Excitement was beyond palpable in the STAPLES Center last night. Even more than this weekends behind jersey, lip service between rookie Lonzo Ball and free agent to be with a home in L.A., LeBron James, doing their best Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent in ‘Casino’ impression (“whose this guy?”). As last night in Los Angeles Lakerland became ‘Kobeland’.
Forget Hollywood down the downtown road even if Jack Nicholson’s bald dome is clear to see in the above shot courtside, because last night off Chick Hearn Drive, La La Lakerland was the real city of stars as all the living legends that the storied Lakers hold in their history books came out to pay tribute to another and possibly the greatest who was about to join them in the rafters either side of Chick’s microphone.
The fire and ice of Elgin Baylor and the logo Jerry West. Big Game James Worthy. President Magic introducing his last Laker wish with Jeanie. Cap Kareem and of course the big fella and dynamic duo partner in crime Shaq amongst other teammates like Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher where in attendance like the Kevin Hart and Kendrick Lamar celebrity elite for the biggest ticket at STAPLES since Bean Bryant said goodbye to basketball with 60 points.
See Kobe Bryant was so good the Lakers had to retire him twice like the achillies and shoulder injuries that crippled his career but didn’t close it until he called it. After years of debate between eight and the one better than Jordan 24, the Lakers in the end decided to immortalize both numbers of the five time champ in the retirement rafters.
And in an evening of celebration that even featured a Santa Monica pier like ferris wheel in the ‘Kobeland’ amusement arcade outside the arena, number 8 and 24 had a hard time putting it all in words with his wife and three daughters right beside him. But after a stirring speech that passed respect to everyone from fan to teammate, when asked who would have the upper hand in a young, dunking number 8 and the court scientist of 24, all the retired Bryant could think of was at least ‘Fro8e’ could grow hair.
That was halftime. As for the actual game itself against the champion Golden State Warriors that these young Dubs to be bogey team beat last year that was a different Los Angeles Times story. The young Lake Show came close to honouring their tributed legend, but in the end faced disappointment like the eventuality that they didn’t rock those rumoured Black Mamba snakeskin jerseys that looked to Nike make-up for the lack of Hollywood Nights in all black this season. Rookie steal Kyle Kumza followed his dinner date with Kobe with 25 off the bench. Whilst number 2 Lonzo Ball pointed to 16 points and 6 rebounds and assists for a devilish line. Even returned from injury Larry Nance Jr. caught a slam as good as his dunk of the year against Brooklyn last season. But in the end after taking the champs to overtime like New York last week, the Young Golden State of California took the Showtime swag out of Hollywood, as after K.C.P. failed to drain a game winning three at regulation, Kevin Durant’s 36 points had its own muse cage, Mamba moment with a 116-114 game winner.
But despite this heartbreaking loss for team purple, this night was all about the soul of Lakers gold.
Dear Basketball here’s to the eighth wonder, ‘Ko8e24’…forever!
Time to start carving that statue…
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.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 Pts, 20 Rebs, 10 Asts first Canadian NBA triple-double since 2006
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, ON) became only the second Canadian basketball player in NBA history to record a triple-double — and the first in nearly 14 years, since Steve Nash in 2006.
Gilgeous-Alexander racked-up 20 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former one-and-done Kentucky Wildcat continued his efficient campaign shooting 8-of-12 field goals, connecting 2-of-3 triples and 2-of-2 from the foul-line.
Steve Nash recorded three triple-doubles in his illustrious 18-year career, the last one on April 19, 2006 — Nash finished with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The 20 rebounds is also a record-high by a Canadian guard and only the second 20/20 double-double by a Canadian — Jamaal Magloire notched a 22 point, 21 rebound game against the Toronto Raptors’ on March 21, 2004.
Most rebounds by a Canadian in the NBA
Samuel Dalembert (Montreal, QC) holds the record for the most rebounds in a NBA game with 23 against the Golden State Warriors on March 20, 2009. Followed by Magloire 22 and Tristan Thompson with 21.
Gilgeous-Alexander becomes the youngest guard to record 20-20-10 stat-line and joins Russell Westbrook as the only guards with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double over the last 30 seasons. He is also the youngest player in NBA history with a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal.
RJ Barrett became the first Canadian basketball player to record a triple-double at the NCAA level in nearly 35 years during his lone freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils.
The OKC Thunder continue their playoff push with their 18 victory in the last 25 games and currently sit in 7th place in the western conference.
The Canadian guard is currently averaging 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists — shooting 46.4% from the floor, 33.6% from three-pointers and 81.6% from the foul-line while turning the ball over just 1.9 per game.
Canada NBA All-Star Drought
The 2020 NBA All-star game in Chicago is less than month away and as it currently stands, Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t currently rank as one the top fan vote earners in a guard heavy western conference. Nevertheless, the Canadian stud could end Canada’s eight year NBA all-star game drought by earning a coach’s selection.
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