Kobe Bryant – Genius

3 03 2008

Only fitting that post Kobe’s big day at the office (dropping a cool 52 on the Dallas Mavericks) that we recognise his ‘genius’.

These are the latest ads that Nike is running on Kobe. 
Simply brillaint stuff. 
Here’s the first of the series:

Apparently there are going to be five of these, and four have been released.  Aside from the Leonardo Da Vinci above, there have been Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein, and George Washington Carver.  They’re all worth a look, all funny, all very well done.  Really looking forward to #5…

(Hat-tip: J.E. Skeets over at Yahoo)

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Blogsifting: Bustin’ Out!

13 09 2007

Rio Natsume - bustin’ out

A veritable sports-feast is upon us now: the Rugby World Cup is on, NFL season’s just started… and the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup’s about to start! So with sports bustin’ out everywhere, let’s have a look at what’s out there in blogfrica (c’mon folks… STILL looking for a better term than ‘blogfrica’!):

  1. Most excellent blog, Deuce of Davenport thrills & chills us with the very weird Bad Andy!
  2. JP at Pyle of List takes us through an Interview with Tuberville
  3. DMtShooter at Epic Carnival (DMtS also writes at Five Tool Tool) hits us with a dissertion on Taunting in Football.
  4. Sons of Sam Malone – a look at Stephon Marbury’s growing weirdness
  5. South Africa’s RuggaWorld explores the Wallabies’ Beefing up for Wales (sounds like a Japanese restaurant a lil’, but rest assured, it’s a look at the Rugby World Cup!)…
  6. Kingpin blog, Deadspin checks out the growing mess that is the Beckham saga.
  7. Lastly, new blogger Steve discusses the chaos surrounding the LA Lakers in Change Looming in LA at Inside Basketball.

Enjoy your week, and your sports.





Welcome to the NBA snack-hut!

7 09 2007

With Malice’s Bakery Specials

Roll on in!
This week we have some excellent additions to the menu!

And given the heat’s still with us, and the NBA season seems oh-so-far away… what could better than a sandwich to chase away your hunger for all-things-NBA?

So, check out our new menu! Read the rest of this entry »





NBA Players… when arrogance rules supreme (part 2)

12 07 2007

Time for a rant (second part of a 2 part diatribe, part 1 found here)…

Waaah waaah waahAs the NBA off-season unfolds, I have become more & more dismayed at the attitude that many players are displaying recently. In a recent opinion I posted on Kobe, I used the term ‘divattitude’ as a pun on ‘diva’ & ‘attitude’… well with the way this trade season is unfurling, it’s becoming quite a common state of mind. What happened to playing for the love of the game? Yeah, I know – how naive of me! Still… with these guys getting so much money, you’d think they would be happy to play, that they’d want to do something to earn their bucks.

No such luck.

We have perhaps the most storied franchise in NBA history being told by not one, not two, but THREE players – “I don’t wanna play there” (Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal). We have stories floating around of Paul Pierce being close to demanding a trade… When did the mighty Green die and become the Vancouver Grizzlies? Yes, I know that Danny Ainge has really ridden the franchise into the ground, but c’mon: players under contract stipulating where they’re going to play (as far as I know, only Kobe has a ‘no-trade’ clause)? I realise that they can threaten to walk (after their contract is over), but it really pisses me off to see them do that… to unfairly affect trade destinations.

We have the best player in the League – Kobe – performing almost weekly backflips on his “I-wanna-be-traded” scenario. For those who can’t keep up, in a definite softening-of-stance, Kobe told the press the other day that “We’ll just have to see where it goes.”(as far as still demanding a trade). Still… given we’re talking Mr Bryant, that could be very literally yesterday’s news by tomorrow.

Two years ago, Zach Randolph declared “I don’t think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a game is acceptable. I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they want me to play 12 minutes, then they can just put me on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes.” Yup. Have fun with your New York Minute Zach… especially while you get to watch Portland develop into one of the League’s best teams over the next few years.

To get rid of him, Portland took on one of the great lemon contracts of our time – Stevie “Franchise” Francis (would that be a McDonald’s franchise Steve?). And it’s testament to how well-loved he is that he’s not even required to show up. They paid him $30 million to not show. Scary that New York are ecstatic to get Randolph, given it means Francis is gone. I don’t know who this situation is a bigger indictment of: Francis or Randolph.

We have Marcus Camby – just prior to the NBA Dress-code being introduced declaring it would never work – “I don’t see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes.” Err… hello Mr Sprewell.

The Yi Jianlian saga continues to unfurl, with SI.com reporting that Milwaukee’s Larry Harris stating:

“We’re not trading him,” Harris told SI.com. “We like him and we think this is a great opportunity for him. He’ll get a chance to play a lot of minutes right away for a good team. What more could [he] want?”

What a mess this is. Milwaukee pick Yi with the 6th pick in the draft, and his ‘people’ tell Yi… Bucks be damned.them that they don’t want to play in Milwaukee, they want to play in a town a) that’s a bigger market, & b)where there’s a larger asian population. Then they (Yi’s management team) enter into ‘trade discussions’ with other teams… regardless of the Milwaukee Bucks. Yi’s Chinese agent Zhao Gang said in the China Daily that he was already in contact with teams who were showing an interest in Yi. Err… huh? Isn’t that supposed to be the role of the management of the Bucks??? And Yi is refusing to talk about any of it…

The thing I just don’t get, is that very few players seem grateful… now we even have guys entering straight from draft, complete with what used to be a 5-year-veteran sense of entitlement. Yi’s refusal to play in Milwaukee disgusts me. Zach Randolph – the Blazers are much better for having traded him. Francis? I hope he falls the way of Latrell Sprewell. Even despite being a Laker fan, Kobe makes my head spin… or maybe more truthfully because I’m a Laker fan. His puerile, petulant posings drive me to the point of nausea. The ‘you-know-if-you-send-me-there-I’ll-walk’ postulations of Marion, KG & Jermaine really disappoint me. I thought all three were better than that.Yay Fish! It’s almost enough to make me like the Spurs, if they weren’t so like porridge… filling, but oh-so-bland.

Give me players who play with the unabashed joy of the game… I’m sick of on-court-divas.

Thank god for Derek Fisher.

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Days of Our Lakers… a review of the draft.

30 06 2007

Yue-are-who?

It’s worth noting that of the 3 draft picks the Lakers got, only one of them really has any positive light from Kobe’s point of view… Anyway, that aside – let’s have a look at ’em!

Drafted with the 19th pick – Javaris Crittendon. The Lakers have a need at point guard, that’s for sure. And without-a-doubt Crittendon was the best player at that position still on the board (after Acie Law IV & Mike Conley). I doubt that he’ll have much impact in the next season, but with Aaron McKie & Smush Parker gone, maybe he will (depending on trades et al). Still, the Lakers do have to look beyond Kobe, and most draft picks at that stage of the game are ‘projects’. I must admit that I was hoping for him to drop this far (and as we got to the mid-teens, was pretty sure he would: Washington, New Jersey & Golden State all have established PGs) – he’s young, has good vision & will (eventually) make a good point guard… one day (not sure that’s what Mr Bryant wants to hear). He’s also eminently tradeable (which would please Kobe).

The second pick with the 10th pick of the 2nd round (40 overall) was Sun Yue. This
pick initially took me by surprise. A very, very long player with point guard skills… ok. Why haven’t we heard of him? Supposedly quick, can jump, and has good passing skills. Still as is typical for Chinese players, he is very, very skinny, and would need to bulk up considerably before having an impact on the NBA. Another project? Chalk up some displeasure for Kobe…

With the 18th pick of the 2nd round (48th overall) the Lakers took Marc Gasol (Pau’s baby brother). Now this pick interests me. Gasol’s a big body, and has all-round good skills. Ready to roll now… in my preview, this was a guy I targeted with this pick, and I’m happy we got him. I’d suggest that Gasol’s presence means that the Lakers are seriously looking to trade Andrew Bynum. Is that a hint of a smile I see Kobe?

Gasol squared… we got the handsome one

 

For more reviews of the draft for other teams, go to Sports Projections!

 

For a response on the draft from Kobe (I think…), try Pyle of List’s Live-Blogging from Kobe’s House!


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Salvation or Damnation… what’s the off-season hold for YOU?

27 06 2007

Going up… up… up…

 

Hope. It springs eternal (apparently)… And just prior to the NBA Draft, it’s something that oh-so-many basketball fans cling to like a piece of drift-wood in an ocean of mediocrity. It’s just prior to the NBA draft where the deals will get done… where the movers ‘n’ shakers of the upper echelons of NBA-dom will consign their fans to realising their hopes, or squash ’em like bugs.Going down… down… down…

At the same time, I both love and hate this time of year. I love it, because maybe, just maybe we get the deal done that will make us a force to be reckoned with this year. I hate it, because there’s every chance that no trades will happen… or worse… we trade for crap & we get worse! I speak about this for all fans… for just prior to the draft, and the next season beginning, we are all in the same frame of mind… just to different degrees. This season, pretty much only fans of San Antonio can sit back and be relaxed, for the rest of us… uncertainty retains a grip on us. Certainly all Eastern Conference teams’ fans have to be wondering “is the divide that great?” after San Antonio’s demolition of Cleveland… supposedly the best the East had to offer. Once-proud franchise Boston are getting rebutted by star-after-star-after-star… In the West, 67 win team Dallas have to be pondering their future. What’s it going to take to improve? For despite the win/loss ratio, Dallas were sorely out-played, out-coached & out-thought by the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Phoenix too… everything seems to be conspiring against them even getting to the Finals. And whilst they were one injudicious decision away from probably making the Finals, when the trade-talk’s flying (like it is now), they have to be wondering. Then the Lakers… man… not quite in the Boston situation, but still a case of ‘how-the-mighty-have-fallen’. Mis-managed and drama-ridden… Even as I type, the Lakers are trying to get Kevin Garnett (a player who matches Kobe for work ethic) – and yet the word we get from Rick Bucher (my, does he seem more and more like a chattel of Kobe’s at the moment?) is that even that may not satiate Kobe. What does he want? The Second Coming? At the end of the 2002 finals, a three-peat complete, who would’ve foreseen where they find themselves now? Perhaps the only two fan-groups out there not beside themselves with mixes of trepidation/longing/hope are those of Portland & Seattle. The twin pillars of salvation, Greg Oden & Kevin Durant beckon… most folks I know who support those two teams are salivating at the prospect of who-goes-where. Even so, once they’re there – the pressure will mount, expectations will be raised, and in a year, they’ll probably be back with the rest of us… oscillating between joyful anticipation, and agitation. The pendulum swings…
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Kobe beef for Chicago Bulls? Hmmm… Nuh-uh… I still don’t think so

22 06 2007

bryant-kobe-cp-0701071.jpg

First & foremost, let’s get one thing straight: I’m a fan of both the Lakers, and of Kobe’s. Doesn’t stop me from having negative opinions about either tho’…

So trade rumors abound in regards to one Kobe Bryant.

Will he go to Chicago?

Will he go to Boston?

Will he go to Phoenix…

New York…

Washington…

blah blah blah

blah blah blah

blah blah blah.

It sounds as if most pundits out there ‘believe’ that Kobe is the power that decides if & when the Lakers trade him. Friends ‘n’ neighbors, he doesn’t. Sure, he can impact decisions made (and Kobe does wield a helluva lotta power – far more than the average superstar), but the when the sun sets, the man who’ll be making the decisions is Jerry Buss. And at the end of that day, Kobe remaining in Los Angeles is what’s best for the Los Angeles Lakers (for now), and – believe it or not – for Kobe Bryant. And I think he knows that. Still… at the end of the day, will he still be there? I don’t know… but I think so.

Let’s explore, shall we?

The LA Lakers are like very few (no other?) franchises in the NBA. Even during a ‘rebuilding phase’ (heaven forefend), the residents of LA LA land cannot afford to not have a player of superstar stature on the team. The bottom line for the purple ‘n’ gold is that there has to be someone that justifies the patrons shelling out thousands of dollars for those seats next to Jack, and sorry – but Ben Gordon Jamal Crawford just ain’t gonna do it. Kobe does. Like him or not (and probably no player in the NBA polarizes peope as much as Kobe does), he is probably the best player in the NBA. Any trade that gets done (for Kobe + junk) has to bring in bona fide hand-clappin’, dollar-pullin’ star quality… which cuts out about 99% of the league’s players, other than being fillers in the end deal.

Who would do it (as far as getting the high-priced bums-on-seats)? Lebron’d be of that caliber, so would D-Wade… but both are untouchable. Of all the names floating around as far as being places of interest for Kobe, only Chicago would be a logical trading partner for LA… and that’s not going to happen. Not if Jerry’s thinking straight and doesn’t sell Kobe for 75 cents on the dollar. And as long as Dr Buss’s running the show (and not the idiot-savant son, Jim), I hope pray believe think something will be done to assuage Kobe, at least for the next season.

The thing about trading Kobe for a cheap deal is that you devalue the LA franchise. You’re not going to get Lebron… you’re not going to get Dwayne Wade… you’re not going to get anywhere near what’s needed to get the value-for-money that the celebrity set are going to demand to see. And that’ll effect the income…

The thing about trading to GET Kobe is you’re probably going to have to put your franchise in hock to get him.

kobe22.jpg

So… the main protagonists thus far named in the rumor-mill: New York, Chicago, Phoenix… and recently, Washington.

  • New York simply doesn’t have the pieces to make this work, despite what Isiah might want. David Lee, Channing Frye and Jamal Crawford??? What are you smokin’ Mr Thomas???
  • Washington – despite it being highly unlikely that Kobe would want to go to Washington & play for the Wiz (and he does have that oh-so-annoying ‘no-trade clause’), it’s equally unlikely that Agent Zero would be a sought-after piece for the Lakers. Despite his quirkiness (and I really enjoy Hibachi!), on the court he’s simply ‘Kobe-lite’.
  • Phoenix – It’s highly unlikely that the Lakers would make a conference rival stronger (ignoring the fact that Kobe probably doesn’t really want to play in the West any way), let alone a divisional rival. No way in hell do they trade with the Suns.
  • Chicago… the most interesting of the suggested destinations. They DO have the pieces to pull this trade off, and Kobe DOES want to play there. But, they’d have to pretty much gut the franchise to do it (Deng & Gordon?), and Paxson’s notoriously conservative when it comes to pulling off trades with his ‘boys’. Won’t happen (unless Dr Buss gets drunk… uh-oh… nah, won’t happen anyway!).

From Kobe’s perspective on being traded, maybe he does want out – but whatever destination he ends up in could end up being WORSE off than the Lakers currently are, just by virtue of GETTING Kobe they’d have to sell most of the franchise. Kobe is (whether you like him or not) probably the best player in the League, and entering his prime now (and that’s some scary stuff there!). He won’t come cheap. The Lakers aren’t going to just give him away… and nor should they.

So… the team that Kobe (should he be traded) ended up on would be so much weaker given they’d have to trade away most of their assets to get him. And I’m fairly sure that Kobe’s aware that if you’re going to be on a mediocre team, best to be in LA. Additionally, the owner they have in Jerry Buss is probably the most willing in the league to open the checkbook. Sure, he’s no Steinbrenner, but he’s probably one of the closest things the NBA has to it. If any owner in the league will throw money around to get a deal done, it’s Dr Jerry Buss.The amazing thing is that Kobe probably realizes ALL of this. So what’s with the ‘divattitude’?

kobe1.jpg

There are three main trains of thought:

1. Kobe is a petulant spoilt brat, who is basically saying the first thing that comes into his head. He’s angry, and wants out. He sees the East as a way to have success relatively easily (compare Kobe’s Lakers to Lebron’s Cavs… not much difference, and if there is, the Lakers are probably the better team!).

2. Kobe is playing Machiavellian games. He knows that the Lakers will be hard-pressed to trade him. He realizes that the dummy-spitting is tarnishing his image further, but feels there is no other avenue of recourse. He cannot come right out & say “sack Kupchak, and while you’re at it get rid of Jim Buss”… but he can make it so that Jerry Buss has to pretty much choose between the two (Kobe, or Kupchak/Buss Jr.).

3. A mix of the two… Kobe is being calculating, but he does want out. He sees the way Dwayne Wade & Lebron are winning with similar teams around them as he has around him (ie. CRAP) – difference is they’re in the East. And in the East, it’s a lot easier to win with a mediocre team.

 

I lean towards believing the second (tho’ daily that’s getting harder to stick with), but starting to lean towards number 3. Whichever it is – I’d love to know who’s counseling Kobe to behave like this, because their advice sucks.

It could’ve been handled so much better with Kobe avoiding the rants, and perhaps even talking to people first before shooting off at the mouth, and damaging his reputation even more (and he’d done so well rebuilding it post Colorado). Sure, let folks understand your position, and put pressure on the LA front office, but with just a tad more class and decorum.

Sad thing about this is that Kobe’s right. Yes, the Lakers have been badly mis-managed. Yes, Mitch Kupchak has really, really made what was the premier franchise in the league into an also-ran. But none of this absolves Kobe from the way he’s behaved over the last month.

Drop the petulant sulky crap, and return to what’s true: basketball.


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