Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

kobe bryant 2016

Yes, the world knows at this point that Kobe Bean Bryant is only a shell of the player that he once was, but before you scoff at the headline that I’ve created, let it marinate for a moment. You’ll then understand where I’m coming from. Allow me to briefly hit you with a little NBA history before you totally write me off.

What do Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1989, Magic Johnson in 1992, & Michael Jordan in 2003 all have in common? They were all named NBA All-Stars despite the fact that they were either: a) nowhere near the players they were previously, or b) were on their way to retiring (like Kareem and MJ). In Magic’s case, he had already announced his retirement in November of ’91, but was named an All-Star that same season regardless.

If the NBA lives up to its word of honoring its legends, then Kobe should be a lock for the 2016 All-Star Game. Imagine a starting Western Conference backcourt of Steph Curry and Bryant, and you can be sure that the players on that West squad will do their due diligence to see to it that Kobe is in prime position to secure what would be his fifth and final All-Star Game MVP. What a way to leave the game in an honorable way.

Until we get a chance to see Kobe participate in his final All-Star Weekend as a player in 2016, enjoy these memorable Kobe Bryant All-Star highlights throughout his career.

golden state

Warriors, come out to plaaa-aay!

While it wasn’t necessary that I include the famous movie line in the sentence above, I couldn’t help myself. The Golden State Warriors are making a strong case for greatness. Listed below is a few points that support this argument.

  • They’ve kicked in the door and disrupted NBA’s party of the usual suspects (LeBron, D-Wade, Tim Duncan, etc.) as recent NBA champs…putting the league on notice that they’re a force to be reckoned with, hence their 2015 NBA title.
  • They’ve easily SUPPLANTED the Lakers & Clippers as the state of California’s best NBA team. With a state with FOUR NBA franchises–including one with a legendary pedigree (Lakers)–that’s pretty impressive in itself.
  • The Warriors have a star in Steph Curry that has not only made his case as the league’s Most Valuable Player last year, but he’s also well on his way to becoming a repeat MVP in 2016, if he can maintain (or build upon) his season averages of 32 points, 6 dimes, and and an always impressive three-point percentage to put the exclamation on his stat line.
  • As of the time I write this, the defending champion Warriors team is currently on an NBA-record 16-0 win streak to start the season…which is the best start in league history.

So, it’s best that I go ahead now and declare that the Golden State Warriors will do what only one other team has done, and that’s get to the NBA’s mountaintop by winning 70 games this season. In addition to winning 70+ games, they’ll be in prime position to repeat as NBA champions again this season. Will they beat the all-time record of 72 wins? Time will tell. Until then, sit back, enjoy the show that the Warriors are putting on this year, and watch history unfold.

JordanRodmanPippen

It’s already been 20 years.

Was it the fact that the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team had three Hall-Of-Famers on the team? Was it because of their then Sixth Man Of The Year sharpshooting southpaw from Croatia? Maybe it was due to the Bulls’ head coach at the time, who would go on to lead teams to 7 more NBA titles after 1996?

By this time, we’re quite sure that many basketball fans (and sports fans in general) have used every complementary adjective imaginable to describe the 1996 Chicago Bulls. Da Bullsas they’ve been affectionately referred to by diehard fans in the Chicagoland area, “caught an unsuspecting NBA slippin” and smacked the league in its mouth by piling up an NBA record 72 wins–a feat which many teams have tried and failed to accomplish in the past 20 years.

This NBA season (2015-16) marks the 20th anniversary of that historic Bulls team. While everyone always heaps well-deserved praise upon that team, one thing that must be mentioned is that there very well could’ve been no Bulls team (as we remember them now) at all.

In the summer of 1995, the NBA’s owners were involved in a testy labor dispute with the players, which caused the league to be placed in a lockout for a couple of months. Jordan and the Bulls were fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Shaq/Penny/Horace Grant Orlando Magic in the second round of the 1995 Eastern Conference playoffs, despite all of the hoopla surrounding Jordan’s return to the team after a 17-month retirement.

What many people also forget is that Jordan had many doubters going into the ’95 offseason. People had even questioned whether he’d be the same player that he once was from 1984-93, which were the years that built the foundation for MJ’s years as a Bull.

Dennis Rodman, the colorful power forward who left an indelible mark on pop culture as much as he did on the b-ball court, was traded from the Spurs to the Bulls for center Will Perdue. Even that took Jordan and Pippen’s approval before the deal was made, because of the bad blood between the Bulls and Rodman’s “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons of the late ’80s/early ’90s.

There was much talk during that time that the league had moved on, because of its infusion of young talent. With fresh new stars like Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, and Chris Webber, the league felt that it was something it had to do in order to come down from the Chicago Bulls/MJ “high” that it had been experiencing for several years. This isn’t even including the fact that the Houston Rockets had won back-to-back titles in 1995–the only team to win a title at that point since Jordan’s ’93 retirement.

Since 1996, that Bulls team has become the gold standard for which NBA squads of future years would measure their regular season success. So again, we have to ask ourselves: What was it about the ’96 Bulls that was so special (besides winning 72 games and winning the title)? Was it the combination of talent and toughness? The ’97 and ’98 Bulls title teams had pretty much the same team. Was it the shoes? Given that appearances alone don’t translate to results on the basketball court, we highly doubt that. But then again, let the young’uns of today tell it, maybe so.

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What a week it’s been.

If you’re a fan of team sports here in America, then you’ll agree that this time of year (mid-late July) can be quite…uneventful to say the least. In baseball, you have the so-called “Dog Days” in which the MLB season can tend to hit a lull in its long schedule. Football on all levels (high school, college, professional) has not quite kicked off their seasons. Last but not least, my beloved sport of basketball doesn’t really get underway until November.

Leave it to one of the NBA’s most legendary–and colorful–personalities to ignite a spark of interest among fans via social media. Shaquille O’Neal, aka Shaq Diesel, aka “Most Dominant Ever”, aka “The Big Aristotle”, decided to take jabs at six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen. Shaq’s attack on Pippen comes from a place of mockery of Pippen’s status on the Chicago Bulls as 2nd fiddle to Michael Jordan. The Instagram beef took place for a number of days, which included everything from Pippen’s showing off his championship ring collection to Shaq, to Shaq imposing images of Pippen’s face on photos in a comedic, yet facetious way.

This is where the feud began.

We would beat em by fifty "what you think". Let me know and don't hold back

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

Here’s Pippen’s response.

As you can see, the IG beef drug on for awhile. The following posts are listed in the order the two legends responded to each other.

Easy big fella… if only you were as good at free throws as you are talking smack! @shaq

A post shared by Scottie Pippen (@scottiepippen) on

Anybody need a T MOBILE SIDEKICK. I GOTTa PRETTY GOOD ONE #BESTSIDEKICKEVER

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

Speaking of being a sidekick… if I recall correctly you know a thing or two about that as well. @shaq

A post shared by Scottie Pippen (@scottiepippen) on

Go oust and get them sidekick edition Scottie pippens exclusively on he's a bum.com

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

Game over, @shaq. All that's ever mattered to me is winning and we did plenty of that in Chicago…

A post shared by Scottie Pippen (@scottiepippen) on

Just when you thought it was over after seeing Pip show off his six rings, Shaq wasn’t finished. Check out his responses below:

Although we usually don’t indulge in creating material that might seem remotely salicious for this site, the burning question that applies to the Shaq/Pippen feud is this: Is their beef with each other good or bad for the sport in terms of trash talk and giving us basketball entertainment during the offseason?

Meanwhile, on Shaq’s old stomping grounds in the L.A. Lakers’ practice facility, New Lakers Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, and Brandon Bass were introduced to a Lakers team that has been less-than-stellar since winning their last NBA title in 2010. Their veteran presence and leadership are being counted upon to provide the team with a much-needed spark of life.

On a lighter note, Ray Allen, the NBA’s all-time leader in three-point field goals made, turned 40 last Monday. Nicknamed “Jesus Shuttlesworth” due to the character he portrayed in the film He Got Game, there has been much speculation on whether he will officially retire or come out of free agency as a hired marksman for some lucky NBA franchise (Cavaliers perhaps?)

What’s YOUR take on everything that transpired this past week around the NBA? Let us know what you think.

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More than any other professional team sport in America, the NBA has maintained a symbiotic relationship with its stars. The NBA–or “The League”, as it’s known by many–has been widely recognized as a star-driven league.

Whether you’re a fan of the NBA, or just a casual observer, you can’t help but to identify the National Basketball Association with some of the greatest and entertaining players to ever have earned an NBA paycheck.  Just in case you’re wondering about how long this star-driven system has been in place, we have to re-visit the early days of the pro basketball league.

I’m sure you’ve heard of an NBA franchise by the name of the Los Angeles Lakersright? Well, they haven’t always resided in Southern California, nor was their first championship won there either. Before the Lakers relocated to L.A. in 1960, they won an impressive five championships in their former home, Minneapolis. As expected, most great sports teams have that “anchor” on their team; that one person who is the heart and soul of their campaign to become champions in their respective league/sport. The then-Minneapolis Lakers had that type of player, and his name was George Mikan.

Mikan made a brief comback as a Minneapolis Laker in this 1995 ESPN Sportscenter commercial.

After an illustrious college career at DePaul University in Chicago, the 6’10” Mikan was known for his dominance as a Laker, yet he first signed with the Chicago American Gears of the NBL (National Basketball League), which eventually became the NBA. It was two years after his signing with the Gears in 1946, that he would join the Lakers for the 1947-48 season. When it came to dominant players at that time, no one in the league was on Mikan’s level of play. Like players such as Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in latter years, it was Mikan’s dominance that forced the NBA to change some of its rules to even the playing field for other players to have the opportunity to compete.

Long before the regularity of the NBA’s marketing of a celebrated few players handpicked every year to be the faces of the league, George Mikan was that guy to do so by himself.  If Mikan’s star power were ever in question, then any doubts would be refuted in the following story: On December 14, 1949, his teammates arrived at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and were met with a surprise.

On the marquee (sign outside of the building) they had ‘George Mikan vs. the Knicks,” recalled the NBA legend, whose teammates ribbed him by refusing to dress for the game. “They were all just sitting around. They said, ‘Alright big guy, if you’re going to play them, go play them.

With the NBA still crawling through its years of infancy at the time, such a sight was unheard of, yet it appeared that the marketing team of Madison Square Garden understood what a larger-than-life figure George Mikan had become back then. Needless to say, Mikan went on to play until 1956, ending a career that saw him become a hall-of-famer, one of the NBA’s “50 Greatest” players (as of 1996), and the reputation of being the “that dude” on his team. If Mikan were a star today, let’s just say that his jersey would be on sale, and he’d possibly even have his own sneaker.

Now that’s star power.

NBA_banana boat

#BrotherHood.

This was the caption that was featured on Dwyane Wade’s Instagram post which showed his recent vacation on a gigantic banana boat with fellow NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and LeBron James.

Perhaps one caption says it all, as D-Wade shows the world that his alliance with the three other men in the photo is “bigger than basketball”, as he (and James) often talk about. I found this particular topic to be an interesting one, especially after hearing the latest episode of the Jalen & Jacoby podcast. Jacoby makes mention of the fact that some of the NBA’s “purist” old school fans who take issue with what they perceive to be a new school phenomenon of the players becoming too friendly on & off court (you can hear what Jacoby said at the 46:00 mark of this clip). That guys like Magic, Bird, and Jordan hated each other, and would never forge a friendship of any kind on–or off–the court.

Of course, the notion held by the old school fans of the “real NBA” might have forgotten that Magic and Bird’s friendship extended beyond the court; that MJ & Charles Oakley have been sidekicks for nearly thirty years (despite what you see in those early 90’s Bulls/Knicks games). It is also a well-known fact that Magic, Isiah Thomas, and Mark Aguirre always rolled together when they weren’t at each other’s throats during those late 80’s Lakers/Pistons rivalries.

MJ & Oak have been good friends for years.

MJ & Oak have been good friends for years.

So have Magic, Isiah, and Aguirre

So have Magic, Isiah, and Aguirre

The belief that competitors can’t be friends is ridiculous. As long as players’ friendships don’t water down their tenacity on the court, then who cares? Let ’em do battle on the court, and be family off the court.

connor toole

Ever heard of the term “can’t miss prospect”? Apparently, Connor Toole was missed by all of us in this year’s NBA Draft.

Toole, who actually happens to be a writer for Elite Dailydecided to use his 6’10” frame as a means of blending in with this year’s draftees. Check out how the experience went in the following video. You won’t want to miss this creative, yet humorous social experiment.

lebron_james_2015

In this new age of unlimited access to information, there isn’t much we don’t know about LeBron James‘s accomplishments during his career in the NBA. However, what many of us are looking over, is a steadily unfolding career that is worthy of not only securing a spot in the Hall in Springfield, but also him carving out his own spot on the Mt. Rushmore of NBA greats.

Although I was nowhere near LeBron hater status like many of his detractors, I’ll admit, for a few years in the early stages of LeBron’s career, I was skeptical of the ‘hype’ surrounding him and his emergence onto the NBA scene. Kobe was (and still is) my favorite player in the league. I was skeptical that a kid straight out of high school could resurrect an NBA franchise singlehandedly. I was skeptical of the buzz he had surrounding him, thanks to the Nike and Sprite commercials that we’d see upon his arrival to the league…But despite what I or anyone else had to say or think about the on-court resume he was building, King James definitely lived up to his nickname–and then some.

Everyone knows about the Oscar Robertson-like triple doubles he’s amassed, the otherworldly athleticism, and the one-name recognition that only a few individuals such as Beyonce and Pele have earned. However, do we know about how dangerously close he is in passing Jordan in regular season MVPs? Do we realize that he’s ALREADY in his 12th NBA season (at the time that I’m writing this), and seems to be virtually impervious to season ending and debilitating injuries that even the greatest of the greats in league history have been plagued with at some point in their careers?

I attest much of our overlooking of LeBron’s ever-growing legacy to the fact that we live in a microwave society. Nowadays, the NBA–like many other leagues in the sports industry–are so fixated with finding the “next big thing”, that we often lose sight of the ones who are making history now. The irony of the matter is that at one time in the not-so-distant past, LeBron himself was considered one of the new jacks of the league who were the “next big thing”.

It’s a safe bet to now conclude that LeBron–at the prime age of 30–has entered the NBA’s venerable circle of grizzled veteran champions, such as Kobe, Duncan, KG, and his former teammate, D-Wade. Now, let’s just sit back and watch history continue to unfold.

nbaallstar2k15

Here we are. We’ve arrived at yet another NBA All-Star Weekend, which is held in New York City this year, and the league’s 30 teams will be represented in some capacity during the weekend-long extravaganza which includes highly entertaining events such as the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game, Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest…and let’s not forget about the actual game itself, which will be played tomorrow at Madison Square Garden.

Below is a video that features the highlights of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, which means that this post has been updated for your viewing pleasure.

For hoops enthusiasts such as myself, and many others around the globe, NBA All-Star Weekend marks the true beginning of basketball season. You’re probably assuming that basketball season starts in late October/early November (It does on paper), but the sports world doesn’t focus the majority of its attention on the sport until February. With the Super Bowl marking the official end of football season, Major League Baseball still several weeks from starting training camps, combined with both high school and collegiate basketball jockeying for position in their postseason tournaments, it’s a safe bet to note that February is the true beginning of basketball season.

With the exception of soccer, there are no other team sports as popular–and widely played–as basketball. The sport exudes an electricity and suspense that none of the other team sports do. NBA All-Star Weekend shows why this is true.

The other day, a good friend of mine asked me who would win between any of the NBA All-Star teams, and the USA Olympic hoops squads, and I’d have to go with the All-Star teams every time. From top to bottom, the All-Star teams feature battle tested newbies and vets who have put in the time to prove themselves worthy of NBA All-Stardom, and the Olympic basketball teams sometimes allow the college standout player (who at the time hasn’t logged one minute in NBA play)  to sneak in to claim a spot on the team. This isn’t meant to put down the youngsters who have the opportunity to compete internationally, but I’m just giving my two cents.

From February until June, sports fans are bombarded with exciting basketball. This includes All Star Weekend, March Madness, your local high school basketball tournaments, NBA Playoffs, and the NBA Finals.

I’ll be like the millions of other hoops junkies around the world, kicking back and enjoying the events of All-Star Weekend in addition to watching the competition heat up over the next several months as basketball teams on every level fight to claim the right to be called CHAMPION.

nba2015

As we enter the 68th season of the National Basketball Association, it’s evident that the 2014-15 campaign isn’t the only thing that’s new surrounding “The League”. We’ll “Witness” veteran superstars go to “NEW” teams (LeBron James), new players (Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, etc), and new coaches (Derek Fisher) who will attempt to lead their teams to victories.

Unfortunately, not all is well in spite of a new season. Due to the fast-paced nature of the game of basketball that is definitely true for the NBA, this season’s first 24+ hours have already experienced a season ending injury to the L.A. Lakers’ prized rookie from the University of Kentucky, Julius Randle, who broke his right tibia during the teams season opener against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets. Fans all across the NBA landscape are being deprived of watching the basketball greatness of 4-time scoring champion and 2014 MVP Kevin Durant, who is expected to miss the first month of this new NBA season. He also happens to be the cover boy of 2K Sports’s NBA 2K15 (I’m really starting to believe that the fabled “cover curse” that many athletes experience after being placed on the cover of video games is true).

In spite of the previously mentioned adversity, the show must go on. We’ve already witnessed a game winning shot from Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker to beat Jabari Parker’s Milwaukee Bucks, 108-106 to re-introduced the world to the the NBA franchise that had become a household name for much of the 90’s on into the early 00’s.

There are many questions that are left to be unanswered at this point. Will the San Antonio Spurs repeat as champions in 2015? Will legendary coach and now President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks Phil Jackson’s experience as a winner become contagious to his newly inherited team? Can Kobe Bryant, coming off of an achilles heel and knee surguries–not to mention Father Time–hold hold up physically to withstand the rigors of the 82 game NBA season? Will he surpass Michael Jordan’s all time points scored record to reach 3rd on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring list? We can’t help but to just tune in to see.

One thing that is certain is that the Western Conference looks as strong as ever, with high expectations for the Clippers, Warriors, Spurs, Mavericks, Blazers, and Thunder. These are just the teams who are named as favorites to emerge from the West come Finals time in June. While the Western Conference has reigned supreme for quite sometime now, let’s not sleep on the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose appears to be back…and better–and faster–than ever. Can his Chicago Bulls team (that also acquired two-time champion Pau Gasol from the Lakers this past summer) give their neighbors in the Central Division–the Cleveland Cavaliers–a run for their money? Let’s also not forget about the Miami Heat, who despite losing LeBron to free agency, will have what it takes to become a top four team in the East, ESPECIALLY now that the Pacers appear to be out of the conversation due to the severe leg injury suffered by their all-star forward Paul George, as well as the loss of tough-as-nails shooting guard Lance Stephenson to Charlotte.

There are many great teams that appear to be AWESOME on paper at this point in the season, but come June, the old TNT slogan rings true:

“There can only be one”.