Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: November 6, 2011 4:48 pm

The Biggest Game of the Night We're Missing: 11.6

Posted by Royce Young

Sunday night at Staples. It's almost, well, pardon me for this, a staple in the NBA.

Hornets versus Lakers is pretty much big because it's Chris Paul versus Kobe Bryant and you don't really need another reason to pay attention. Plus, remember how good that series what last postseason? CP3 relishes the opportunity to make statements about his place among superstars and against the Lakers is where you do that.

The Hornets though would be in a bit of a state of transition though. David West may or may not have been with them and without him, Paul and the Hornets would totally be handicapped with no chance. Well that's not true at all. Because if you recall, West didn't play during that playoff series last April and the Hornets darn near pulled that off.

But you can't deny that New Orleans would be missing a weapon like West. Against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, the Hornets would need all the inside help they could get.

New Laker head coach Mike Brown is known for his defensive wizardry and while there's not a ton to gameplan for against the Hornets (basically it's, "See No. 3? Guard him with everyone) but Brown would certainly be tested to a degree. Chris Paul makes any team a tough cover because he can pass players open. When New Orleans starts hitting shots, they can become a fairly explosive offensive club.

All that stuff aside, it just comes down to CP3 against Kobe. In our dreams this game would be tight in the fourth quarter with Paul and Kobe exchanging possessions. They operate and dominate games in such opposite ways which is what makes this game such a joy. Kobe has the ball in his hands looking to create his own. CP3 has it looking to create for someone else.

And that video I put at the top? We'd see some of that too. Chris Paul loves to get the Laker big men to switch onto him and then he goes to work putting them in the spin cycle. That's what you want to see at the end of your lazy Sunday.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:08 pm

Video: LeBron vs. Kobe 1-on-1. Who you got?

By Matt Moore

The L.A. Times decided to ask a popular and interesting question to a collection of NBA players, and the responses were at once not suprising, and kind of intriguing. 


Some notes:

  • Matt Barnes' "Don't nobody lose to Kobe one-on-one" should be entered into the great quotes of our time. 
  • Durant's modesty has no fatigue. Mentions LeBron, Kobe, and Wade, is asked about his place, and he says he's "nowhere near those guys." It's that comment you love to hear from a superstar, and you rarely get. 
  • Wall's comments about LeBron were particularly interesting. Wall's close with LeBron, has been since high school. So for him to essentially challenge LeBron to play in the post more is pretty interesting. It's also pretty accurate. I think Bryant would kill him from the high post and off the dribble with pull-ups, but if James bodied and bullied him low, he could keep it close for pretty much forever. 
  • Trevor Ariza nails it: "I don't know who'd win, but I'd pay to watch it." 
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 2:02 pm

Shaq describes Cavaliers pampering LeBron

By Matt Moore

Shaquille O'Neal's biography may wind up being the best-selling basketball biography of all time, simply because he tells enough dirt to get sales to an obscene level. After describing in detail his feud with Kobe Bryant (including saying he was going to "kill him") the latest excerpt leaked talks about another of the three superstars Shaq played with since 2000. This time, it's LeBron James. HoopsWorld has the excerpt: 
LeBron was a huge star. He was as big as I was in 2000 in L.A. when I was dominating the league. … Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy, but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron. Nobody wanted him to leave Cleveland, so he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do.

I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn’t get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn’t say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, “Yo, Mo, we can’t have that. You’ve got to hustle a little more.” So Delonte West is sitting there and he’s seen enough and he stands up and says, “Hold up, now. You can’t be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us.” Mike Brown said, “I know, Delonte. I know.” Mike knew Delonte was right. …

I’m not sure if Kobe is going to listen to Mike Brown. LeBron never really did. Here’s what we do know: Kobe will definitely be in charge.
via NBA AM: Shaq Dishes on Kobe, LeBron | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors.

This isn't a huge shocker, it was well known that Cleveland had let James do what he wanted in Cleveland prior to "The Decision" making the choice to leave in the manner he did all the more infuriating. But Mike Brown being rendered incompetent by management or ownership is a disturbing sign. Shaq's assertion that Bryant will run things in L.A. does overlook a pretty significant element, which is Jerry Buss' son Jim Buss being in charge, and looking to move away from the Phil Jackson era, which was Kobe-centric, as much as possible. Brown has said that the new offense will be focused on post play, which means Andrew Bynum, Jim Buss' favorite. Of course, that could just mean that the same problem Brown faced with LeBron in Cleveland could come into play with Bynum in L.A.

O'Neal also touches on Dwight Howard, bringing up the Superman thing again, and simultaneously insulting, challening, and sympathizing with Howard. Let me be yet another in a long line of people to wish O'Neal would drop the Superman thing. The iconic character has been around for over 60 years, Howard's physical makeup and personal ethos are much more in line with the alien superhero, and Howard's "Superman" dunk was a pretty iconic representation. The war is over, sir, you ar the Hall of Famer. Move on.

Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 2:53 pm

Shaq: I told Kobe Bryant I would kill him

Posted by Ben Golliver


The Big Threatener.

In a new autobiography, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal admits that he told former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant that he would kill him.

O'Neal and Bryant teamed up for three titles with the Lakers but engaged in a public war of words that eventually led the Lakers to trade O'Neal to the Miami Heat. In his new book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, O'Neal says he took issue with Bryant giving public statements about how he was out of shape and faking an injury after Lakers brass requested the two stop squawking. O'Neal was so upset about the comments, he writes, that he threatened to murder Bryant during an argument about Bryant's sexual assault case in Colorado.

Here's an excerpt posted on Deadspin.com.
Kobe stands up and goes face-to-face with me and says, "You always said you're my big brother, you'd do anything for me, and then this Colorado thing happens and you never even called me." I did call him. ... So here we are now, and we find out he really was hurt that we didn't stand behind him. That was something new. I didn't think he gave a rat's ass about us either way. "Well, I thought you'd publicly support me, at least," Kobe said. "You're supposed to be my friend."

Brian Shaw chimed in with "Kobe, why would you think that? Shaq had all these parties and you never showed up for any of them. We invited you to dinner on the road and you didn't come. Shaq invited you to his wedding and you weren't there. Then you got married and didn't invite any of us. And now you are in the middle of this problem, this sensitive situation, and now you want all of us to step up for you. We don't even know you." ... Everyone was starting to calm down when I told Kobe, "If you ever say anything like what you said to Jim Gray ever again, I will kill you."

Kobe shrugged and said, "Whatever."
Wow. Well, it clearly got personal. There wasn't ever much doubt about that.

How seriously should we take O'Neal's threat here? O'Neal has tried to establish a law enforcement career but has also been involved in a number of suits that allege all sorts of crazy behavior, including kidnapping and hit men. I suppose if Bryant reacted dismissively, the danger can't have been that real. But the dysfunction was as authentic as it gets.

O'Neal announced his retirement from the NBA back in June and joined TNT as an NBA commentator in July.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 5:35 pm

Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher want 50/50 BRI split?

Posted by Ben Golliver


Is the NBA's highest-paid player prepared to accept the league's offer so that he can get back to work?

FoxSports.com reports that Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and his backcourt mate, National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher, are ready to accept a 50/50 split of Basketball-Related Income with the NBA's owners. The NBPA's official proposal as of Friday stood at 52.5 percent for the players.
The belief that NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher has been co-opted by commissioner David Stern — and promised the commish he could deliver the union at 50-50 — caused NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee to confront Fisher on Friday morning and make him reassess his 50-50 push, a source familiar with the negotiations told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon.

According to my source, at least one five-time champion, NBA superstar with the initials K.B. was on board with Fisher’s push for a 50-50 split. Hunter is firm that the players should not accept less than 52-48. According to my source, Hunter and a member of the executive committee convinced Fisher to stand firm at 52-48 after they questioned the Lakers point guard about his relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

According to reports, Hunter ended Friday's negotiating session, telling Stern the union would not budge on 52-48.
An ESPN Radio host also reported that Bryant and Fisher are open to a 50/50 split. 

In recent press conferences, Fisher has actually played the "bad cop" to Hunter's "good cop," keeping a dour expression even when Hunter exchanges laughs and jokes with NBA commissioner David Stern after Thursday's day of progress. Bryant, meanwhile, has preached union solidarity multiple times over the last year.

Circumstantially, both Fisher and Bryant have more motivation than most players to get a deal done. For Fisher, he must deliver an agreement or he will catch major Heat if a season is lost. For the aging Bryant, every season from here on out counts. He's chasing Michael Jordan for rings and for the all-time scoring mark, and a lost season at this stage of his career would be a fairly major setback in both quests. Bryant also possesses a no b.s. personality and a killer competitive instinct; both traits have to be raging any time the NBA cancels games or whenever lawyers prevent him from practicing his craft.

But, at least for now, the reporting is thin. With offers on both sides constantly in flux over the last two weeks, and with those positions likely to continue to see significant change during the next two weeks, it will take more than this to make reports of a divide among the NBPA's leadership stick. 

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com and HoopsWorld
Posted on: October 28, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 8:16 pm

NBA superstars World All-Star Classic implodes

Posted by Ben Golliver


A much-ballyhooed world basketball tour featuring an array of NBA superstars clung to life this week, before ultimately succumbing to a merciful death on Friday afternoon.

Just hours after labor negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Asssociation broke down, multiple reports surfaced that the World All-Star Classic, an exhibition game featuring 14 NBA stars set to be played in Puerto Rico this Sunday, would be cancelled.

Yahoo reported that this weekend's game was cancelled because "organizer can't deliver players." ESPN.com reported that the game in Puerto Rico has been indefinitely postponed.

The Puerto Rico game was all that remained from the hyped World All-Star Tour, a six-game, four-continent tour that was said to include stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant.

On Wednesday, the tour melted down to a one-game exhibition in Puerto Rico after word surfaced that James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul had all withdrawn their names from the tour. While Bryant and Durant continued to say that they would be participating in the tour after James and company pulled out, the event apparently couldn't keep it together.

The World All-Star Classic will go down as another eyesore for NBA players, who have run a number of successful charity games during the lockout but have, by and large, failed to monetize their talent. A "Lockout League" held in Las Vegas drew scant crowds, and even the exhibition game circuit has had to deal with last-minute no-shows and scheduling concerns.

This would all be water under the bridge if the NBA and the players had reached a handshake deal on Friday, but that didn't happen. Instead, there will be no NBA games through the end of November and only a scattered collection of charity exhibitions to fill the void.

The league's superstars had a real opportunity to showcase their talents internationally and to prove their marketability here. Instead, the lockout continues and fans are forced to continue to cope with a basketball blackout.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 8:25 pm

Phil Jackson: Lakers fell apart in the clutch

Posted by Ben Golliverphil-jackson

Former Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has a track record of opening up about his players once he's out the door. Who could forget his 2004 book The Last Season -- which should have been subtitled "Kobe Bryant is a Big Meanie" -- in which he was highly critical of his All-Star guard.

Now that he is officially retired, Jackson is once again able to speak candidly about his former teams and players. And, no surprise, the sharp-tongued coach pulls no punches.

ESPNLA.com reports that Jackson said in a recent interview that the 2010-2011 Lakers, who were swept out of the second round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks, were undone by their inability to perform in the big playoff moments.

"There is nothing that could have gone worse for a basketball team than the way we finished our season last year," Jackson said when he joined "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "Struggling with New Orleans ... and going into the next round [against Dallas] we needed everyone to start playing well and we just couldn't find that little magical thing that you always hope you have as a coach, the chemistry that makes a team work well."

"To lose an 18-point lead in the first game [against the Mavericks], not being able to outscore your opponent on your home court in the fourth quarter," he said, "to give them life in the very first game of the Dallas series was foreboding what was going to happen to us. We didn't have the ability to play in the clutch like we had in the previous years."
Jackson didn't use the "choke" word but it's certainly there, hovering between the lines. That's one of the heaviest criticisms a respected coach can levy against a veteran, prideful group. 

But this assessment winds up seeming tame when you think back to what really happened during the playoffs. Ron Artest clotheslined J.J. Barea in a remarkably dirty play. Then, Andrew Bynum nearly killed J.J. Barea with the dirtiest play of the year. Who could forget Steve Blake shooting 2-for-12 from downtown against the Mavericks? Then there was Lamar Odom getting wrapped up in a reality show and Pau Gasol no-showing for the postseason amidst rumors about his personal life.  Bryant was dealing with injuries throughout the postseason so he can be forgiven, but his postseason numbers were way down across the board from the 2010 championship run.

From top to bottom, last year's group melted down in a major way. Certainly, they were bad in the clutch, but they were pretty bad in all facets against the more disciplined and focused Mavericks.

None of this is to say that the talented Lakers are a total lost cause. (Well, Blake is likely a lost cause, but that's beside the point.) But they certainly needed a new voice -- which they got in Mike Brown -- and they need to find a new sense of purpose and motivation coming out of the lockout. A fresh start will do wonders. As will a little chip on the shoulder, which Jackson's comments very well might serve to provide.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 10:30 pm

LeBron James, other stars bail on world tour

Posted by Ben Golliverlebron-james-uk

It sounded too good to be true, didn't it?

A full galaxy of NBA stars travelling the globe to bring basketball to all corners of the Earth during the biggest hoops drought in a decade?

As recently as a few hours ago, plans were reportedly all set for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and a host of other NBA stars to make a six-game tour that would have included stops in Puerto Rico, England and Australia.

Unfortunately, multiple reports broke on Wednesday afternoon that many of the biggest names would not actually be participating.

Although his name was mentioned by tour organizers, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that James "not only won't be part of NBA world tour but had never committed to [the] project in [the] first place." 

Shortly thereafter, ESPN.com reported that James, Anthony and Paul had all chosen not to participate. HoopsWorld.com then reminded everyone that Rose and Westbrook were recent scratches too.

I guess if you're going to fail, fail big.

Update: The Sun Sentinel reports Wednesday night that the world tour has been repackaged as a one-game exhibition in Puerto Rico, starring Bryant, Durant, Stoudemire, Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Diwght Howard, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Carlos Boozer and Tyson Chandler.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com