kobe-bryant
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Thursday , Jul , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant playing football after Man United and Barcelona in DC

Unlike Lakers teammate Ron Artest, who is considering testing out his skills on a dance floor, Kobe Bryant is taking his soccer talents to Washington, D.C., where he has agreed to play in a celebrity soccer game Sunday.

Former soccer great Mia Hamm and her husband, former Dodgers player Nomar Garciaparra, are playing host to their fourth annual Soccer Challenge that benefits the Mia Hamm Foundation & Children’s National Medical Center.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Tough act to follow.

On Saturday, Barcelona will face Manchester United in a rematch of the Champions League Final in Washington DC.

On Sunday, basketball great Kobe Bryant will try for some ‘footie’ magic in the nation’s capital by playing in Mia Hamm’s exhibition match for charity.

Bryant, of course, grew up in Europe following ‘The Beautiful Game’. He’s good friends with Ronaldhino, but cheers for the Barcelona Barca and is in awe of Lionel Messi.

Bottom line: Bryant won’t look out of place on Sunday -at least against celebrities.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Jul , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love on NBA.com and lockout: ‘it’s silly’

"They took everything off," Love told The Post. "I laughed, but it's not funny. You take everyone off? You go on our website and it's the dancers and Crutch our mascot. I think it's cool for the charity events, but not using any of the players, it's silly. Let's get this thing resolved and play basketball. It's disheartening to fans and to us. Let's get it figured out.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last year Kevin Love looked like the second-coming of Charles Barkley with his work on the backboard.

This summer Love sounds like the second-coming of ‘Chuck’ with his candour and tell-it-like-it-is nature.

The Minnesota Timberwolves power forward recently told the New York Post the NBA looks ridiculous for pulling players off league and team websites, and urged the parties to solve the lockout.

Love is right: NBA.com is comical. Commissioner David Stern and the owners look petty for only having cheerleaders/mascots on-line, and their negotiating ploys have often been unreasonable.

Here’s my question for the players: what took so long? Why is a promising 22-year old playing in tiny Minnesota left to tell Stern and union boss Billy Hunter to find solutions?

Where are the crème de la crème of the league like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and others?  Well, they're flirting with teams in Europe. Or pulling in six-figure appearance fees for a night in Asia.

Right now, there’s little chance the NBA opens in November -especially if Love, a promising player in a backwater market, is left to pressure the disputing factions.

Hopefully, others follow Love’s lead.

--Oly Sandor.

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Iverson vs. Jordan vs. Kobe. Vol. Dat 40 streak
Tuesday , Jul , 26 , 2011 J.N.

Iverson vs. Jordan vs. Kobe. Vol. Dat 40 streak

The NFL lockout is over. If you’re an NBA fan, sucks to be one right now. If you’re also an NFL fan, it’s a great time. Right now, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Kobe Bryant are hamming it up in the Phillippines. The highlights of their All Star game are up on Youtube. The quality is bad since the broadcast was on a stream, but you get the gist of it. Did Kobe travel on that lob pass to Rose? Yep, he sure did. Who cares though. I didn’t.

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Monday , Jul , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe bluffing on Turkey?

Kobe Bryant is not going to play in Turkey. No way. He can’t be that dumb, can’t be willing to risk that much. It keeps making news, but it sounds like a bluff, or at the very least a PR move. And maybe that’s the big question here: Is Bryant bluffing or is he just that dumb?

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is it all talk?  

Some feel Kobe Bryant has no intention of packing up, heading across the Atlantic Ocean, and spending the entire season in a second-rate European league.

A former prep-to-pro star, Bryant is now 33-years old.  There’s a belief with all the wear-and-tear on his body that Bryant should rest for the latter half of his career.

Bryant isn’t stupid. He knows Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne got invaluable R&R during the 2004 NHL work stoppage and resurrected his Hall of Fame career.

Instead of a jaunt to Turkey, he’ll likely stay state-side. The rumors have a purpose, though.

As mentioned,  Bryant gets his name in the headlines, his brand is linked to Europe and Asia, and NBA owners are well aware of the options available to a superstar.

So expect Bryant’s cat-and-mouse game with Turkey to continue. Only it won’t amount to much, if anything.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jul , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kobe Bryant tosses one-handed alley-oop to Derrick Rose

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who needs a million dollar a month salary from Turkish club Beskitas?

Well, not Kobe Bryant.

Right now, 'Black Mamba' is flying the globe, playing in exhibition contests, furthering his brand, and, it seems, having fun. Click the video and watch Bryant toss a one-handed ‘oop’ to 2011 MVP Derrick Rose.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan on all-time scoring list

But not many believed him, including Phil Jackson. When I asked the former Lakers coach last season which player Bryant wants to pass on the scoring list the most, Jackson replied without hesitation, "Michael Jordan."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Pandora’s Box known as Kobe vs. Mike is once again open, courtesy of their former coach Phil Jackson.

'Zen-Master' Phil told the L.A. Times last season that Kobe Bryant, of the Lakers, desperately wants to pass Michael Jordan, the Hall of Fame guard with the Chicago Bulls, on the league's all-time scoring list.

Bryant's reason for setting this goal is obvious: he wants his legacy to be greater than Jordan's.

Forget the all-time scoring list. One statistic proves Bryant can never top Jordan. The 'Black Mamba' has lost twice in the NBA Finals, while 'His Airness' was a perfect 6-0 in the championship series.

When the chips were on-the-line, when it mattered most, nobody was greater than Jordan. This is beyond dispute and outweighs the all-time scoring list. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Bynum’s ego a problem for Lakers?

His conscience is paralyzed. His sense of entitlement is blinding. So, no, actually, I wasn't surprised to see this week's photos of Andrew Bynum leaving his convertible sitting across two handicapped parking spaces while he shopped at an upscale grocery store in Westchester.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Andrew Bynum’s ego a problem for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Well, some think so. Today, Bill Plaschke, a veteran writer with the L.A. Times, alleges that Bynum parking in a handicap spot isn’t a temporary lapse of judgement.

Plaschke thinks Bynum ‘suffers from a disability of maturity’. He reports that this isn’t the first time the seven-footer has been caught in a handicap spot. He also calls him out for delaying surgery to accommodate a trip to South Africa and rehabbing injuries at the Playboy Mansion.

As an outsider, it’s hard to get a read on the Lakers. They’re fractured by power politics, internal dissent, personal agendas, and media bias.

The recent Bynum backlash is no different. Some see him as an ally of Jim Buss, the club’s new lead executive and son of owner Jerry Buss.

Right now, Jim Buss isn’t popular. He gets the blame for pushing out Coach Phil Jackson, hiring his replacement in Mike Brown, and alienating superstar Kobe Bryant.

Bynum, right or wrong, fair or not, is vulnerable due to his relationship with Jim Buss.

Plaschke, however, provides an objective view into the complex world of Laker-nation. He’s been with the L.A. Times for years. He’s won numerous awards. He’s a regular contributor to ESPN. And, while we're at it, he volunteers with Big Brothers.

Plaschke’s criticism seems reasonable. Bynum has been given much by the Lakers -perhaps too much. And he has yet to fulfill expectations on-and-off court.

Now is as good a time as any to start. Bynum is a 23-year old man. Perhaps he should act like it.  

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

Examining Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks back to back title potential. Vol. REPEAT
Thursday , Jul , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Examining Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks back to back title potential. Vol. REPEAT

This can be discussed even during a lockout. Dirk and the Mavs are still riding high from their hard earned 2011 NBA title. They swept Kobe’s Lakers, beat Durant/Westbrook Thunder, and then took out the Miami Heat. The team is battle tested especially with the grand fail against the Golden State Warriors in the 2007 playoffs. The Mavs lost a lot with a solid roster in the past. They overcame all of that in 2011.What’s next? Repeat. Duh. 

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Thursday , Jul , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: does Besiktas care if Kobe signs?

Turkish club Besiktas is in talks with Kobe Bryant's representatives about the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers' star playing in Turkey during the NBA lockout. "It is a fact that Kobe Bryant's managers have contacted us," coach Ergin Ataman said Thursday, a week after Besiktas signed New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talk is cheap –except if your union needs leverage for the lockout or you’re a second-rate European squad looking to improve your image.
 
Then, talk is good –real good.
 
Sure, Turkish club Besiktas and superstar Kobe Bryant are talking about a contract for 2011-12 in case the NBA lockout isn`t resolved.
 
Why would Bryant, the game’s greatest star, uproot his family, risk his career, and put up with second-class treatment from a second-rate pro’ team?
 
Besiktas has more issues than a celeb` on Dr. Phil’s Celebrity Rehab. Their soccer squad is in a match-fixing scandal; reports indicate their finances are frozen; a corporate sponsor had to guarantee Deron Williams $5 million pact.
 
Well, Bryant is doing his union brothers a solid by playing overseas and showing the owners the players have options. If something comes of his flirting with Besiktas, so be it. If not, he keeps touring Asia while negotiations on the new CBA continue.

For Besiktas, this is about headlines. They already shocked the basketball world with the signing of Williams, arguably the best point guard in the NBA.
 
Now those same pundits are wondering if ‘The King’ (sorry LeBron) will really cross the Atlantic and ply his trade on the crossroads of Europe and Asia for the princely sum of $1,000 000 per month.

Besiktas can’t buy this publicity. Blogs, print writers, radio hosts, and TV analysts are linking them to Bryant. They`re the buzz of basketball.
 
So Besiktas doesn`t care if Bryant signs. They`ve already won.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Brian Shaw deserve better from Jim Buss and Lakers?

“I wasn’t really told anything,” said Shaw, who had the public backing of players Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, among others, to take over for Jackson. “Unfortunately, I found about not getting the job and who was hired for the job on ESPN. I didn’t really talk to anyone for about three weeks after that.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not that he was passed over to replace Phil Jackson as head coach. And it’s not that his contract as an assistant coach wasn’t renewed.

It’s how the Los Angeles Lakers passed over and decided against renewing Brian Shaw, who won five championships in twelve seasons with the NBA’s glamour club.

Shaw discovered his fate from the media -while watching ESPN. No courtesy call.  No email. No facebook poke. No myspace message.

Nothing at all; in fact, Shaw didn't hear from the purple-and-gold for three weeks after the Brown hiring.

To review: last month, the Lakers hired Mike Brown, a former Coach of the Year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to take over for Zen-Master Phil.

Fair enough.

Management/ownership felt the need to switch things up after the team’s mixed regular season and disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

Management/ownership also felt Brown should get to pick his assistant coaches. Brown, for any number of reasons, decided against keeping Shaw.

Again, fair enough.

There is, however, no justification for not telling Shaw in a timely manner. This reflects on one person: Jim Buss.

The owner’s son always had personal issues with Jackson and his allies within the organization –which includes Jim Buss’ own sister Jeanie, Shaw, and even superstar Kobe Bryant.

Of course, Jim Buss is now running the Lakers and wants to put his stamp on things. So Shaw –Jackson's loyal right hand and Robert Duvall like consigliore – was mistreated due to personal politics.

Such pettiness is never good. And such pettiness reflects on the sad-state of the Lakers. Perhaps there's reason to worry in Hollywood.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe Bryant bluffing about Europe or China?

“The one thing about basketball is it’s a global sport now, so you can play anywhere you want to.

“As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls, whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or a team here in China decides to call, then I’ll be ready…. (Kobe Bryant).

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They both have their bluffs.

Right now, the NBA is locked-out, which means owners and players are doing anything and everything to gain leverage when negotiations begin.

Take the owners. They’re crying poor and claiming incredible losses. And they’re threatening to shut-down the season unless the players accept some form of a hard cap.

Will 30 billionaires really shut-down the NBA for 2011-12? Will they kill the momentum the league gained in 2010-11?

Well, this is the owners’ bluff. This is the card Commissioner Stern, Mark Cuban, and Michael Jordan have. Of course, the players have their bluff, too.

NBA superstars, like Kobe Bryant, are threatening to take their talent abroad. Possible destinations: Europe and China. Will Bryant, who is used to first-class treatment, really ride busses, stay in second-rate hotels, and deal with mediocre facilities just to prove a point?

Well, this is the players' bluff. Bryant and his brethren are making sure the owners know they have options. Even if those options don't appear especially attractive.

--Oly Sandor

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Can Derrick Rose repeat MVP?
Sunday , Jul , 17 , 2011 J.N.

Can Derrick Rose repeat MVP?

The big network has already raised the question and shot it down without much debate. Can Derrick Rose repeat as the league MVP in the new season after the lockout? Can the kid become the third point guard to do it? How? News flash – He earned the 2010-2011 MVP when everyone wrote him off. You guys are writing him off again? I get it. The 2011 playoffs were bad for him during the fourth quarter. He didn’t choke. Rose just did not shoot well.

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Friday , Jul , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kobe Bryant World Tour lands in South Korea

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: First, it was ‘White Mamba’. Then came ‘Bow Wow’, now known as ‘little fella’ and/or ‘midget’. Yesterday was The Thrilla N’ Manila.

Today, Kobe Bryant arrived in South Korea, where he did the 'Nike-thing' and found another sacrificial lamb to manhandle in one-on-one.

Watch the video footage and get at us with thoughts on the latest stop in the Bryant World Tour.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jul , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kobe Bryant Wows with ‘Thrilla in Manila’ exhibition

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Recently, Kobe Bryant gave us his version of the 'Thrilla in Manila'.

Bryant, while touring his home-away-from-home, pulled his sneakers out the old gym bag and surprised the Phillippines by playing in an exhibition friendly.

Watch the video -it might be the only basketball we see for some time- and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at us in the comment box below.

The players are leaving.
Thursday , Jul , 14 , 2011 J.N.

The players are leaving.

It’s not a mass exodus although notable players are taking off to become international ballers. As this is happening, some fans were saying that the NBA is in better shape than the NFL. Uh how so? Are you oblivious? The NFL is about to reach an agreement to end the lockout. Where is the NBA? I’m not even sure if they are even negotiating right now. The players and owners are too far apart. There are some owners against owners. As a result, the players are leaving. 

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Sunday , Jul , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Deron Williams on Kobe Bryant: ‘He’s The Man’ in China

"I see him going to China or somewhere," said Williams, who teamed with Bryant to help the U.S. win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. "He's big in China. I was over there with him in Beijing. He's 'The Man' over there."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Deron Williams is right. It's China. Not Italy, Spain, Greece, or Turkey.

For personal and professional reasons, Kobe Bryant will head to China –if he plays basketball during the NBA lockout.

The lockout is an opportunity for basketball's greatest star and the world's greatest economy to further their love-money relationship. Bryant considers China his second home, while China considers Bryant one of their own, so they buy everything his name is on.

Bryant doesn't have these opportunities in Europe. Sure, he's a superstar but Greece, Italy, and Spain are on the verge of bankruptcy, so club owners and fans can't throw Euros at him.

Bryant expects five-star hotels, luxury cars, and private planes. The Chinese will give Bryant the first-class treatment he is used to. European owners, during strong economic times, are known for skimping on accommodation, buses, and flights.

What will European owners do when the European Union and World Bank are scheming on bailouts?

Bottom line: Bryant will pick China over Europe. In fact, it seems he already has.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , Jul , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe forced to share Lakers with Bynum?

Yes, aging star Kobe Bryant will still be a part of the equation, but he was put on notice over the summer when Jim Buss hired new coach Mike Brown without so much as a brief discussion with Bryant. The message is clear: Brown is Bynum's coach, and the team belongs to the young center as well.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Only the Los Angeles Lakers.

Only the dysfunctional purple-and-gold would chase away a Hall of Fame sideline boss, strip a once-in-a-generation talent of his franchise-face status, and hand the reins to a talented but injury-prone center.
 
While the Lakers didn’t fire Phil Jackson, they made it easy for him to leave. Management, specifically Jim Buss, made The Zen take a pay cut last summer –despite winning consecutive championships.
 
Then management, specifically Jim Buss, meddled. Then management, specifically Jim Buss, prodded, intruded, and got petty.
 
So Jackson walked. Perhaps he’s meditating in some remote hideaway. Perhaps he’s penning another best seller on his life. Perhaps he and girlfriend Jeannie Buss –yes that would be Jim’s sister and Jerry the owner's daughter- are plotting a comeback.
 
Bottom line: Jackson left, in part, because of Jim Buss. The money, spotlight, and chance to win further championships weren’t worth dealing with the owner’s pushy son.
 
Alienating a coach is one thing. Alienating the talent is worse. Reports indicate that Jim Buss has alienated Kobe Bryant.
 
Before the lockout, the Lakers informed Bryant, one of the game’s great players, he was no longer the team's undisputed top dog. Bryant was then informed he’d share this role with Andrew Bynum.
 
Bynum, when healthy, is a top center. His play during the second half of last season was superb. Bynum, however, is fragile, spending significant time on injured reserve.
 
Then there’s the optics of sharing. Bryant wouldn’t share with the most dominant player in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal, and instead engaged in a feud that broke up a dynasty.
 
Why would he share with Bynum, a still unproven entity? Well, he won’t.
 
Bryant has recently been silent. He hasn’t commented on the lockout, the hiring of Mike Brown or anything Laker-related since losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs. 

His silence is powerful.  Bryant knows Jim Buss pushed Phil Jackson - his friend, mentor, and coach – out. Bryant knows Jim Buss hired Brown, in part, because he’d increase Bynum’s role. And Bryant knows Bynum is Jim Buss’ guy.

So this is politics. Jim Buss never had a job in basketball before getting handed the keys to the Lakers from his father. 
 
Jim Buss, to his credit, drafted Bynum. He believes Bynum’s development and success will validate his standing within the game.
 
Here’s what Jim Buss doesn’t get: Bynum must to earn the top dog mantle. The process must be organic and natural. Or it will wreck the team.
 
Right now, Jim Buss is forcing Bynum on Bryant and the Lakers. The players will resent Jim Buss. They’ll resent Bynum. They'll resent the politics.
 
Only the Los Angeles Lakers could be such a mess without having played a single game.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Friday , Jul , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Carmelo, Kobe, and Amar’e to pass on Europe?

With Nets superstar Deron Williams breaking the ice by agreeing to terms to play in Turkey if the NBA lockout lasts for a long time, will Knicks Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony follow suit? Highly doubtful.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There will not be a mass exodus of NBA superstars to Europe.

For a variety of reasons, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and/or Amar’e Stoudemire won’t follow Deron Williams to exotic locations like Turkey, Greece, Spain, and Italy.

This trio may listen to offers. Their people may publicly express interest in Europe. And we -the media and fans- will eat it up because there’s nothing to discuss during the lockout.

Bottom line: few, if any, superstars will join Williams.

These high-profile athletes need insurance against injuries. This isn’t cheap, and would negate much of the salary they earned for playing.

In some cases, the risk is too great. Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, has already said his client head won't risk the remaining $80 million on his NBA contract with the New York Knicks for a few games abroad.  

Italy, Spain, Greece, and/or Portugal are on the verge of bankruptcy, and need economic help from the European Union. Can these countries afford NBA superstars? And will their leveraged owners honor these big-ticket contracts?

Expect Kobe Bryant to instead head east –as in the Far East. Bryant will apparently headline a tour to basketball-mad China, where he'll market his brand, shoes, and everything else Kobe-related.

Superstars will use Europe to gain leverage in negotiations during the lockout. The game's biggest names will be reluctant to follow Williams overseas.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

1996 NBA Draft; Best First Round Ever?
Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2011 Paul Eide

1996 NBA Draft; Best First Round Ever?

 

The thing I remember most about this draft, particularly when draft order was determined during the Draft Lottery, was how excited 76ers President Pat Croce got when it was announced the Sixers would get the number one pick. His personality, coupled with the success of the franchise over the next five years, basically spawned an entire reality TV career for him for the next several years.