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.
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.
Lakers cut Cousins for Hollywood Morris vs Morris twin brothers story
Pelican and Wildcat pack connected with Laker superstar Anthony Davis and veteran legend point Rajon Rondo, when the Lakers copped Sacramento Kings great DeMarcus Cousins this off-season it was meant to be their strongest Summer signing. Reuniting D.C. with A.D. after their N.O. year this was just a campaign after Cousins related to a Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors superteam that only last season, after the arrival of the big-man — fans around the league were calling not playing fair.
Because Boogie down low was the best center in the league, reminded us of an explosive TNT hybrid of Shaq and Chuck. But his post power productions have been crippled by injury even if he ill-advised but all heart tried to redemption return for his former Warriors’ team in the losing finals against the Raptors.
Now out of California again, even though he is no longer a Warrior, like K.D. you can always dub DeMarcus as one.
Meanwhile, whilst Lakers fans were celebrating Cousins arrival with caution once they knew he still needed time to recover, the Lakers brought back to bewilderment the infamous name of Dwight Howard. It looked laughable and ludicrous to bring back the former Mickey Mouse superstar even on a non-guaranteed contract. Especially when there were other former All Stars and future Hall of Famers on the market (Carmelo Cough Anthony).
It looked like chemistry cancer. But it was as natural as biology. And then so many rebounds, blocks, dunks, one contest and guaranteed contract later and the redemption reunion was set for a season that took everyone by surprise. The epic, emphatic energy Hollywood needed way back when flipped the script, as changing his legacy number 39 dunked all over the legend of 12 with his signature smile.
Just when the Lakers thought their dynamic Wilt and West, Magic and Kareem, Shaq and Kobe following dynamic duo of the beard and the brow of LeBron James and Anthony Davis had a big-three like Miami in DeMarcus Cousins, it actually turned out that the Lakers had a big-three Ghidora like post blocking and dunking monster of Davis, Dwight and of course all-time fan favourite, JaVale McGee. But still fans thought that once D.C. came back to Cali’s capital, another head would grow. But now the Lakers have cut it off like a broken leg in the Wild West wilderness this Winter.
The Lakers have waived DeMarcus Cousins before he ever played a single game or before he got the chance to show that he’s still got it like that. But trust he still will as another team will pick him up (if only it was the Lakers next season as DeMarcus talked about how much he liked this brotherhood 1 through 15 before sharing on Instagram his “tough times don’t last. Tough people do” tattoo following the cut). Forget a Howard’s end in redemption, there’s about to be a revenge reunion. Especially if a rival picks him up in these mind games.
Because the Lakers have just played one whilst hopefully not playing themselves. Cousins could have been that Rasheed Wallace like Pistons’ signing after the trade deadline that could have guaranteed them a chip (and do we remember who that Detroit Bad Boys reboot team beat in the finals that season? I will give you a clue. Even adding the Mailman and Glove of Karl Malone and Gary Payton wasn’t enough). Although rumour has it with him rehabbing at the Lakers facility for the rest of the year (this isn’t the first time the Lakes have made a classy move like this. See, Xavier Henry), after this sacrifice he may re-sign with the Lakers this Summer anyway. But now however the Lakers’ have brought in another former Piston to hopefully fuel their assembly line.
After missing out on ‘Melo and Andre Iguodala the Lakers didn’t want to make the same mistake for one of the best on the buyout, even if they have just added the realest to the free agent pool to get him. The hustle and heart of Markieff Morris is exactly the true grit this Hollywood team needs for the playoffs that they have been missing since they didn’t re-up Tyson Chandler.
Bolstering the Caruso and cook-ed up bench and backing-up and giving more three space for Kyle Kuzma. But what’s more like the dreads and headband, Spider-Man pointing match-up of Harkless and Jae Crowder, the Lakers now have a Morris vs Morris brother Hollywood story perfect for their script ending that should see the Battle for Los Angeles Western Conference Finals closing chapter with the Clippers that much more compelling.
Now the L.A. King one-two punches of James and Davis versus Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have more in reserve for Markieff and Marcus matching-up with twin ambition. And it’s going to make for some epic entertainment come playoff time that we can preview at the start of April for the California clash rescheduled after the tragic death of Kobe and GiGi Bryant. And what’s more Marcus says the brothers after playing together for years are going to live in the same house in Los Angeles. That should make for some awkward dinners after we see who is eating come June.
The Lakers have just gained another brother. But in this Fast and Furious league when it’s all about family, don’t forget about your cousins.
Wade In The Rafters. The Heat Rises To 3
How’s this for a Flashpoint in NBA history?
Tonight the Miami Heat gave us ‘The Flashback’. DeLorean riding back to the future of last season. Were Dwyane Wade rocking a red Heat hot bomber jacket that was all “Great Scott” Marty McFly had his number three jersey under all that retired, as the Heat rose his 3 to the rafters in a flash.
After ‘One Last Dance’ for Dwyane last season were he swapped jerseys like trading cards, Wade and his former coach and President Pat Riley watched his last jersey go up past the nosebleeds to the ceilings he smashed, arm in arm like a proud father watching a home video of his sons wedding on the highlights of the jumbotron.
The relationship is exactly like that. Built on a fatherly foundation.
Miami has had a matrimony with Wade from the Chicago towns own All Star start, championship run on his own and then post Bulls and King reunion return to redemption.
Some may say Shaq. 90’s purists Zo Mourning and Timmy Hardaway. Others the greatest of all-time LeBron James forming like voltron with another Heatle that’s about to have his jersey retired, Chris Bosh. But let’s face it when it comes to Miami Heat players and franchise faces, D-Wade is the G.O.A.T.
Legacy. Legacy. L3gacy.
This is the way of Wade. How its been and how it will always been up in the air of those American Airlines. A father first and always part of the Miami family when the South Beach welcomed him like Will Smith, this guy is for life like Bad Boys and the number 3 that Martin Lawrence’s Marcus has framed in his own living room rafter raise for the latest sequel.
What you gonna do?
This was a Florida city union like pink or turquoise neon, or the ’till death do us part loyalty of ‘Bad Boys II’ and ‘LA Finest’ spin-off star Gabrielle Union. The port of Miami Rick Ross rocked the mic and even King James sent a video tribute from his Californian Lakerland as fellow retired club legends Chris Bosh and Ray Allen were in awe attendance.
“Life is good” Wade said like Nas for this two hour special that seemed ready made for an ESPN documentary. 30 for 30 or 3 for 3.
3 in ’03 to infinity for his sweet 16. The sun will never go down on the legendary legacy of Miami’s adopted son.
And in a tragic start to 2020, like Chi guy Wade embracing an emotional Allen Iverson in a Kobe number 8 tribute throwback this moment was the answer to the pain from our prayers.
Now all that is left is one last step to the Hall.