Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TRADING CARD Feature-MAGIC JOHNSON

PLAYER PROFILE : EARVIN ‘MAGIC’ JOHNSON
Julius Erving said it best when he described Magic as “The only player ever who can absolutely dominate a game while only taking three shots”. Earvin and Boston Celtic legend Larry Bird turned the game of Basketball around from a sport almost bankrupt to a sport on the worlds centre stage. Johnson helped the Los Angeles Lakers become one of the most dominating Basketball teams in the 1980’s. he is considered to be one of the best point guards and playmakers ever to enter the league. The nickname ‘Magic’ came in a high school game in which Earvin scored 36 points, 18 rebounds and 16 assists. Johnson defied the usual physical attributes a Point Guard has, he was 6, 9 tall and sometimes played at Centre because of his height.

Magic led the Lakers to five NBA championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) he formed a formidable partnership with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Earvin was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) on three occasions (1987, 1989, 1990). He was NBA finals MVP in 1982, 1987 and as a rookie in 1980.

Sadly in 1991 he shocked the Basketball world by announcing that he had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, he retired from the Lakers. However he still had hope and fought the disease with his 10,000 watt smile still shining bright.

After his initial retirement from the NBA on November 7th 1991. Magic’s immense popularity saw him still being voted as a starting player into the 1992 All Star game. He played in the game and he earned the MVP honours for that game. Following this Earvin took part in the 1992 USA gold winning Olympic basketball team in Barcelona. The original team to be dubbed the ‘Dream Team’ arguably the greatest team ever assembled. With his second and final retirement Magic entered the NBA Hall of Fame, the elite 50 greatest players.

Magic ranked among the Lakers all-time leaders in nearly all statistical categories, averaging 19.5 points, 11.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 906 season matches. Magic became a TV sports commentator staying in the world of Basketball. In the fall of the 1993-1994 season Earvin became head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At the end of the season he resigned his position blaming personal reasons and frustration over player attitudes.

Michael Jordan may be the greatest player that ever played the sport of Basketball, but Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is one of my favourite players in the league. He could comfortably play two very different positions and he could score lots of points if needed, however the great thing was his unselfishness, he could dominate the game of basketball without taking a single shot and when he took a shot it was a huge, important one. I also admire the way Earvin rose from his problem (AIDS) and continued to dominate the sport until Jordan’s arrival. No matter what Magic came out of everything smiling…unless it was losing.

#themagicseries

TRADING CARD Feature-WILT CHAMBERLAIN

Inspired by the recent post of the first 'Showtime Newsletter' I wrote over a decade ago when I was 16...our new trading card feature offers quick, bite-size profiles of the legends of the game. Sort of like the back of a trading card.

PLAYER PROFILE : WILT CHAMBERLAIN.

Wilt Chamberlain nicknamed ‘Wilt the Stilt’ and the ‘Big Dipper’ was arguably the greatest basketball player the NBA had ever seen until a certain Michael Jordan came along and arguably the greatest centre that ever lived until Shaquille O’Neal came along and rivalled him for that accolade. However Wilt (despite Jordan and Shaq) still has high prestige in the history of Basketball. He was the man who scored 100 points in a single game “I realize that people will always remember me for my 100 point performance whether I like it or not” Wilt said.

However it was one mean feat some teams don’t even score 100 points in a game regularly combining all 12 roster players. Chamberlains century performance wasn’t his only high. In his first game in the NBA he scored 43 points and pulled down 28 rebounds against the New York Knicks. In his rookie season he gained NBA honours of Rookie of the Year, All-Star Game MVP and NBA MVP. He also averaged 37.6 points and 27.2 rebounds an amazing set of figures especially for a rookie, you could say Wilt dominated the league from day one. In his third year of Pro Basketball ‘The Stilt’ recorded an astonishing 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game.

However March 2, 1962 marked Wilt’s achievement of the virtually impossible, “Give it to Wilt!” the crowd chanted and “We want 100” the crowd cheered as ‘The Big Dipper’ came awfully close to a three digit record that no one had ever done before or would do for the remainder of the century, with 44 seconds remaining Wilt beat a double team and changed the world of basketball. “It was like holding up a tree that had been cut down and was about to fall down” Darral Imhoff Wilt’s guard for that historic night said. Wilt did not boast about his record “It was not even that amazing, had I not gone on a date last night and got some sleep I might have scored 140” he said.

Wilt remained amazing throughout his 14 year career, he won two championships and led his teams to the playoffs 13 times. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers and of course the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 31,419 points in his career a record broken by only two players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Wilt holds the record for total rebounds with 23,924. Wilt wore the number 13 throughout his career but it was far from unlucky. Sadly in 1999 at the age of 63 Wilt died. “We’ve lost a giant man in every sense of the word NBA commissioner David Stern said.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

SHOWTIME NEWSLETTER

The Good Ole Days.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY

Let's take it back...in more ways then one. Over a decade ago back in college this 28 year old (yep) writer-who has now clocked 4 years of writing experience from SLAM to Bleacher Report (thanks guys...this isn't a plug)-wrote about his favourite sport basketball for the very first time. At 16 years old and for an I.T. Key Skills project I planted the seeds for my writing dream by writing about my beloved Lakers in some pretty exciting times. So in celebration here is an unedited look (notice how I like to start each sentence with the word 'however') at how I wrote back then (maybe you can see some of the early styles). However please forgive the mistakes (I'm talking about all my articles here)...you should have seen the layout of the pre-iPad, blog and Facebook days newsletter. It looked worse than the Lakers offseason roster. Yeesh!

Here it is folks...maybe I'll bring it back one day.

Extra...extra! Read all about it...

SHOWTIME NEWSLETTER

Player Profiles...

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

Without a shadow of a doubt the most dominant Centre in the NBA and maybe the most dominant Centre that the world of Basketball has ever seen. Shaq holds the key to any championship success. With his strength and passion for the game LA look certain to win the NBA title again this season. Shaq is 7,0 and 300 pounds however despite his bulky frame he is very agile. His only weakness is his free throw shooting but its improving.

ROBERT HORRY

He may primarily start on the bench but LA’s secret weapon Robert Horry is a key player to the Lakers title triumphs. His secret was revealed when he scored 15 points against Philadelphia in Game 4 of the NBA championship to win the game for LA. He is an offensive threat both in the paint and beyond the arc, he recorded .346 from three point range and he averaged 5.2 points per game. He normally is LA’s sixth man and the super sub however with Horace Grants departure he may have a starting place. His only weakness is that he is said to be lazy, he is simply ineffective in first and third quarters.  

RICK FOX

Rick Fox may well be a player who epitomizes the role player figure of LA he is an unsung hero among all the stars who works 100% every game at both ends of the court. If LA need him then he can score lots of points he is effective in the paint and from three point range. He was the Lakers only player to play in all 82 games he started in 77 of them. He recorded .393 from beyond the arc and averaged 9.6 points per game. Rick Fox is the complete small forward for LA and only really has one backup in Deaven George however Fox is so consistent that that doesn’t matter.

KOBE BRYANT

Kobe Bryant is the second major player in the Lakers high octane offence behind Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe at 23 years old is one of the NBA’s hottest young stars. He has been issued a Jordan tag but came into his own at the start of last season and has never looked back. Bryant is great on offence and defence and boasts a range of skills that no one in the league can match. Last season he averaged 28.5 points per game he recorded .305 in three point shooting. Weaknesses? Can you actually pick out one? Kobe is a player on the rise and after reaching and winning two NBA players he has more experience then some veterans in the league.

DEREK FISHER

Derek Fisher could be one of LA’s biggest surprises last season. After returning from a stress fracture in his foot Derek finally evolved from a young, talented substitute into a star performer and the final addition to the triangle offence. Fish drained three pointers at opponents mercy, and was .397 from beyond the arc. Fisher also averaged 11.5 points per game very impressive for someone who only played 20 games last season. Fisher will miss the first month of the season with yet another fracture to the foot. However when he comes back he could improve even more and possibly one day become one of the best point guards in the league especially with good company like Bryant and O’Neal. Fisher led the Lakers in steals with 1.95, he also averaged 4.4 assists per game and 3 rebounds per game.

THE RESERVES

The Lakers have added great depth to their bench new signing Mitch Richmond takes over Robert Horry as sixth man last season he averaged 16.9 points and was .338 from three point territory. Also Lindsey Hunters (pictured) arrival gives the Lakers possibly the strongest three point shooting in the league along with sharp shooting reserves Brian Shaw, Mike Penberthy, Deaven George and rookie Joe Crispin. Samaki Walker brings his developing skills to the frontcourt and Jelani McCoy arrives as backup to Shaq. McCoy is among a new breed of ‘Marcus Camby’ centres who are said to be ‘undersized’ and ‘Underweight’ but with excellent scoring prowess. Also among the reserves are talented forwards Stanislav Medvedenko and last year rookie Mark Madsen.

FORGET ABOUT JORDAN KOBE’S ON FIRE!

All the news in the NBA at the moment is focusing on the return of former Chicago Bull star Michael Jordan and as much as I welcome his return I cant help but think that his comeback will be tarnished by the continuing rise of the current cream of the NBA crop I’m talking about players like Vince Carter, Tracy Mcgrady, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. Players who have all been given Jordan tags but have come of age and made names for themselves. The list continues Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Latrell Sprewell, etc. All these players are the stars that today’s fans love.

Kobe Bryant for one has really become a huge talent, fed up of playing in the shadow of Dominant team-mate Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe has become a key player in the Lakers back to back championship campaigns. With Shaq’s dominance comes Kobe’s flair, With Shaq’s strength comes Kobe’s agility and with Shaq’s interior play comes Kobe’s perimeter play.

Following mid-season feuds Shaq and Kobe made up and won LA their second straight NBA title with a little help from role players like Robert Horry and Derek Fisher. Now LA boasts the best offence with two unpredictable players leading the way. Players reminiscent of past dynamic duos that the Lakers had, Kareem Abdul-Jabber and Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West.

 Make no mistake, Kobe Bryant is not the next Michael Jordan he is Kobe Bryant.

Years from now critics will be trying to find the new Kobe Bryant. At just 22 years of age Kobe has become one of the most exciting players in the league he has also won two NBA titles and rings.
The 30th October will mark the start of the new NBA season and amidst all the Jordan comeback hype a certain double act will be hotly tipped to take their third successive title.

RICHMOND FINALLY IN L.A!

With Rider gone Phil Jackson finally has a suitable backup for Kobe Bryant. Former All Star and Sacramento King star Mitch Richmond.

The prolific scorer who averaged 16.9 points last season was involved in a trade for Lakers point guard Tyronn Lue. Last season he played for the Washington Wizards and came 5th in the league for free throws. Mitch Richmond improves the Lakers bench and with O’Neal, Bryant and Fisher acting as the first team triangle offence, Mitch should complete the benches triangle offence which features sixth man Robert Horry and new signing Lindsey Hunter.

Kobe now has too solid backups with Mitch and the Lakers three point leader Mike Penberthy, fans wont miss the presence of wayward Isaiah Rider or retired Ron Harper.

If Mitch gets his chance to play in the first team (and he will while Fishers injured) then he will join Shaq and Kobe to form the leagues most dominant three pronged attack. He will become the Lakers best third scoring option since Glen Rice who left at the start of last season.

ISAIAH’S RIDE IS OVER!

Forget about Rider's last chance to justify his place in the NBA, it's over.

J.R Rider a former Minnesota Timberwolve, Portland Trail Blazer and Atlanta Hawk, was given a last shot at the big time with the best team in the league the Los Angeles Lakers. But after turning up for training late like Cedric Ceballos used to do, being regarded as untrustworthy by his teamates and after violating the NBA’s anti-drug problem Isaiah was cut from the Lakers playoff roster in favour of Tyronn Lue. Rider has recently signed for playoff shy Denver Nuggets (he was late for training the first day). Rider could have been one of the best players in the league in his prime, However he broke the law too many times and became such a problem to the NBA that Dennis Rodman looked like an angel.

MORE NEW SIGNINGS FOR LA!

If the arrival of Mitch Richmond wasn’t enough to enough to guarantee a third successive title for the Lakers then the signing of more talented players sure was.

The Lakers traded backup centre Greg Foster to the Milwaukee Bucks for three point specialist two guard Lindsey Hunter, they also signed talented but unproven San Antonio Power Forward Samaki Walker who acted as all star Tim Duncan’s backup last season for the Spurs, he has the skills but will have to fight with Russian Stanislav Medvedenko and last year rookie Mark Madsen for a roster spot as backup to Robert Horry. He can also play backup centre. Walker has great rebounding potential but is he a good enough replacement for departed veteran Horace Grant. If he does choose to play backup centre then he will have to compete for the job with new signing Jelani McCoy who is young and has scoring potential.

The Lakers rookie this year is Point Guard Joe Crispin who is a very good shooter. All these signings strengthen L.A’s bench.

SHAQ RAPS!

Shaquille O’Neal celebrated the Los Angeles Lakers back to back championship success by rapping in front of a crowd of thousand of Lakers fans at the teams celebration festival. He performed his own rendition of ‘It takes two’ Shaq (pictured) entertained the large crowd, but the show was somewhat oddly stolen by rookie Mark Madsen and his dodgy dancing.  

GUESS WHOS BACK?

The Lakers have plenty of competition for this years NBA championship however no one expects the Washington Wizards to do well this year. However the team have a trick up the sleeve their owner and possibly the greatest basketball player that ever lived Michael Jordan has come out of retirement for two seasons to play for the team. He is donating all his salary to the relief fund in New York after the Trade centre disaster on September 11. 

CAN THE LAKERS MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW!

The Los Angeles Lakers won their second straight NBA title by beating last seasons success story the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 1. The Lakers also gained the record for the most successful postseason run in the leagues history by sweeping every team apart from the 76ers, the Portland Trail Blazers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Sacramento Kings. These teams were considered the best in the Western conference. The Lakers won despite being written off by critics because of feuds between star performers Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant (pictured left). The Lakers won and became a much better team then the squad that won their first championship by beating the Indiana Pacers in the 1999-2000 season.

The question is can they now make it three in a row. The team is certainly strong enough the team is still fairly intact despite the loss of popular veteran players Horace Grant ( pictured right) and Ron Harper and the loss of Isaiah Rider who was an excellent player at his best however his troubles with the law and his disloyalty to the club were too much for another team to suffer Rider was shown the door.

The Lakers made up for these losses by signing some top players. Topping the list is All Star Mitch Richmond who should partner O’Neal and Bryant in the teams triangle offence despite his age and injury problems. The Lakers also signed guard Lindsey Hunter who came 5th in the league for three-pointers last year. Questions were raised by the signing of Samaki Walker as starting power forward. Walker has always been a backup and the Lakers could of signed top forwards Anthony Mason or Brian Grant. However Samaki has proved every one wrong by excelling in the preseason, however he still has to fight for a starting place with skilled but lazy forwards like Robert Horry and Russian Stanislav Medvedenko.

However some problems face the Lakers rookie Mark Madsen and third scoring option Derek Fisher are both injured how ever they are predicted to be back soon. There are also rumours of a rows between O’Neal and coach Phil Jackson however knowing the Lakers it should blow over and the Lakers should be lifting the NBA trophy for a third consecutive year come next June. 

PLAYER PROFILE : WILT CHAMBERLAIN.

Wilt Chamberlain nicknamed ‘Wilt the Stilt’ and the ‘Big Dipper’ was arguably the greatest basketball player the NBA had ever seen until a certain Michael Jordan came along and arguably the greatest centre that ever lived until Shaquille O’Neal came along and rivalled him for that accolade. However Wilt (despite Jordan and Shaq) still has high prestige in the history of Basketball. He was the man who scored 100 points in a single game “I realize that people will always remember me for my 100 point performance whether I like it or not” Wilt said.

However it was one mean feat some teams don’t even score 100 points in a game regularly combining all 12 roster players. Chamberlains century performance wasn’t his only high. In his first game in the NBA he scored 43 points and pulled down 28 rebounds against the New York Knicks. In his rookie season he gained NBA honours of Rookie of the Year, All-Star Game MVP and NBA MVP. He also averaged 37.6 points and 27.2 rebounds an amazing set of figures especially for a rookie, you could say Wilt dominated the league from day one. In his third year of Pro Basketball ‘The Stilt’ recorded an astonishing 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game.

However March 2, 1962 marked Wilt’s achievement of the virtually impossible, “Give it to Wilt!” the crowd chanted and “We want 100” the crowd cheered as ‘The Big Dipper’ came awfully close to a three digit record that no one had ever done before or would do for the remainder of the century, with 44 seconds remaining Wilt beat a double team and changed the world of basketball. “It was like holding up a tree that had been cut down and was about to fall down” Darral Imhoff Wilt’s guard for that historic night said. Wilt did not boast about his record “It was not even that amazing, had I not gone on a date last night and got some sleep I might have scored 140” he said.

Wilt remained amazing throughout his 14 year career, he won two championships and led his teams to the playoffs 13 times. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers and of course the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 31,419 points in his career a record broken by only two players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Wilt holds the record for total rebounds with 23,924. Wilt wore the number 13 throughout his career but it was far from unlucky. Sadly in 1999 at the age of 63 Wilt died. “We’ve lost a giant man in every sense of the word NBA commissioner David Stern said. 

PLAYER PROFILE : EARVIN ‘MAGIC’ JOHNSON

Julius Erving said it best when he described Magic as “The only player ever who can absolutely dominate a game while only taking three shots”. Earvin and Boston Celtic legend Larry Bird turned the game of Basketball around from a sport almost bankrupt to a sport on the worlds centre stage. Johnson helped the Los Angeles Lakers become one of the most dominating Basketball teams in the 1980’s. he is considered to be one of the best point guards and playmakers ever to enter the league. The nickname ‘Magic’ came in a high school game in which Earvin scored 36 points, 18 rebounds and 16 assists. Johnson defied the usual physical attributes a Point Guard has, he was 6, 9 tall and sometimes played at Centre because of his height.

Magic led the Lakers to five NBA championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) he formed a formidable partnership with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Earvin was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) on three occasions (1987, 1989, 1990). He was NBA finals MVP in 1982, 1987 and as a rookie in 1980.

Sadly in 1991 he shocked the Basketball world by announcing that he had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, he retired from the Lakers. However he still had hope and fought the disease with his 10,000 watt smile still shining bright.

After his initial retirement from the NBA on November 7th 1991. Magic’s immense popularity saw him still being voted as a starting player into the 1992 All Star game. He played in the game and he earned the MVP honours for that game. Following this Earvin took part in the 1992 USA gold winning Olympic basketball team in Barcelona. The original team to be dubbed the ‘Dream Team’ arguably the greatest team ever assembled. With his second and final retirement Magic entered the NBA Hall of Fame, the elite 50 greatest players.

Magic ranked among the Lakers all-time leaders in nearly all statistical categories, averaging 19.5 points, 11.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 906 season matches. Magic became a TV sports commentator staying in the world of Basketball. In the fall of the 1993-1994 season Earvin became head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At the end of the season he resigned his position blaming personal reasons and frustration over player attitudes.

Michael Jordan may be the greatest player that ever played the sport of Basketball, but Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is one of my favourite players in the league. He could comfortably play two very different positions and he could score lots of points if needed, however the great thing was his unselfishness, he could dominate the game of basketball without taking a single shot and when he took a shot it was a huge, important one. I also admire the way Earvin rose from his problem (AIDS) and continued to dominate the sport until Jordan’s arrival. No matter what Magic came out of everything smiling…unless it was losing.

Friday, July 19, 2013

COURTSIDE COLUMN

  
To start our new opinion based short columns, we sound off on what's been bouncing around the courts the most lately.

LeBron-Carmelo-Kobe-2014.

Hollywood, the NBA, it's all a business you know. Why is it these days the most exciting time of the basketball year is in the offseason...and we aren't talking about the Las Vegas Summer League here peeps. Sure some mega deals make for some excited fans and Twitter feeds, but the Summer blockbusters should be left for 'Pacific Rim' and the 'Man Of Steel'. Sure in this season of deals a lot more is about to go down but right now for one team it was all good just an Odom, Bynum and Fisher ago. Even the Zen Master would have a hard time calming this mess and Buss junior hasn't even begun to swing the wrecking ball his late, great father said he would.

Maybe I'm just a bitter Laker fan who is down from the departure flightplan of Superman 2. With Dwight Howard now giving Houston a problem or the next Dream, the Lakers are haemorrhaging (thank the basketball Gods Kobe bleeds purple and gold aswell as vino for life). From the artist formerly known as Artest, now becoming Mecca World Peace and returning home to N.Y. (we're proud of you buddy, good luck...they need you) to the fact that next year the only player under contract is a 40 year old point guard. Still, me and my girlfriend (a devout F1 fan) where talking about sports politics and how it just takes away from the actual entertainment and purity of the sport itself. It's more than money or fame or drama, when a kid is up late playing basketball in his back yard like Michael Jordan in 'Space Jam'. For every Garnett, Pierce and Terry looking to make the Brooklyn Nets bigger in the fight for N.Y. (albeit with a best before end sticker) than the storied, finally there Knicks, there is a depleted, storied Boston franchise that has to start again from scratch. I mean Rondo's great but who is he going to pass too?

Then again when you tell me that next year the Lakers could boast the biggest three ever...and I do mean ever. Surely this Laker fan will change his mind...like the rest of us "fake" fans right?! LeBron, 'Melo and Kobe...I mean WOW! Who wouldn't want that...unless we get Chris Paul nixed again. Kobe can retire to the rafters after a few great years with the two premier players in the league who will take over showtime and the rest of the NBA for the rest of their careers. The legend, the legacy, the championship, the coronation, the jerseys, the statu...STOP! Wait a minute who is to say James or Anthony will leave the big markets of Miami and New York for the bright lights of L.A. Sure they left Cleveland and Denver, but they look settled now. LeBron's ringing the championship changes with his own big three and proving everyone wrong. There will be a second watch the throne, before there is a 'Decision 2'. Just ask Jay-Z. Hometown hero Carmelo looks right in the New York orange like he did the upstate Syracuse one and in this current Knick/Net war for the city it looks no better than that. Besides LeBron is supposed to take his talents back from South Beach to his hometown Ohio to be a Cleveland Cavalier with next great point Kyrie Irving, but would you swap champagne for wine and rocks thrown at billboards instead of thrones? I'll believe that when I witness it.

As for the Lakers we got excited for the biggest free agent less than 365 days ago and a year later look where that got us. Dwight wont be added to the Mikan, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq Mount Rushmore of Lakerland and until the future tells us otherwise if you want LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony alongside Kobe Bryant, you better make some trades on your video game and have some fun. Reality is we have a season now to play, let's not throw games for lottery balls and free agent markets. Right now let's be thankful we have some potential in Wesley Johnson (who actually wants to be here...yep there's my cutting remark...sorry I'm not as good as the jokes as Jon Hamm), a decent big in Chris Kaman, and a hometown boy returning to the team he belongs...welcome back Jordan Farmar. Let's just hope Pau Gasol comes back as strong as we know Kobe will and hope we can add some more pieces before the puzzling 2014 market unfolds. Which is a year away, so dont waste it away. Right now Laker fans we need to enjoy Kobe and what we have left...while it lasts. This may all be a game to some but the real one begins after LeBron receives his ring...for the Miami Heat. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

THE MAGIC SERIES-NOW YOU SEE ME

The Incredible Earvin Johnson.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY.

"First rule of magic...always be the smartest guy in the room."

Ladies and gentleman, don't be alarmed. What you are about to witness tonight is magic like no other. We will transport you in your seats back to the purple and golden era of the 1980's. It's showtime people and our man with the top hat and wand is going to light up the basketball world like California mornings with just a flick of his wrist. Look closely...now you see him.

Now you don't...like a flash upcourt he runs, a Point Guard in a big-mans (who occasionally takes the cap's chair) body, the centre of attention. A man built like a quarterback and one who delivers the ball in the same way. Shoot first, think later...nah, pass first, see the game before. Watch him race upcourt look one way (normally at you) and throw the peach in the opposite direction (usually to the guy you where too busy not watching). Slight of hand has never felt so grand. The magician who could make the ace in the hole play would rather show you his full deck and still win by his hand. Watch him now as he affects the game on the grandest scale without even needing to take a single shot. Talk about pulling a rabbit out the hat.

Watch him change the game with a blonde haired white kid from way downtown in French Lick. Watch him take this sport of basketball across the borders of the world and cultural divides. Before LeBron, before Kobe. Even before the greatest of all time Michael Jordan, there was another M.J., defining this league and his G.O.A.T. legacy of being the best. When LL Cool J was ruling the charts and helping build the towers of Def Jam, a basketball pioneer was relaying the foundations of the forum. Mama said knock every other team out. The Lakers-let alone the league-haven't seen a P.G., like him since. It took Nick Van Exel, some clutch Derek Fisher buckets and an ageing Steve Nash last year to come even a little bit close decades later. His legend lives in Laker legacy and he is the greatest at his revolutionized position in league history.

Witness him hold court like a judge, passing death sentences to the opposition with the drop of the gavel. A jury of his peers found him guilty of stealing the gaze of everybody before their eyes. From Hollywood to the hardwood. It could be Jack Nicholson or Isiah Thomas...everyone wanted to get close to the savior of basketball, whose legacy was more than just legend. It was the end of the old way and a new day in what decades later is one of the most premier and popular sports of the century. As a business man he took Starbucks to the 'hood, as an all business basketball player he took the game to the globe, trotting like a Harlem player, making it all so fun again. Prepare to be amazed by all this world wonder that came from the most selfless player...no wait the most humble, selfless celebrity in history. No wonder the Red Hot Chilli Peppers dedicated a song to him like their 'Salute To Kareem' by the way.

There's hundreds and thousands of memories that truly amaze and that's just the icing on the cake. The Magic man's game was cooler than the ones he put in the Chick Hearn refrigerator, by the word of Jim Murray. From his explosive speed to finding he right place and pass for a shot and detonation...and boom goes the dynamite. From Jerry West to Jerry Buss he owned it. From the slickness of Pat Riley's drawn out play to the Worthy big game of James and the sky-hook, line and sinker of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the Los Angeles Lakers of the eighties overcame their Celtic green envy and beat Boston into meeting Larry O'Brien on some storied late June nights. Just like Los Angeles at it's best, it gets no hotter than that.

A shining star who was a beacon for basketball. An All-American who served over a billion people like McDonalds and did more for the world beyond basketball...and we aren't talking about his brilliant business ventures. A man who boldly looked the world and the HIV disease in the eyes and announced he wasn't giving up or giving in. You can't slow the pick and roll of the greatest. An inspiring figure who influenced changed the sport world with his friend Larry and more. Flying like Bird from the scissor cut net gains of college to the Barcelona Olympics it was all a dream, made real. As improvised and inspired as jazz, like Miles, Dizzy, Coltrane or Mingus, our man was behind the notes but ahead of the play.

He knew exactly where everything was going...his way. This was his life like his autobiography, the game was his along with Larry like their co-write. It was written, from the basketball gods to the record books. Engraved in the hardware of history. From the basketball hall to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame he dribbled the ball to it all. Raising his jersey to the rafters and hitting it all out the park before retiring and owning the Dodgers. From the banners to Broadway, coaches, analysts, purists and players still can't comprehend a player like him. This is no trick. This is as real as it gets.

Ladies and gentleman this is Earvin Johnson...this is Magic.

Now you see him.