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.
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.
Philadelphia 76ers’ make Marial Shayok Ottawa’s first-ever NBA draft pick
Ottawa’s Marial Shayok has achieved his ultimate dream — becoming the city’s first-ever NBA draft pick. The Philadelphia 76ers selected Shayok with the 54th-pick overall in the second-round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
The former St.Patrick’s Irish high school standout celebrated his special and emotional moment at home with family and friends.
“You did it bro, you did bro…”
“Let’s go baby! You going to Philly…”
For Shayok and his family the historic moment is a culmination of life-long sacrifices that started in South Sudan with his 6’9″ father Makor Shayok moving his wife and three-daughters to America. The elder Makor set post at Alvin Texas Community College and earned a scholarship to the Dayton Flyers, playing from 1990-1992.
Makor’s eldest, Shayok Shayok (born in Miami) and his sister Yar Shayok also followed dad’s footsteps and played NCAA basketball – Shayok going to Bradley and transferring to UMKC and Yar playing with Detroit Mercy Titans women’s program.
The family migrated to Ottawa, Canada in the mid-90’s and on July 26th, 1995 the youngest Shayok was born.
Marial left Ottawa for New Jersey’s Blair Academy after three-years with the St.Pats Irish — he originally committed to the Marquette Golden Eagles but transferred to the Virginia Cavaliers after the coach (Buzz Williams) that originally recruited him bailed on the program in 2015.
Shayok had busy NBA draft process – showcasing his versatile skill-set to 14 NBA front offices. Here is footage of his 76ers’ work-out.
Mardi Gras For New Orleans On Pelicans Road To Zion
Zion. Zion. Zion.
Cause for celebration, or at least a premature parade in a conclusion as foregone as the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers. The Duke KABOOM of all the all dunking Zion Lion is a YES for N.O. As with the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft live from New York City a few days before Saturday Night, Williamson is a New Orleans Pelican.
The most exciting league prospect since LeBron James may not get to play with the King’s new man after the Davis trade. But he has all the toys in the form of all the boys that would have been the future of the Lake Show (out of a lucky 13 over the last half-decade of drafts only Kyle Kuzma remains) in the young princes of soaring, scoring Brandon Ingram, true teammate Josh Hart and the alley-oops to be thrown by point man and former number 2 pick like B.I., Lonzo Ball (have you noticed that since this trade there has been little word of Zion dropping out the draft and heading back to college like Yeezus in reverse?). Not to mention Julius Randle if they can convince the big to stay and bolster their Davis-less frontcourt with the top picks of guys like Okafor. And not to forget like Jrue Holiday all the draft choices over the next few years the Pels will get. Just like the one they’ve just traded on draft night. As with the fourth pick in the 2019 Draft the Los Ange…sorry the New Orle…excuse me, the Atlanta Hawks select DeAndre Hunter.
Good will hunting. See what you could have won Lake Show?
I guess the Duke isn’t going back to college anymore.
What a way to replace Davis in a matter of days with the Thanos game changing, season of wind in a draft snap.
But like the year the King took his throne with the likes of Carmelo and the Flash of Dwyane for his first dance, the NBA Draft isn’t just about one man, Sam Bowie.
And as the Just Do It Nike campaign “from underated to undeniable” don’t write off Murray State’s Ja Morant like people did and for some reason still do (Hello Brooklyn?!) D’Angelo Russell. Replacing veteran the Grizz grit legend of Mike Conley Jr. traded to Utah, Morant will bring that grind. Rolling, expect Ja to rule Memphis like another King with the rock.
Now the New York Knicks may have wanted to make Zion their new King, but the lottery that New York didn’t win weeks ago already said balls to all that. But judging from the reaction of ‘BlackKklansman’ director Spike Lee with the big three pick, the Mecca made the right choice with the franchises new face of Madison Square Garden and Big Apple in another Duke standout in R.J. Barrett, for their post Porzingis and ‘Melo era. It almost looked on the cards, or in the bag like his shot on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. Where he bucketed a Knicks mannequin head (don’t ask) after trying the cap it wore on first to which Jimmy replied after he nailed it, “it must be the Knicks”!
Darius Garland completed the top five for the Cleveland Cavaliers still searching for that new Land owner after the King took his talents to Hollywood. The Timberwolves got the sixth of Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver after a trade with the Suns that will soon be as official as the AD one. Whilst coming in seventh and eighth, the Bulls got Coby White and the Pelicans after a trade with Atlanta further their Lake Showtime future with two top tens and Texas’ blocking and dunking with a Texan name straight out of ‘A Star Is Born’, Jaxson Hayes.
Big in Japan. History was made last night in a draft that was already one for the record books as straight out of Gonzaga and now a Wizard like Harry in Washington D.C., Rui Hachimura became the first ever Japanese player to be drafted in the first round with the ninth. But don’t sleep on last year’s rookie out of Memphis, Yuta Watanabe who still has all the tools to be the future next to Morant.
But in one of the best drafts in recent years in a class of its own, there was so much talent to choose from in this pool that there was always bound to be players that missed the top ten cut, way below their deserved position. But just making it to the first block, Duke’s Cam Reddish taken at ten by the Hawks (who also have their talons in two top tens for their Trae Young lead future) still seems like a sleeper. This Laker fan who when we originally held the fourth wanted us to go with Cam or Manute’s son Bol Bol (second round slide? Really? This guy with the spiders’ web suit has the length and versatility to be a game changer). But just wait until this fire under him proves everyone (or at least nine or so other teams) wrong this killa season.
This draft is so Method Man abyss deep that it won’t just be the Pelicans who fly this season in Crescent City. With so much uncertainty this free agency at least some teams that hit the lottery have just the ticket punched for the future of their franchises with what the draft blew in.
But reaching the mount with Zion at number one is a gift from the Basketball God’s.