Thursday, December 29, 2011



Going West.

What else can we say about Jerry West? A Los Angeles Laker champion and legend as a player and a general manager, immortalised in bronze for an overdue statue this year. Olympic champion and one of the greatest players the league has ever seen. The man is the image of the logo of the NBA for heaven's sake...he is a basketball God. What more can you say than that? Or what more can be said about this man than Roland Lazenby's incredible read 'Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon'? Well how about some words from the man himself? A shy, at times troubled man who isn't one for interviews, press conferences or even events honoring him. What more do we need now than some words from the horses mouth?

So one of the Lakers greatest knight's finally opens up with Jonathan Coleman for the magnificent, moving memoir 'West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life'. A book that covers everything from the highest of Mr. West's highs to the lowest of his lows on and off the basketball court. Recounts of a classic career that saw Gold on the national and international stage, a bevvy of legendary teammates and associates and a reputation for being one of the best closers in the game are detailed here.

Relationships with Laker legends like Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley, Mitch Kupchak, Jerry Buss, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and the lack of one with Phil Jackson are detailed here. As our his relationship with Bill Russell and the Lakers bitter, storied rival the Boston Celtics who ignited the competitive fire by beating them six time in one decade. Extended testimony's from his closest friends and players, plus his dream team, dream game are also thrown in for different and interesting measures.

Still it's when Jerry details the facts about his personal life that things become more open and revealing. A private and sensitive side that should truly be explored if your read this book and not this review. Jerry tells his story best with humble honesty and touching tenderness. The guy said to have a regular Joe name could almost change it to Frank Forthright. The silhouette of the NBA comes out from the shadows to shed some light on his troubles and in a way helps illuminate the darkness of fellow depression sufferers. Jerry shows fellow sufferers that you can live with the mental affliction...and live happily too. It's an important lesson learnt throughout Jerry's life and this book. It's a bold and brave move which Jerry executes as precisely and perfectly as one of his buzzer-beating shots.

The Big Shot player doesn't clutch for sympathy or fish for compliments, instead he inspires with his profound, poignant look at the fragility of life and the strength of one's character. Mr. Clutch will have you in his grasp in a one-sitting, page-turning read. This is a influential portrait and as this pro confesses over some pros he remains even in retirement the consummate professional. One of the greatest finishes of all-time yet again sends a shiver down our spine with a big play that leaves everyone better off for it. Once again Mr. West finds his range and strikes the right chord. The man that won a championship, a gold medal and brought 'Showtime' and Shaq and Kobe to L.A. scores one of his biggest and most significant hits yet. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Would you?

By Tim David Harvey

So the Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to cool off the Miami Heat with their own big-three this offseason.

So they were supposed to acquire both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for a few pieces in order to lasso the Dallas Mavericks and take revenge for the champion’s knockout sweep of them this past playoffs, while taking back Larry O'Brien.

Then David Stern happened.

Then a nixed CP3 trade happened as the commissioner wanted to keep the New Orleans Hornets together. Still Chris Paul ended up heading to Los Angeles and the STAPLES Centre anyway...for the Los Angeles Clippers?

Then the rumour mill was whirling with news that Dwight Howard was still going to be traded...but to the New Jersey Nets!?

If that wasn't bad enough, the Lakers/New Orleans trade may have been blocked but you can't take back hurt feelings and an offended Lamar Odom demanded a move. So the Lakers sent their most versatile player and threat to the team that swept them and their biggest new rival the Dallas Mavericks!? For practically nothing?!

Now the Lakers are left with a depleted, disgruntled frontline featuring trade bait Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (who are still incredible players, but probably can't help but feel little loyalty), some out of shape World Peace, no real Point Guard, and according to some critics no real chance.

If that wasn't enough remember that Phil Jackson and his Zen are somewhere between Montana and some rumours of New York.

Still, I wouldn't bet against Kobe Bryant!

I wouldn't bet against the greatest player in the league and the greatest player ever not named Michael. Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant can still wait like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, for Kobe is still the player to beat. Until he unlaces them Kobe will run this basketball game from a player perspective. You can't retire that. He is still that good. Sure he's older but he's nowhere near done. He's nowhere near M.J.'s level yes, but he's also nowhere near Floor Jordan's level when he was at the Washington Wizards...and Mike was still schooling cats then. Kobe's got his hops back; his killer-instinct is still intact and as for that Maverick sweep? Number 24 is out for revenge.

Kobe's walked off opposing team’s floors before, head-down, looking purple, with opposing team coloured ticker-tape falling down in someone else's celebration. They said he was done back then in Boston, but then he made twice as nice on some championship rings 'sans' Shaq. No wonder O'Neal calls him the greatest Laker ever. Back when they played together Shaq called Kobe his 'idol'. Hate it or love it, Bryant is still the poster boy of the NBA. He hasn't just built walls...he's knocked them down. Only Jordan in his prime has Kobe's skill, will, or killer instinct. At the end of the game, two down with two on the clock, who else do you want to have the ball (apart from Derek Fisher behind the arc of course). It's no contest. If there's a way to win, Kobe will find it.

This season is going to be one of the hardest for the Black Mamba but he's still got venom. This is personal. Its got nothing to do with the sad news of his divorce (that's his private life...respect that). Its got nothing to do with the endorsements, hyperdunks, critics, lockout, all the talk, blogs and bull$£* that comes with the great hype and build up of the world’s greatest league. Its to do with how the game has played out and by the end who has put the ball in the basket more times. At the end of it all, after it's all said and done who else do we need to talk about? That's Kobe's bread and butter. That's Kobe's job. That's Kobe's forte. That's Kobe. That's all you need to know.

I wouldn't bet against Kobe Bryant...would you?

Sunday, December 11, 2011


A Seventh Sin.

By Tim David Harvey

In what seems like an NBA minute, Lamar Odom has gone from throwing elbows at the Dallas Mavericks to possibly throwing champagne, championship party with them next season. After almost joining Pau Gasol in a 'Sternly' nixed package deal that would have brought Chris Paul to Lakerland, Lamar Odom is now taking his understandably hurt feelings and his Kardashian down to Texas. Sure the former Laker champion will have to watch the team that swept him receive their championship rings that could have been his to begin his Christmas Day and new season but still, the Lakers loss looks like Dallas and their new Mavericks gain.

After a horrible end to a disappointing season the bright lights of L.A. didn’t have many bright spots in their 2010/2011 defending champion year. Except for the consistency of Lamar Odom and his own victorious 'Sixth Man of the Year' award however. It has been clear for many years that this microwave, bench warmer deserves more credit and it's almost a given that he'll be an all-star in no time. It's the next logical step. The Hollywood smooth, reality star, big-game, big-name sharer already has star power to go with some Magic fundamentals. We're talking about THE Magic, as in Earvin Johnson. This is no illusion.

Sure calling Lamar Odom one of the greatest players in the league is a bit of a hater-ready overstatement, but he sure is one of the greatest talents this league has to offer and a one of a kind great. Put it this way coming off the bench he was the Lakers ace in the hole. They should have never dealt one of their best hands. Put it another way, you don't deal the leagues most versatile player to its most versatile team. Especially when that team is one that swept and knocked you out of championship contention. Now not only do the new NBA champions have Larry O'Brien on their side, they also have a motivated, angry Lamar Odom on their side. You can call this a rivalry now and guess who has the advantage?

This is more potent a power move then when the Lakers looked to keep their enemies closer by signing Dallas' bench hot-rod J.J. Barea. The Lamar Odom move actually happened and is more of a big-name, big-game changer. Like James Worthy, Jaamal Wilkes and other smooth, versatile big-forwards before him Lamar Odom will always go down as a Laker champion and great, but what an awful shame his legacy was cut short. Now as L.O. looks to continue his champagne campaign via American Airlines, the Lakers nation can't help but feel grounded by losing one of their brightest and best personalities and players.

Sure if Lamar Odom was shipped away to gain Chris Paul and championship leverage than maybe this could be easier for the Lakers fans to swallow, but even that trade with Pau Gasol seemed to leave the Lakers depleted. David Stern was right it was unfair. It almost seemed like the Lakers were giving up too much and two players too many. Then with the commissioners collapse of the trade the Lakers were left with some collateral damage to their cohesiveness. Because of hurt feelings the baited trade left in Lamar Odom a new trade was demanded at his request to be cast-out. Now the Lakers have lost him for practically nothing but a draft pick. OK, this opens up the cap space and doors for Dwight Howard but surely the Lakers could have amnestied someone else to help keep their roster in shape.

Losing Odom not only loses the Lakers versatility, it also narrows their playing field...or their floor to be more specific. Lamar's all-round game opened up the Lakers, offence, playbook and court in a way like no other. Now he's gone the Lakers are a Bynum or a Gasol away from losing a formidable frontline. Sure Dwight Howard may bring the perfect smiles back to Hollywood, but Odom's loss clearly reveals that this team needs more work done. It's not just about one guy and this sixth man really backed his team up to the core. There's no 'I' in 'team' or 'championship' and now there's no 'L.O.' in 'Los Angeles'. Gone are his career close 14.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds from last year to go with his career highs in three-point (.382) and field goal (.530) percentages. Also gone, beyond statistics are his above average all-round game, his scoring, passing, range and long limbs that reach all sort off off-ball fundamentals and facets. Also his class, charisma and great locker room presence will be sorely missed.

As he enters the halls that Mark Cuban built however Odom brings more dimensions to a team that has more than a geometry class. Odom's numbers may go down in the talent pool lassoed by the Mavericks, but his productivity and intangible output. His championship experience, both on the winning and losing end will be as valuable a commodity as his inspiring character and positivity now mixed with a new tonic of motivational revenge. Odom was exactly the player that the Lakers needed to take their squad from a Kobe show to an ensemble piece back when he was traded for Shaq. He even went from easing the Lakers post-Shaq hurt to proving that in the long run it was the more worthwhile move, but is it now? Now that those 2006 school adverts mocking him getting traded again have come true, Odom may be exactly the player this new winning Dallas team needs to help them towards their own dynasty.

Sure the Lakers are far from out of contention, just like Lamar they have a new motivation to win. Add a D12 or a CP3 and the numbers may add up to initialing some new success for these new Lakers. It’s just a real shame that a man that stuck by them and helped them along the way will not continue down the road with the purple and gold. Yes the Lakers can go on without Lamar Odom, but you can be sure they'll never be able to replace him.

Monday, November 21, 2011


(This article was meant to serve as an interview with Cedric Ceballos, but following his recent ill-health we post this to tribute and wish him the best. get well soon champ.)

Open your eyes to someone who really sees the game for what it is.


All eyes are open and on the one man with his eyes closed. A man holding court on his own, decked out in purple on the decked out hardwood. Players and fans alike are pointing and whispering something like; 'he can't do it'! Before more doubt is shed the man starts running like he's heard the starters gun for the 100 metres, cradling the peach awkwardly and carefully like it was a full bucket of water. It all looks a little too awkward or party pinyata like until the man begins to soar. Part M.J/Dr. J, part American eagle outfitted in a black bandanna. What seems like a thousand camera flashbulbs pop, while the same number of mouths drop. SLAM DUNK! The man lands back down to earth with a chorus of champion cheers, while pulling the blindfold off his eyes. All Cedric Ceballos sees behind a sea of white teeth is nothing but tens.

Cedric Ceballos was a Slam Dunk winner for that legendary dunk, but this former star player of the NBA was much more than that. Can you count to 50? Ced can too, but with buckets. Hitting them high with more than his space jams, joining the half-Wilt, half-century and over club before he hit his 30's. He was part of the elite class of the 90's, arguably the greatest decade of NBA history. An academy of diversely talented players who would have been kings in another time, but like princes they were overshadowed by Michael.Ced could dunk like Mike, score like his fellow number 23 in some games and before his mid-nighties Lakers gave way to the next one in Kobe Bryant he was a potent scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. He would have made for a great, much-needed then third shooting option behind Shaq and said Jordan mark two. His wonderful, aerially amazing wing game developed with the association's change towards that style of play.

With a 'tache and high-top fade this prototype basketball player defined the nighties and the changing of the guard...literally. Playing like a 2 at the small forward position, opening up the game like he did the court. L.A., Phoenix, Detroit, Dallas and Miami were all shown that this man from Hawaii was more than a journeyman. Hapoel Tel Aviv, BC Lokomotiv Mineralnye Vody, San Miguel Beermen and the ABA also benefited from all the talent of this all star. Ceballos saw it all and did it all and made a damn good career out of it.Still they took a man who once hit 50 like his name was Ghostface, two positions lower in the draft. Well like most late picks he made other teams realise they shouldn't have passed him up...early. Waking fans up with his dunks, leaving opponents sleeping on defence. Still Ceballos was more than just the wow factor of dunks and microwave plays (much love to Vinne Johnson), he had much more cooking.

Take off the blindfold and plug into youtube to spark off nostalgia and you can see that Ceballos could score like a pro. Leading the league in Field Goal Percentage in 92/93 with 57.6%. This Sun burnt brighter than his doubters, with a vibrancy that matched the jersey's he rocked in Arizona and California. In Los Angeles he even led all Lakers during the 1994/95 season with an average of 21.7 per, he really was an option. A year later, the second round was again on him as he led the Lakers with 21.2 per, including that career high game, which was the first time a Laker had hit 50 in 20 years. That was before James Worthy and that was before Kareem. That's truly magic, when you realise these legends had their offence served to them on a plate by the tricks of Earvin Johnson's trade. When he was hot, Cedric cooled teams off and put games in refrigerators faster than Chick could call it. Not only did he take Hearn's 'slam-dunk' phrase and own it, he gave his own name definition as well.

Today Cedric is ever the entertainer, still bringing a smile to peoples faces almost bigger than his. The Phoenix Suns passed the mic back to this player/rapper as he became the teams in-arena emcee in 2004, whilst also making the rounds on city radio and on the internet via his webcast, 'Nothin' but Net'. Of course a man who once released a hit single with West-Coast rap legend Warren G. ('Flow On') to go along with an album (' B-Ball's Best Kept Secret') was a natural at moving the crowd even when he wasn't regulating opponents. Following some assistant jobs Cedric this year has been playing with the 'USA Legends'. Forget the 'World All-Star Classic' this former player is making dates and moves like a Globetrotter. From the scoring to the showboating this man charms the crowd with his infectious character and irresistible charisma. Ceballos put in an MVP performance this June as his legends beat the Malaysian NBL All Star, despite Ced' lending his talents along with a Malaysian jersey to play for the opponents for a few minutes.

That's Cedric for your willing to play with anybody, or do anything just to entertain you. This guy is all-time, dedicated to the game and putting a smile on peoples faces in the name of fun. Seriously speaking though, Cedric still played like a pro, but one that wasn't afraid to let his love for the game and his moment show. After all isn't that what sport is all about? Anyone who disagrees can put the blindfold back on. In his NBA career Ceballos opened eyes and made those who loved the game look at Basketball his way, the entertaining way. He still does that today. Can you see?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Many NBA legends have graced the Los Angeles Lakers hardwood from the Forum to the STAPLES Centre. From Wilt to Shaq, Magic to Kobe, Mikan to Kareem and West to Gasol. Still, other stars have made cameo appearances for the purple and gold and we're not talking about Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio or the rest of Hollywood's finest. We're talking about the star, Hall of Fame players who have briefly passed through the Lakers locker rooms over their and the Lake Show's storied careers. So who is the best of the rest?

Who's A Star?

So who makes the cut? OK, here's the criteria. This is a list of the greatest NBA star players that have played for the Lakers briefly. We aren't looking at any purple and gold jersey's being raised to the rafters here. This is a list of the top legends that either played for L.A. for a short amount of time (23 games is enough), in a limited role (like a 'Sixth Man' position), or in the twilight of their careers (see above). This list gives a nod to those who may have made their hall of fame bread and butter elsewhere but still spread their NBA legacy with some time in the locker's of the Lakers.

Honarble Mention.

Honourable mentions must go out to more brief Laker players who we're legends in the NBA.

ADRIAN DANTLEY spent some of his early years showing the Lakers the potential that would lead to four straight seasons of 30 plus points per-game in the league. Laker purists will debate whether Dant' should of been given up for the Silk of Jaamal Wilkes for 'Showtime' reminiscent years to come.

SPENCER HAYWOOD was a bull in the ABA and had the big, built frontcout numbers to match in the NBA, but his career faded too soon and his time in L.A. came too late. If Michael Jordan was the Hulk Hogan of the league in the nighties.

MITCH RICHMOND was 'The Rock'. His playing time in his sole season with L.A. was chipped away but he was still solid. He earned a ring and the gracious last bucket of the Lakers championship and his career from Phil Jackson's gratitude.

JIM JACKSON was a scoring machine but he needed more time for more buckets in a solitary season that was much like Richmond's.

HORACE GRANT, goggles and all was one of the Chicago Bulls and the NBA's greatest defenders and field goal percentiles, that's why Phil Jackson put up with the injuries to employ Horace's services for another ring in 2001.

DEREK HARPER and RON HARPER shared more than a last name, they where two of the late eighties/nighties greatest, most underrated backcourt players and big-time team contributors.

ORLANDO WOOLRIDGE showed Chicago some air before Jordan laced them up and even showed another M.J. (Magic) some tricks of the 'Showtime' trade.

MAURICE LUCAS was a true talent and a true individual for every team he played for including the Lake Show. He was a genuine professional which makes his loss last year that much sadder. Rest in peace.


Dennis Rodman got ahead of himself when he selected his Laker jersey number as 72, he would never reach that number of games with this club, or a full season. In fact Dennis only recorded the same number on his former-teammate Jordan's jersey in games for L.A. Still Dennis made an impression even in just 23 games. The rebounding machine never bored us matching his hair colour to his jersey and bringing flamboyance and enthusiasm with his one of a kind personality. He missed practices but it got worse as he was waived goodbye only to send Dallas off the rails. Asking for his number to be '69' or '007' really was asking too much and that was goodbye to Rodman's career. Still the facts or the Hall this year couldn't deny the sheer talent of one of the greatest rebounders, big-men, defensive players and champions of all-time. Dennis didn't need 23 to show the Lakers that on-court he still caught more than just attention.


What happened to Connie Hawkins career was criminal. A point shaving scandal led to years being razor-cut off his career. This man was supposed to figuratively and literally be in the same league as Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. Instead this great ended up having to wait his turn behind these two legends to play for the Lakers. Still this didn't stop the Hawk's own legend from soaring, dunking and rising like a Phoenix during his one of the best-ever time with the Suns. Still the unfair charges burnt him and charged it all to the good of the game also. The only time Connie should have been embarrassed was when acoustic singer Paul Simon beat him on one-one-one on 'Saturday Night Live'. Besides that this ABA and NYC playground icon should have held court on the NBA before 28, but another court put his sneakers in concrete.

Number 3. BOB McADOO

Mac's All-Star, all-legend career saw him be a superstar journeyman in the NBA and his career travels even took him to Italy for seven years. Wherever Bob laid his hat, he laid down baskets too making scoring his home. By the time McAdoo landed in L.A. he was in the Sixth Man territory of his career. Still like Lamar Odom this big man was huge for the star-studded Lakers in fitting their fingers with two-more championship rings. Mac wasn't just a fan-favourite he was loved by Magic and all his teammates in the showtime hat. Bob brought as much positivity as he I'd buckets to the Lakers. The contagious enthusiasm over-flowed making him a vital energy piece to the core of showtimes gold rush.


'The Glove' fit the Lakers well, even if it was for just a year. Even if the Kobe, Karl, Shaq and Gary, 'Dream Team', 'L.A. Beatles' combo only performed for one sold-out year, it was still something special and started a revolution of a transaction movement in the NBA that still results in major decisions to this day. Let's not talk trash, G.P. brought more than his mouth to the Lakers superstar clinic. The Lakers dream dynasty may have been stopped by the motoring Pistons of Detroit but in manning the Lakers offence Payton still had a good year ending the teams tired, years in the making quest for a true Point Guard (no offence to Derek Fisher's incredible performances). Gary still played like an All-Star with his trademark tougher than leather, glove defence to go with his middle of the range offensive set and his skills in service. As the Lakers took silver that year Payton was one of their best floormen even making up the big numbers and plays when Shaq and Malone we're injured our Kobe was off the floor and on a different court. Even in the Shaq/Kobe break-up and eventual 'death of a dynasty' Payton stood by the Lakers and the problems by pledging unity and another year. Although not many others followed suit and Gary was then dealt to Boston to eventually end up reunited with Shaq in Miami this was another hallmark moment from a Hall of Fame career. Just like his Seattle days this is why Gary Payton is a basketball legend of supersonic proportions.


The Mailman's final NBA delivery with the Lakers may have ended with a fractured friendship with Kobe and an even worse knee, but it was all love, healthy and happy to begin with. As Malone joined Gary Payton and history by holding a surfboard for the ultimate Californian beach boy party the good vibrations were clear. Malone manned the Power Forward boards in L.A. While surfing above the Western Conference waves of competition. Sure the Malone, Payton, O'Neal and Bryant foursome was incredible but the frontcout tandem of the 'Diesel' and the 'Mailman' was a monster. With the type of fire and fuel that could gas up and burn any opponent, all whilst making deliveries that even the top twin tandem of David Robinson and Tim Duncan couldn't handle. The muscle-bound Malone was so fit, it was thought this younger than his years player could perform ahead of his time. If only it wasn't for him going down on one knee with an engagement of injury and matrimony of retirement..

Saturday, November 5, 2011


7 Bold Predictions for the 2011/2012 Season.


(Originally published by 'Bleacher Report'

The locked out NBA is a mess right now.

The knocked-out, 2010 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers aren't looking their prettiest either, from losing their throne, their zen and possibly (like every other team) their season.

Still, if we actually do end up having a season this year, what will be made of one of the NBA's most popular franchises?

1. Mike Brown Will Make the Lake Show Run

OK, so Phil Jackson may have walked to the dismay and despair of many Lakers fans, but they must accept that Mike Brown is running things...and run things he will.

He's still receiving ringing, welcoming endorsements from Snoop Dogg (via Twitter) to Kobe Bryant (finally). Here's why: This former coach of the year almost took the wine and gold of Cleveland to champagne and championship gold, all whilst bringing the best out of LeBron. Now that's a real Cavalier.

This former Cleveland Brown will run his players like this was the NFL, opening up doors, lanes and roster spots for the slashers like Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks. Everyone will get some burn and, of course, Kobe will thrive. Now if only he can convince Shannon Brown to come back.

2. World Peace Will Outsell Kobe

Ron Artest, excuse me, Metta World Peace's popularity is bigger than ever right now. How big? Well, put it this way: Fans are flocking to and not from their seats when he's in arenas these days.

Everything is on the up and up, from Metta's mental peace of mind to his extra-curricular activities (from 'Dancing With The Stars' to even more comedy). So surely once the lockout ends and the league and its business opens back up, Metta's new jerseys will sell with the best of them.

This isn't like keeping up with Artest's number changes. The new vests adorned with Metta's new, court-approved (legal and hardwood) surname will be a favorite for collectors and statement makers worldwide.

Everyone's going to want 'World Peace' on the back of their jerseys. Besides, hasn't everyone already bought their Kobe uniforms?

3. The Gasol Brothers Will Battle Like Spanish Bulls

Pau Gasol, for a decade now, has been one of the best European talents, if not best all-around players, in the league. But since the Beijing Olympics almost four years back, his international teammate, fellow countryman and younger brother has crept up on him in the family competition ranks.

Marc Gasol was actually a Lakers draft choice who was involved in the blockbuster Pau power trade and now Marc is making his mark on a Memphis Grizzlies team that showed the San Antonio Spurs and the league's best that they are no joke.

Lakers fans can only imagine how good it would be to have the two brothers side by side in the purple and gold frontcourt. Wonder is all they can do now, however, as Marc and Memphis are growing into contenders for the future. This could make for some incredible, 'where amazing happens' playoff battles between the Gasol boys and some great NBA side-stories.

This, of course, is lockout pending. These brothers could end up teammates again back in Spain and although that would be good to see, we have the Olympics for that. These two bullfighters belong back in the NBA ring.

4. Derek Fisher Will Save L.A. Right After Saving the League in the Clutch

The NBA is in big trouble right now and the only man who can save it is the only man who can save the Lakers. No we're not talking about Robert Horry.

We're talking about 'the Fish that saved L.A.,' 'Mr. 0.4,' 'Mr. Big Shot 2.' We're talking about Derek Fisher.

Sure 0.0 has ticked on the regular season clock and now games are being cancelled like bad TV shows. So who's watching and who's going to do something about this? Derek that's who.

The president of the NBA Players Association is looking to do the right thing and elect change. If anyone can do it he can. He has a good relationship with his peers and owners alike and we're confident he can salvage some of the season. Just in time for him to hit some clutch buckets that will help keep the Lakers going too.

5. Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom Will Star

Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom are already big in L.A. even without Kareems or Kardashians in their corners. One of the last true centers and last year's 'Sixth Man of the Year' are even more popular beyond the Lakers.

This could be the breakout year where both guys breakdown more doors and not in the form of trading places for Dwight Howard. Drew's knee as well as the lockout will be a factor, but that aside, Bynum could further develop into one of the best players in the league, not just one of the best centers.

Even though he's got a lot of guys like Kobe standing in his spotlight, he's got the post skills to be one of the greats of this game.

Speaking of skills, the Earvin 'Magic' Johnson like all-around play of Lamar Odom should finally see him achieve All-Star status. Sure, people have been saying this for years, while Lamar even shaved it into his head, but by the looks and the awards of things, the Association is starting to recognize. It's time for the overdue to come true. This deserves to be a career year for two real stars.

6. The Walton's Family Legacy Will Follow a Similar Trend

The Walton family is too nice to finish last. Still, recent reports have surfaced that Lakers favourite Luke Walton may retire due to a list of ailments longer than his father's range of vocabulary. Sound familiar? Luke's dad Bill's career was also cut short by injury. Now, like father like son, another promising, skillful player could be lost to nostalgia, and what could have been.

Soon Lakers fans may be screaming 'Noooo' instead of 'Luuuuke'. It really will sound like boo's if one of the Lakers family fond members has to divorce himself from the game.

Still, no matter the time spent on court, just like Daddy, this Lakers son's talent will always speak for itself. Also, the precision, perfect passer was already looking to take his smarts to coaching during the lockout.

Now that could make for one hell of a second career. His father knows that hanging up the sneakers doesn't mean lacing up your career.

7. Fans Will Finally Get What They Want as Kobe vs. LeBron Will Go to the Finals

Dirk and Dallas may have shown L.A., Miami and the rest of the league who the real Mavericks are last season, but don't think that this has cooled things off in Florida and California.

The anticipation of a Kobe/LeBron NBA Finals matchup is heating up. The fans are ready like the Nike puppet commercials, but who's pulling the strings? Rumors floated around last year that the NBA was bored with the idea of another Lakers/Celtics classic storied clash, but what about the ultimate post-Jordan battle for the throne.

It doesn't matter that, even though Kobe's the greatest since M.J., LeBron's the better player these days. James will not truly be crowned King until he climbs ladders above the Mamba.

The debate to who's best will not be settled until one ultimately wins by beating the other. That's why we need a Lakers vs. Heat, Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals whilst we still can.

It will happen. You think Kobe's going to lay down after last season? So the question is: Who will come out victorious?

To answer that you will just have to wait and see.

Friday, October 21, 2011


All Around The Kob'.


It all revolves around Kob'. Everything does. The future of the NBA, the future of basketball in the world. Who's watching and who's not. It all turns with Kobe Bryant. ESPN recently ranked him number 7 on a list of top players but surely we can take it higher than that? This man means more than that.

Right now Kobe is more than just big in Japan. From being made in China to showing his heart in Seoul this Summer's tour of Asia took him to another continent, but took his status and stock out this world. Now in November Kobe could follow his dreams and the footsteps of his father Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant and play in Italy.

Now what could this mean? Sure European side Virtus Bologna have not signed Kobe this month but that doesn't mean they won't, just like the fact that the NBA owners and players may meet again this week but that doesn't mean the lockout will be resolved...does it? This Christmas its very likely there won't be any NBA TV under our tree and that makes it even more likely that Kobe will be saying 'ciao' to California for the holidays.

Kobe could make Virtus Bologna, virtually the biggest team in the world if he suits up for them, but the shirts and ties of the NBA will still make money off of this. The more international exposure the biggest Basketball league in the world gets then the more fans from around the globe they'll draw in. Still what Kobe does for ball in Italy could be the biggest thing anyone's done for that country since the top sportsmen that are more accustomed to kicking the ball have.

Kobe could 'Bend it like Beckham' and change the game like his fellow L.A. friend did but in the opposite direction. Making Basketball more popular in the Soccer dominated Europe like David made Soccer more popular in a Basketball first America. Kobe already made more Asian Basketball fans like his name was Yao Ming and now the rest of the world is his for the taking. This could be his making.

His popularity is better than ever, despite the ESPN rank and until LeBron rips the rings off his finger he is the greatest player in the league for all sorts of reasons. The NBA may make more money off him when he becomes exported (and in some ways exploited) abroad but as the owners look shallow in this lockout Bryant will be the more genuinely better off for it.

Think about it the Black Mamba is even digging deeper into his pockets to lend money to his fellow players and peers during this trying time. Now that's no snake. That's a man building ladders while the board plays games. It's clear Bryant's in it for more than the money. He really loves this game. As the NBA becomes a place where nothing happens, Kobe shows us amazing and that this game of basketball right now is his.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Bob's greatest hits.


"Clutch means me getting it done". Robert Horry.

Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic (June 11, 1995-NBA Finals, Game 3)

The ball is inbounded to Hakeem Olaujawon deep in the post, screens are being set, late fourth quarter nerves are running and Shaq is trying to stop dreams from coming true, giving Houston more problems than Apollo 13. Still it's Hakeem and the Rocket's lucky day as the centre finds a teammate behind the arc with a trademark, beautiful pass. The player receiving the ball hits for three over top D man Horace Grant, fogging his goggles and making the home Houston fans rub their eyes with disbelief, making the Magic disappear with an ace in the hole play pulled from his bag of tricks. It's a dagger basket by a young Robert Horry.

They left him open to shoot all day. They didn't think he had what it took. They doubted him. They disregarded him. The former Alabama standout who played in the shadow of Latrell Sprewell brought it all to the light however with a shot that sank like the sun at dusk. Years before he helped Shaq drink championship champagne he made him taste bitter defeat. Before he made everything in his career right, he proved everyone wrong. While everyone though he was just a Will Smith lookalike with a Fresh Prince fade he threw the competition out the door like Jazzy Jeff. ARGH! Opposing fans would scream as all their hopes and dreams were in for a rude-Robert awakening. The number 2-5 was a man that made Houston's second five so strong, but after two big shots and two championship ring Horry was on the move further Northwest. Although his time in Phoenix, wasn't his best (especially with Danny Ainge) Rob never threw the towel in, he kept playing hard until Hollywood called with a script idea that was about to re-write history.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers (June 10, 2001-NBA Finals, Game 3)

With the NBA Finals tied at one game apiece there is not much between the Goliath Los Angeles Lakers and the David, underdog, Philadelphia 76ers. There isn't even any love, definitely no brotherly love in Philly for hometown boy Kobe Bryant as he dribbles the ball up court to a chorus of boos. The ball ends up in the hands of his assistant on-court Brian Shaw who quarterbacks a great heave to Robert Horry in the corner, who is all alone (Aaron Mckie is too late to reach the Laker jersey in the corner, almost as late as he was to eventually don one in the twilight of his career). Horry hoists up his third triple of the game and as it hits twine and parquet. Rob breaks the back of the Sixers, and silences the fans pumping his fists with the passion that's just left the First Union crowd. This is his time, this is his moment. This is his game.

The Lakers gave up serious swingman talent Cedric Ceballos in order to get Robert, but in return Horry answered the call and gave everything he had to a team that became more with his addition. He had to give up the number 25 because of retired Laker legend Gail Goodrich, but Horry's legacy in La, La, Lakerland may one day result in his number 5 jersey being raised to the rafters too. This player played his part and role in Hollywood better than most stars but this was no act, Bob was the genuine article. This fourth quarter moment maker was not lazy at other moments in the game. He just liked to wait for the last scene to draw the final curtain...and boy did he draw. This Western assassin had a lot of bullets in his gun. Give him just a second to aim a shot and...BANG!

Los Angeles Lakers vs Portland Trailblazers (April 28, 2002-Western Conference First Round, Game 3)

We're in the Rose Garden and the Los Angeles Lakers are about to be pricked by the blooming, blazing hometown Portland team out in Oregon. So Bryant sets a trail driving against the self-dubbed 'Kobe-Stopper' Ruben Patterson, taking him and what seems like the rest of the Trailblazers side into the paint. He furiously kicks the ball out to the three-point line on his right to Robert Horry who calmly catches the peach, sets it on it's seams, rises and drains the clutch three with just two seconds left like he had all the time in the world.

Three years, three trophies and three-balls aplenty Horry kept repeating like episodes of 'Scrubs' on 'Comedy Central'. He drained a game-clinching three-pointer in at least one game in four straight playoff series over the course of the Lakers three-peat campaigns. He really did change the game. Shaq and Kobe may have been the out of this world superstars, but every leading man needs his best supporting actor and the award went to Robert Horry. Along with Rick Fox he formed a forward tandem for the dynasty ages and he played his classic clutch role to the basket along with Derek Fisher, the Fish that continues to save L.A. to this day. Clutch three after clutch free. Who says it doesn't rain in Southern California? When Horry poured, L.A. reigned.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Sacramento Kings (May 26, 2002-Western Conference Finals, Game 4)

In one of the most fiercely competitive series in NBA Playoff history there's nothing between the Californian Kings and Lakers in this bitter clash for the Western throne. Kobe's on the drive again but he cant find the twine from the baseline. The rebound falls to Shaq but his putback needs a mulligan and is put and tipped away by Vlade Divac and the rim. The loose ball bounces away from everybody and outside the arc to no other then Robert Horry for a straight ahead, straight forward three which is classic Horry and vintage NBA history.

Former Laker Vlade Divac must have been real jealous as he dismissed Horry's latest triumph as a "lucky shot", but there is no 'Cheap Shot Bob' here. Vlade needed to "read a paper" or the history books or something. Read all about it. Time and time again Robert Horry's being doing it and coming up big when needed. Hitting three's with a Reggie Miller purity meeting M.J. clutch. Still in 2003 when the Lakers were looking to go forth with a fourth championship the San Antonio Spurs and a 25 point deficit got in the way during the Western Conference Semi-finals. Horry was in a familiar position as the Lakers rallied back from a blow-out looking to close-out the Spurs in Texas, but something just wasn't clicking. Horry drew his long-range gun and fired but his shot was in and out like Kevin Kline in the nighties. As the buzzer sounded the Lakers hadn't just lost the championship to the San Antonio Spurs, this was the beginning of the end as they also lost their 'Mr. Fourth Quarter' to their Western Conference and championship rivals.

San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons (June 19, 2005-NBA Finals, Game 5)

The clocks winding down, we are in clutch territory yet again but this time Robert Horry's role is to make the inbound pass. Has he been taken out the equation? He passes to Manu Ginoboli on the left hand, three-point side, who pivots around his defender and passes back to Bobby who's been left open by Rasheed Wallace. Brent Barry can see the smirk on 'Big Shot Bob's' face; "your going to leave me open"? It's all good. Corner pocket, 'Mr. Big Shot', Robert Horry three, San An victory, sorry Chauncey.

Still even though the jersey changed to the black and white of the Lakers rivals fans didn't have to expect anything new. It was the same ole 'Big Shot Bob' in San Antonio from the Detroit Pistons to 38 out of 85 threes made in the 2005 playoffs. Horry even dunked and checked his way to victory showing that even in his latter career he'd always go hard for the sweet taste of victory. Horry made it a record seven championships for his career becoming the eighth wonder of the Basketball world and a top ten all-time clutch player...if not top five, or top three. Bird, Jordan and he...sorry Kobe. With the three Robert Horry put up more numbers than most legends would dream of...and he did it all from the bench.

The statistics and rings speak and count for themselves. The Hall should make way. Fame? Horry was infamous in a town where celebrities ran the courtside as well as the baseline. For the record Robert is one of only nine players in NBA history to have won seven or more championships in the NBA. Out of these nine of a kind guys he's the only one who did not play on the 1960s Celtics, this Laker legend is in a generation and class of his own, joining his 2000 champion team-mate John Salley as the only other player to win championships with three different NBA teams.

He may have not started games, but he sure did finish them. Carrying his team and family name with pride. Robert's arc of talent extended from behind the line as he also became the first NBA player in history 100 steals, 100 blocked shots and 100 threes in one season. Still, speaking of more big three's his seven in '97 against Utah made for the most three-point field goals made in a game without a miss. He's even outdone the greatest players of all-time. Fellow Laker alumni and all-time points leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is now second in playoff games played behind Horry. Now if you thought that was big the record for the number of three-pointers in an NBA Finals doesn't belong to Michael Jordan's 42 anymore, it belongs to Robert Horry's 53. Could the greatest Sixth Man of all-time be the greatest clutch player in NBA history? Time will tell like the reviews of the record but one things for sure, there is nobody like Robert Horry, no substitute. When talking about the greats people may not start with Robert, but they sure will finish with him. Like at the end of the game at the end of the day its all about Horry. The rafters and the Hall is waiting, here's hoping the NBA doesn't leave it to the last minute, they're not experts at that like he is. Hands down, seconds out, nobody did it like him. Three, two, one...none.

"That's just Robert man". Kobe Bryant.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


DEREK FISHER: What more can be said about the Fish that's saved L.A. time and playoff time again? After some unnecessarily lengthy contract negotiations last offseason the Lakers reeled Fisher back in, to their advantage, not Miami's. Now the president of the Player's Association is making his own negotiations with the NBA to cast a line out to get this locked out season back. This big-time 'players player' is the key to all the success in the National Basketball Association. Derek's a rookie child of '96 coming up with Kobe and in some ways since that time he's been just as important as Kobe to the franchise. He may be old but name a guard that's strength and conditioning is on point as Derek's. Need a charge, a key bucket, free throw or clutch three? There's one Fish that you can always count on down the line. Hero doesn't even begin to describe. How about taking the first two letters of that word and adding some 'art'. This Fish is about to save the NBA and keep it beating again.

STEVE BLAKE: Laker fans may have been disappointed with the loss of Los Angeles' own Jordan Farmar but Steve Blake is more than a worthy replacement. Blake, a former Portland and Clipper favourite knows Staples, the Lakers and most importantly how to compete. Steve's hard nosed play, three point shooting and D is a clean cut as his shaved head. Blake is one of those guards that is terribly underrated when starting (think Luke Ridnour), but when he acts as backup he's one of the best in the L. With a deep season, an ageing Fish and a lot of bait amongst the competition the Lakers will need all the help they can get off the bench. Fortunately for them, Blakes got their back. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


KOBE BRYANT: MVP, Champion, Gold medalist, best since Mike, team player. What else has Kobe got to prove? Nothing. Still however in terms of championship promise if it's not reigning champs Dallas, critics are looking towards LeBron's big three in Miami, featuring Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. This may be too much too handle but hey Bird, Magic, Hakeem, Shaq, Ewing and more couldn't stop Jordan and just like M.J., Kobe today has an unmatched killer instinct and desire to win. Plus he's got his own bunch of 'superfriends'. Critics are making LeBron the villain and their doing this so much that their forgetting that Kobe's the hero. Just wait, there will be more times this season where Kobe pops the Lakers logo on his jersey than bites it. As quick as a flash Kobe can still take the throne no matter how much voltron is formed. Ignore him now but when you see 24 come at you, three isn't going to be enough, even if it's coming from Dirk.

SHANNON BROWN: Plain and simple Shannon Brown is showtime. This offseason may have be more of a case of 'who'? then WOW however! Still however if the Lakers lock this free-agent back up Brown will bring back his underrated D, his strength and his sparkplug plays and dunks. Shannon may like to dunk but he's not a one trick pony, there's a lot more magic and horsepower to S.B.'s all round game. Plus just like former Laker Sasha Vujacic, Shannon announced his engagement to a big star (R&B singer Monica). Now also just like Vujacic, Brown laced with two rings could be ready to show all that glitters is gold, Laker championship gold. That's if he doesn't leave the assemble of the Lakers like 'the machine'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


DEVIN EBANKS: Sure it's been said before. They look the same, play the same and even wear the same number but still as much as he helps the Lakers ease the loss of Trevor Ariza, Devin Ebanks is very much his own man. The Lakers normally never get the better draft picks but the Lakers hit the lottery when Ebanks number came up at 43 in the class of '10. Sure this is a ludicrously wrong placing for a player so fundamentally right but the rest of the leagues loss is the Lakers big win. Devin's in excess play is heaven sent. He's the ticket. He plays the passing lanes and is a steal in more ways then one. He can score, D and finish like Bruce Springsteen, tougher than the rest. Most importantly Ebanks doesn't just look like Ariza he also didn't look like a rookie last season. Now as a sophomore except much more.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Champagne sure tastes better than some fans beer. Ron Artest has come a long way since his darkest day and now in his brightest moments he shines as Metta World Peace. As for Metta...or Ron's past, it's a wrap. This champion is the Lakers wild card that cut the cheese instead of the deck. He's the one that made fans forget about Ariza before Ebanks. He forms Q.B.'s finest with Lamar Odom (Nas is proud) and as for his relationship with Kobe, they got in each others face in the 2010 playoffs again like the Rocket days, but this time they almost needed to get a room. All joking aside World Peace is serious now. Serious about getting better, serious about mental health and serious about winning. Number 37 made the Lakers diamond in a 'thriller' finals in 2010 and this season number 15 is going back to the basics, thinner, stronger and even more focused after a Dallas setback prevented him from putting another championship ring on ebay this year. Still you can bet Metta's in the right frame of mind. Peace.

MATT BARNES: From one top bracket defensive talent with a history of trouble both off the court and with Kobe to another. Matt Barnes signing last year gives the Lakers the perfect defensive supplement for Ron or Kobe off the bench. Barnes versatile talents may mean that even though he's coming off the bench he could still play starters minutes and be in the game at crucial moments. Ladies and gentleman, your looking at the defensive Robert Horry. When Barnes is on the floor at the same time as his dog Ron and the doberman the three give the Lakers the best perimeter defense trio in the league. Three lines of defence that even the army of LeBron and Dwyane would find hard to breach. Barnes may have some problems but he takes some offence too. Barnes isn't an upgrade from a player the Lakers have lost. There's no one like Barnes, this move is all asset adding another dimension to a team that stands out so much. There 3D, even without the three-peat.

LUKE WALTON: It's time for Staples Centre fans to start screaming 'Luuuke' again. Luke may have been battling back and all sorts of injuries but it's now time for him suit up on the floor instead of the bench and put those coaching aspirations on chill. Luke along with Kobe is one of the only surviving Lakers from the team that had Shaq on and since then Luke has been an important part of the teams fuel economy since the diesel left. Don't pass this assist man up because he's an asset to the Lakers with his all round play, competitiveness and heart. Luke was the perfect replacement for Rick Fox and provided he's healthy and in purple and gold, just like Rick, Luke will always be ready to go when the show need him. Like father Bill, like son however the injury prone Walton will look to make the most of his time. Unlike his dad however here's hoping this time isn't limited. Sure he'll make a great coach...but just one day, not yet. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


LAMAR ODOM: (Also Small Forward) Things have been getting better and better for Lamar Odom whilst he's been a Laker. Those troubled Clipper days seem so far away right now. Now on the other side of the staple, these days L.O. is an established Laker and a better choice than Shaquille O'Neal right now. Although we miss daddy this Laker child worked out better in the long run after all. This reigning 'Sixth Man of the Year' also definitely deserves an over due All-Star selection. Still however most All-Stars don't have gold medals or Kardashians. Things are looking up for Lamar. Odom doesn't need it all however because he does it all. L.O. Is still versatile his initials should be changed to X and O. On both ends of the floor this centre tall forward (that runs the floor like a guard) brings Magic every night. Providing the Lakers with more tricks up those long sleeves. Speaking of long sleeves Lamar's wing span is so huge, it's more Hollywood sign than the Staples floor. This season nobodies going to pass him by.

DERRICK CARACTER: The Lakers need this guy to rebuild. From his inspirational tweets full of his second-name sake to his bulky, broad play. To make it on a team like this you need a little bit of character. Derrick may be short of a 'h', but he isn't a loss on 'D' ensuring the Lakers don't have an '0' in the middle. Sure Caracter was taken even later in 2010 NBA Draft than fellow sophomore Ebanks (58Th to be exact) but he has still impressed with his rookie play. From filling the holie in the middle when needed to proving he's no donut at the centre position, Derrick came in and glazed the Lakers with sprinkles of his talent. He can score, rebound and reduce opponents statistics while putting up his own numbers. That's one whole game, and this was all seen from just a taster. Now it's time for him to eat more. Now it's time for Caracter to show us the real him.

PAU GASOL: (Also Centre) Pau Gasol is the perfect sidekick to Kobe Bryant. Scottie Pippen to Kobe's Jordan with a little Kukoc. Pau can flip between the forward position and the spot left vacant when Andrew Bynum's on a knees up. Gasol is a heavy scorer, heavy on defense and an all round player. Without Bryant, Gasol is the franchise player, still believe that. It's surprising this dynamo has been asked to step it up in the past because at present he's been all work playing in his native Spain during this lockout. You can tell by that greasy, sweaty mop some would call hair and that psycho killers stare and scream after big plays. Sure Gasol might not look his best sometimes, (doesn't matter though the ladies still love him) but his game is nothing but beautiful. Plus he has stepped it up to boot. Ever since Kevin Garnett bullied him in the losing '08 finals Gasol has showed the strength and competitiveness of the fighting Irish, something Beantown didn't want to see this year. This former Jackson dubbed 'grasshoper' has turned into a Spanish bull fighter. Jiminy Crickets! Once you see Gasol working those Olive Oil flapping arms in the post it's hard not to slip up. The green team better have eaten their spinach this year. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


ANDREW BYNUM: Forget about the knee injury for a second-that's old news-and besides it doesn't tell us how good a player 'Drew really is. The injury prone Bynum might have got knocked down a lot but look at all the times he's got right, back up. Baby Bynum is all grown up and the Lakers son is mature enough in the face of injury adversity. On the floor Bynum is killer like Brandon Flowers. Post trained By Abdul-Jabbar, those baby hooks are a great presence for the Lakers. His dunks, rebounds and paint work decorate the Lakers with yet another primary option on offence and one more thing, championship charm. Now that's a good 'luck'.

THEO RATLIFF: One of the best defensive players and centre's of the 90's Theo Ratliff is definitely an upgrade even though the Lakers miss the entertainment of D.J. like a club on Saturday night minus the wheels of steel. It's the iron man play of Ratliff however that will keep the Lakers defensive armour steel throughout the long season and playoffs. This swat on defense will keep opponents at bay while Bynums off the block. Before the Lakers, the veteran Theo ran with the young 'cats and looked fly and forever young in Charlotte. Now Ratliff's flight plan might have changed but his job description remains the same. Theo looks to bring his trademark hard nosed, high I.Q. defence and strong finishes to help ensure the Lakers become signature champions. Ratliff's contract with the Lake Show was set because his form can almost guarantee the Lakers do this. Theo's names on the dotted line. Now the inks been dry for a year it's time for the trophy to be engraved.

JOE SMITH: This guy is not your average 'Joe Smith'. He is one of the best basketball players of recent decades. Now in his late 30's he's one of the most valuable veterans and bench players you could possibly want for your team riding the pine and still able to give you primetime in the NBA. He knows a lot about other teams in the association, because he's played for damn near all of them. More importantly though he knows more than just how to call home where he lays his sneakers. His basketball I.Q. is high and his offensive knowledge is sound to the chorus of crowd cheers. He's no dunce on the other end either, able to 'D' up like a lazy kid's report card. With all these facets this is one guy you really want on your scouting report. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


So good there's seconds.

The Lake Show is on right now. Over the past few seasons Los Angeles have been so good they've been named champion twice. If the Lakers want to avenge last years loss to last years champion Dallas, they will have to rely on more than the Mamba, the Spaniard and the act of 'World Peace' however. The Lakers depth extends more than Metta's wide range of extensive experience and Derek Fishers clutch range. If the Lakers are to be more successful and write history like Drake a big reason will be the bench mob which is the best they ever had. The second infantry is what will soldier this team on in a deep season and playoff campaign as the Lakers look to get presidential a year after their second, victorious term didn't translate into a three-peat. With this in mind and on court let's scout even further.

STEVE BLAKE: Derek Fisher may have the experience but Steve Blake's the future. Derek may have the years but Steve's got the speed. Blake's three point shot has developed so much that you could bank on it rivalling Fisher's in the clutch. These backcourt mates have nothing to bicker about however. These two guards compliment each other perfectly. Steve Blake in less than ten games last season showed that he would even belong in the first five. This game hero has already been a life saver for L.A. and there's still plenty of breathing space left for his development. A couple of years back the Lakers were a donut in the P.G. position but now they get the point.

SHANNON BROWN: There's more than an engagement to R&B singer Monica that is making this spark plug hit all the high notes. Shannon's always been more than a dunker but last year Brown really saw the light. Shannon looks to take flight this 82 as this years slogan should be 'Let Shannon Play'. He's now a free-agent but the Lakers should do all they can do to keep him locked down in L.A. lockout or not. Brown's shown great versatility over the years, his developing range is measuring as high as his energy. Still Shannon's dunking is what is pined after and gawked at as much as the bikini models on Venice Beach and it's these amazing aerial displays that will keep other teams grounded in games were the Lakers team or crowd need a 'lift me up'. Shannon Brown is the perfect definition of an energy player off the bench. Lose your spark he's ready to plug in at any given time. This pine time player is an expert in the prime time. Remember it's not who starts games, it's who finishes them.

MATT BARNES: This tattooed warrior settled back in California last season looking for some championship ink. OK there were no new tattoo's last year but Matt's got plenty of breathing room left on his skin. Sure to some this guy appears rough around the edges bit a player like him should make the Lakers cruise to the championship on a smooth sail. Matt is the strong, second wind behind the energy of the bench mob. With Ron Artest and the doberman, Barnes Jerry Maguires a three man perimeter defence tandem that is the best in the league with a mission statement to watch the throne. When all three bless the court at the same time even the Miami Heat will have hell to play. Plus Matt can spell both Kobe's shooting guard position and Ron's small forward spot meaning this swingman can give the Lakers an effervescent, fiery, defensive presence when the Lakers first string defenders cool off from the burn. Barnes tenacity and versatility help the Lakers adopt these characteristics as well. This defensive minded player is offensive too. Career highs of 36 points make Barnes guilty of talent on both ends of the floor.

LAMAR ODOM: He has not made an All-Star team yet (why?) and critics have written him off as the Scottie Pippen to Kobe's Michael Jordan (again why?). Still however Lamar Odom is the benches franchise player to Kobe's first team one. He may never be an MVP but ihe sure is even more than the 'Sixth Man of the Year; honor he picked up last season. Even when injury prone Andrew Bynum is out Odom can help the roster draw shape by moving to the four on the floor as Gasol takes front and centre. It's this versatility that sets guys like Odom and Garnett from the rest. If L.A. cloned L.O. he could play all five positions. This big guy can play in the backcourt too, now that's truly Magic. He's come on leaps and bounds over the years, but don't get it twisted he's no most improved. Lamar's always been this good. There isn't a player quite like him and until Anthony Randolph develops there won't be one still. Another unique thing about the Hollywood favourite (in more ways than one) is his unselfishness. He could be the star but he's more complimentary, not lazy. Critics may put other so called stars above Odom but he's got two things those others don't have...rings.

THEO RATLIFF: Lakers backup centres have always been reliable and entertaining but you can bank on something more eye catching with defensive presence, Theo Ratliff bringing his shot-swatting staple to the Lakers stadium. Last season Theo became as welcome in this Lakers family as a Huxtable is to the Cosby's. There's going to be a block party in L.A this year with Ratliffs presence on the hardwood and with this D student coming off the bench the defensive minded Lakers look even better at guarding the West throne from the rest and the Maverick best. Now Theo may be the oldest Laker but even in reduced minutes he'll still bring the Lakers an asset of experience that will pay off in playoff dividends.

Now with a second unit as strong as this it even leaves talent like Luke Walton and Joe Smith on the third team. Or if you like, the benches ideal sixth man (how strong is this?). It's this second battalions mix of fight, versatility and experience that makes these players the perfect finishing compliment to the starters. This second string ties this team together brilliantly. Meaning even when the Lakers are on the ropes they'll have the support in their corner ready to go another round. This second squad may not be a Hollywood list but it's all-star. Now don't you just love it when a B-team comes together? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Our 'Player's Ball' feature takes a look at best players and teams. Today is the LA Lakers all-time best starting line-up.


Sorry Shaq, you may be the daddy but Wilt the stilt towers over you and everyone else to get this position 100% and this is not because of the still untouched, won't be for awhile 100 point game (sorry Kobe). It's not about the legend or the statistical averages he stacked higher than his number of partners. Nobody comes close to screwing with Chamberlain, not even Kareem and his all-time point leading sky-hooks can catch up (sorry 'cap). Bill Russell couldn't even stop him and Wilt could put the D on the Celtic ring bearer too. From Phila to killer Cali' and the Lakers Wilt was all killer and no filler as he took up the whole paint and changed the game to make it his lane. Even with three guys tripling him in the painted area Wilt had the key to it all. He owned it and everyone. Now who else could dominate this position?


A.C. almost made it, Gasol needs a few more years for retrospect and Karl Malone's really Utah's (but what a great year from one of the greatest), so our man at the four is going to have to be someone a little different. The only way to settle this Kareem versus Wilt debate is too just put them in the same dream team and just hope they get along. If these two pivots played together they'd create a twin tandem that would even scare legendary San Antonio duo David Robinson and Tim Duncan out their spur. This formidable frontline would be too much, for double, triple or even full teams coming on the floor to defend. Kareem's no Power Forward but he could draw defenders out the paint for Wilt with his signature, sky-hook shot (not that Wilt would need to rebound). Plus if Wilt's not dropping 100, who better to carry the scoring load then the NBA's all-time points leader? The way to solve this best centre debate is to stand them next to each other and see what they're really made of.


The greatest player in the league right now-palms on the ball down-need we point anyone else in this position (albeit his un-natural one due to the selection of Jerry West at the 2)? Like the game, it's his. Leading his Los Angeles Lakers to a second straight NBA Championship in 2010 Kobe Bryant once again cemented his status as best in the NBA, furthering his legend as one of the best ever to do it. Sure Kobe had a lot more help than usual but still number 24 looked more and more like number 23 in his dominance of the game. Kobe put on his fifth championship ring (one less than Jordan) but he couldn't even fit it on his swollen finger. Still today Kobe doesn't just carry his team he carries injury after injury as he plays through the pain en route to comfortable victories. Where else can you put the best but number one? Said and done!


There is nothing east of Jerry West. How was the logo of the NBA not going to make this team? Here he's even managed to push Kobe to the three like Shaq in the early millennium. Jerry West was the NBA and in many ways still is. Mr. Clutch could hit from anywhere, even his own court. The floor was Mr. Big Shot's, Mr. Lakers gave everything to the purple and gold franchise. Through all the years of Boston heartbreak to winning in the front office as a G.M. that was anything but general. From the skill to the savvy this serious player had a set of fundamentals that helped write the book on the modern day game of basketball (look out for the autobiography too coming next month). This year the logo was finally honored with a statue and this Laker legends place on this team will forever be set in stone.


Now how about some Magic? Who else to share this legendary backcourt with M.J. then M.J. A man who produced thrillers like pop's M.J. With Quincy Jones cool. Remember the time? Earvin 'Magic' Johnson was a pharoahe in this league, at the top of the Lakers pyramid. This no-look wizard won't pass up anything and will unselfishly even play centre if you ask him. Never fear Magic's here. With him your in safe, slight of hands. Without him there's nothing left to pull out your hat, no ace in the hole. There was no showtime without him and no greater competitor for Jordan to beat and truly take the torch off. The greatest player this league has seen not named M.J. with a Jeffrey. Without him Kareem, Bird and the NBA itself would never have been the same. The Basketball was an extension of him, not the other way round and so was the sport. His tricks of the trade changed the game. He's still making major moves in the business world today trying to bring the NFL to Los Angeles, and who else to quarterback this team the the man that brought the NBA to the world?


Portland realise, Philadelphia have been through it, Sacramento know all too well, hell the whole wide league, United States and world know, when it comes to coming off the bench and hitting franchise and championship plays nobody can touch this man. Even Kobe's best M.J. impression and Mr. Clutch have to give it up to Big Shot Bob when he's behind the arc. From giving other people problems in the Houston days to the X-Factor championship Laker days let history be the judge. Sure Shaq, Mikan and Goodrich are criminally left off the chilling list, 'Big Game James' is Worthy too and even Gasol and Odom could be here. Still until Derek Fisher out-shoots him nobody will embody the sixth man position more than the Hall of Fame bound legend that is Robert Horry. As the clock reads '0.0', there's no one else.TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Our 'Player's Ball' feature takes a look at best players and teams. Today is the all-time best starting line-up.


Sorry Shaq, you may be the daddy but Wilt the stilt towers over you and everyone else to get this position 100% and this is not because of the still untouched, won't be for awhile 100 point game (sorry Kobe). It's not about the legend or the statistical averages he stacked higher than his number of partners. Nobody comes close to screwing with Chamberlain, not even Kareem and his all-time point leading sky-hooks can catch up (sorry 'cap). Bill Russell couldn't even stop him and Wilt could put the D on the Celtic ring bearer too. From Phila to killer Cali' and the Lakers Wilt was all killer and no filler as he took up the whole paint and changed the game to make it his lane. Even with three guys tripling him in the painted area Wilt had the key to it all. He owned it and everyone. Now who else could dominate this position?


Tim Duncan isn't just the quietest, greatest Power Forward in the L right now, he's also the greatest in that position ever. Even Charles Barkley would shout that out. Silence the critics who talk him down as boring. Bored to death more like. This is one purple and gold killer that never donned green and white. Basically speaking this T-Bot gets the job done and his black and silver Spurs clicking on an everytime basis like a machine. His factory of talents have led to victory laps even when the Admiral David Robinson set sail for the last time. Giant Timmy even took his old San An boys to the NBA's best record last season. Duncan over everybody, Amar'e, McHale, whoever. The centre position may have gravitated to the four in the late nighties but that's when the T-Bot took control and made it and the league his own. No one else computes.


No team flies without Bird. This is Larry's legend. The legacy? Well that belongs to the Celtics and this guy brought Boston so much green you could call him Red. The champagne and success was on the hick from the French Lick. He may have not looked like a basketball player but his game translated into one of the greatest. He changed the sport and how it was marketed in the mainstream along with rival/friend Magic Johnson and he showed Earvin and Laker showtime that green-collar Boston hard-work was the real good luck. Bird hit everything from three and from anywhere showing he could hit shots that could land him on the blacktop streets. His greatest quality wasn't his charismatic confidence it was his genuine selflessness. From the 'Lick Flick' lightening, Magic like behind the head passes to the blood, sweat, tears and years he helped assist the Boston Celtics with. He gave his team absolutely everything and that's why he definitely makes ours.


The greatest of all time (and we're talking about sport and not just basketball) of course makes the all-time best scorer. Got Mike? Then you've got your go to scorer who can go toe-to-toe with anybody, offensively or defensively, Shaq or Kobe. Got Mike? Then you've got a defensive stopper, a Knick stopper, a crowd stopper and a revolution starter. Got Mike? Then you've got the greatest competitor who's ever played a game of basketball or monopoly. Got Mike? Then you've got a basketball monopoly and dynasty. Got Mike? Then you've got someone that never gives up and never really retires. Got Mike? Then you've got the air in your building and the man who shakes the foundations from his Nike's. Got Mike? Then you've got sponsorship and a real endorsement. Got Mike? Then you've got the best ever...period. Who else you gonna pick? Sam Bowie?


Now how about some Magic? Who else to share this legendary backcourt with M.J. then M.J. A man who produced thrillers like pop's M.J. With Quincy Jones cool. Remember the time? Earvin 'Magic' Johnson was a pharoahe in this league, at the top of the Lakers pyramid. This no-look wizard won't pass up anything and will unselfishly even play centre if you ask him. Never fear Magic's here. With him your in safe, slight of hands. Without him there's nothing left to pull out your hat, no ace in the hole. There was no showtime without him and no greater competitor for Jordan to beat and truly take the torch off. The greatest player this league has seen not named M.J. with a Jeffrey. Without him Kareem, Bird and the NBA itself would never have been the same. The Basketball was an extension of him, not the other way round and so was the sport. His tricks of the trade changed the game. He's still making major moves in the business world today trying to bring the NFL to Los Angeles, and who else to quarterback this team the the man that brought the NBA to the world?


Your sixth man doesn't need to be your star of stars but in this case he needs to be one in his own right. Your sixth man doesn't have to be a swingman but if he's going to be effective he's got to over a few position. Being the best dunker could help get some points on the board and fans off the 'bored' too. Maybe some style wouldn't hurt either, a 'fro or some high socks. It helps team identity if this guys iconic, or capable of starting a cultural revolution. A sixth man needs to be able to score, D, bang and board like he could start, or why should he play. He needs to make seamless transitions like from the ABA to the NBA. Thank the basketball God's for Julius. Erving is just what the good Dr. J ordered. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


Our 'Player's Ball' feature takes a look at best players and teams. Today is the present best starting line-up.


He has the biggest smile and personality in the league today. He dons Superman capes for dunk contest, sings at the free throw line, dances and jokes at every opportunity and he's even cameo's in movies and released an album. The Shaq parallels are huge and just like the most dominant ever Dwight Howard must be taken seriously. He aint no joke. Don't let the warm persona fool you Howard's a cold competitor. Still the best physical specimen in the L, with two handers, put backs and rebounds for days and games. OK he isn't as good as they say...he's better. His Orlando Magic team are true contenders and not a Disneyland, Mickey Mouse act. He may have talent around him but it all starts and ends with him. He may act like his jersey size, but his game goes beyond his years as he matures and morphs into a Shaq/Bill Russell hybrid. Besides 'Fast Don't Lie', so save the talk. Dwight Howard's going to sing.


It didn't look great for this power player years back...literally. One eye operation and a couple of knees up beforehand, this guy was spending more time on x-ray boards than low post ones. Still that's a thing of the past now as Amare Stoudemire has braced up and is now rocking goggles that make him look like the T-Horace Grant 1000. It all looked the same for the New York Knicks last year, once again Madison Square Garden looked like the crapper of basketball but then the Knicks upped their STAT's. Stoudemire looks like the old him, power dunking, power blocking, power boarding and power steering his way back to greatness. It's the kind of plays that make Michael Olowakandi poster. It's the kind of performances that make good on the promise to make Knick basketball relevant again. It's the kind of power that makes MSG fans say 'LeBron who?' and 'welcome Carmelo'. That's Amare!


The king of the NBA by royal appointment of David Stern, this guy is the commissioner of the future. Still, some threw rocks at the throne (or the billboard) but they better keep watching it. From Cleveland to Miami LeBron James witnessed a change in his status from love to hate. Still one thing didn't change about the guy as he switched teams, his brilliant all round play. The swingman furthered the development of his all round game. The player who can play point but also has the power of a forward muscled his way to greatness with more classic NBA moments. Then in another moment of televised decision, love it or loathe it the 'Bron showed how dominant he really is. How can one man have so much power? Because he's the king.


The greatest player in the league right now-palms on the ball down-need we point anyone else in this position? Like the game, it's his. Leading his Los Angeles Lakers to a second straight NBA Championship in 2010 Kobe Bryant once again cemented his status as best in the NBA, furthering his legend as one of the best ever to do it. Sure Kobe had a lot more help than usual but still number 24 looked more and more like number 23 in his dominance of the game. Kobe put on his fifth championship ring (one less than Jordan) but he couldn't even fit it on his swollen finger. Still today Kobe doesn't just carry his team he carries injury after injury as he plays through the pain en route to comfortable victories. Where else can you put the best but number one? Said and done!


Critics for years have been talking about who's the best point guard in the L, Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Nash. Water cooler experts have been talking about the importance of the Boston Celtics big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Still over the last two years the name Rajon Rondo has gone through the NBA's four P's, potential, promise, prominence and power. The former raw backup given the reigns of a championship squad is now the reams centrepiece. As 'Jesus', 'Da Kid' and 'The Truth' age Rondo just keeps getting better and better and more like the teams franchise player. He can score, dish, provide D and has as much savvy as an off court baller, but on the floor Rondo is shines instead of shimmering. Get the point? No, well put it this way the name Rajon Rondo belongs in critics and water cooler experts guarded debate. Whether in the mix or right there on top, like his Celtics could still be. Don't rule anything out, this guys headband and shoulders above the rest.


D. Wade came a long way from being taken off the floor in a wheelchair the season before last and we're talking more than the All-Star MYP award. This year Wade has been one of the best players you could have on your franchise, in more ways than one. Not only has Wade's world been a place that makes acrobatic, difficult and clutch shots again it's also been one of the best destinations for basketball. Dwyane once again became the leagues best general as he dominated the floor for his Miami Heat squad and also rallied in some troops of real strong company. Things where looking promising in Miami then in a flash things where fulfilled with a BANG! LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach. There has been more than enough three months ago of talk, opinion and hate about this superteam but as the voltron formed critics and fans alike forgot to recognise one thing. Dwyane Wade may just be the best recruiter there is. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


The God's of Basketball.


It's a Sexy Match up”. -Kobe Bryant

We Never Take These Moments for Granted”.-Paul Pierce

So Dallas and Miami may have taken care of the NBA's two most famous franchises last season and created a new match-up for a new generation, but one thing they can't take from the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers is their tradition and legacy. Back in 2008 the Lakers and Celtics took over half a century of storied rivalry and got it back on for two finals over three years. This was the big ticket like Kevin Garnett, starring two teams who took two 'chips out of each other. Even today some may call it boring but isn't this the match up everybody wants to see? Well… kind of.

Look back to 2008 and this match up of the moment. The Lakers and the Celtics, two of the associations most recognizable and storied franchises. Two powerhouses, evenly matched and going at it game after game. There was no David in this story, just two Goliaths’. The anticipation was mouth watering; however over the last couple of years one match-up has rivalled the instant vintage of a Lakers, Celtics classic. This is the potential head to head match up between Kobe Bryant and the other best player in the league; LeBron James. This is what everyone expected to see this June. The leagues two best all-round players, recent MVP's and dual ‘SLAM Presents’ cover stars duking it out. In the blue corner, Kobe, the best since M.J., holding more in experience, skill and accomplishment. In the red corner, LeBron, the present and future, the all-round player and phenom. A player who has already accomplished so much and is set to achieve so much more. After all the hype however alas there are no games scheduled in STAPLES this year, neither were there any 'Most Valuable Puppets' final commercials airing. The ultimate, winner takes all battle for the best player in the NBA again will have to wait.

One thing us die-hard NBA fans can't wait for is another Lakers/Celtics bout. The Celtics took the Lakers in 2008, but two years and a L.A. championship against Orlando later in 2010 Kobe Bryant had the chance to claim his status as the greatest in the NBA. Back then before he had his chance to beat the best player in the league he had to win it all against the best team. The history speaks for itself. Boston have 17 titles to L.A.'s 15. They’ve beaten the Lakers 9 times in the finals. L.A. had beaten Boston twice, but the third time was the charm. Historically there was so much more to prove in 2010. This then all changed as Kobe and the Lakers took it within one game of tieing the all-time series, imagine if they could do it again. Boston did not beat L.A. for a tenth time, history will all come down to the next match-up. Now who wants to see that.

Statistically and mentally speaking Boston have the upper hand, they were a sprinkle of talcum powder away from slapping the Lakers hard with this fact, until the boys from Hollywood took their hands and rewrote history's script. The Lakers have suffered many a heartbreak by Boston only to be left green with Celtic envy at what they've achieved in relation to their rivals, but things are looking more evenly matched these days. The Lakers have endured it all, from celebratory balloons falling on an empty, solemn, Forum court to Kobe Bryant sombrely walking off the Celtics parquet floor in 2008 with green & white ticker tape falling around him. It's moments like that when all a beaten opponent can do is keep their head down, staring at the famous wood that has been the bane of many opposing teams postseason lives. Kobe's long walk was similar to Magic's walk off the Forum floor when Jordan and the Bulls stopped the ‘Show’ before it's time at the start of the 90’s. These so called 'walks of shame' may be an NBA players lowest moment but if you look deeper than that it's also the moment a competitor like Kobe or Magic renew their focus and regroup. A focus that then turns a walking Kobe into a jubilant running and jumping champion in the 2010 rematch that took the game, set and, match advantage back to L.A.'s court.

Before that however in 2009-one year removed from losing on his rival’s court-Kobe was jumping up and down in jubilation on another opposing team’s floor. Reclaiming the championship after seven, long, Shaq-less years against Orlando was real sweet, but like Nas ‘It Aint Hard to Tell’ that Kobe was still troubled by the Boston loss in '08. As were the rest of the Lake show. It's almost felt like the defending champions wouldn't really feel like they’ve reclaimed their crown fully unless they took it off the team that took it off them last. That's the real 'chip on the Lakers shoulder. Sure the Magic were ans still are an enthralling team but fans were craving ‘Lakers, Celtics 2’. The sequel that everyone really wanted to see. It's like when Muhammad Ali heard the infamous Howard Cossell commentary, 'Down goes Fraizer, DOWN GOES FRAIZER!' Ali knew that even though he would end up the champ, there would still be a score left to settle that would have to wait. This was the same for the Lakers after they won in 2009. Their time to really win was in 2010 and boy did they.

The Celtics had something to prove as well. They needed to prove that their first championship was not merely a one off. In the same year the Lakers cast a spell on the Magic, the Celtics had no tricks left in their bag as they fell in the playoffs much earlier than expected. Their defence of their championship left a lot to be desired. They displayed more the age of a veteran than the heart of a champion. Also, the Celtics still wanted to be considered as the best team in the league, so they needed to show everyone that they could beat a Laker team that battle-tested from previous losses had now won a championship. The Lakers had the advantage there but the Celtics wanted to show the league that it wasn't happening in their house. Whichever team would win this series would start to make their stamp on establishing their own dynasty in this league.

Sure watching 'The Mamba' and 'The King' go at it for seven games would of made some classic NBA playoff moments. Two evenly matched players with similar games, guarding each other and going basket for basket, dunk for dunk. That would of been something special, but that didn't mean that the Celtics/Lakers series of the second decade of the new millennium wasn't any less special. The Lakers, Celtics rivalry has resulted in many defining moments in NBA history and this series undoubtedly added more memories to the vault and more fuel to the fire of this traditional, heated rivalry.

It's not just the fans that wanted it. Both teams relish this match-up too. Phil Jackson expressed to Paul Pierce in the 2009 off-season how he wanted him to lead his Celtics back to the finals again so they could face off again, he got his wish a year before his retirement as well as his 10Th ring. It was the match-up to see who really was the real champion. In 2010 both teams were better than they were the last time they met in '08. They both had a championship under their belt, they were both seasoned and closer as units and they both were dominant to the point were it looked too easy for them. Think about it both teams at times managed to coast through the season and playoffs in what looked like second gear. Now as both teams were back were they wanted to be. It was time for both teams to take one, hard stare at each other, then put the foot down.

Boy did they put their foot down too. Both teams went at it for the full seven games, taking blood, sweat, tears and years off, not to mention each others home-court advantage. There was nothing between these two greats in this epic series, except a hard-fought ugly game 7 which showed just how competitive and beautiful this game really is. From the eccentricities of Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace to the smooth flowing games of Lamar Odom and Ray Allen and K.G.'s growls to Gasol's stares and Pierce's passion to Kobe's never say die attitude everyone brought their A game, for a first-grade series to report on. The 2010 NBA Finals went down as one of the best moments to register in basketball history. Now who wants to see these two hall Of Fame teams do it again?

Sure Boston's window may be getting smaller as their team is getting older but trust they are more wiser too. Plus the fourth Beatle of Rajon Rondo has taken this big-three up a notch with a breath of young fresh air, which should keep the window of opportunity open for longer. Now the Lakers may have been embarrassed and dismantled by last years champion Dallas, but this is no part two to the 'death of a dynasty' that critics are calling time on. Phil Jackson may be gone, but the best player in the league today and the second best of all time is here with, the best European player Pau Gasol and their Hollywood squad. Showtime is still very much on, and Celtic pride is the only thing that can dampen the Lakers accomplishments.

It's all about the two greatest franchise in league history. The tension. The rivalry. Bird and Kareem squaring off. Wilt and Russell going at it. Offence versus defence. Showtime versus hard work. It's about Magic’s baby hook. It's about Celtic fans rushing the floor as soon as the buzzer sounds. It's the rings on Bill Russell’s fingers compared to the frustration on Jerry West's face. It's the Forum and the Garden. It's the fans. The celebrities turning up in Los Angeles to add shine and the regular folks in Boston driving around the Lakers hotel room at 3am, keeping the players awake all night.

It’s Los Angeles versus Boston. Hollywood versus blue collar. ‘Beat L.A.’ versus a ‘Boston Massacre’. It's all about Kobe or Pierce. Gasol or Garnett. It's all about players like Bynum and Odom or Allen and Rondo. Guys all over the floor who can make an impact and difference and change the tone of a series. It's about two acclaimed teams stacked from 1-15. Bench for bench. Burn for burn. It's two foes going at it. Possession for possession. Play for play. Bucket for bucket. Game for game. It's all about the Larry O'Brien trophy. It's all about now. Sure this rivalry took a year off but you must believe these two teams will be back to do battle with each other. In NBA history they always come back, they always do. These two teams are married to each other for better or worse in a matrimony of history, legacy and tradition. Divorce yourself from last year and engage yourself with their partnership because your cordially invited to the next ceremony between the masters. Now who's got the rings?