Throwback jerseys only really work if it’s been longer than two weeks.
This writer bleeds purple and gold until he dies (when surely we will find out how true that sentiment really is…heavy I know). And last Summer after LeBron’s free agency Hollywood move came with some new suits that took it back to the Showtime 80’s, I was more than in. I already copped the favourite Sunday White 23, as there wasn’t any Hollywood Nights on the horizon this year (and as for those City Edition pinstripe threads? Like the opposite of Kobe…Pass). And I’m saving my gold for whoever we mine from this year’s free agency (that’s a nice way of saying I hope it’s Anthony Davis). But what about the best in the show? The iconic road staples with a Mamba black trim? Well after much debate in the Lakers team store in L.A. this December gone I came away as indecisive as any fellow Englishman…empty handed. Upon finding nothing under my tree last Christmas, I decided to opt for the January sales were our local Foot Locker promoted Lonzo Ball’s number 2 jersey as they go to purple and gold garb. And with half-off who could argue at that discount?
It’s not like he’s going to get traded… right?!
Well we all know how that almost played out and over the next couple of weeks I was facing my jersey being defunct before it even came home in the post (the only other guy I know in my town who likes Basketball had the same issue with a Kuzma jersey coming from China…he’s probably still waiting). And you can best believe like Snapchatting along to Diddy’s ‘Bad Boy For Life’ I have been wearing the proverbial s### out of that Lonzo number 2 ever since. It’s like I’m part of the Big Baller Brand.
Maybe I am.
But in this league where players get traded like they really were damn stocks, this is a problem we face all the time. Even if this thirtysomething man whose ballplaying frame is thinner than the hair up top his dome has no business rocking (or even saying, “rocking”) NBA jerseys, or having a closet so full of them he could start his own Mitchell and Ness pop-up shop. But now with the next-gen future here now, this looks to be a thing of the past. Something soccer fans don’t even have to worry about, even if they Sandwich Board around like walking adverts for their teams sponsor. Which lapel to WNBA and G-League is coming across the chest you usually thumped with pride for your team’s name. Not how much you like logging on to StubHub when you’d rather pay three times the amount for a ticket that went on sale two minutes ago (yep…I’m still a Chris Paul nixing bitter).
Adam Silver brought those surname sake linings to the new NBA threads on display in hoops hotbed North Carolina today, ahead of this weekends NBA All-Star festivities in the classic city of Charlotte. Home to the Hornets’ nest and our pick for game MVP, underrated until Monday makes sense of what he did on Sunday superstar, Kemba Walker. His All-Star jersey at the click of an iPhone suddenly morphed into a Steph Curry one before everyone in attendance for this presentations perplexed eyes. Before being switch-a-roo changed again to a number 23 Mike, cast like iron. Although if I was an amazed Amhad Rashad I’d be happy with the Bulls throwback I was rocking (oops..I said it again) whilst presenting.
You know how much one of those costs?
Probably almost as much for the astronomical price, these new tech jerseys will retail for once they hit NBA stores in 2030 (hey Anthony may get signed by then…Carmelo or A.D.). These new Nike jerseys have been tapped into the times ever since you could hold your phone over the label for exclusive content. So it’s no wonder they can now flick between jersey names and numbers like changing flight times at an airport board. So now when trade players are checking their departure they can already update their new work uniforms with the click of the same application. The change clothes era for Knick and Lakers fans is finally coming to a close, although you just know Nike will find some way of recouping the massive loss they will no longer make with the cost of switching up your jerseys for the new free agents joint. Or perhaps there’s a limit like chasing your Netflix region. And perhaps there’s a wait like your microwave meals in-between binging your favourite shows series by series. Either way, this is exactly what the streaming age needs in all it is live for the moment, swipe away the past age of instant application. One a cynic may see these shapeshifters-that will probably come with a subscription fee like everything else-as teams taking back the agency of their ownership, combating the opposition in this time of player power. And despite the Kevin Durant team change jokes that are trending on Twitter and questions we all want to be answered like, “how do I even wash this thing”?! Or my own one, ‘these Nikes are nice but why does the team name on the small size have to be so damn small?! This is the best news for fans who want to put their own names on the back of their favourite teams jersey (or rude ones) since you could import your face onto a created player on NBA Live (although a lot of times you came out looking like some GTA player with cornrows and tattoos even those on all those removal shows you watch would never dare ink in the first place). This is truly in the game. And can even be changed in the middle of one. Which might have made that whole Harrison Barnes debacle that much more awkward if the teams G.M. took out his phone not so subtly at halftime like checking your Facebook feed in the middle of dinner (you know those people that post those pictures about putting your phones in the middle of the table and the first one to pick theirs up gets the bill? They’re doing that, WHILST AT DINNER!!).
Smart jerseys by the smartphone.
And who knows with these new All-Star and all name uniforms being introduced this weekend maybe even ‘Team LeBron’ could make some last minute changes to his against the wall like school picked roster for Sunday’s game.
But isn’t that tampering?
In Loving Memory Of Kobe And GiGi
I can barely find the words.
I couldn’t even move this morning. 5AM in Japan, phone constant with concern.
I shouldn’t be writing this.
But it’s all I know. All I can do to pay tribute to this man and his daughter like street artists throughout L.A. taking spray paint to concrete canvas in mural memorial as we speak. Or like Cuban, numbers 8 and 24 being retired throughout the NBA like a Jackie Robinson 42. Or those pair of digits up in the rafters of STAPLES with the rest of the banners raised by the man who was about to walk into the Hall like the ‘Dear Basketball’ he walked away from with an Oscar in his left hand. Right palm holding the shoulder of his daughter he raised, who was carrying his legendary load.
All until this truly tragic day.
It doesn’t feel real. Like waking up from a nightmare or some sick hoax.
Anything but this.
We all know the news now. The helicopter crash that took not only the life of Kobe Bryant, but his daughter Gianna too and Orange County baseball coach John Altobelli and his family and the poor pilot. We remember them all. We send real thoughts and real prayers to them and their loved ones.
The statistics couldn’t measure up to the man. But they say a great deal. The five-time champ. The Olympic Gold medalist in this year of Tokyo, 2020. The multiple All-Star, MVP and scoring champ, fourth all-time. There are some numbers that don’t need an introduction.
The G.O.A.T. The best ever that we still couldn’t believe couldn’t be back one season like M.J. for one more game. The gifted storyteller penning the wind of his second career to a whole new Academy of glory after rewriting NBA history again and again. All until the cruel and callous fickle hands of fate. Now we can’t believe we can’t ever see him courtside again with GiGi. Breaking the game down to the real love of his life like Vanessa and the rest of his four daughters we are sending all our love to in this devastating morning of heartbreak.
It hurts to write this. But we have to. After the mourning, we have to remember the good times. We have to tell the story of the man and the Mamba Mentality. The man who tore his shoulder and shot through it like a torn jersey. The man who played through a dislocated finger popped back into place like his same shot fading away but never in our memories. The man who tore his achillies, pushed it back in, hit a couple of free throws and walked off the court like the strongest who survived it all. A Mamba a Matt Barnes Spalding to the face fake couldn’t phase. Unmoved. Untouchable. And then he turned him into a teammate and friend like World Peace. This man went to war for the love of the game. Hustle and heart. The Fresh Prince with the ‘fro from Philly who next to the Most Dominant Ever, Shaquille ONeal became a L.A. King like Magic or LeBron. And now they want to make him the logo like Jerry West for the top gun of the wild one and defensive doberman.
Raise a glass of vino for Vino.
He was our M.J. Our LeBron. Kobe’s game made me want to pick up the pen and put it in words it was so wonderful. He was my first article, so I owe my writing career to him. Without him there is no this. Without him there is no us. No Kevin Durant, Kyle Kuzma, Trae Young. You name them. Your favourite players, favourite player.
YOUR favourite player.
This hurts to much to type. My hand is shaking as I write these lines. I can’t go on. But his memory will in the joy former teammate and alley-oop pitch passer Brian Shaw through raw tears told you to focus on. Just as teams in tribute drilled out 8 half-court and 24 shot clock violations in standing ovation chants. As his Mecca of Madison Square Garden turned purple and gold like many arenas and cities bathed in tribute tonight. Just like Gianna Bryant would have continued his legacy as we know she would of been as an WNBA legend until this heartbreaking day.
Two incredible basketball players lost their lives today. But it’s not about that. Its bigger than basketball. Two incredible people lost their lives today. God look after and watch over the Bryant family.
There were so many beautiful tributes today for Kobe Bryant, but also so many poor practices in reporting. Like TMZ breaking the news before it was confirmed and the family found out. Or the BBC using footage of LeBron instead of Kobe. Forget the distasteful need to be first and do better.
I shouldn’t be writing this. Today is not the day for it. But there’s nothing else I can do. It’s all I’ve got. I’m so sorry.
Dear Kobe and GiGi. Playing in the hoop heavens together.
Ottawa BlackJacks select Osvaldo Jeanty as first-ever Head Coach
The pieces of the puzzle are coming together for the Ottawa BlackJacks basketball team.
The start-up Ottawa basketball professional club named former five-time Canadian University champion Osvaldo Jeanty as the franchise first-ever head coach. General Manager Dave Smart made the announcement on Friday morning following a brief search that always included Jeanty’s name at the top of the list.
“Obviously, Osvaldo and I have had a long history together since he was probably 15 or 14, playing club basketball on the Ottawa Guardsmen to his time at Carleton (as player) and then he was my assistant coach at Carleton”, discussed Smart during the press conference.
“Os and I have worked together from a coach, assistant coach perspective, so I know what he’s about in terms of what his exceptions are, and we’re very much inline in terms of what our expectations are, and he knows how I operate and is comfortable working with me. So I think it’s an obvious fit, it’s and easy fit and we are really excited to start working together and put a team on the floor”, further elaborated the former Carleton Ravens on his selection process.
“It’s the first time he’s called me Osvaldo so many times since I was 15, I’m not really used to it.” a smiling Jeanty opened-up about his longtime head coach and mentor during his introductory speech.
Jeanty + Smart winning combination since the late 1990’s
The duo go back to late 1990’s with Jeanty playing for Smart at the Midget and Ontario Basketball U-19 Provincial teams. Under Smart’s guidance, Jeanty flourished as player helping turn the Carleton Ravens’ basketball program into the powerhouse that it is today.
The Ravens’ won five (2002-2007) straight U Sports men’s basketball championships during their time together as a coach-player combo — with Jeanty earning the Final 8 Jack Donohue championship MVP trophy twice, during his freshman and junior campaigns. A proven winner at all levels, Jeanty turned an outstanding collegiate career into a six year pro career, earning a championship with the Giants Nördlingen of Germany’s ProA league.
Inducted into Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame in 2015 — Jeanty earned an additional two titles as a coaching duo during their three-year (2016-19) stretch.
Both Jeanty and Smart were featured on the cover of the first-ever Canadian Basketball Magazine on March of 2005.
“I just wanted to say how thankful I am to Dave to Mike (Morreale) to the league for giving me this opportunity, also just for the Ottawa community. I’ve been here since I was six-years old and I appreciate what the community has given to me and the opportunity to be able give back to the community that has been so good to me is something that I’m very thankful for. So thank you and I look forward to really bringing a good product out there for the city, for the team and really representing the league the right way.”
As for the type of style and brand of the basketball the BlackJacks expect to play — Jeanty offered a glimpse of the same championship formula that has led to many successful moments between the now general manager and head coach tandem.
“He’s put into my head since I was 15, in terms of the keys to winning championships and I tend to follow the same of idea. You defend, you rebound, you don’t turnover the ball over — but at the same time you have 24 seconds on the shot clock so you want to play as fast a possible while not turning over the basketball.”
The attention now turns to rounding out the remaining coaching staff positions and the complex process of putting together a championship calibre team — that will undoubtedly have it’s sights on establishing an early grip on the proudly Canadian made Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) championship trophy.
With the addition of Jeanty to the head coaching ranks the CEBL now features two former Carleton Ravens’ players turned bench bosses. Niagara River Lions head coach Victor Raso also won two national championships as a member of the Ravens.
Coincidentally, Jeanty’s head coaching debut will be against Raso as the Ottawa BlackJacks will kick-off the inaugural 2020 season on the road on May 7th against the Niagara River Lions. The BlackJacks home opener is scheduled for May 14th against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.
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