Tuesday, December 4, 2012

LAKER LEGEND SERIES: RON HARPER Feature-THE 'RON

The Previous Jordan.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

THE CLEVELAND SHOW

With the eight pick, in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft the Cleveland Cavaliers select Ron Harper from the university of Miami. The hottest star out of Dayton, Ohio, 6 foot 6 and 185 pounds. A man who performed a backwards LeBron of sorts and took his talents from Miami to Cleveland, Ohio. A swinging, guard/forward combo who was on point but also could shoot. A two time MAC player of the year who ended up becoming a five time NBA champ. A man whose career championship contributions to Phil Jackson's Chicago Bull and Los Angeles Lakers teams didn't quite do even enough justice to just the player he truly was.

Ask guys like Tracy McGrady or Grant Hill just how career defining injuries are on the meant to be greats. Still just like Grant, Ron fashioned a second-career out of being a valuable veteran with superstar smarts in the second city and the one of angels, and Shaq and Kobe feud demons. Still like Hill and McGrady, the Magic curse in Orlando practically killed Anferene Hardaway's hype of being like Michael Jordan, leaving the rest of Penny's career as spare change, no matter how well it was afforded. Just like Hardaway being the next Mike, Harper was viewed as the one next to Jordan, and in some eyes the only player that could go toe-to-toe with Nike Air, whether it be in the Slam Dunk Contest or on the court.

Yes that same Ron Harper who you saw keeping it lite with Miller in the Lakers double-up celebration in Philly used to be and above the rim guy. Before injuries and slipping on Kenan and Kel's orange soda took the hops out of him like non-alcoholic beer. When Harp was playing in university he was drawing Julius Erving comparisons for his ABA made aerial ability and above amazing averages of 24.3 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 steals per game, and 2.4 blocks. A steal in the first round was just what the Cleveland Cavaliers ordered for this star. Way before LeBron the billboards and the throne was Ron's. He was the one. The only one who could touch the hem of the shorts of the greatest, even if he was second Rookie Of The Year to hot-shooter, and fellow Laker twilight star Chuck Person. Not many had "more game then Ron Harper". Former Cav big man and current NASCAR commentator Brad Daughtey recently talked to SLAM magazine about how Ron was the only one who could go round and round with Mike.

THE CHICAGO WAY

"Man thank you so much for getting rid of him" Brad said Mike told him about Ron Harper. In the end Mike wasn't just thankful to no longer be going up against the dynamic defender and tenacious offensive force. After a 22.9 point average, three years of raw but ready hype, a trade to the Clippers for perimeter on point man Danny Ferry and a cruel knee injury that robbed him of his jumps and speed, Ron ended up standing next to Mike as his ally in a Chicago Bulls uniform. From foe to friend, Ron teamed up well with Mike on the greatest return from retirement after a turbulent first season for Harper. The number nine ended up being another great option behind the G.O.A.T, albeit an unsung one.

Michael's incredible, game and sport changing attributes overshadowed everything, even his fellow M.J. King of Pop in some nineties defining moments. Moments that where art like Monet, 'Money' was just that richly talented. Even the superstar sidekick play of Scottie Pippen, the European revolution of Toni Kukoc, the pure three's of household name and face Steve Kerr and the crazy on and off court antics and hairstyles of Dennis Rodman took a back-seat to the back of the jersey that read 23 or 45. Behind all that the quiet, mild-mannered Harper was always going to remain in the shadows somewhat.

Still those banners in the rafters wouldn't be there without Ron Harper's invaluable veteran contributions. Whether on the perimeter offensively or defensively or midrange, his game had that x-factor the Bulls needed. The sort of on and off the ball attributes that some armchair fans ignore but the real purists and coaches know how to draw up. The brilliant ball-handler became a fan-favorite and a crucial championship piece to Phil's playoff puzzle. You can see him in the old parade photo's next to the greatest championship cap and t-shirt on, with a cigar and smile to match. Next to Jordan like he was always meant to be.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

You don't win five championships by accident and the man that with former Lakers Dennis Rodman and Robert Horry as the only consecutive NBA Champion for two different teams has been a part of just under half of the Zen Master, Phil Jackson's 11 championship reign. Like Horace Grant and Dickie Simpkins after him, Ron was one of the former Bull brethren that Jackson managed to mediate over to Hollywood. Still yet again Ron was overshadowed by the star, headline making power of first-name term Shaq and Kobe in Los Angeles and then the amazing role player trio of Robert Horry, Rick Fox and Derek Fisher. Still Phil knew, joking with Ron after their first purple and gold championship win that he could retire after Ron asked him if he could "go home now". Still, he wasn't done, "I'll be back next year" Harp affirmed.

Even with all that however he became another pivotal piece as a veteran force in the Lakers, STAPLES born team that started a dynasty against Indiana and the Philadelphia 76ers like former eighties showtime star A.C. Green who returned to the squad in his fall-career years. The fellow star of three decades back proved in the new millennium could still make major contributions on the floor as well as the locker-room. Kobe Bryant-the only man who could truly draw Michael comparisons today-even calls Harp his 'mentor' and Ron's big buckets and stops where just as helpful to Bryant and O'Neal as the ones by Rick, Robert and Derek. In the playoffs he hit game winners against Portland and blazed averages. Fourth on the team with 10.8 points, second in assists with 3.2 and an average of 1 steal a game for second also in that category. His time in Los Angeles as a Laker was championships better then his one as a Clipper. As he aged he helped others grow.

In one vital clutch and confidence building play against the Sixers in the finals of 2001 Ron, open on the perimeter threw the ball to young, hot-streaking guard Tyronne Lue-who then was recently emasculated by Allen Iverson who stepped over him on a clutch play after Lue was pressurisingly dubbed the 'Iverson Stopper'-who was also wide open. The young player then somewhat nervously gave it up, throwing it back to Harp. Immediately and in frustration Ron launched it back at the youngster as if to say "NO...I said YOU shoot it". Which Lue in turn heeded and drained with confidence and assurance. It speaks volumes of Lue's moment of maturity to not flake again under pressure and make the basket. Still it also defines the man Ron is with his tough love, elder statesmen personality looking out for his teammate and nephew-like figure with a brilliant piece of strict support.

Giving up the glory shot also shows another side of the player Ron Harper. A man that could have been a star but was a born teammate or selfless superstar if you would. A true member of a championship squad. The league misses a guy since his assistant coaching gig with the Detroit Pistons-the team that destroyed his Laker dynasty-wasn't renewed in 2007. The man who overcame so much adversity to help others amazingly will always be one of the NBA's greats. Like all good things we miss form the nineties they just don't make players like Ron Harper anymore.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LAKER LEGEND SERIES: JAMES WORTHY Feature-HE IS WORTHY

Big Game Worthy.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

"On almost any other team, James Worthy would have been a superstar. He was that good. But because he played for the Lakers, he was always overshadowed by Kareem and me."-Magic Johnson (From The Autobiography 'My Life')

This month the Los Angeles Lakers finally unveiled their overdue immortalization of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in bronze. Near to the new homes of Chick Hearn and Jerry West outside STAPLES, 'Cap's statue stands ahead of Magic Johnson's leading sculpture. But what about the middle? Just look at this articles picture. Yeah, you're too busy looking at the sky-hook and the Magic man, but what about the middle? What about James? Big Game James. James Worthy.

"On court he was poetry in motion, a beautiful player to watch. I can't imagine our famous fast break without him. I provided the break, but James provided the fast."-Magic Johnson (From The Autobiography 'My Life').

The Statue Of Liberty stands proud in the Hudson, looking over New York City and the rest of the United States of America, holding a torch shining bright over the land. But even she isn't tall enough to make a Big Game dunk. Dominique Wilkins was the 'Human Highlight Film' who could even contest the greatest ever, Michael Jordan when it came to slam dunks, but even he wasn't as fundamentally sound as James to be chosen by the Showtime Lakers. With his Statue Of Liberty dunks and his full-court, impressive display of play, James Worthy was the definition of 'Big Game'. He was a superstar.

Still even in that big-name, big-game company James was overshadowed by the greatest passer and greatest scorer in NBA history. Still it takes more than a Snoop Dogg 'Lakers Theme' lyric to prove that "James is so Worthy". Even the late great spoken or written words of Chick Hearn and Jim Murray respectively couldn't quite convey it. The instant replays of the finger-rolls, quick spins and turnaround refrigerator closing jumpers couldn't quite capture it. Magic and Kareem are just those first, household names that will resonate in basketball membranes forever, but read NBA history books centuries from now and Worthy's name will still be there like it is on his jersey up next to the Wilt's and the West's of the rafters.

He belonged to a team like no other. A team who's star shine sometimes had the light taken off them by the sheen of their charismatic coach Pat Riley's slicked back, Gordon Gekko hair. Let alone the Hollywood, celebrity fanbase led by Jack Nicholson courtside, every game. Plus James wasn't for all that L.A. life and star-studded attention. With high-profile teammates like Michael Cooper, A.C. Green and Norm Nikon and larger than life personalities like Byron Scott and Kurt Rambis Worth' was in elite company. Still Jimmy Worthy was closer to the Shows one-two punch then their supporting cast. More Shaq and Kobe, then Fox, Fisher and Horry (despite the big game, clutch heroics).

The star who lived in L.A. but only got close to Hollywood when he played the tallest Klingon in 'Star Trek' was a reserved 6,9 forward with super power. In the golden era of the NBA he was next generation. Taking the above the rim, ABA play of Julius Erving and boldly going to the nineties with it. The 1st pick in the '82 draft racked up the championships (3) with the All-Star selections (7) along with an NBA Finals MVP in 1988 and 142 points off 60% shooting in a Finlas series against Boston where he WASN'T named Most Valuable. Overshadowed by another man in goggles, Jabbar. Johnson was right, James was THAT good. Maybe those who couldn't see had fog on their lenses. In Basketball sight, Worthy was 20, 20.

Magic may have started fast breaks, but Worthy's style and finesse finished them. The substance behind James big-game made him an all-round player too who deserved more than three NBA third team selections for his career. The NCAA champ and 'Outstanding Player' winner really graduate from college to the league with honors. Making North Carolina proud like his name was Michael and he was heading for Chicago. Who knows if Worthy's above the rim flightplan was destined for somewhere else other than Los Angeles? He could have been an even bigger star or winner, but alas, how can you sniff at a career that has given and achieved so much?

In Lakers lore Worthy is a legend and in overall NBA stakes he is one too. Just because he isn't an M.J. of North Carolina or Los Angeles doesn't mean he's not a star worthy of his own plaque on the NBA walk of fame. The Hall awaits. He'll follow the smooth of Jaamal Wilkes once again and be cemented as another Laker legend for a franchise whose name is even bigger than some of basketballs biggest stars surnames. That right Wilt, Shaq, Kobe and Magic. James Worthy deserves his statue right in the middle of Magic and Kareem too and one day it'll come. Those who don't believe or agree don't know basketball. Sure number 42 may have not won without number 33 or 32, but even Johnson and Jabbar know it wouldn't have been the same without James. The man in the middle helped centre the team. Big Game didn't have the biggest name but he was worthy of the biggest stage. How about James?

"James Worthy was Showtime."-Magic Johnson (From The Autobiography 'My Life').

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES LAKERS-Feature-THE SHOW GOES ON

The Showtime Must Go On.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Opening night and the scene is set in Hollywood. The script is about to be written for the wrote off Los Angeles Lakers. Following the biggest off-season signings since Gary Payton and Karl Malone, Mitch Kupchak this Summer has given the Lakers their best Centre and Point Guard combo since Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, their most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe just like Wilt and West. Last night Dwight Howard and Steve Nash assembled like Marvel superheroes to help Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and the one and only Kobe Bryant avenge the hammer of Thor Thunder-strike by the hands of Oklahoma last year.

Hollywood couldn't direct it better. The parade is practically set for downtown L.A. but this franchise knows better than to leave balloons hanging in the rafters. Last night the opening act fell flat too with this team being beaten by the team that knocked them off their last championship pedestal the Dallas Mavericks. All good things must come to those who wait though. It's not the end, even though many critics are already writing off the Lakers along with Mike Brown's resignation letter and Kobe's playing career obituary, even if the Lakers went 8-zip in the preseason but not the way they would have liked. Still Rome wasn't built in a day and championship teams in L.A. aren't built in a game. This is the town where stars are made and broken like reality T.V...just look what they did to Lamar. Still this team was built for years, not 15 minutes. The Showtime must go on, but it's going to take time.

This isn't a be careful what you wish for moment but the Lakers did raise their own bar decades before. The storied franchise changed the game and the legacy of the league with Shaq and Kobe, making it necessary for team to have more than one superstar, no matter the ego or polarization. They took it to the extreme with the Hall Of Fame deliverance of The Mailman and The Glove and now that's why you have big threes and talents in Miami. The Lakers have had to ante up again and with all these stars in L.A. they just have to make sure they shine.

It all begins and ends in the NBA's one Kobe Bryant, but even Batman needed Robin and the Lakers Dark Knight has the support ready to help his city rise. The Lake Show may have lost favorites Odom, Fisher, Bynum and 'Ron Artest' but they've still got Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace to go along with a bench mob of underrated talent like Devin Ebanks, Steve Blake, Chris Duhon and Jordan Hill led by the next Laker 'Sixth Man Of The Yer', star Antwan Jamison. Still, the two superstar, difference makers Dwight Howard and Steve Nash will be the deciding factors between champagne championships or crying commiseration in the eyes of these new Lakers.

Los Angeles looks to take flight this year like LAX thanks to their new alley-oop double act. They could even take 'Lob City' off Clipperland and truly avenge the Chris Paul nixing. Beyond the aesthetics however the Lakers have a pleasing mix of all-round play that looks to make them fundamentally sound. You've all heard about Steve Nash's passing and skill-set and how Dwight Howard out-rebounds, blocks and box's out with the best of them. Well now check you're Los Angeles Times because you're going to read about more.

There's more to contend with when it comes to these championship certified additions. Like Nash's underrated shot or Dwight's disregarded passion. This dynamic duo could really help form one of the Lakers best teams ever, matching up to the eighties babies, or the Shaq, Kobe, Fisher, Fox, Horry three-peat squad. That is as long as Steve's legs and Dwight's contract holds up and lasts. They may have lost their debut, but these two see more than one game. Even more than 82. The Laker Phoenix is rising from the ashes and isn't playing Mickey Mouse games anymore. The Los Angeles Lakers haven't had a Point Guard like this since Earvin. They haven't had a smiling, superstar, making this game fun since Magic. The original M.J. Johnson can see this. You know what's going on. It's Showtime now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

PLAYER FOR PLAYER-THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Party Of Five.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

To begin last seasons lockout shortened campaign the Lakers one minute had Chris Paul and the best backcourt this league might have ever seen. Then in less time then it takes to send a Tweet wrote 'WoW' the Lakers deluxe deal was nixed by David Stern which then resulted in CP3 ending up in the STAPLES Centre of Los Angeles but for the wrong team. If that wasn't bad enough a disgruntled Lamar Odom took his most consistent 'Sixth Man' play and his hurt feelings away from L.A., only to return this offseason-like everyone-expected but again for the wrong STAPLES side. With two of the Lakers one-time potential big pieces fitting in Clipperland the Lakers looked to rebound like no other after a disastrous last season (that goes without saying) that saw a second round exit to Western Conference champions the Oklahoma City Thunder and their old playoff friend Derek Fisher.

If you thought the signing of Canadian, Point Guard legend Steve Nash from the Suns was a great way for this Phoenix to rise from the Chris Paul 'what could have been' ashes, then this team really bounced back when they acquired the leagues greatest rebounder and centre of attention Dwight Howard in a trade with Andrew Bynum. What's more and better they still got to keep Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace as they picked up many more great pieces like Antwan Jamison, Chris Duhon and Jodie Meeks. And of course there's that guy named Kobe too. There may be Heat in Miami but the sun looks to shine in California next June too with signs of reign. Let's take an in-depth look at the Lakers starting five and their new Sixth Man for good measure.

POINT GUARD-STEVE NASH

With all due respect to the Harper's, Nick Van Exel, the clutch legend of Derek Fisher and the recent hard work of Ramon Sessions (good luck in Cleveland, thank you) the Point Guard position in L.A. hasn't looked this magical since Earvin Johnson was lobbing to Kareem. Now with number 10 and 12 the Lakers are a few notches away from having this generations 32 and 33. Steve Nash may be 38 but there's still some maple syrup in those old legs and he pushes 40 with multiple MVP's and countless perfect passes to go along with an underrated shot and a heralded toughness (see the Robert Horry shot) that makes him one of the all-round greatest Point Guards of all-time. Now with the first move that takes these redux Lakers forward, Nash leads the way for this great new team. The Manning's couldn't even field a better Basketball quarterback.

SHOOTING GUARD-KOBE BRYANT

It doesn't matter if the Lakers sign two future Hall of Famers in one offseason (see Payton, Gary and Malone, Karl) it all begins and ends with Kobe Bryant. From Shaquille O'Neal to Dwight Howard by way of Andrew Bynum we all know who the real Superman is. This man of steel has been though it all. The critics wrote him off but he inscribed another classic chapter to his Laker legacy. ESPN ranked him as the seventh best player in the league last year, but Kobe gave a number one season. They said he had no clutch but in the last seconds when it all comes to it only a Horry, a Miller or a Bird has his killer-instinct. Just like Michael Jordan there is no one like him. That's how close he is. You can't stop him. Even Dwyane Wade broke his nose in the February love of the supposedly friendly All-Star game. Even that did no good as Kobe strapped on the Rip Hamilton face-mask and took his revenge out on the league, killing opponents like the phantom menace. In the war of stars only the greatest legend wins and now with a new legacy ahead of him the empire looks to strike back.

SMALL FORWARD-METTA WORLD PEACE

Ron Artest changed his name to World Peace to begin last season and then ended it by elbowing James Harden during the war of the Thunder. Still let's not throw 'bow's at the most eccentric and greatest jersey sporter since World B. Free. For better or worse Metta makes statements and as a worked out Twitter pic can attest, the artist formerly known as Artest knows how to make a comeback, just look at the shots he took which gave the Lakers their last championship. When it comes to the basketball court this successful rapper knows how to hit. Besides no matter the change or old Ron, Ron habits, Metta World Peace will always remain one of the greatest defensive players in the NBA and that is an extra element that LeBron James and the rest of the league will find hard to handle.

POWER FORWARD-PAU GASOL

It's time to show those soft labels a hard place. If anyone doubts Pau Gasol then they should take a look at the sweat soaked, down but not out Spanish star sitting silently sideline-like a dejected Patrick Ewing in the Knick killer nighties-as the nation he carried lost the Gold Medal to the United States in London for this years Olympic Games. As Kobe led the commiseration condolences as Team USA congratulated Pau's heart you could see the soul of the man bared as he left it all out on the floor. Now the man that survived the Chris Paul nixing and the Dwight Howard trade is here to stay and show that he is still very much a part of the Lakers. Besides Gasol is the last Mitch Kupchak deal that gave the Lakers not one, but two championships. The Lakers have never had a guy like one of the greatest European players of all-time. This man's post skills will take them beyond the postseason. Focus on Dwight now, but Pau is the one with the championships before. Now they both look to shine hereafter.

CENTRE-DWIGHT HOWARD

This is the big one. Straight from the Magic Kingdom this former Orlando, Disneyland star looks to bring his famous smile to the throne Magic Johnson's pearly whites once held. Following in the big footsteps of George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal superman returns as the Los Angeles Laker times writes one hell of a rebound story. With a heaven sent move the latest Laker big-man God looks to make his legend out of the legacy Andrew Bynum was making once he gets back from his back injury. Dwight Howard looks to start a block party and championship parade in downtown L.A. Now dunking and duking it out with Bryant instead of getting dunked on Dwight gives the Lakers it's best duo since Shaq and Kobe and the only team that could really go sneaker-to-sneaker with the big three and their additional talents in Miami. From the tutoring of 'cap to the jerseys raised to the rafters Dwight Howard looks to be the next Laker great. Let's just hope this championship commitment is a long term deal.

SIXTH MAN-ANTWAN JAMISON

Although the changing of the guards in Jodie Meeks and Chris Duhon, the old hands in Steve Blake and Jordan Hill and the developing talents of Devin Ebanks could claim place the real microwave bench player for the Lakers this season will be Antwan Jamison. The only one who could really follow in the off the bench smooth steps of former Sixth Man Of The Year Lamar Odom is a guy who helped pave the way for players like L.O. Not only is Jamison a valuable veteran, he's an all-star talent too and yet another scoring option for the Lake Show. Not only can he swing between a couple of positions, this man also has the inside and outside knowledge of this game on both the offensive and defensive end. The Summer signing between Nash and Howard may have been far from the Lakers biggest but he'll prove to be the x-factor that will help take this team to the finish. Some deals are blockbusters, others are independent successes. In the end it all adds up to the same thing however...winning.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

CHRIS DUHON-THE BACK-UP PLAN


Duhon, (That Thing).

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

The Los Angeles Lakers have been trying to make a point for their quarterback guard position ever since the magic of Earvin Johnson no longer had tricks up his sleeve and behind his back for the Forum. The Lakers have made some great points, but have been missing that true Point Guard, since the greatest they or the NBA have ever seen stopped running Showtime. From Nick Van-Exel's handles to Smush Parker's turnovers and Ron Harper's age to Ramon Sessions or youth they've tried. Or from Derek Fisher's clutch at brilliance, to Hall Of Famer Gary Payton's short trip down the corridors of STAPLES their has been a wealth of talent. David Stern even eighty-sixed the great Chris Paul out of the Lakers locker room and into the Clippers one last season. But now with their second biggest acquisition this Summer the Lakers finally have the best P.G. since the M.J. named Johnson, in Steve Nash.

The Lakers future looks to be run by the aging, fine wine brilliance of the 38 year old Canadian, but their biggest addition this Summer-Dwight Howard-looks to bare more fruit than just youth and a BIG, centre of attention, legacy making future. You know everyone's been talking about Dwight, so much that even Nash feels like an afterthought. Still, despite this blockbuster signing its the little things that's going to make this Kobe, Dwight, Pau, Steve and Metta World Peace team win the war. It's the battling bench players-like the "other" signing of Antwan Jamison-that will bolster this bold new teams championship front.

You only have to look closer at the Dwight Howard deal to see a real x-factor joining fellow, eager-to-impress newbies Jodie Meeks and Earl Clark. Joining Dwight in Lakerland, coming straight from Orlando's Disneyland is Chris Duhon, a true Point Guard with a real future as a STAPLES staple. The Lakers may now have the best backcourt in the league, but it's also the oldest. Meeks has got Kobe, but once the maple syrup in Steve Nash's legs goes sour the Lakers luckily have someone pure to back him up. The team has already lost it's young raw talent in Sessions, and three-point hit-man Steve Blake is a super sub but Chris Duhon could bring the comfort and stability for well balances stretches for the Lake Show.

The 30 year old Duke standout has impressed in Chicago, New York and Orlando but in L.A. it's time for this college star to shine in the big leagues with all the tools to make it, it's time for Duhon to do good on his trade. The Lakers would do good to not move this deal maker. He's a keeper, a sleeper. A chess piece that could spread the floor, handling the ball and opposition like pawns. If given a chance this former formidable Freshman and Louisiana Mr. Basketball could show the NBA what he and his cousin Jarrett Jack showed the NCAA.

You can't pass up on this assist man who holds the Knicks record for 22 in a game. The passing guard can get buckets as well as deliver them. Diligent on both ends of the floor and a true professional it's up to Duhon, along with Jamison, Meeks and Jordan Hill to make this Lakers B-team make the A grade, their star-studded starting five sets. With the college class, New York game and primetime experience of a true player, Chris Duhon really is something off the bench. Steve Nash isn't the only true point the Lakers finally acquired. You know what they say; you wait forever and then two come along at once.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

LAKER LEGACY


The Central Core Of L.A.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Dwight Howard's summer move from the Magic Kingdom to the next chapter of Laker legacy looks to cement his legend as the next great big-man at the centre of attention for Hollywood and the NBA's most famous team the Los Angeles Lakers. Let's take a look at those who came before him in the tales of the storied franchise.

GEORGE MIKAN

Number 99 was basketball's first superstar and once more gave 100% to every game he played in. Before Shaq, before Kobe, before Magic, before Kareem, before Wilt and West and even before Los Angeles Mikan was the first great for the Minneapolis Lakers. Taller and stronger than the rest shot blocking and rebounding where made famous by George as the championships and awards where raised in his honor. Complete with Buddy Holly glasses Mikan's ambidextrous hook shot really was a spectacle, dominating before Kareem's goggles came out of the fog of the sky. That was the day. "Without 99, there is no me", Shaquille O'Neal said when offering to pay for the late, great Mikan's funeral. The basketball league may not have looked after him the same but George sure illustrated sport like the cover with Kareem and O'Neal.

WILT CHAMBERLAIN

He had the tallest house on the Hollywood hills giving him a view of the stars like no one else. He was L.A's biggest star himself. He claims to have had record numbers of lovers that could match his statistical breaking numbers in points and rebounds. He scored 100 points in a single game...A SINGLE game. He averaged 50's like change for a hundred too, which afforded him more respect. He dominated everyone but Bill Russell and he is the leagues greatest offensive force ever...even over Michael Jordan. Some consider him the true G.O.A.T. Others know he is the biggest basketball player of all time in some other ways. He never fouled out in his career and even if he was controversial he never sold out his constant effort and consistent master-class of roundball dominance. Take a tour round his old home and look out of the window of the ceiling and you just may see the Big Dipper out there with the rest of the stars.

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR

Wilt Chamberlain may hold the record for the most points in a single game but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has recorded more career points than anybody. Catch him with your 81 if you can Kobe, 'Cap's number one. With the best shot in the history of the game. The unstoppable, unguardable sky-hook, sunk everyone and spread the floor as much as his pass happy Magic teammate Earvin Johnson. Number 33, together with number 32 formed arguably the greatest Laker duo ever and you can best believe Shaq and Kobe and Chamberlain and West can argue their point. Still behind those famous goggles revealed a man that saw the game like no one else. The author of his own legend this man wrote his career the right way, going toe-to-toe with anybody even Bruce Lee. Kareem's legacy still lasts today he tutored another big man great in Andrew Byum and now he's in charge of taking the next Laker legend to banner worthy certification. It takes a champion to make a champion...and an overdue statue too.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

The Lakers are immortalising Kareem in bronze next year and they certainly need to do the same to the largest personality they or the NBA have ever seen too. Until then a jersey retirement will do. Through all the championships, certified rap albums, MVP's, movies, break up and make ups with Kobe the original Superman will finally soar to the rafters with George, Wilt, Kareem and championship banners he put there. Before Dwight Howard donned the cape, Shaquille O'Neal grew it out his back. The most dominant ever crushed them all with Kobe (see Portland, San Antonio, Indiana, Philadelphia, New Jersey etc) and despite breaking through in Orlando like Howard the Lakers was his true kingdom. Shaq may have sat on the throne in Miami but he became a king in California. Hollywood's greatest personality didn't quite have a time like he did in L.A. and the city of the worlds biggest stars and ballplayers never saw anyone like him...and they never will.

DWIGHT HOWARD

Now it's Dwight Howard's turn as Superman returns to L.A. for a sequel with Kobe. Will it be better than the original? Who knows but with Kareem's lessons learned the man who has followed the same trade path as Jabbar, Chamberlain and O'Neal looks for greatness as he comes to one of the greatest teams NBA has or has ever seen. With Kobe, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Nash by his side Dwight Howard has all the right men by his side to create the next great Laker team for the next generation. It's the second coming of Magic-via Orlando-complete with the same huge smile. He's already proved he's the leagues best centre in Florida, with all due respect to Andrew Bynum (and of course fellow big great and greatest European Pau Gasol) who has already shown the Lakers have had a young big-man great (a championship certified winner too) who's followed in the footsteps of legend. Now like slapping a sticker to a backboard Dwight is looking to soar to the rafters himself with a more permanent legacy. This is his and the Lakers time. The big-man legend lives on.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DWIGHT HOWARD Feature-COMMERCIAL SUCCESS


All Day I Dream About Success.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

(To conclude our 'Dwight Howard Trilogy' here is an idea for an Adidas commercial starring Superman).

The commercial begins with the rumbling of thunder over flickering lights of a downtown Los Angeles skyline at night. Through the window of a closed T.V. and electrical store we see the many stacked television sets in the window flickering on and off between having their own picture to making a complete image of footage via all the T.V. screens stacked next to each other. The screens go from static to an image of Wilt Chamberlain spinning and dunking in a L.A. Lakers uniform.

Meanwhile in a phone booth a man in a suit and glasses is talking on a phone. The voice on the other line says; "Many are called, but few are chosen". We switch back to the T.V. store where the television sets are now playing back-to-back images of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky-hook. Back to the booth, the man who fills the entire phone booth rubs his temple as the voice on the other end continues; "can you weather the storm? Can you overcome the Heat?."

Back to the television store and we see an image of Kobe Bryant throwing a lob pass to Shaquille O'Neal for a dunk against the Portland Trail Blazers, before the footage flips to Kobe and Shaq staring each other down in opposing uniforms. We switch back to the phone booth where the man on the phone has his hand pressed against the glass as the voice on the other line asks; "can you come back"?

Thunder cracks and we switch to see the televisions and surrounding lights go out. Back again we hear and see footsteps run out of the phone booth and then take off. Left behind in the phone booth is a full suit, glasses drop to the ground and smash. An earthquake like rumble spreads through downtown as birds fly away in fright. A child playing with a toy airplane in the back-seat of a car stops and looks out as something hurtles past at supersonic speed.

Rushing past the electrical store the televisions flicker between static and footage of a Lakers parade. We cut to L.A's landmark Hotel Figueroa where the three tiered building displays pictures of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal shining like three stripes. A stream of purple and gold zooms past at full speed. We follow the stream as it zip-lines through the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles before soaring to the sky between two.

We then see the sky from the top of the two sky scrapers and between the darkness appears some gold and what looks like a basketball hoop. We hear the flapping of a cape as a basketball shoots up and is followed by an outstretched hand. We see the man from the phone booth as Dwight Howard, donning a Lakers uniform and draped in a purple and gold cape flying upwards after the ball.

It's almost in his reach as a newspaper with the headline 'What's happened to the Lakers?' and one with the headline 'Where is Dwight Howard'? along with what appears to be Mickey Mouse ears fall behind him. As Howard gets higher he cocks his hand back and smiles as the gold light shines on his face as his hand makes contact with the ball. The theme to Superman begins to play and get louder. As his cape flaps violently and he begins to slow down, he looks to dunk while disappearing into the gold light which fills the screen.

We switch to a shot of the Los Angeles skyline as the clouds disperse and the lights of the city including the STAPLES Centre come on in a sharp burst. The headline reads; 'Superman Returns' and then 'Impossible Is Nothing' before the Adidas logo appears.

Monday, August 20, 2012

DWIGHT HOWARD Trilogy Feature Special-SUPERMAN



SUPERMAN RETURNS

Howard's End.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Big news out of Orlando, coming to Los Angeles. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a Superman trade! It's official like confirmed couples after three months of dating. Dwight Howard is finally a Los Angeles Lakers via a four team trade. A Hollywood blockbuster by way of Bynum heading to Philadelphia with the Magic's Jason Richardson and Olympian Andre Igudola moving out of Philly like the Fresh Prince and joining Team USA teammate and former annual trade topic Carmelo Anthony's former Denver team. What do Orlando get in all this you ask? Well they get to be the new Charlotte Bobcats, receiving Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and forward Maurice Harkless from the Sixers and first round draft projections from the three other teams. Laker fans prayed to the basketball God's and David Stern not to nix this one. The Chris Paul veto still hurts the legendary Laker legacy, just ask Khloe or Lamar.

Those Laker fans who thought their only excitement this week would be via Kobe Bryant finally showing that fire in the Olympics via six huge threes against Australia will be ignited by this news. Howard's end of being the latest LeBron and Carmelo big name trade rumour see's Superman's return in Hollywood. This is more exciting than next years 'Man Of Steel' movie being overseen by legendary 'Dark Knight' director Christopher Nolan. Mitch Kupchack is in the chair on this one and he's pulled off another genius Gasol move (all whilst keeping Pau in the process) in what seems like his way of making up to the Laker organization his missed time as a player due to injury in the eighties. It really is showtime now and even if none of the parties want to admit this Kobe has his Shaq mark two as Superman returns to the show and the biggest stage in basketball in la, la, Lakerland.

This is Kobe's best one-two punch since the man of steel and this reboot looks to fight and kick it with the biggest of threes and teams. A maturing Oklahoma Thunder and Danny Ocean-esque growing Miami Heat be warned. There's a storm coming and it's about to heat up in Southern California. This move and Mitch's other master chess decisions this offseason more than make up for the loss of Andrew Bynum and other championship alumni Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. Although these family guys will be always be missed like LeBron's Cleveland show the new Laker team reboots instead of rebuilds, while the old hands will be shook and thanked for their time with a lasting legacy of gratitude.

Playoff hero Derek Fisher will always go down as one of the greatest clutch players in Lakers history right there with Jerry West. While former 'Sixth Man Of The Year' Lamar Odom will be considered one of the Lakers best star players off the bench. Just like this, no matter what happens, Andrew Bynum will always go down as one of the Lakers big man greats for a team that has just added Dwight Howard to the elite big man class list that includes Shaq, Wilt, Kareem and Mikan. Plus with Jason Richardson and an already impressive playoff team, Bynum looks to add another classic chapter to the legendary Philadelphia 76ers franchise that has the best young talent in this whole National Basketball Association. This player and his team have more than a future as you can expect the Sixers to be right there chasing Miami in the playoffs, just like you can expect Bynum to be lacing the Lakers with a little payback. Who know the kids already close in a few years he could be better than the guy they traded him for.

Still how does Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard sound? Now the biggest catch of the offseason has been reeled into Tinseltown from Disneyworld, there won't be any Mickey Mouse games now. The Dwightmare is over and a dream team has awoken as the Olympics are about to come to an end. The former biggest Summer signing for the Lakers Steve Nash joins Kobe Bryant in the best (albeit oldest) backcourt in the L. With a reformed rebuilt Metta World Peace looking to bring his second name to the court and finally ditch the Ron, Ron alias the Lakers frontline looks strong too.

Especially with the biggest, muscular and boldest addition to the frontcourt. After Pau Gasol and the tricks of his skilled trade beat Dwight Howard and his former Magic in the 2009 finals the two foes become friends now see themselves aligning for more championships down the line. With Dwight's strength and Pau's skill the paint looks to be decorated with the best big man game the world can offer. With All-Star certified sub-signing Antawn Jamison leading a group of reserves that include Steve Blake, the re-acquired sensation Jordan Hill and the added brilliant bonus of Chris Duhon from this deal, the Lakers bench will give them anything but splinters. Mike Brown had one hell of a team to run now and even when Kobe and Nash finally unlace and hang up their sneakers there's still a future. It's all Dwight now.

SUPERMAN 2

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

The city was safe more than a decade back. A man of steel with an L on his chest and an S on his arm saved the day like a God for the city of angels. With Thor like strength and Hulk aggression this avenger got his revenge on all those who tried to put him or his city down. In the Metropolis of the STAPLES centre the original man of steel flew from the Mickey Mouse land of the Orlando Magic and showed real super powers in Los Angeles. Soaring with his team through championships straight to the banner laden rafters. The only thing missing was a cape.

Shaquille O'Neal really was Superman.

Still whether it be Kryptonite or Kobe even superheroes leave and as the original Superman flew to the sun of Florida to restore his power, taking his talents to South Beach like his former Cleveland running mate and Miami Heat king LeBron James. Even though the Lakers still had their own hero to marvel at in Kobe Bryant playing the opposite Batman role, the people of the city of Los Angeles through Corvettes and brick walls and All-Star reunions wondered if Superman would ever return.

Then almost ten years later and gone, rumblings of rumors started amongst the skyscrapers of Tinseltown. Could it be? Was that a sighting? Questions where raised. Months passed and passed again. Brooklyn, New York looked like the right home for a superhero but then...dun, dun, duh, the people looked up to the sky one more time. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It's him...just only different. It's Superman. Same flight plan from Disneyworld to Hollywood ditching the Mickey Mouse ears for a purple and gold cape. He's back to save the day and Kobe. Complete with Clark Kent glasses a press conference confirmed it. Dust off the cape and just like Jay said; "take off the blazer,loosen up the tie, step inside the booth Superman is alive". Kingdom come, the Lakers are far from done. King James needs to watch the throne as the crown may be passed to a new prince.

His name is Dwight Howard.

The headlines rose higher than the skyscrapers or billboard. Read all about it as the new man of steel looks to takeover the planet daily and rise with The Dark Knight. This is no Christopher Nolan direction however it's all Mitch Kupchak. Coming from Orlando just like Earvin Johnson said complete with a Magic smile this star is gleaming, and shining. Beaming from ear to ear, starring from city to city. Team to team you can't stop the new Justice League now. Even the Avengers in Miami may need some assembly required.

Spanish hero Pau Gasol, ambassador of World Peace, Metta and running man Steve Nash are right there to help the hero of Los Angeles with Superman because of course everything goes through the one, Kobe Bryant. Still in forming the best one-two punch since his last dynamic duo Kobe has his Shaq 2 in the return of Superman. With Howard soaring and flying-like he did when he stuck a sticker of his face to a backboard-the man who will one day put his name up high next to Wilt and Kareem's is about to engrave the city of Lakers with a championship legacy. With opponents bouncing off his chest like bullets, with a laser eye on a ring, Dwight Howard is on his own quest for a piece. He's stepped back into the phone box, ready to transform the game. Now watch him fly. Superman is back.

COMMERCIAL SUCCESS

All Day I Dream About Success.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

(Here is an idea for an Adidas commercial starring Superman).

The commercial begins with the rumbling of thunder over flickering lights of a downtown Los Angeles skyline at night. Through the window of a closed T.V. and electrical store we see the many stacked television sets in the window flickering on and off between having their own picture to making a complete image of footage via all the T.V. screens stacked next to each other. The screens go from static to an image of Wilt Chamberlain spinning and dunking in a L.A. Lakers uniform.

Meanwhile in a phone booth a man in a suit and glasses is talking on a phone. The voice on the other line says; "Many are called, but few are chosen". We switch back to the T.V. store where the television sets are now playing back-to-back images of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky-hook. Back to the booth, the man who fills the entire phone booth rubs his temple as the voice on the other end continues; "can you weather the storm? Can you overcome the Heat?."

Back to the television store and we see an image of Kobe Bryant throwing a lob pass to Shaquille O'Neal for a dunk against the Portland Trail Blazers, before the footage flips to Kobe and Shaq staring each other down in opposing uniforms. We switch back to the phone booth where the man on the phone has his hand pressed against the glass as the voice on the other line asks; "can you come back"?

Thunder cracks and we switch to see the televisions and surrounding lights go out. Back again we hear and see footsteps run out of the phone booth and then take off. Left behind in the phone booth is a full suit, glasses drop to the ground and smash. An earthquake like rumble spreads through downtown as birds fly away in fright. A child playing with a toy airplane in the back-seat of a car stops and looks out as something hurtles past at supersonic speed.

Rushing past the electrical store the televisions flicker between static and footage of a Lakers parade. We cut to L.A's landmark Hotel Figueroa where the three tiered building displays pictures of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal shining like three stripes. A stream of purple and gold zooms past at full speed. We follow the stream as it zip-lines through the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles before soaring to the sky between two.

We then see the sky from the top of the two sky scrapers and between the darkness appears some gold and what looks like a basketball hoop. We hear the flapping of a cape as a basketball shoots up and is followed by an outstretched hand. We see the man from the phone booth as Dwight Howard, donning a Lakers uniform and draped in a purple and gold cape flying upwards after the ball.

It's almost in his reach as a newspaper with the headline 'What's happened to the Lakers?' and one with the headline 'Where is Dwight Howard'? along with what appears to be Mickey Mouse ears fall behind him. As Howard gets higher he cocks his hand back and smiles as the gold light shines on his face as his hand makes contact with the ball. The theme to Superman begins to play and get louder. As his cape flaps violently and he begins to slow down, he looks to dunk while disappearing into the gold light which fills the screen.

We switch to a shot of the Los Angeles skyline as the clouds disperse and the lights of the city including the STAPLES Centre come on in a sharp burst. The headline reads; 'Superman Returns' and then 'Impossible Is Nothing' before the Adidas logo appears.

DWIGHT HOWARD Feature-SUPERMAN 2


Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Illustration By: ALAN FLETCHER


The city was safe more than a decade back. A man of steel with an L on his chest and an S on his arm saved the day like a God for the city of angels. With Thor like strength and Hulk aggression this avenger got his revenge on all those who tried to put him or his city down. In the Metropolis of the STAPLES centre the original man of steel flew from the Mickey Mouse land of the Orlando Magic and showed real super powers in Los Angeles. Soaring with his team through championships straight to the banner laden rafters. The only thing missing was a cape.

Shaquille O'Neal really was Superman.

Still whether it be Kryptonite or Kobe even superheroes leave and as the original Superman flew to the sun of Florida to restore his power, taking his talents to South Beach like his former Cleveland running mate and Miami Heat king LeBron James. Even though the Lakers still had their own hero to marvel at in Kobe Bryant playing the opposite Batman role, the people of the city of Los Angeles through Corvettes and brick walls and All-Star reunions wondered if Superman would ever return.

Then almost ten years later and gone, rumblings of rumors started amongst the skyscrapers of Tinseltown. Could it be? Was that a sighting? Questions where raised. Months passed and passed again. Brooklyn, New York looked like the right home for a superhero but then...dun, dun, duh, the people looked up to the sky one more time. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It's him...just only different. It's Superman. Same flight plan from Disneyworld to Hollywood ditching the Mickey Mouse ears for a purple and gold cape. He's back to save the day and Kobe. Complete with Clark Kent glasses a press conference confirmed it. Dust off the cape and just like Jay said; "take off the blazer,loosen up the tie, step inside the booth Superman is alive". Kingdom come, the Lakers are far from done. King James needs to watch the throne as the crown may be passed to a new prince.

His name is Dwight Howard.

The headlines rose higher than the skyscrapers or billboard. Read all about it as the new man of steel looks to takeover the planet daily and rise with The Dark Knight. This is no Christopher Nolan direction however it's all Mitch Kupchak. Coming from Orlando just like Earvin Johnson said complete with a Magic smile this star is gleaming, and shining. Beaming from ear to ear, starring from city to city. Team to team you can't stop the new Justice League now. Even the Avengers in Miami may need some assembly required.

Spanish hero Pau Gasol, ambassador of World Peace, Metta and running man Steve Nash are right there to help the hero of Los Angeles with Superman because of course everything goes through the one, Kobe Bryant. Still in forming the best one-two punch since his last dynamic duo Kobe has his Shaq 2 in the return of Superman. With Howard soaring and flying-like he did when he stuck a sticker of his face to a backboard-the man who will one day put his name up high next to Wilt and Kareem's is about to engrave the city of Lakers with a championship legacy. With opponents bouncing off his chest like bullets, with a laser eye on a ring, Dwight Howard is on his own quest for a piece. He's stepped back into the phone box, ready to transform the game. Now watch him fly. Superman is back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

DWIGHT HOWARD Feature-SUPERMAN RETURNS


Howard's End.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Big news out of Orlando, coming to Los Angeles. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a Superman trade! It's official like confirmed couples after three months of dating. Dwight Howard is finally a Los Angeles Lakers via a four team trade. A Hollywood blockbuster by way of Bynum heading to Philadelphia with the Magic's Jason Richardson and Olympian Andre Igudola moving out of Philly like the Fresh Prince and joining Team USA teammate and former annual trade topic Carmelo Anthony's former Denver team. What do Orlando get in all this you ask? Well they get to be the new Charlotte Bobcats, receiving Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and forward Maurice Harkless from the Sixers and first round draft projections from the three other teams. Laker fans prayed to the basketball God's and David Stern not to nix this one. The Chris Paul veto still hurts the legendary Laker legacy, just ask Khloe or Lamar.

Those Laker fans who thought their only excitement this week would be via Kobe Bryant finally showing that fire in the Olympics via six huge threes against Australia will be ignited by this news. Howard's end of being the latest LeBron and Carmelo big name trade rumour see's Superman's return in Hollywood. This is more exciting than next years 'Man Of Steel' movie being overseen by legendary 'Dark Knight' director Christopher Nolan. Mitch Kupchack is in the chair on this one and he's pulled off another genius Gasol move (all whilst keeping Pau in the process) in what seems like his way of making up to the Laker organization his missed time as a player due to injury in the eighties. It really is showtime now and even if none of the parties want to admit this Kobe has his Shaq mark two as Superman returns to the show and the biggest stage in basketball in la, la, Lakerland.

This is Kobe's best one-two punch since the man of steel and this reboot looks to fight and kick it with the biggest of threes and teams. A maturing Oklahoma Thunder and Danny Ocean-esque growing Miami Heat be warned. There's a storm coming and it's about to heat up in Southern California. This move and Mitch's other master chess decisions this offseason more than make up for the loss of Andrew Bynum and other championship alumni Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. Although these family guys will be always be missed like LeBron's Cleveland show the new Laker team reboots instead of rebuilds, while the old hands will be shook and thanked for their time with a lasting legacy of gratitude.

Playoff hero Derek Fisher will always go down as one of the greatest clutch players in Lakers history right there with Jerry West. While former 'Sixth Man Of The Year' Lamar Odom will be considered one of the Lakers best star players off the bench. Just like this, no matter what happens, Andrew Bynum will always go down as one of the Lakers big man greats for a team that has just added Dwight Howard to the elite big man class list that includes Shaq, Wilt, Kareem and Mikan. Plus with Jason Richardson and an already impressive playoff team, Bynum looks to add another classic chapter to the legendary Philadelphia 76ers franchise that has the best young talent in this whole National Basketball Association. This player and his team have more than a future as you can expect the Sixers to be right there chasing Miami in the playoffs, just like you can expect Bynum to be lacing the Lakers with a little payback. Who know the kids already close in a few years he could be better than the guy they traded him for.

Still how does Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard sound? Now the biggest catch of the offseason has been reeled into Tinseltown from Disneyworld, there won't be any Mickey Mouse games now. The Dwightmare is over and a dream team has awoken as the Olympics are about to come to an end. The former biggest Summer signing for the Lakers Steve Nash joins Kobe Bryant in the best (albeit oldest) backcourt in the L. With a reformed rebuilt Metta World Peace looking to bring his second name to the court and finally ditch the Ron, Ron alias the Lakers frontline looks strong too.

Especially with the biggest, muscular and boldest addition to the frontcourt. After Pau Gasol and the tricks of his skilled trade beat Dwight Howard and his former Magic in the 2009 finals the two foes become friends now see themselves aligning for more championships down the line. With Dwight's strength and Pau's skill the paint looks to be decorated with the best big man game the world can offer. With All-Star certified sub-signing Antawn Jamison leading a group of reserves that include Steve Blake, the re-acquired sensation Jordan Hill and the added brilliant bonus of Chris Duhon from this deal, the Lakers bench will give them anything but splinters. Mike Brown had one hell of a team to run now and even when Kobe and Nash finally unlace and hang up their sneakers there's still a future. It's all Dwight now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ANTAWN JAMISON-POWERING THE LAKERS FORWARD


Going Fourth.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Be advised. Antawn Jamison is not the superstar you think he is. He isn't even as young as you remember. Be warned he's not our savior, not our Kobe, not our Steve Nash big Summer signing. Still you best believe he Antawn is the one piece that helps this Lakers puzzle fit. Believe this former All-Star is all-team. Believe this player with plenty of years left in reserve is the best bench player this Lakers organization has had-bar fellow former 'Sixth Man Of The Year' Lamar Odom-in years...no decades.

A smooth like Jaamal Wilkes Small Forward with Power Forward tweening size. A twine thwacker from distance. Able to hit from deep with the inside knowledge that has regularly made him one rebound shade under a 20 and 10 threat (a big man who's recorded grand career highs of 51 and 23 a couple of times). The man who's birth certificate was meant to read 'Antwan' is distinct in his own right and no mistake signing. Antawn in a keeper. A forward as classic as his Nike trainer middle-namesake, Cortez is a killer. This former warrior for Golden State has been a Californian king before as an All-Star, but since then his great play for good teams has left him the quietest, consummate professional of stars. Just ask Dallas or Washington. Now in the bright lights of the Hollywood La, La Laker land this silent killers action-thriller game will be exposed to this movie towns highlight reels.

Beyond the throwback forward style, the smooth as Irish whiskey Jamison brings substance to the Lakers new balanced measure. He's played with new signing Nash before in Dallas and the Maverick catalyst of this revamped Laker team that has avoided the wrecking ball swing of rebuilding has really started something. Jamison is another big name that could help draw more familiar faces to STAPLES and we're not just talking about the celebrity laden crowds. Sure the best recruiter in the league right now wears a championship ring with LeBron James engraved in it, but as Miami's leading man channels his inner Danny Ocean-putting a 'big five' team together with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis-Jamison and Nash are drawing that star power and pull too.

If that doesn't sound like your particular brand of championship champagne, help yourself to as many other teams as you like and have a safe road trip. No hard feelings. Otherwise, come with the Lakers on their highly lucrative championship champagne campaign. Because Jamison's put it on the line with LeBron before too in Cleveland (where his Cavs time also saw him coached by Lakers head Mike Brown) surely this may count for something in terms of advantage in this chess move offseason side game of the NBA. Ant' has played alongside LeBron in gamed and against him in practice. You can count on 'tawn knowing 'Bron's every move. This may not be a straight checkmate, but a knight could take a king in this game. Jamison without James carried Cleveland like a true star Cavalier too. Will Jamison be the one with the knowledge of the South Beach talents able to take the championship shine from Miami and back to California?

Sure the Lakers miss Lamar Odom like they miss Derek Fisher. They where and always will be family. Still just like Nash's arrival has helped the Fisher hurt Jamison's one will ease the Odom pain. Antawn these days may not be better but in terms of experience he's an upgrade from L.O. Antawn Jamison could be the best, most influential former star, role playing bench player since fellow number four Ron Harper. This fourth selection in the '98 draft really supports the big five of Kobe, Pau, Nash, Bynum and Metta World Peace perfectly. The Lakers could really go forth with their new sixth man for this year. Just how far will be determined over the next 82 and hopefully more.

STEVE NASH DOUBLE FEATURE SPECIAL: 'DUE SOUTH'/'NASH BRIDGES (THE GAP)'



DUE SOUTH Feature.

Nasty Nash In The L.A. Area...About To Cause Mass Hysteria.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Oh Canada! This writer must start this article with an apology. As a man who loves happy endings and a Brit who once lived in Toronto I too thought that Steve Nash heading north to the Raptors would be the perfect way to end his career. Still, once it was announced that the greatest Canadian and Phoenix Sun ball player of all-time was heading to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers then it was a different story...this one.

Steve Nash-with all due respect to the great Gary Payton, Nick Van Exel and of course Derek Fisher-now gives the Los Angeles Lakers their greatest Point Guard since Magic Johnson. Even two years shy of his 40's the ever durable skater-boy keeps the Lakers rolling with a dynamic duo in their backcourt alongside Kobe Bryant. 'Kash' are about to rule everything around them. Especially if this is the Mitch Kupchak move that finally lures Dwight Howard from his Disneyworld to Hollywood. You could ring these changes.

The former back to back MVP and general of the floor is the lucky break the Lakers need. Even if he won't be able to wear his infamous number 13 jersey due to the retirement of Wilt's. Still Nash's Canadian number 7 could come into play, (hey Lamar Odom's (whose trade exemption actually helped this deal along, guess the Lakers did get something for him after all) not going to need it back, heading for the wrong side of STAPLES like Chris Paul) especially if his arrival unfortunately means the departure of the great, rising Ramon Sessions. Kobe's 24/Sessions may be over. But 24/7 could still keep running the floor day in and day out.

Sure Kobe once unleashed one of his nastiest dunks on Nash but this fellow class of '96 legend has got nothing but love for Steve from the All-Star alliances to their postseason wars. Kobe recognizes Nash's shot as one of the best in the NBA and we all know about this guys passing. Now if Kobe can work the give and go you may have one of the best backcourts basketball has ever seen. No matter how little or long it lasts.

Kobe Bryant made the call and Steve Nash answered it. The first Canadian to don purple and gold since Rick Fox could bring the purple confetti and gold championship dynasty days that Rick acted in back to the Lakers legacy script. The Lakers have fallen into mid-playoff exit purgatory these past two seasons and Steve knows this losing all too well. Steve's Phoenix teams of years gone by where a first-round playoff bogey team on Kobe's post-Shaq Laker playoff pretenders. Now together Nash bridges the gap between success and failure. Heading due south from the idea of returning to his native Canada this man looks to make a point in taking the Lakers higher. Get ready to thank him kindly.

Even with his youth, knees and back against him Steve Nash would sooner suffer a broken nose than a defeat. Just ask San Antonio or Robert Horry. This guy is a big-time playoff performer. A clutch hitter ready to touch base with one of the greatest postseason teams in NBA history. Whether he becomes the perfect mentor to tutor the developing dynamics of torch receiving Ramon Sessions or not. Whether he finds Gasol and Bynum or Howard in the paint, Nash is now a part of Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers legacy. The final chapter of his NBA career looks to be a real page turner. Get ready to witness history. Amazing is about to happen once again.

NASH BRIDGES (THE GAP) Feature.

Point proven.

BY TIM DAVID HARVEY

Superstars come and go in this league. Most make their mark but some fall by the courtside. There are legends and then there are legends of the fall. Sometimes hype becomes humiliation. Sometimes great expectations become 'quantities of debt', word to Charles Dickens. Number one picks sometimes become zero's and starters become 'did not play-coaches decision'. Sometimes being the first one to enter the gym becomes being the last one to leave the club. Throughout all this however-even with the Hollywood hype that comes with a Laker move to Los Angeles-Steve Nash remains Steve Nash.

This Summer for the 2012 Olympics in London all the talented Basketball nations of the world will duke it out (What's up Coach K?) for those once in a four year, career lifetime gold medals. Whether it is the old glory of the USA, the samba of Brazil, or 'dos celebraciĆ³n' for Spain (nice World Cup/Euro win this year) one thing will remain the same. The greatest Canadian player of all-time will be watching, waiting and working. Still on his grind at 36 years old. Still in the gym 14 years deep. Still the last one out.

This year the news in the NBA will be dominated somewhat by bad press and scandal. Referees may blow the whistle on certain allegations, books may be written. Players may brawl on court and some team-mates may take it to the locker rooms, but as some players bring it to pistols the only thing one player will be shooting is the lights out. Passing like the second coming of Pete Maravich. As other guys try and look macho behind some b.s. behavior one number 10 will top them all, making shot's that doubters didn't think he had in his arsenal (fellow soccer fan Kobe knows how he shoots and scores). Unlucky for some the former number 13 aint playing...figuratively speaking.

The league may have been locked out this season gone and close to being cancelled like most American television dramas but don't lie to me. You know Steve Nash still locked it down on the court (when allowed), defensively, offensively and anything in-between and required. Some big egos will carry a chip on their shoulder but through all this one thing will remain constant. Once financial business was settled and we got back down to basketball business Steve Nash carried nothing but his entire team on his skinny frame, 1 through 15. No chip on his shoulder, no heavy heart. A free mind like his freewheeling Dylan style. No grudge, just a match. Believe that.

There will be draft picks making their mark in this league, players breaking out and superstars becoming celebrities. Players will have off nights and career nights. Throughout all this though Steve Nash will give his all. 100% for 82 plus (24 and 48 too). When others become MVP's, the former back to back 'Most Valuable' will play like this when critics are watching someone else, like the guy next to him in the backcourt. All whilst this team leader will graciously pass off the ball and the glory to someone else too. Whether they be named Kobe, Metta, Pau, Andrew or Dwight.

When others go cold Steve will heat up on his teams request taking the scoring load if needed. When other players in this league have 'Player of the Night' games and reap all the glory Steve Nash will stay on defense and guard that best player. Taking the hits, taking the buckets and taking the loss if need be, because that's the seeds a dedicated worker must sow. You've got to take the good with the bad. You have to be there, not only in the happy times but the sad ones as well. A true professional gives his all on either side of a blow-out whereas a bust just blows hot and cold. Highlight of the week players may make ESPN and flavor of the month players may make it on to some kid’s wall. Steve Nash however will make the Hall. The lane is clear for him...there's already a street in L.A. bearing his name.

Teams will make the playoffs and teams will take lottery tickets. Teams will make the finals and teams will go fish like Derek making or missing in the clutch. There will be a champion and there will be a first loser. Throughout all this Steve Nash will take the Lakers back to the golden days. Steve will remain hot in California even if things on the floor get cold. First round, second round or more Nash will leave it all on the floor. Sweat soaked, Gatorade drunk, legs tired and ankles gone. He'll give his all. Even if his nose is bust by a San Antonio Spur. Even if a 'Where Amazing Happens' border becomes 'Where getting checked hard happens'. Even if he gets knocked down Steve will get back up. Down and blown out it won't be over for Steve until the final buzzer sings. A loss won't be a loss for Nash until it's recorded in the box score. Other plays may have a different opinion; these other players merely give in so give it up for Steve Nash.

Give it up for a guy who keeps it 100 when others are thinking 99.999. Give it up for a guy that may look like a surfer but is all ball like a Kobe Bryant foul at STAPLES. A skater boy that says "see you later boys" to the competition, making fellow Canadians proud like Avril, while opponents look for the Advil. Yeah sure this is a headache, but he's the remedy. Sure there are more who play like him, but there's no one quite like Steve Nash in this league. Sure others may dunk while he lays it in, and others may take all the glory while he hustles but name another player who works as hard as Steve does? At his age, at his position and with all the abuse he takes and has taken Steve still has nothing but love and dedication for this league.

Next season some players will make magazine covers, highlight reels, YouTube footage, tweets and forum posts and then tomorrow who knows. This is the life for certain celebrities or stars, or most 'baller's and 'demigods'. Throughout all this however one thing again will remain the same. Nasty Nash will be in your area, about to cause mass hysteria because Steve Nash bridges the gap and it 'aint hard to tell. Just look at the ESPY's red carpet. Just ask Nas.

Life is good.

Friday, July 13, 2012

STEVE NASH Feature-NASH BRIDGES (THE GAP)


Point proven.

BY TIM DAVID HARVEY

Superstars come and go in this league. Most make their mark but some fall by the courtside. There are legends and then there are legends of the fall. Sometimes hype becomes humiliation. Sometimes great expectations become 'quantities of debt', word to Charles Dickens. Number one picks sometimes become zero's and starters become 'did not play-coaches decision'. Sometimes being the first one to enter the gym becomes being the last one to leave the club. Throughout all this however-even with the Hollywood hype that comes with a Laker move to Los Angeles-Steve Nash remains Steve Nash.

This Summer for the 2012 Olympics in London all the talented Basketball nations of the world will duke it out (What's up Coach K?) for those once in a four year, career lifetime gold medals. Whether it is the old glory of the USA, the samba of Brazil, or 'dos celebraciĆ³n' for Spain (nice World Cup/Euro win this year) one thing will remain the same. The greatest Canadian player of all-time will be watching, waiting and working. Still on his grind at 36 years old. Still in the gym 14 years deep. Still the last one out.

This year the news in the NBA will be dominated somewhat by bad press and scandal. Referees may blow the whistle on certain allegations, books may be written. Players may brawl on court and some team-mates may take it to the locker rooms, but as some players bring it to pistols the only thing one player will be shooting is the lights out. Passing like the second coming of Pete Maravich. As other guys try and look macho behind some b.s. behavior one number 10 will top them all, making shot's that doubters didn't think he had in his arsenal (fellow soccer fan Kobe knows how he shoots and scores). Unlucky for some the former number 13 aint playing...figuratively speaking.

The league may have been locked out this season gone and close to being cancelled like most American television dramas but don't lie to me. You know Steve Nash still locked it down on the court (when allowed), defensively, offensively and anything in-between and required. Some big egos will carry a chip on their shoulder but through all this one thing will remain constant. Once financial business was settled and we got back down to basketball business Steve Nash carried nothing but his entire team on his skinny frame, 1 through 15. No chip on his shoulder, no heavy heart. A free mind like his freewheeling Dylan style. No grudge, just a match. Believe that.

There will be draft picks making their mark in this league, players breaking out and superstars becoming celebrities. Players will have off nights and career nights. Throughout all this though Steve Nash will give his all. 100% for 82 plus (24 and 48 too). When others become MVP's, the former back to back 'Most Valuable' will play like this when critics are watching someone else, like the guy next to him in the backcourt. All whilst this team leader will graciously pass off the ball and the glory to someone else too. Whether they be named Kobe, Metta, Pau, Andrew or Dwight.

When others go cold Steve will heat up on his teams request taking the scoring load if needed. When other players in this league have 'Player of the Night' games and reap all the glory Steve Nash will stay on defense and guard that best player. Taking the hits, taking the buckets and taking the loss if need be, because that's the seeds a dedicated worker must sow. You've got to take the good with the bad. You have to be there, not only in the happy times but the sad ones as well. A true professional gives his all on either side of a blow-out whereas a bust just blows hot and cold. Highlight of the week players may make ESPN and flavor of the month players may make it on to some kid’s wall. Steve Nash however will make the Hall. The lane is clear for him...there's already a street in L.A. bearing his name.

Teams will make the playoffs and teams will take lottery tickets. Teams will make the finals and teams will go fish like Derek making or missing in the clutch. There will be a champion and there will be a first loser. Throughout all this Steve Nash will take the Lakers back to the golden days. Steve will remain hot in California even if things on the floor get cold. First round, second round or more Nash will leave it all on the floor. Sweat soaked, Gatorade drunk, legs tired and ankles gone. He'll give his all. Even if his nose is bust by a San Antonio Spur. Even if a 'Where Amazing Happens' border becomes 'Where getting checked hard happens'. Even if he gets knocked down Steve will get back up. Down and blown out it won't be over for Steve until the final buzzer sings. A loss won't be a loss for Nash until it's recorded in the box score. Other plays may have a different opinion; these other players merely give in so give it up for Steve Nash.

Give it up for a guy who keeps it 100 when others are thinking 99.999. Give it up for a guy that may look like a surfer but is all ball like a Kobe Bryant foul at STAPLES. A skater boy that says "see you later boys" to the competition, making fellow Canadians proud like Avril, while opponents look for the Advil. Yeah sure this is a headache, but he's the remedy. Sure there are more who play like him, but there's no one quite like Steve Nash in this league. Sure others may dunk while he lays it in, and others may take all the glory while he hustles but name another player who works as hard as Steve does? At his age, at his position and with all the abuse he takes and has taken Steve still has nothing but love and dedication for this league.

Next season some players will make magazine covers, highlight reels, YouTube footage, tweets and forum posts and then tomorrow who knows. This is the life for certain celebrities or stars, or most 'baller's and 'demigods'. Throughout all this however one thing again will remain the same. Nasty Nash will be in your area, about to cause mass hysteria because Steve Nash bridges the gap and it 'aint hard to tell. Just look at the ESPY's red carpet. Just ask Nas.

Life is good.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

STEVE NASH-DUE SOUTH


Nasty Nash In The L.A. Area...About To Cause Mass Hysteria.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Oh Canada! This writer must start this article with an apology. As a man who loves happy endings and a Brit who once lived in Toronto I too thought that Steve Nash heading north to the Raptors would be the perfect way to end his career. Still, once it was announced that the greatest Canadian and Phoenix Sun ball player of all-time was heading to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers then it was a different story...this one.

Steve Nash-with all due respect to the great Gary Payton, Nick Van Exel and of course Derek Fisher-now gives the Los Angeles Lakers their greatest Point Guard since Magic Johnson. Even two years shy of his 40's the ever durable skater-boy keeps the Lakers rolling with a dynamic duo in their backcourt alongside Kobe Bryant. 'Kash' are about to rule everything around them. Especially if this is the Mitch Kupchak move that finally lures Dwight Howard from his Disneyworld to Hollywood. You could ring these changes.

The former back to back MVP and general of the floor is the lucky break the Lakers need. Even if he won't be able to wear his infamous number 13 jersey due to the retirement of Wilt's. Still Nash's Canadian number 7 could come into play, (hey Lamar Odom's (whose trade exemption actually helped this deal along, guess the Lakers did get something for him after all) not going to need it back, heading for the wrong side of STAPLES like Chris Paul) especially if his arrival unfortunately means the departure of the great, rising Ramon Sessions. Kobe's 24/Sessions may be over. But 24/7 could still keep running the floor day in and day out.

Sure Kobe once unleashed one of his nastiest dunks on Nash but this fellow class of '96 legend has got nothing but love for Steve from the All-Star alliances to their postseason wars. Kobe recognizes Nash's shot as one of the best in the NBA and we all know about this guys passing. Now if Kobe can work the give and go you may have one of the best backcourts basketball has ever seen. No matter how little or long it lasts.

Kobe Bryant made the call and Steve Nash answered it. The first Canadian to don purple and gold since Rick Fox could bring the purple confetti and gold championship dynasty days that Rick acted in back to the Lakers legacy script. The Lakers have fallen into mid-playoff exit purgatory these past two seasons and Steve knows this losing all too well. Steve's Phoenix teams of years gone by where a first-round playoff bogey team on Kobe's post-Shaq Laker playoff pretenders. Now together Nash bridges the gap between success and failure. Heading due south from the idea of returning to his native Canada this man looks to make a point in taking the Lakers higher. Get ready to thank him kindly.

Even with his youth, knees and back against him Steve Nash would sooner suffer a broken nose than a defeat. Just ask San Antonio or Robert Horry. This guy is a big-time playoff performer. A clutch hitter ready to touch base with one of the greatest postseason teams in NBA history. Whether he becomes the perfect mentor to tutor the developing dynamics of torch receiving Ramon Sessions or not. Whether he finds Gasol and Bynum or Howard in the paint, Nash is now a part of Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers legacy. The final chapter of his NBA career looks to be a real page turner. Get ready to witness history. Amazing is about to happen once again.

Monday, June 18, 2012

THE KOBE SERIES-THE PHANTOM MENACE


Now how about this for some face time?

Forget father time. The young All-Star's tried to knock veteran legend Kobe Bryant down, concuss him and break his nose yet he still came back with avengance. Strapping on the Rip Hamilton face mask and showing the cities of America that his great game was far from R.I.P. Looking deadly in the M.F. Doom, phantom mask. The Mamba has recently become even more of a menace to the rest of the NBA.

Just call him 'The Phantom Menace'.

In these star wars in this basketball league Obi Wan Kobe is cutting through opponents like he had two Lightsabres. The superhero of the NBA really has looked the part. Just wait until someone comes out with an action figure, or comic-book for Bean's escapades. Robert Rodriguez may have to film another commercial. Are Kanye and Bruce busy?

Probably because right now everyone is watching the Doberman snarl and battle through the pain and "sauna" like heat of the face-mask that Bulls guard Hamilton may wear for caution and luck, but Kobe can't wait to get rid of.

Still it's making his drive and overall game that much more insane. Crazy with a 'V' for vendetta, he's leaving his mark like Zorro, like LeBron seasons before him. They've super-imposed Kobe's face over Gerard Butler, as the man leads his troubled Laker team with the strength of 300 hundred men, silencing the opposition like lambs with a Hannibal Lecter killer instinct. Even switching to the black mask, to show he really is the lone-ranger out in the Wild West.

Even after Miami Heat great Dwyane Wade tried to cool Kobe down with a hard, blood-letting foul at All-Star, the All-Legend Bryant then surpassed the greatest ever Michael Jordan in All-Star points, as his 20 after regulation gave him a mid-February total of 264. The man may have been written off this year but he really belongs in the company of the best.

Following this the Masked Mamba posted his third straight 30 point game as he and his Lake Show exacted revenge over a fouled out Wade and his Miami team with a 93-83 win in L.A. Which was a true Hollywood story for this superhero avenger. Now that really is something to marvel at. Sure 'The Dark Knight' of the Los Angeles Lakers may have fallen in D.C. and Detroit but this hot Heat beating was a major chess move as Kobe and his board took down LeBron's men. King exposed...checkmate.

No rivals indeed...at least for now. Kobe stung the Hornets last night with 33 points, said thank you very much to Memphis with 34 and had another winning game with 26 against storied rivals Boston. The man's making more history, even the Lakes old home in Minneapolis saw a 30 plus pouring. What a great tale this is to tell.

This has become one interesting side-story. It's more than just a trend on Twitter. Even Chris Paul is following suit in Clipperland (OK he is injured too). Sure just like we have no idea what's going on with trades in Lakerland, we have little clue to when Kobe will reveal himself from behind the mask, but what we do know is that behind a disguise or not the real, heroic Kobe will always come to light and it's looking to be even more unpredictably legendary by the game.

Monday, June 11, 2012

THE KOBE SERIES-THIRTYSOMETHING


(Originally published by SLAMonline on (09/25/09). Article In original Format)

At 31, Kobe has plenty more playing years ahead.

by Tim David Harvey

The Lakers faithful didn’t need to take down the party decorations from Magic’s half century celebration last week, because this weekend Kobe Bryant turned 31. No big thing right? Haven’t you learned by now? This is Kobe Bryant were talking about, nothing about this man is insignificant. So, shamelessly, yes, this is reason to take another look at the most penned-about subject in basketball…


30′s the new 20
I’m on fire still
These young boys is like fire drills
False alarms, the next don
He ain’t got it, on to the next one. –Jay-Z, 30 Something


I know its hard to believe but the Black Mamba, MVP, Mr. 81, Kobe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant turned 31 years of age. I’m not trying to make you feel old, Kobe, but that ‘fro was a long time ago. So many happy returns to No. 24, and that’s that right? Or is now the apt time to talk about this man’s age?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to cynically write about the diminishing years and skills of an athlete in his 30s. This is no swan-song, no winter of a legends pro-career. Besides, age sometimes really is like Aaliyah told us. Just ask Kobe’s former Batman, Shaquille O’Neal, who last season stepped in the rejuvenating machine and showed no signs of slowing down. Or Dikembe Mutombo who may have now retired but literally defied age for years chasing Robert Parish’s longevity.

Kobe’s only beginning his 30s and, by those aforementioned standards, could be here for a very long time still. That being said, we cannot escape time and in the constant Kobe Bryant versus LeBron James debate. One thing’s for certain, injuries aside, we’ve got many more years to see how good LeBron will get. And we most definitely won’t be able to enjoy another decade of Kobe Bryant, let alone another 13 record-breaking, highlight-filled years we’ve already been blessed with.

Many accolades and milestones cemented these 13 years of ‘Where Amazing Happens’ moments. Also strengthening his legend is the career average of 25 points per and the 11 All-Star selections. As recent as this June Kobe claimed what had been eluding him for many years, another NBA championship. This his fourth but his first without being fueled by The Diesel. For Kobe Bryant this really is a turning point and even the most casual of barcalounger, NBA fans can see this. How fitting is this turning point to come when the Kobe is in the beginning of his 30s? Even Kobe admitted it himself when he changed his famous No. 8 to 24 a couple of years back. Bryant dubbed it “evolution” for the second half of his career.

Take a look at the evolution of his game and you can see the change. No. 8 won championships with Shaquille O’Neal and primarily wowed crowds with his fast break dunks, style and athleticism. Don’t get me wrong No. 8 was still the makings of a legend and arguably the best basketball player on the planet. But take a look at No. 24, still wowing the crowd with dunks, athleticism and style like No. 8 all whilst taking the game a little bit slower. When I say slower I don’t mean in the sense that his mind’s writing checks his legs can’t cash anymore, but that he’s beginning to see the game more like Magic Johnson. He’s seeing plays before they develop, seeing the game as chess not checkers.

Think about the advantages of seeing and taking the game slower, think about what Magic did without taking more than a couple of shots — he dominated. It’s plain and simple. If you can see the game and play the game slower, you yourself can control the game; this breeds wins, which birth championships. When you’re at Kobe Bryant’s standards and see the game at a different level you don’t just take shots, you have time to find your shot. With this in mind No. 24 has also begun to pass, defer and, most importantly, trust his teammates. This makes his Lakers squad that much more efficient and, more importantly, more dangerous. The trust thing works both ways. Once the Lakers powers-that-be brought in the necessary personnel, No. 24 was more comfortable and happy. Kobe put it best: He was “no longer going to war with butter knives.” A good general has to lead his soldiers, however, and that’s what Kobe’s done en route to what amounted to the first championship for most of his teammates.

Take a look at how he helped young players like Shannon Brown develop or how his trust bought the best out of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. The art of passing, the missing aspect from Kobe’s game for years, finally came to him. The way Kobe now makes teammates that only a couple years back he’d ridicule on hidden camera better will begin to bring Kobe comparisons to Magic Johnson as well as Michael Jordan. As if that wasn’t enough the self dubbed ‘Doberman’ muzzled his critics even further by not just trusting his teammates but coaching them too. Take a look at many of the Lakers huddles from the Playoffs and Finals and observe Phil Jackson taking a back seat while a passionate, focused Kobe takes the whiteboard. Don’t for a second think that the Zen Master’s got soft on us. He’s letting Kobe do exactly what he should: spreading his wings and widening his gaze. Now that’s a true MVP.

If Kobe continues like this for his remaining playing years, the difference between the Kobe Bryant in his 20s and the Kobe Bryant in his 30s will become more obvious. You think that winning that one championship and proving he could do it without Shaquille O’Neal was enough?


“I want to be the best, simple and plain.” –Kobe Bryant


Think again. Kobe’s not done, and he’s got plenty of years left to show us how good he can get and how far he can take his team. His fourth championship officially puts a stamp on the beginning of the second part of his career, or should I say reign (sorry, King). You see, Kobe may have more playing years in the bank than he does at his disposal, however, this isn’t Bryant’s Black Album, this is his Volume 2, The Life and Times of K. Bryant.

Think for a second what more Kobe can do and prove to the never satisfied critics. Expect more stoic, pregame faces and postgame interviews because this dude is focused. First thing’s first — everyone will be wondering whether Kobe can repeat. On the other hand, Kobe will be confident his team can repeat. Bar injuries and cohesiveness issues, you can expect Kobe to collect rings with as much tenacity as that little blue hedgehog. He’s definitely got the key components to do it — Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher, Gasol, Odom and Andrew Bynum. Also with this summer’s addition of Ron Artest, the Lakers aren’t just going to be impossible to stop, there going to be impossible to get through. The most important part is No. 24 himself. As long as he’s healthy, focused and driven (and he’s always guaranteed to be two of these things), we’ve still got a good five years to enjoy or worry about Kobe Bryant, whether or not he slows down. Can Kobe lead a dynasty without Shaq?

Would you bet against him?

There are other areas Kobe Bryant in his second part of his career can look toward. If Mike Krzyzewski never ends up coming to L.A., then Kobe can count on reuniting with him one more time in 2012 at the next Olympic Games in London. When you’re the best, world domination is never far out your sight. Kobe’s become a true champion of worldwide basketball once already, and if he resurrects the Doberman again for one or maybe two more Olympic games he will further bolster his basketball legacy. With Bryant’s recent development and maturation, can you think of anyone better to lead a team of young talent against the best the world has to offer again?

If the second part of Kobe’s career could be forecast in one word, it would be ‘unselfishness.’ For team and country sounds better. This doesn’t mean that, in cementing his legend, Kobe can’t go after personal goals. Remember, this man hit 81 points in a game against the Raptors. Give him a hot night against the Bobcats, and you reckon he could beat Wilt’s record? Speaking of Wilt, even if breaking his record is the furthest thing from Kobe’s mind, his status as an all-time Los Angeles Laker isn’t. When his jersey (whether it be number 8 or 24) rises to the rafters, where will Kobe be considered next to those other Laker legends? Think about it, he’s going against arguably the most dominant player of all time; a player who leads every player ever in scoring, patenting a specific shot to call his own; a player who redefined his position and the game’s position itself; and a player who is the NBA’s logo. Still when you put Kobe Bryant’s name next to Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Jerry West there really isn’t a great deal in it. Kobe’s hungry for records, accolades and rings and the man himself is as appealing as any NBA legend. Think about all he could do and become in his remaining years. One thing’s for sure: He will continue to climb the list of greatest players of all time, and his name will always be on people’s lips when they debate the greats.

No matter how this second part of the Mamba’s career pans out there will always be the same comparisons. The first comparison will be the constant debate of who today is better: this year’s MVP LeBron James or this year’s champion Kobe Bryant. As Kobe gets older and LeBron’s legend and achievements grow, critics will have their say, but let’s put it to rest for the moment. LeBron’s still yet to achieve what Kobe has and who would you start a team with tomorrow? The best individual player or the champion?

The other comparison doesn’t even need to be mentioned or should I say it’s over-mentioned. You knew it already; you can’t escape an article about Kobe Bryant’s career without Michael Jordan’s name being mentioned. Understand when Kobe was growing up, he was dribbling and sticking his tongue out like MJ and not moon walking and grabbing his crotch like the other MJ. Idol worshiping aside, Kobe’s career is his own. What No. 23 did in his career was Michael Jordan’s legacy and what No. 24 will do in the rest of his career is Kobe Bryant’s legacy. Obviously the similarities are present, such as the tutoring of Phil Jackson, the growth, the maturity and of course how they think and play the game. But if you want to get excited about a Bryant-Jordan comparison, think of how much his ‘Airness’ did in his 30s and then think of all that this similarly talented, like-minded, refuse-to-lose competitor can do in his 30s. Just make sure to remember that Kobe’s done so much in his already legendary career. He can be considered one of the best today, after just turning 31.

Kobe Bryant is in elite company with the other athletes of today who are in consideration as the best ever in their respective fields. The Tiger Woods, Roger Federers and Usain Bolts of the world. But look at what Kobe’s already done and could do and leave the LeBron, Jordan and other greats comparisons aside for a minute. His talent is his talent, his legend is his to own and even if his years at the top are numbered, we’ve seen a lot, but we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Never take a day off
Catch you at the top of the key and get a J off
Baseline face-time
Tongue out like 23
Even 23 gotta love how I do me
–Lil’ Wayne, Kobe Bryant