“But what could be greater than a King”, Jason Mamoa’s ‘Aquaman’ asks in the booming trailer for his new movie on the big screens of LA Live across from STAPLES.
Who says it doesn’t rain in Southern California?
After suffering altitude sickness in the Mile-High city of Denver for their worst loss of the season in Nevada this week. The King and all his Lakerland men met a homecoming in the City of Angels that was missing the Californication of the sun. There really was a storm coming in Los Angeles. But we’re talking about a different type of precipitation. As outside it may have rained all day in LA cats and dogs. But inside the STAPLES Center it was purple reign all night.
And it was the King who once dressed up as Prince who made sure the elevator didn’t bring us down, as he made the hoop heavens cry like doves with a game-high 38.
Let’s go crazy!
Basketball Buzz must have been California dreamin’ like your Mamas and Papas in La La Lakerland last night. With the best seats this writer has ever had in the King’s castle. On the last leg and final stop of our road trip of these United States before we take a United Airlines home, that began in the Mecca of New York’s Madison Square Garden. We were so (Glen) close in Hollywood we could see the sweat, King James joke with Goldstein courtside, or all the emotion. Live and for real in front of our faces. And this writer was even caught on the jumbotron camera last night…or at least part of his shoulder and face was. And they say dreams don’t come true.
In Tinseltown for the back-to-back (Magic voice: “yeah…YEAH”) doubleheader we were given the Dickens with great expectations. Especially staying across from STAPLES in the historic three pillars (no Lakers yet guys?!) of the Hotel Figueroa with a James jersey over my hotel room chair waiting for this banner moment. Overlooking the bright lights of this neon futuristic by night big city and a LeBron Nike billboard that witnessed the words, ‘Just A Small Town Kid, With Big City Dreams’. Don’t break into Journey’s, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ people, but there’s faith here again in downtown LA. Literally a few blocks away from Hope Street.
We thought Lance Stephenson would go off against his former Indiana Pacers especially with their big star Victor Oladipo sidelined (he didn’t get chance unfortunately). We thought Lonzo Ball’s sprained ankle would mean he faced a DNP-CD as B.B. were in L.A. typically too (he didn’t let that happen fortunately). You have to give it up for this kids heart like that Twitter trending video of him defending every player on a possession against Orlando that was true Magic (word to Earv’). This year something has happened that even President Johnson couldn’t pardon. LaVar Ball has shut up. Maybe by royal decree. Or his own much more than given credited for common sense. But either way the smart entrepreneur with a Muhammed Ali mouth entertaining way of lip-service getting business done and dusted has kept it zipped. But did you notice through all this reality show, Hollywood hoops hoopla the kid Lonzo always kept quiet and let his game do the talking? And what a game! Ball balled out after refusing to let an ankle sprain sideline him after mining an injury against the Nuggets. When the Lakers said he was “questionable”. He refused that notion saying he was playing, no doubt.
Answer that critics.
And he joined the Lakers block party swatting off the glass in the same play that saw Ingram ingrain that defensive presence that D.P.O.Y. for sure right now JaVale McGee started, inspiring his back-up Tyson Chandler to knock out finish. When the game started the Pacers in their classic, vintage, best in the association, Hickory Hoosier honouring, red and gold uniforms couldn’t buy a basket until almost halfway through the first quarter with seven minutes to go and change. It was looking like a blowout with the game in the refrigerator, jiggling with the Jello on the week of Chickie’s bday. Let’s hear it for Hearn.
But then the Lakers let a Kobe jersey, 24 point lead slip through their fingers like water. Losing that Mamba Mentality as the (Hickory) Pacers ran the picket-fence that the Lakers had previously put up against them so strong in the ground, they were already applying a fresh coat of white paint. At least we got to see more of the King before it all dried. Because there would be no feet up in this one. At the half we had a ball game for the Lonzo show. And by the third it looked like this upstart without their go to, but still with plenty in reserve (Sabonis, Collision, Evans and Young) could give LA an L by the end of regulation.
But a W is a W like Vin Diesel “inch or mile” said to the late Paul Walker in the first ‘Fast and Furious’ checkered flag waver. And as McGee stopped a fast break that looked to turn the tide with one of his signature swats, the mood was changed for the team chasing a ring with the King. And let’s not Steven Glansberg forget a ‘Superbad’ 13 off the bench for captain and X-Factor Josh Hart. High-five! Or Beasley beastin’ on the Best Coast. But still L.A. couldn’t put them away from downtown Pico. Until K.C.P. had that chicken from three like KFC.
And after that it was all finger licking good for the purple and gold and their Colonel. As the King took off his robe, put on his crown and went into full clutch, royal gold mode. He may have shot from the line like Shaq still, but he faded all that away like Jordan or Kobe. If a guy built like a linebacker hit that sig Shooting Guard shot that is. This Basketball Godfather was untouchable in front of a sold-out Hollywood crowd that included the ‘Black Rain’ of Andy Garcia (this month last year this writer was in Osaka, Japan. This year a few rows away from the scene stealer of the Ridley Scott 80’s classic set there…crazy!) watching a purple one. Lighting up downtown Los Ageless (word to St. Vincent) like the pregame laser show inside STAPLES or that ‘Terminator’ apocalypse like ‘Blade Runner 2049′ skyline outside. The only thing brighter was Coach Walton’s Sager Strong suit in fitting tribute to a king of the sidelines.
But as LeBron either scored or assisted on the Lakers final 15, it all lead to a 104-96 win for the Kings young men that wasn’t exactly comfortable (this one was at times complacently gutted out like the Lakers/Pacers 2000 dynasty birthing finals that saw Kobe leap into Shaq’s arms for the first time. One of Budweiser beers’ golden moments of Laker history right now), but still fit like a new Sunday best, starched and pressed. As Sager himself who refused to give up or give in once said, “Everyone has to face obstacles. Everybody has to face hurdles. It’s what you do with those that determines how successful you’re going to be.” And boy did the King Bolt over those hurdles. Or more fittingly from the smart mind of Sager how about this to close it out…
“If we don’t have hope and faith, we have nothing.”
We do because of you. Respect sir. Rest Peacefully.
A Rose For Kuz?
The Rose that grew from the career incasing concrete of a plaster cast, potential legacy ending injury is still in bloom.
Now that’s legendary.
As a matter of fact with the trade deadline nearer than your office one, right now nothing smells better than Pooh.
Currently more than motoring on with the Detroit Pistons in Motown, the rejuvenation of Derrick Rose has already had his redemption season. Howling back with the Minnesota Timberwolves the last 82. But in this one mirroring his prime time stats as a Bull and the next era after M.J. for the Chicago way, it’s still a story as good as a Dwight Howard Hollywood reunion or blazing Carmelo comeback out in Oregon.
And now like the former D12, D. Rose could be heading to the wild west like the one Anthony the Lakers didn’t get in the end (but should of). But like the young core, Ingram, Ball and Hart trade for A.D. is the prize worth the price?
Although Derrick is linked with the 76ers like every superstar over the past few seasons and a reunion with Chicagoland (which Basketball God’s would be the perfect closing chapter to this story that is albeit still being wrote by his own penmanship), the Benjamin Franklin’s are on Rose reuniting with King James although he called his Cleveland time with the classic Cavalier “super awkward”.
The former number one, that draft pick and NBA MVP is still most valuable and at 31 is almost a half decade younger than the King. Plus with awesome averages of 18.3 points on 50.3 percent from the field in 25.8 minutes and 5.9 assists per contest this campaign, the guy wants more time and to get out of the elimination standings.
Clockwork and contention could certainly be on the cards for Rose who let’s face it at his age and stage and with the numbers he’s putting up is still a superstar, hate it or love it. He’s been put through the ringer for his career like Bill Simmons or Shea Serrano, but now he’s being called on like Phil Collins to be one of the games greats like the genesis of his association with National Basketball.
So he may just be worth a package deal like your next vacation. Even if the Lakers are offering Kyle Kuzma and Quinn Cook for his services. Can I make a counter offer of Cook, Troy Daniels (great…but underused) and DeMarcus Cousins (although I do want to see how big he can literally get coming back and grunting with former post Pelican powerhouse Anthony Davis)? Throw in Drummond and it’s a go. Like Jerry Seinfeld superimposed into ‘Deal Or No Deal’ by NBC’s ’30 Rock’, “I gotta take that deal!”
Pair Rose with LeBron and the frontcourt force of Howard and of course Davis then these London Olympic teammates would make for what a couple of five ring contests ago on dry erase would look like a dream team. And it still wakes up notions of one to this date in the 2020 year of Tokyo thanks to Vogels vision. But would the show be giving up too much this time?
“This time”…yeah right!
Quinn Cook has California championship pedigree, splashing with the brothers in Golden State like shopping on Rodeo Drive. And this Warrior has been integral this season. His number 2 from downtown reminding me of the should be retired clutch king Fisher (we can always raise 0.4 to the STAPLES rafters) and making me feel happier about buying a Lonzo Ball statement jersey last year…hey if I wear it under a jacket it looks like I’m cooking up love and representation for Quinn.
And then there’s Kuz.
If the Lakers trade away Kyle Kuzma then they will be giving up the last piece of their incredibly curated young core that is flying with the Pelicans right now. Although how could I forgot about the untouchable, All Star Alex Carushow and the fact that Anthony Davis isn’t calendar far from Larry Nance Jr. and new Jazz 6 man Jordan Clarkson?
Although Rose solves the Lakers perimeter problems and feels in the same prime time as what could be his All Star teammates (how legendary would a Rose/Rondo backcourt be although it’s hard not to know whether to deal him or Cook?), Kuz seems too good to let cruise like Tom. This top gun may have struggled early this season, but he was coming back from injury Lakers Twitter. And recently he’s been that Worthy third option behind the Big Game Magic of James and his Kareem or Shaq to his Kobe number 3 partner, waiting on those Jordan digits next season when the King carries the 6.
30 for 30 putting up “trade this” exclamatory numbers in the dynamic duos absence, even Batman and Robin needed a Nightwing. And as much as Rose could help the new Lake Showtime bloom and grow like fine wine for all of LeBron’s merlot men, you could imagine Kyle making the Lakers pay play after play like a D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle off the team that draft clever, but trade stupid.
Keep the player. Trade the barber.
Zero to 1. The legend or the future superstar? The choice for this deal is the Kings.
Watch THIS Work! The WNBA Bets On Women
Ten years ago the motto of the Women’s National Basketball Association was to, ‘Expect Great’. Now a decade later and into the roaring 20’s of a whole new one and world, the league that tells you to watch them work truly has for all it’s worth.
The WNBA and CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has reached a monumental moment in the leagues history and its time to read all about it on Los Angeles Sparks twin superstar Chiney Ogwumike’s Twitter thread.
It tells us the CBA means…
When it comes to players salary and compensation there will be a 30% increase to the salary cap as the higher max pay player salary jumps like Lisa Leslie’s first dunk from $117,500 to $215,000. Whilst there will be an additional compensation for those top tier Candace Parker players around $300,000. Moving millions this is thee first time the league has moved units like this in six figures. And like Russell Westbrook why not? Because for every player like him there’s an Ogwumike. For every Candace a LeBron. Every Luka Doncic a Breanna Stewart. Every Larry Bird a Sue. Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi. For every Michael Jordan a Lisa Leslie.
Every insufferable, couch potato chip, sexist fans who unlike a Suffragette doesn’t believe women deserves equal pay needs to check their pockets…yep like Rakim said that’s nothing but lint. Now paid in full these women deserve this and more like diversity at the Oscars. Just as good as the men like Michelle Wie (she’s not the logos sons wife people) golfing with the guys of you claim you’re “woke” on social media but can’t wake up to this then you’re about as woke as still in bed gone half 12 in the afternoon. It feels like all those trumped up people who had a problem with a female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. Or those old men who would rather bully a 17 year old girl with Aspergers online than believe in the actual happenings of climate change.
Sure there’s an argument that sportspeople shouldn’t be paid these ridiculous amounts of money. But the point is if the men get paid this much then why shouldn’t the women?
This should have happened a long time ago. But at least it’s happening now.
It’s about time.
Working mothers are also finally getting their due in a groundbreaking deal on this date. Players will receive a salary whilst on maternity leave with an additional new childcare stipend. Whilst up to $60,000 of progressive family planning benefits for veteran players for costs for adoption, surrogacy, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility and more. No longer will go hard greats like Skylar Diggins-Smith have to play whilst pregnant and hide it to protect herself whilst the CBA lists it as a “condition”.
Perks of the game that the men have had for years and the world class women deserve just as such also include individual hotel rooms for players, more mandatory leg room on flights (how important is this for basketball players? The NBA would cry personal foul if the King and them would be forced to fly economy), and further for the finances, off-season job opportunities with league partners that along with the salary rise will mean that WNBA players won’t, overplayed and underpaid have to go overseas in the off-season to earn more money to make ends meet in foreign leagues. Something which has been a conditioning condition and pay for play issue since the leagues inaugural inception.
And let’s not forget about the players mental health too in major improvements across the board and world to an issue still surrounded with stigma despite the lengths taken and measures made. More resources will be offered in addition to the adoption of a Nutrition Council that will aid peak performance by offering players a commitment to this optimization.
But it’s probably the stand made by the WNBA and the CBA against violence to women which is the most important. Ending domestic and all sorts of violence to women which has happened to players around the league and still happens everyday, effecting everyone needs to end NOW like it should have never happened. It seems like such a ridiculously obvious thing to say…but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.
Again and again until we don’t have to.
The wide world has finally met the standards of the women’s game and league on the way to leveling the playing field. More of the same…do we really need to add the please now?
Betting on sporting events is a losers game. But betting on women-like the ones in this league-is a sure thing.
The game changed for real today.
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