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The Jordan Series/The Kobe Series – 23/24



The Greatest & The Chosen One.

It’s after midnight. In the back-yard a young boy is dribbling a basketball, spinning left, pivoting right like it’s the championships final game and second. He fades away as his father watches from the window with pride, not yet ready to tell him it’s time to come in. The ball sinks through the chain-link net with a familiar metallic swish. The ball goes through the hoop again, and again and again. Until it goes through the hoop for an NCAA Championship game before the nylon nets are cut down by a victorious North Carolina alumni. The ball goes through the hoop again, and again and again as the North Carolina jersey comes off and one embroided 23 and embodying Michael Jordan comes on.

The back-yard dreams become front page news as Michael Jordan made his father and the city of Chicago proud as the NBA and the whole world watch a Basketball and entertainment revolution, redeeming the sport and the phrase ‘excitement’. Complete in a shaved dome (“baldy?!”), gold necklace and Nike trainers. The air of excitement was pumped back up like ‘Back To The Future’ trainers, the present legend and legacy. Flying more than hover boards his airness, switched hands and dominated lay-up lines (see, the Lakers) and Slam-Dunk contests (whether against Dominique in February, or the rest of the league on a nightly basis).

From shrugs to last shots. The flu to the number 45 and Madison Square Garden to the NBA Finals Michael Jordan played through it all on the biggest stage of world basketball and focus of a million camera lenses flashing. Picture anyone having this kind of impact. All the opponents defeated. All the teammates carried. All the young kids inspired to pick up a ball that will always mean more than the old men now able to pick up any cheque because Michael made them rich. He even showed baseball and his smiling down father he could proudly play. Before showing a gang of space aliens the door with Bugs Bunny. Warner Brothers certified with Walt Disney dreams come true. This fantastic man even came back and cast some spells as an old Wizard in Washington. He did that for free too and for you, and those devastated by September 11th, donating his entire salary to the 9/11 relief fund. Yes, it’s not just the rings, gold medals, MVP’s, titles and endorsements that tell you he’s the greatest.

It’s after midnight. Somewhere in Italy a young boy is dribbling a basketball, spinning left, pivoting right like it’s Michael Jordan’s championships final game and second. He fades away as his father comes home from playing a professional game in the Euro-league and watches with admiration. The ball sinks through the chain-link net with a real familiar metallic swish. The ball goes through the hoop again, and again and again. Until it goes through the hoop and across the world again and again up in Lower Merion. The ball goes through the hoop again, and again and again before skipping college for a Los Angeles Laker jersey embroided 8 (and some years later one more for 24) and embodying the next, great one Kobe Bryant.

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The Italian work became the American dreams as Kobe Bryant made and continues to make his father and the city of L.A. proud as the NBA and the whole world watch a Basketball and entertainment redux, giving new, post-Jordan life to the sport and the phrase ‘greatness’. Young Kob’ came back home, grew an ‘fro and dominated the game. Save for a few missed postseason years where airballs where thrown up to go with contest worthy and winning dunks. Still, soon after, armed with a new uniform, coach (Phil Jackson), big partner (Shaq) and a Hollywood supporting cast led by Big Shot ‘Bob Horry, Kobe made his game ‘Big James’ as the city of Los Angeles dominated the NBA with its Laker team to the tune of three-Jordan like, back to back, to back championships.

The scoring titles and MVP’s came later as Kobe strived and survived it all, from court to court, even the death of a dynasty, the departure of Shaq (as his Miami Heat cooled off California) and his coach (twice…and almost three times). From the number 81 to Madison Square Garden, just ‘Like Mike’, Kobe made the world of basketball his Mecca with big numbers worthy of Hollywood’s biggest picture. That’s why Jack Nicholson and everyone was watching as Kobe won championships without the Notorious B.I.G. and made the Los Angeles Lakers his own before remaking himself as the ultimate team player who now has more big help with Dwight Howard. Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. A guy who refuses to let critical doubt, father time, or any injury (see the menace of his Phantom face-mask), or Miami Heat player deny him and his Los Angeles Laker gold shining at the beginning of Summer once again like California. The venom hasn’t been drained from the Mamba yet. That’s why he’s the chosen one.

Just look at this classic picture. Beautiful like the game isn’t it? It says it all. We all know whose the student and whose the master. The God of basketball, offering psalms of wisdom to his young disciple. This isn’t just another comparison, head to head piece. Look at the picture. Two very different players and men with the same impact. Still, we all know who the greatest of all-time is and we all know whose the closest to the greatest. The one chosen to take 23’s career to 24 and show Spike, Scoop, the fans, players and the world of basketball once more that there was still hope once the best ever retired for the third and last time. Can you believe in less than three years the chosen one will hang up his Nike sneakers too. It’s been a long time since that number 8 Afro. Still, before Kobe Bryant finally relinquishes the torch to LeBron James that Michael Jordan handed down to him we will get to see just for a few more golden years just how much two men gave flight and helped this sport soar. Next to each other 23 and 24 forever more. Now that’s Basketball.

For Holly.

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Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?



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IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that in regards to loyalty in this league it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that the former tooth chipper is now a befallen superstar by way of injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

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Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship between this point prince and the King of the Ohio land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles



Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History



Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History
The Gloves Are On For The Lakers.

From L.A. to South Bay the storied Lakers franchise has growing family ties rooted in their ever evolving modern history.

There’s the Walton. Son of Bill, former player and now coach Luuuuke. The Slam Dunk king he runs lay-up line plays for Larry Nance Jr. like his 80’s dunk champ dad. And even former player and D-League, South Bay coach Coby Karl, son of the legendary George Karl.

And then there’s the Glove story.

All trash talking, stop you from scoring, Seattle Supersonics NBA legend Gary Payton joined the Lakers with fellow golden era 90’s great post mailman, Karl Malone to try to get one more ring at the end of the Shaq and Kobe era. Payton ended up getting one with Shaq in the talented South Beach pool of Miami before the G retired. But now the gloves son and fellow Beaver, Gary Payton II (there’s a Tim Hardaway Jr. trend for NBA legend fathers to name their sons after themselves) is putting on the gold for the future of this franchises youth revolution.

After starting his unbelievably undrafted career with the young Milwaukee Bucks led by the alphabet Giannis Antetokounmpo, it wasn’t all A-B-C. But now he’s looking to put up numbers with the purple Lake Show off alphabet street like 1-2-3. Now number 23 (three more than his dad…but that isn’t the reason that number should p### the retire No. 20 off) is looking at a fresh start with Luke and Lonzo’s (not to mention Lavar’s) Lakers like no other.

The two-way guard has signed a two-way contract with both the Los Angeles Lakers and their NBDL team the South Bay Lakers (now more official than their former Los Angeles D-Fenders affiliate name, even if not in city). So now G.P. II will play for both Coach Walton and Coach Karl. How’s that for some family ties!?

Young Gary Payton the second had some impressive debuts off the bench for L.A. But now Payton mark II is assigned to South Bay like fellow two-way dunking Alex Caruso (he really does have a detective grade surname and a game that does not go with his frame) he’s ready to ball. Messing around in his debut and getting a triple double of 14, 11 and 12.

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Payton II could be a big part of the Lakers youth movement too like many of his current teammates going from South Bay to L.A. like Hollywood fans and script-writers can only hope LeBron will decide to this free agent offseason like he did South Beach all those last summers ago. Just like another rookie with a familiar surname in Thomas Bryant (no…Kobe isn’t THAT old) and of course Zupac.

Lead by the Ball family, the even better rookie and in no way number two Kyle Kuzma (who even goes one better in the Twitter troll back and forth with Ball brother LiMelo. “Fire your stylist”?! Oh yeah? “Fire your dentist”! Damn…can we smell a Shaq and Kobe beef cooking?!), three times a great rookie selection in the defensive Hart, big Brandon Ingram, of course Nance junior and the original future Julius Randle and his late round draft genius Jordan Clarkson (who’s not only balling like he’s the Sixth Man of the Year but like he should start too) this young Showtime, purp Laker legacy are making their own, unique legend in Mamba moment black.

This season it looked like the chance for an outside eight seed was thinner than the backlight on a retro Casio, but now the future is brighter than the South Bay sun from downtown L.A.

And with the Payton patent making Lakers history by becoming the first father and son duo to suit up for the franchise, it might just take a glove to hold this young core together.

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