Tag Archives: Kobe Bryant

The Ave Podcast – Raps/Magic Game 2 Reactions

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 73: Raps-Magic Game 2 Reactions

Today on The Ave Podcast, I’m joined by O’Neil Kamaka (Asst. HC of Oakwood Collegiate & Trainer of the Skills Refinement Group) and SSA Family Member Big Brotha Curtis as we break down Game 2 between the Toronto Raptors & Orlando Magic. We discuss why we need more Playoff Kawhi in our lives, why Kyle Lowry always has to have a playoff bounce back game; our takeaway from the rest of the game; plus share our thoughts on Boogie Cousins injury.

** WARNING: This podcast contains explicit language. **

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The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 73

Image result for kawhi leonard

(YouTube)

 

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Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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#TheStoop: A Mini(Podcast)-Series.

#TheStoop: A Mini(Podcast)-Series.

South Shore Ave presents…… #TheStoop: A Mini(Podcast)-Series. This is the third podcast show launched from South Shore Ave Radio. This will be a series of mini pods, usually lasting within 15-20 minutes, that will be released throughout the rest of the summer. It will focus on one topic, which myself & my guest(s) will break down and discuss. The reason for the name is #TheStoop during every summer has always been one of the best foundations for great conversation, and this podcast concept was created to follow in the spirit of those insightful, and sometimes hilarious discussions you may have with your friends on those staircases.

On the first episode of #TheStoop, I bring back Big Brotha Curtis to sit down and discuss if Tim Duncan is the greatest player of his generation, and give you an alternative & unique point of view on who’s career would you rather have: Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. ***

#TheStoop // The Great Tim Duncan

 

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https://app.box.com/s/8avnbsok3nfi1753xr02q6szwg2ftdkg

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button or by entering your email address. Very special thanks to Big Brotha Curtis for his guest appearance on this podcast.

 

The Sideline Notes Special

About a month or two ago, one of my good friends (Steph) suggested that I should make a whole article post of “Sideline Notes”, which in the history of the blog, is a collection of random thoughts that I have on current events in sports, music, & or pop culture that’s added at the end of a particular article posting. Initially, I was against this, but as time went along, I decided to give it a shot. So I welcome you to the 1st ever, “All Sideline Notes Edition” of the Baseline Blog. As you can imagine, if this idea works and you guys love this, then feel free to fully credit me as a genius. If it turns out you guys hate this to no end, not only am I willing to throw my friend Steph under the bus, I’m also willing to give you his email address to send over your harsh comments, plus more info if you need it. In other words, I’ll be snitching his business out like his name was Nick Young. At that point you should refer to me as Kobe Russell or D’Angelo Bryant, whichever you prefer*. Anyways, let’s get this thing started….. 

* This is a joke. I am not a snitch. I swear. Please believe me. 

Regarding this whole D’Angelo Russell – Nick Young fiasco that has added more lighter fluid to the smoldering Laker dumpster fire, not only was that a major violation of Guy Code Law, but this is a situation that could hurt business for the Lakers moving forward with regards to landing free agents. He was supposed to be an attractive piece for Free Agents to play with, especially as the franchise Point Guard. But who will trust him in the locker room now? He may have killed that trustworthy and sociable side to him for many years to come….. but in the fast moving social media age that we live in now, I’m not totally sure anymore if this will ruin his career. If this happened 10-15 years ago, D’Angelo might have had to announce his retirement from the league last week & spend the rest of his life trying to define his self-worth by bouncing around from one reality show to the next (jumping from Survivor to The Bachelor, for example. Frankly, this still might happen). With this Millennial generation, I’m not so sure anymore. Russell will have his name and image rolled through the Meme & GIF cycle for a while, but once that passes, he may be able to shake it off publicly. In the NBA Player fraternity however…..

So much for Golden St. breaking the all-time record huh? I’ll say this much, to me, getting to 70 wins in the NBA Western Conference with the Spurs breathing down your back (regardless of how you feel about the Warriors getting past 72 wins) is an incredible feat. Technically they can still get it done, they just have to be prepared for San Antonio to defend that undefeated home streak (who would be the 1st team in NBA history to go 41-0 at home) like a Lioness protects her cubs… 

I actually thought at one point last summer that Jahlil Okafor might be more ready for the NBA this season than Karl-Anthony Towns. Don’t judge me…..

Pan……. Pand…….. Panda……..

As the hip hop community grieves over the passing of Phife Dawg (as you should for a legend), they held a Memorial service at the Apollo this week, where many luminaries spoke, from Kanye to KRS-One. But the biggest news is when André 3000 stated in his speech that there were talks of an Outkast/A Tribe Called Quest album as recent as a year ago, but they slept on it. Um, what the f***???

The decision on Thon Maker’s entry to the NBA draft will be super important to what happens to High School seniors who want to forgo college right away; because if there is a loophole that they can jump around without having to play overseas for a season, believe me, it will be exploited. Something will have to change with regards to the One & Done rule that forces kids to play for one season in college, because the rule is a flawed one at all costs….. 

As much as people would like to advocate for kids to stay in school for two years for NCAA Division I Basketball (and 3 years removed from HS for NCAA D-I Football), when you factor in how much some of these exceptional athletes can make coming out of High School, plus the amounts of money the NCAA makes off of amateur sports (where the kids don’t see a dime), it’s hard for me to see how people can still stand behind this current system, development be damned. Or worse, make these kids stay even longer. If you read the report from Patrick Hruby of Vice Sports about the financial breakdown generated from NCAA sports, it will sicken you…..

Reason why I hate reality TV and the negative part of the social media lifestyle: When I see Rob Kardashian – Blacc Chyna / Tyga – Kylie Jenner dynamic. I won’t even hyperlink to it. Let’s just bow & shake our heads…..

What’s the fascination with O.J. Simpson right now? Within the 1st half of 2016, we will have watched “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”, another documentary on the OJ Tapes, and then a upcoming 5-part 30 for 30 in June of this same trial? I know it was the Trial of the Century & all, but why is there a sudden interest to feed us content on all things Orenthal? I’m genuinely confused by that one. #ImNotBlackImOJ

Speaking of Black, I dare anyone to tell me that Black’ish is not one of the funniest and most well written shows on TV right now. *** Spoiler Alert *** Just in this week’s episode alone, I laughed so hard at the Different Strokes segment, I almost lost my breath. Every character in the show has such depth, & is played so well by the actors. It almost amazes me that it took 20+ years for an African American show to be on a major network……

There’s confusion, there’s disorientation, there’s anger, then there’s the moment when all three of those feelings and emotions bubble together like lava when you know the National Championship game is on right now, and you’re staring at your CBS channel wondering why Scorpion is on, then remembering that CBS lost their rights to a channel you don’t have….

Why did I feel like the only a**hole in the world that didn’t have the channel to watch that epic (so I heard) championship game on Monday night? Days later, people are still talking about it. I missed it all because I don’t have TBS or TSN5?!?! Between my cable package & my android box, I have almost every channel in the world, except those two!!! What’s worse: I couldn’t even see the highlights of the game right afterwards because every Canadian sports channel I had was either showing hockey or baseball, because Lord help us if we miss the Arizona Diamondback’s 2nd game of a 162-game season. Even the ESPN feed was shaky. You got to be kidding me….. 

On top of that, you don’t even have the decency (again…..so I heard) to show “One Shining Moment”? Right to hockey huh? Thanks Canadian TV for making me feel like I’m living in the 80s & 90s all over again, waiting until 2:30A to watch basketball highlights on CNN. The only thing that was missing was the Cross Color T-Shirt & jeans set I could have had on to really bring it home…..

Oh yeah, & nice shot Kris Jenkins. Whatever…..

Who didn’t see these Bryan Colangelo rumors to the 76ers coming? That was a difficult to figure out as a Dr. Seuss rhyme. I’m sure as soon his father Jerry Colangelo came on board to Philadelphia, he was in town the next week looking at penthouses with a unblocked view of the Liberty Bell….

Panda…. Panda…… Panda-Panda-Panda-Panda……

Just so you know, the Kobe reasoning earlier was strictly hypothetical. Everyone forgets now that so much time has passed, but how he snitched on Shaq, his general behavior during the 2004 season afterwards (according to Phil Jackson’s book), & playing his hand on getting Shaq traded was beyond reprehensible. I mean, when Jadakiss & Nas start taking shots at you in their songs…… 

With that said, the reason why Kobe was able to move past that situation started way before he won his back-to-back titles in 2009 & 2010. He deflected people away from his issues because of how great he continued to be on the court, even more so after his case. He threw himself into his craft, and it helped as well that at the time, he was entering the peak of his prime as the undisputed best basketball player on the planet (which lasted for about 5 years until LeBron won his 1st MVP in 2009). Even during that 2004 season, he would come off the plane from Colorado after spending the day in court, and drop 40 as easy as channel surfing on your TV. As long as you’re winning &/or being elite at your craft, while steering clear of any more controversy, people tend to forget. It’s kind of the same reason why someone like R. Kelly is still around now. When he was being charged & the world was looking at him like an absolute scumbag back in 2002, he threw himself into the studio. He put out classic material like Ignition, the Ignition remix, The Chocolate Factory album (a masterpiece), Step In The Name of Love, Happy People, etc. By the time his trial started rolling around, people started questioning if that was even him in that notorious video, all because he got us two-stepping again. He may still have that stink on him to some people, while some others may change the channel if they see him performing on an award show, but as soon as he performs material from the 12 Play & Chocolate Factory albums, to most people he starts smelling like Febreeze. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, there is a blueprint here for D’Angelo to follow, and he’s able to look at an example for at least another week or two in his locker room. Be GREAT, and everything else will work itself out. Yup, it’s true. Go on, you could be depressed about it.

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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The Revenge of Steph Curry

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a weird title for this article”, right? I mean, why of all people, would Stephen Curry want any sort of revenge? He may have had one of the greatest seasons a professional athlete could have had last season. He was the MVP of the NBA. He was the most popular player (in jersey sales and all-star votes), his team had one of the greatest seasons in NBA history (83 wins regular season + playoffs) that was capped off by winning the NBA Finals, and he turned his family into celebrities (especially his daughter Riley…… & his hot Momma). What more can you ask for? You’d be right to ask that question. He should be happier than anyone can imagine coming into this season, & I’m sure he was. But then a funny thing happened in the NBA right after Curry & his teammates popped champagne in Cleveland’s visiting locker room….. 

…… July happened.

Outside of the playoffs, the free agency period in July is the most exciting time of the NBA season, and this past off-season didn’t fail to bring the excitement and the drama. The Spurs reloaded with LaMarcus Aldridge & scooped up David West for the cost of a Wendy’s Value Meal (at least that’s what it felt like). The rival Clippers got back DeAndre Jordan, & picked up Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, & maybe more importantly, Paul Pierce. OKC retained their free agents (Enes Kanter) + got their superstar back in Kevin Durant. Across the country, the LeBronvaliers restocked the entire kitchen cupboard & the basement with groceries like one of those old Supermarket Sweep shows resigning all their free agents, plus Mo Williams and a rejuvenated Richard Jefferson. Even Houston stole Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets for peanuts (depending on if you think adding Lawson was an incredible deal for Houston, which I wasn’t crazy about this summer). Once free agency settled down, the rumbles of doubt started vibrating about the Warriors chances to repeat. Adding to that, the NBA Players Association launched their first ever Players Awards show (on BET of all channels) in July. When they gave out their MVP awards, it went out to the official NBA MVP runner-up James Harden, which I guess was fine. What wasn’t fine was the general comments from all the players who attended the awards show, “this is the real MVP award”, trying to more or less devalue the MVP award that Curry just recently won. An award that’s been around for about 50 years. Now if you’re Curry, heading into your training for the summer, how exactly are you supposed to feel about this? 

A large part of how an athlete drives themselves is based on challenges and slights. Having to prove you can achieve your goals athletically to yourself first, then to everyone else afterwards. Your peers, your coaches starting from as far back as high school, your region, & the proving net that you cast starts to get wider and wider the more that you grow into your craft. Steph Curry is no different. A son of one of the best shooters in NBA history (Dell), Steph not only had to prove that he was good enough to escape his father’s shadow, but because of his slight build, he had to escape the stigma of not being athletic, or big enough to make something out of himself in the basketball world. With only one scholarship offer coming out of high school, he ended up at Davidson, a small, mid-major college program. Within 3 years he became one of the best players in the nation, leading his mid major college to a magical Elite 8 journey in the 2008 March Madness tournament. Once he got drafted in the lottery by Golden State in 2009, he had to prove that what he did in college as well as his size could correlate to the NBA, especially when he was paired in the backcourt with a similarly built Monta Ellis. He fought off the challenges of those stigmas (including from his own teammate), fought of the ankle injuries that plagued him his 1st few seasons & became an all-star level player. By the end of the Warriors 2013 playoff run, Steph had officially arrived under the brightest lights. Whatever doubts he had earlier in his career was erased by coach Mark Jackson, who boosted his confidence like Bhundini Brown used to do for Muhammad Ali. Once the coaching change occurred last year & Steve Kerr took over, Steph’s game, as well as his teammates escalated to an even higher level, which resulted not only with all the accolades they could achieve, but also becoming by far the most exciting team to watch in the league.

Now after getting to the level that Steph did last season, how does he continue to get better when he’s reached the mountaintop? If you’re a self motivator & care deeply about your craft at that level, you will get better. But how do you reach “generational” status? In some case, perceived slights and challenges can account for something. Curry trained to the point that his handles are somehow even tighter, his shot has somehow improved from last season, and he now finishes better around the basket than ever before. When Curry and the rest of his teammates had to hear the comments again in the pre-season that they were lucky to win, & have Harden still talking about how he still feels snubbed for the MVP award five months later, they didn’t respond back in the politically correct way, which I loved. Their responses were sarcastic, annoyed, & in some cases “Shots Fired” worthy. You could see the level of disrespect felt in full view, and they made it a point to exact their “It’s like that? Ok, well F*** YOU THEN!” Revenge world tour on the league right from opening night. And it hasn’t stopped since.

We’ve seen a great example of this before in this sport. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player the world has ever seen in almost all arguments that you want to make, right? In 1995, when he played in the Eastern Conference semis vs. Orlando right after his 1st comeback, Nick Anderson stole the ball from him during the end of Game 1, that helped them lose the game & became a foreshadowing example for the Bulls ultimately losing the series. That summer, after hearing people start to question if Jordan would ever be dominant again, MJ trained maniacally to the point that by August, people who played in the now infamous pick-up runs on the Warner Brothers parking lot (where MJ was filming Space Jam) all swore that he was “back, back”. That revenge factor & the playoff failures fueled him to his second 3-peat of the 1990’s. I remember that ’95 – ’96 season when they won 72 games, they treated the contenders & the lottery bound teams with the exact same disdain. They wanted to cut their hearts out as fast and as ruthless as possible, & Jordan was their ringleader in all ways. That ruthless, relentless approach defined that particular season for them. No better example was shown in a loss to the expansion Raptors team. 1st year team from Toronto led by their rookie Damon Stoudemire beating one of the greatest teams ever assembled by one point was an amazing feat. It’s a game that still shows on NBA TV Canada every now & again. However, the best part of that game is when Jordan shot a fadeway just after the buzzer, that banked in off the side corner of the glass, a shot that’s basically impossible to replicate. Even back then I remember celebrating with my family. Then the shot went in & we all basically yelled out, “Oh f***!”, & shaking our heads way after the game was over. It was like in the movies when you jump in the getaway car & start laughing as you drive away from the bad guys, and while you’re laughing they still manage to shoot out the back window. No one gets hurt, but it still scares the shit out of you the rest of the drive to safety.

Until this year, I haven’t seen a championship level team come into a season with that kind of mindset since the fall of ’95. Twenty years later, we have the Warriors getting off to the greatest start in NBA history with no signs of slowing down, and are being led by the reigning MVP who’s entering a legendary level that has rarely been seen. Watching Curry play right now makes you feel like he can do anything on the basketball court & it feeds into the mentality of his entire team. He has become the best basketball on the planet at the moment, the most dangerous player to be fearful of at all times, and the most exciting player to watch. Like Bird, Magic, Jordan, Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, and LeBron, Curry has reached a level to watch that’s a mixture of awe & inspiration for everyone involved (fans, opponents, teammates, peers). He’s also entering the prime of his career, which means barring any injury or unforeseen circumstance, there’s a good chance he may even get better than this. He’s a point guard who’s unselfish but yet is averaging 32 a night, almost 3.5 point per game higher than the 2nd place leader (Harden, 28.7 PPG). Throw in his other stats (6 assist, 5 boards, 2.6 steals, just under 5 three’s made a night, 33.76 PER, 51% FG/43 % 3P/94% FT), and his level of play is becoming artistic. After every game, you almost want to hang his performance on a wall & just stare at it with your head tilted to the side.

While its still too early to say they will win 70+ games, I do think this will be the first team to actively try for that record, no matter what they say publicly. Their core is still so young that they can throw caution to the wind, go after every record, & not worry about sacrificing wins to rest their guys. More importantly, they know how to win games in any situation, & are playing free without any limits of fear because they can lean on their championship experience. They are not taking their defense of their championship lightly, & healthy permitting, whoever takes that trophy from them will have to pry it from their hands. But so far, they are well on their way to bringing a 2nd title back to the Bay if this revenged intensity keeps up. As a sports fan, no matter how many wins they get, we need to enjoy the journey that Curry and this team is on right now, because it’s rare that you see a vengeful journey look this sweet.

 

Sideline Notes

At this time, I’d like to send a shout out to my friend Luugi. Out of all my friends, he’s the one that gets his rocks off on watching teams implode, crash, and burn internally. This past summer after watching some of the off-season moves go by, I decided to buy into his Trainwreck watching way of life. I think we can all agree that going into the season, Sacramento would have qualified for the #1 seed. DeMarcus Cousins + Coach George Karl are bad enough, but then you add Rajon Rondo to the mix? This team is so talented and volatile, can grab the 8th seed in the West, or they can win 25 games & daily fist fights could go down in the locker room & I wouldn’t bat an eye either way. Then I started watching the Lakers situation. They have some young talent but added a weird mix of vets that don’t gel together (you really thought adding 6th man gunner Lou Williams with Nick Young was a good idea when you have rookies who needs minutes & shots Lakers management???), plus, you know….Kobe. Mix that up with coach Byron Scott who’s still clinging to his old school coaching ways (surprised he doesn’t have Roy Hibbert laying guys out who try to make a layup), I had to upgrade them to Trainwreck status. You know that story will be more disastrous with each passing day, especially when D’Angelo Russell keeps getting nailed to the bench during 4th quarters………

You know who’s my underdog Trainwreck squad to look out for? The Houston Rockets. Not only did they get their coach Kevin McHale fired with their dog-shit effort since the season started, but I truly don’t believe in James Harden & Dwight Howard as leaders on your team. Now some veterans in the locker room (i.e. Jason Terry) may have a strong voice in the locker room, but in basketball, you only go as far as your best players take you. At least it’s better that way. While I’ve voiced my opinions of D12 in the past, I think Harden is a great, great talent. However, the whole, “move out of my way while I play Iso ball for 1/2 the shot clock, put it between my legs 4 times before I shoot this step back J” offense doesn’t lend itself to any kind of real continuity between the players. Regardless of how I feel about Dwight’s offense & the fact that he genuinely seems broken down, he’s got to shoot the ball more that 8-10 times in a game. It doesn’t matter that McHale is gone, the philosophies (especially on offense) are still the same under the interim coach, J.B. Bickerstaff. Personally, I don’t see this downward spiral changing anytime soon………

I’ll say this: you know when Houston takes over the #1 spot on my personal Trainwreck rankings? When they lose tonight vs. the 76ers. #BoldPredictionoftheWeek………

By the way, if that prediction comes true, I think my friend Luugi will be happier than the men who find out they are not the fathers……… 

R.I.P Kobe Bryant’s career. It was a great ride, & he will go down as one of the 10 greatest players I’ve ever seen in person. One thing about great players in any sport is the struggle of knowing when to say when, especially before anyone one else sees your demise. The confidence in their own abilities that gets them to unbelievable heights as an athlete is viewed as their biggest strength. Once you get older, all of a sudden, that same stubborn belief becomes their greatest weakness when their body officially fails them & they still believe that they can get the job done. Forget the stats (averaging 15.2 PPG on 16.4 shots, shooting 31% from the field), Kobe can’t get by ANYONE anymore on drives or create any space on his jumpers. That’s only going to get worse unless he gets on the HGH workout cycle in the next week or so. Remember when Mariano Rivera played his last game & before he can get the save, Derek Jeter & Andy Pettite walked out to the mound & gave him the pat on the back? & then Mariano started bawling on their chest? I’d like Magic Johnson to walk onto the middle of the court during the 3rd quarter of some game in March, hold Kobe by his shoulders & tell him, “It’s time. Time to come on home son,” while Kobe starts sobbing into his suit jacket. It’s time Kobe. Let’s remember you in a good light, & please let this be your last season & not find you next season wearing # 24 for the Grizzlies or something. Please end this Kobe……please……. 

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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Kobe, Kobe, Kobe….

Kobe Bryant. One of the 10 best players in NBA history. The second greatest shooting guard ever. The 3rd leading scorer in NBA History (for now). One MVP; Two Finals MVPs; Five NBA Championships; 16-time All Star; 4-time All Star MVP; 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist1997 NBA Dunk Champion; and once dropped 81 points in a game on Toronto. A couple of weeks before that he dropped 63 points in three quarters against Dallas, outscoring them by himself in the process. He’s dunked on countless people & completed some of the most ridiculous shots we’ve seen since Michael Jordan. He has a legendary work ethic both physically & mentally. He has achieved almost everything you can possibly think of as a basketball player and professional athlete. He’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer whenever he retires. Did I leave anything else out of this paragraph as far as accolades and compliments go? No? Ok…… good!

We now need to add that he has been THE anchor for the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of his career.

Strong words? Yes, but not really. A lot of the strengths that make Kobe as great as he is — his biggest weapon among other things is his supreme self-confidence – which is what holds the Lakers back. That, “I can do this by myself if I have to” and “Hero-ball/I’m throwing on that cape now” combination. It allows him to take crazy shots if need be, shoot over triple teams if need be, and ignore his teammates when he has to. The sad thing is, there is literally no one in the Laker organization that can tell him any differently about his playing style because, well, it worked in the past. However, that past was something that happened a while ago. Kobe has proven over the years that he can’t be the guy doing it his way 100% anymore. It’s something I noticed personally back in 2012, when they faced Oklahoma City in the playoffs. Not only were those young guys (Durant, Harden, but especially Westbrook) past him when it came to athleticism which is expected, but they had no fear against him anymore. That fear factor was totally gone, & the way they went after Kobe the whole series was crystal clear that Kobe’s time as the main guy making the team an automatic contender was done.

The following season, was when the Lakers tried to load up, trading for Dwight Howard & signing Steve Nash, but we all know how that turned out. I actually don’t blame Kobe for that season, I put the blame on Mike D’Antoni.  His rigid ways of running his system, only keeping a 7-man rotation on a veteran squad, making Pau Gasol (a guy who’s inside game & footwork is almost masterful at times) spot up & shoot 3s as a Stretch-4, generally running Kobe into the ground & helping to blow his Achilles, should take the majority of the blame. Dwight, leaving shortly after the season was over & leaving somewhere around $30M on the table to get away from Kobe, is not totally Kobe’s fault either. I don’t believe Dwight was ever built for the pressure of winning in LA, he’s just not wired that way & that’s fine. It’s not for everyone & it is possible to be an NBA champion outside of Los Angeles. BUT at the time of his Free Agency, he was the Laker’s #1 future asset going forward & they had no Plan B otherwise. And well, Kobe’s personality helped to put Dwight’s desire to stay a Laker in a body bag & help drive it out of Los Angeles with that whole, “you can learn to be the man, as long as you learn from ME with MY ways” speech during Dwight’s free agent meetings. He can’t get out of his own way. Either that or he knew of Dwight’s mindset & basically set to test it one last time. If Dwight walked out the door, he was okay with it because as long as he didn’t fall in Kobe’s line, he didn’t need to be there.

Now, after the smoke clears, Laker Nation are forced to watch a 36-yr old shooting guard who’s had major injuries to his lower extremities, & believes he’s still a God. This team is young, has no young studs outside of Julius Randle (who won’t be there until next year unfortunately, while he recovers from a broken leg), & are trying to learn ways to succeed while the losses piles up.  I can understand that Kobe is trying to possibly teach them his ways of never giving up & continuing to fight, which is great. However, that message gets lost when you’re watching a guy who has carte blanche to do & say whatever he wants within an organization that still fawns over him (only he’s not quite as good), jack 25+ shots without any remorse. The Kobe lovers/defenders/apologists/stans can’t even ignore the 8 of 30 for 25 pts & 9 TOs display he put on a few days ago vs. Sacramento, I mean….. it’s borderline disgusting. At this age, why is he still trying to get up so many shots?? It can’t be for the sake of winning. It’s dumb basketball, & if you’re a basketball lover watching these Laker games, how can you even support this? Over the course of the year, he’s averaging 24.6 pts on 22.5 shots per, shooting 37% FG and 27% from three. The efficiency simply isn’t there, but it’s not gonna stop him from getting up the 4th most shots per game on average over his 19 year career.

He claims nothing is more important to him than getting his 6th ring before he retires, right? Then does he not realize that his continued refusal to alter or change his style of play is like a nightly audition to future major free agents that could possibly help him get that ring? With every cut eye he shoots off at his teammates, every shot he jacks, you can almost hear another door closing on that option that could help him meet that goal. He’s still trying to prove that he can still be elite at what he does & try to dispel history that a shooting guard at his age can still get it done every night. Only that really shouldn’t matter anymore. He has nothing left to prove as a ballplayer, my first paragraph should tell you that.  If anything, his next phase right now should be about trying to make everyone else better, proving to other free agents that they can definitely co-exist with him. At this stage of his ego development, that’s like asking a tiger to change his stripes to zebra. It will never f***ing happen……

……other than that, I love the way Kobe’s been playing this season. It’s been awesome.

**** UPDATE: By the way just so you know, this post was written last night before the Lakers went out and drubbed the NBA League-Leading Golden State Warriors 115-105 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Also, Kobe not only did not play due to rest (plans to start & give Bulls guard Jimmy Butler every shot he can handle tomorrow at Chicago in front of a worldwide audience), but was nowhere near the building. I watched the 1st three quarters of that game last night, and let’s be honest, Golden St. just didn’t have it. So while I don’t think this is a big deal in terms of the Warriors losing to a crappy team because it’s a long season and these things will happen at some point (remember Chicago’s 72-10 season back in ’96? One of their 10 losses was to an expansion Raptor team that had names like “Zan Tabak” in the starting lineup), I found it interesting to read some of the comments that the players made post-game as well as the overall joy that was in the building from the Staple Center. You can come up with your own conclusions here. *****

Sideline Notes

  • As far as passing Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time in scoring, I think it’s a nice accomplishment & he deserves it. Why don’t I call it great? Because I’m starting to observe articles & hear opinions asking “Is Kobe actually better than Michael?”, and the “Kobe vs. Michael” comparisons. Stop it. Stop it now. I won’t even get into the part where Kobe followed Jordan’s career and mannerisms, wanting to not only be like him, but surpass him so bad that it borderline feels like what Matt Damon was doing to Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Passing Jordan’s all-time scoring record if anything means this: whenever this debate comes up 15-20 years from now, it may cloud people’s judgment in their eyes just by looking at the stats. People will look at it & think, “Well, a case can be made that Kobe is better. He did score more points and went to more Finals than he did…and he did win 5.” Let it be known, Kobe’s the closest thing to Michael Jordan…..but he ain’t Michael Jordan. I don’t care if he scores 40,000+ points. Here are some comparisons I’ll mention: He passed a record in Year 19 (One season missed due to injury) that took Jordan just under 14.5 years to get (One season missed due to injury). Mike was THE MAN in all SIX titles that he won, winning all six Finals MVPs, Three-Peated twice in 8 years, while never going past Game 6 in any Finals he was in, much less never losing in one. Kobe won 5 rings, but Shaq was the man for three of those. He also lost twice in the Finals.  Michael won 10 scoring titles, Kobe won twice. Michael’s won 6 MVPs, Kobe won once. Also, Kobe never shot higher that 47% in his career. MJ not only surpassed that percentage 10 different times, but shot over 50% six times, while just missing that mark two other times (49.5%). Kobe gave himself two different nicknames (Black Mamba & Vino). Jordan never did that shit. I’m gonna stop this now. Before I start getting upset…..
  • My favorite player so far this season outside of Steph Curry: Jimmy Butler. He went from being a solid role player to the best two-way Shooting Guard in the Eastern Conference over the course of one summer. His scoring leaped tremendously from last year (13.1 to 22.1), as well as his FG% (40 to 48), FT% (77 to 83), and 3P% (28 to almost 35), all while keeping his defense at a high level. He is the perfect example of improving your game in the offseason folks. Usually it might be a component or two, but he raised the bar on everything. If he continues like this, I don’t know how anyone’s taking down Chicago in the East on top of all the other weapons that Chicago has added or gotten back off the injured list this season.
  • That Rajon Rondo trade makes Dallas super dangerous. However, with the West being so supremely strong this season, I don’t even know what that statement means anymore. This trade could push Dallas over the top & make them NBA champs this season, they could also lose in the first round….. and it would still be a great trade that they wouldn’t regret in both those scenarios.
  • Marshawn Lynch’s TD run & crotch dive….. I’m not even a fan of the Seahawks, but that was amazing & rebellious at the same time. It just had to be said, 49er fan or not.

Happy Holiday to all of you, drink responsibly, and have a safe and joyous time out there.

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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