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.
DO Call It A Carmelo Comeback. Anthony Is Guaranteed For Years
Three fingers like “what’s your poison” and shots to the dome like LL Cool J’s comeback. I’m calling it…
La La said knock you out.
They say there are no guarantees in this life, or league. But now after almost crossing off an entire calender, Carmelo Anthony has one in this league of X and O’s.
You best believe every team that slept on him has woke up now.
O.K. Thunder? Like old New York. No ‘Melo in Lakers yellow, or Houston’s problem.
And let’s not talk about that ATL jersey Atlanta tried to hawk.
The Nugget type of fellow that Nelly rapped about like ‘Na-Nana-Na’, with the heart of a champion sweat until he was no longer in a suit and part of the Sportscenter theme again. After waiting longer to align with The King in Hollywood for this Game Of Thrones than another Anthony (Davis), Carmelo ended up coming up roses in the RIP City of Portland. And boy has he blazed a trail. Voltron forming arguably a big three with the best backcourt in the league not in this nation’s capital with C.J. McCollum and Dame ‘Time’ Lillard with the look like the OK3 of Russell Westbrook and PG3 and not the Beard and the Brow.
And now he’s exceeded everyone’s greatest expectations. As one of the G.O.A.T.’s has polished his path to the Hall with a comeback even better than the return of Superman Dwight Howard with the Lakers…which could have had a Hollywood sequel with Carmelo’s comeback.
But the Lakers loss is the PDX’s blazing gain.
What more would you expect from a guy who still put up competent averages in the soaring Rockets cosmos, despite being grounded by little court acclaim? The problems in Houston could have actually been attributed to another guy who ended up ousted and in an Oklahoma home too. Despite the trolls who are now trading in hot takes like they never simulated 2K videos of him building a Commodore house with his shot selection. Or the analysts who are changing their discussion like a report rewrite.
Carmelo ain’t calming down. Anthony is taking everyone back to school.
Class has been in session.
And how about the report card? Eight games. 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Big shots. Western Conference Player of the Week. All Star legend spot? He belongs like the Carushow in the Slam Dunk Contest. He’s unstoppable like LeBron James’ Eurostep, spin-cycle lay-up that is like a runaway freight…word to Denzel Washington. Or his Kareem sky-hook. Tokyo 2020 Team USA bid for the best in five rings Olympic legend in his golden age? Big shots from the double 0 like seven. From nothing twice?! This is no time to die Mr. Bond.
He’s gone toe-to-shot with the MVP. Showed he was more than a most imported or Sixth Man, but still a star. More than the name, but the actual game. And now he’s guaranteed to be around for a while longer like he never left, but is here to stay. As the Blazers changed the trail on the end of the signature of his contract before the ink even dried for this guy’s with the wet jumper like staying outside in the snow with your ugly NBA sweater this Christmas.
This tax is more than a luxury. It’s about to cap off a classic career with one compelling closing chapter.
Even when he bit career highs at the core of his career in the Big Apple, the ever humble hero Carmelo was a walking and dribbling, “I just take it one game (or day) at a time” postgame soundbite like he has been in his comeback off court to on it. Well now the Blazers can guarantee him 365…or at least 82 or however far he takes them.
From the headband to the hoodie, stay ‘Melo. Anthony is here to stay.
After Expelling The Order Of The Phoenix, Wizards Exiled By L.A. King.
Forgive the title…I’ve spent the week reading all seven of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ books. Expelliarmus.
Hey if its good enough for Kobe cosplaying as “he who shall not be named” one Halloween, like the King as Prince, or a cut above the rest Edward Scissorhands this year. It’s good enough for us. And Basketball’s the closest thing to Quidditch right?
But forget the Wizenard series for a page, today the Wizards were in town and speaking of Bryant some former young core Lakers were gunning for revenge like the Ingram, Hart and Ball-less Pelicans last game. Thomas Bryant, Moe Wagner and Isaac Bogna to be exact. Along with dynamo Isaiah Thomas shooting the bright lights out to prove LeBron, the Lakers and the rest of the league that shouldn’t have wrote him off wrong. Proving that the Lakers leave more youngsters on other people’s porches than the stereotypical beginnings of old movies about coming of age, against the odds. See ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ and anything else set around that time.
But this weekend Hollywood had the perfect picture for their 10th straight W against D.C. Whose capital Washington game was big here in Tokyo with this writer and his new town for Japanese born Rui Hachimura’s clash with the titan. L.A. King versus the young king of the rising sun (no half-blood prince) that was going to be more Rakuten tuned into than when Tokyo hosted the Houston Rockets versus champion Toronto Raptors double-header first NBA Japan Games in decades last month.
But for the city in Shaq sized edition Dr. Buss tribute jerseys that were left on every fan that wanted tacos this Thanksgiving like LeBron calling on Tuesday’s seat pregame, it was former champion with Canada Danny Green who rediscovered his winners touch from downtown Los Angeles. Washington may be in a shooting spell themselves after scorching the Sun’s 140-132 Thursday in an Arizona shoot-out, but it was the Lakers who stunned them 125-103 today.
Yer a King, LeBron!
LeBron on a poetic couplet quest for the Lakers 17th championship in his year 17 was Magic with 11 assists and the number across his City Edition Nike in points. The same jersey number he’s going to give to Anthony Davis, despite this writer Black Friday buying his gold statement 3 yesterday (let’s hope that doesn’t end up like my Lonzo Ball road one this time last year next). A.D. lead the way with another double/double of 26 and 13 rebounds although Rui wasn’t afraid of going toe-to-sneaker toe with him, or never scared the King too with 16 points and 8 rebounds. As the next star next to star Bradley Beal’s 18 points and 9 assists showed Hollywood his coming to America story was Giannis worthy.
Bryant, Bogna and Wagner (seven and eight and one dunk on his head from Dwight in response to a flagrant) like Thomas with ten all showed out too against their old Showtime. But the Lakers who were still without defensive stalwart Avery Bradley like all these familiar, former faces got new help from Quinn Cook’s 17 out to the kitchen and another double trouble from fan favourite JaVale McGee who had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Whilst one of the best Point Guards of all-time still in his game Rajon Rondo had 13 in just two minutes less than that of play.
Shaqtin’a-fool in another reunion Dwight Howard (8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 “oh no you don’t, Mutombo finger wags) continued his bolstered bench presence against his old Washington state. But off a beautiful bounce ‘Brookyln 99’ copped pass from everybody’s hero Caruso he was T’d up after taunting after his big jam. Still the STAPLES Center loved it like they loved number 39 again after the D-12 drama. Who would have thought this guy would be back and back like this? Let alone dunking in a Shaq designed uniform?
But going 14 and 1 in November and winning 17 of 18 for their 10th straight, the league best Lakers haven’t been on box score paper this victorious for the record since those O’Neal 2000 champion days with the Wizenard Kobe. The Wizards may have a lot of tricks up their sleeve at the moment…but they haven’t got enough in their bag for this in the first part of their Hollywood road trip (just the best in the league Kawhi and homeboy P.G. next). Being outscored 84-36 in a half worth 24 like a Kobe throwback by the Lake Show.
But just wait until their new Japanese son rises.
I solemnly swear he’s going to be so good.
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