruelty. It’s the lowest of the low in this game.

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Last night the NBA Finals and what is supposed to be entertainment for everyone to enjoy took a dark turn.

Shame on anyone who joined in this chorus.

It’s disgusting.

A disgrace.

Absolutely appalling.

They aren’t truly the North. They may not even really know what it’s like to truly be Canadian.

Yeah I said it.

And if you feel that cold like January up your spine like you shouldn’t have bully ball joined in then I’m sorry but I guess I mean you too.

Maybe it’s time to rethink.

You saw the perfect professional and true hero that is Kyle Lowry leading the call for the fans to stop cheering and be quiet. And if at that moment you did then it’s all good. We all make mistakes. You learned from it. And we aren’t throwing stones at those who didn’t do the same like Twitter trolls launching tirades in this meme and GIF erased age of turning someone into a swiped away afterthought the moment you wish like you’re better than them.

Drake Consoles Kevin Durant As He Walks Off Injured Nba Finals
Drake consoles Kevin Durant as he walks off injured at 2019 NBA Finals

Even if they are the best of us. Not everyone joined in. Like Drake who displayed genuine concern for his friend tattooed on his arm and showed in good sport, despite all he’s teased and taunted — lately that this was bigger than Basketball and even the stage of what could have been Canada’s moment last night.

And I’m sure most people in Toronto would agree now that if it did happen last night. If they did win after all the cheering and jeering to the injury, then it wouldn’t have been any sort of victory at all.

In hindsight history could have already been made this morning but after everything that changed last night, would you have really wanted it like that? This way?

Besides in the nature of real, earned champions wouldn’t you have rather beaten a full strength Durant and Warriors like you probably would have ended up doing last night if he never went down with injury to make a point.

And now if they thought Durant would have been too much to deal with and in their weakness laughing at his pain was their way of showing how scared they really were of that, then just wait until they see the sleeping Warrior they wake up now. Curry, Klay, Draymond, DeMarcus and Iggy are pissed and for the next two games at home you know who they’re going to take it out on right?

They should have never been messed with.

They’re all sixes and Game sevens now.

Just like if Toronto win the finals it will have nothing to do with Durant’s injury before or after, if the Warriors end up making a King chess move against them in 2016, circle round and win it all then it will be because of last night’s pivotal moment. But not because Kevin went down. But because of what happened after.

Be careful what you cheer for.

Laugh now. Lose later.

There’s no worse opponent than karma.

Let’s hope Kawhi has some good ones left.

Does it really all come down to this?

Step it up.

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