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Friday , Feb , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘irritated’ at teammates after Cleveland loss

 On the other hand, Kobe Bryant looked incredibly irritated as he walked off the court, head down, all alone after the latest loss. He then ignored reporters for a second consecutive game, his second mini-boycott of the media this season. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson actually spent a full 2 1/2 minutes with reporters in the wake of Wednesday's debacle after providing five terse seconds of his time in Charlotte.

"I think they took the [All-Star] break before the game," he said, declining to name names though it wouldn't spoil anything to provide some clues (RonArtestLamarOdomAndrewBynum).

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last time they played, they won by 55. This time, they lost.

Yesterday, the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers were beaten by the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently came within a whisper of setting the NBA record for most consecutive defeats.

Yes, the purple-and-gold has fallen. Yes, superstar Kobe Bryant is miffed. And yes, the world’s best player wants changes.

There’s no other way to interpret Bryant boycotting the media after the loss. Like Coach Phil Jackson, he believes his supporting cast isn’t pulling their weight and are in vacation mode.

Ron Artest’s play has to be particularly worrying for the Lakers’ brass. Last year, the three-man played with desire, despite struggling with Phil Jackson’s triple-post sets.

This year … well, the Lakers are still waiting for Artest to arrive. He’s averaging a career low 8 points per game and hasn’t played with his trademark defensive intensity.

Artest’s poor play has been compounded by Matt Barnes’ injury. Without Barnes' energy, the bench has been up and down, while the steady Derek Fisher continues to show his age.

Expect the Lakers to be buyers at the trade deadline. They have no choice -if they want to compete for a third straight championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Feb , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant ‘wouldn’t be opposed to’ playing in Italy in 2012

Then what happens to the NBA? And what would Kobe Bryant do if there is a lockout? He might play in Europe. "I wouldn't be opposed to it," he said Friday. "You know how much I love Italy. I grew up there."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He may say Arrevederci to the NBA and Salve to Italy.

There’s a possibility Kobe Bryant, one of the world’s best players, might bolt America and ply his trade in Italy if the NBA has a prolonged work stoppage in 2011-12.

This is not a ploy or bargaining strategy.

Bryant’s dad played several seasons in Italy. He grew up there. He speaks Italian and has a special affinity and appreciation for the country. Bryant and his family would be comfortable spending a year abroad.

Two years ago, there were rumblings Bryant and the other free agents from the class of 2010 would sign with rich European clubs because their earnings couldn’t be capped by the salary cap.

Of course, the Black Mamba doesn’t need money, but he wouldn't pass on $20-25 million tax free, especially if the NBA is sitting idle.

Finally, Bryant would like the pace of European basketball. There are fewer games and less travel, which reduce the impact on his knee. He'd also stay fit for when the player’s union and owners iron out their differences.

Bottom line: don’t be surprised if Bryant spends 2012 in Italy.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Feb , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Why Bynum for Anthony trade won’t happen

A report from ESPN on Tuesday indicated that the Lakers and Nuggets were holding preliminary discussions about a trade involving Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum.

"What's out there is inaccurate," said a Lakers representative familiar with the negotiations. Denver is also in discussions with the Knicks, the team Anthony is reportedly set on playing for by the 11-12 season.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It sounded too good to be true. Glamour franchise gets glamour scorer and only gives up a talented but brittle center.

And it was.

The Los Angeles Lakers have shot down reports they were considering sending Andrew Bynum to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.

The Lakers likely denied these reports because the Nuggets had little interest in Bynum, a massive five-man who has never fulfilled his considerable potential because of injury.

The only thing about an Anthony-for-Bynum swap that made sense was the money: their annual salaries were a rough match under the NBA’s salary cap.

Contracts aside, this idea was flawed.

For instance, the Nuggets would not give up their superstar and franchise face for an injury prone post with two years remaining on his big-ticket contract.

Instead, the Nuggets want expiring contracts, blue-chip prospects, and/or draft picks for Anthony. Bynum is none of these.

The Lakers have struggled of late; however, sacrificing Bynum’s size for Anthony’s scoring is hardly the answer. After all, Anthony is a shot-first, option-A player.

He doesn’t defer. In fact he can’t defer. And last I checked the Lakers already had the ultimate Alpha-Male scorer in Kobe Bryant.

Then there’s the issue of protecting the paint. The Lakers won game seven of last year’s NBA Finals in large part because Bynum, despite being hurt, controlled the glass against the Boston Celtics.

Without their starting five, the purple-and-gold would be vulnerable against bigger, physical squads, especially in a down-and-dirty playoff series.

Finally, Anthony will opt-out at the end of the season and become a free agent. Would Anthony re-sign out west? And would the Lakers offer an extension for the maximum available under the new financial system?

Expect the Nuggets to go in a different direction when trying to move Anthony. Expect the Lakers to also go in a different direction with any trade deadline upgrades.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Feb , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lamar Odom: Kobe Bryant wants to be better than Michael Jordan

He wants to be better than Michael Jordan. Most people would be scared to admit that because that guy was that good and did that much. So you have to understand that what Kobe’s trying to get as a basketball player and what it takes to get there, a lot of us don’t even have the gall, the balls, the will.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Put the blame on Lamar Odom.

In a recent interview, the Los Angeles Lakers’ renaissance forward re-opened the Pandora’s Box known as Kobe-versus-Mike.

Odom states that Kobe Bryant’s goal is to be better than Michael Jordan, and the Black Mamba believes he can achieve this by passing His Airness’ total of six championships.

If only it were so simple.

Championships are one measure of a player’s greatness. The other has to be how that player performed during those championship series. In the other words, when the chips were on the line, what did the player do?

In this respect, Jordan has Bryant beat. It’s not even close.

After all, Jordan went six and zero in the NBA Finals. He never lost; nobody could touch him, as he won six Most Valuable Player awards.

Bryant is 5-2 in the NBA Finals. His Lakers have lost to the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. For his first three championships, Bryant was a co-star next to the ‘Most Dominant Ever’ in Shaquille O’Neal.

Bryant wants to be better than Jordan; however, he can’t touch The Greatest of All Time. Not now; not ever.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jan , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Shaq wearing Celtic green: ‘I don’t think it’s too weird’

"I don't think it's too weird," said guard Kobe Bryant, who had a contentious relationship with Shaq during the center's time with the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. "I don't really hold too much significance to the fact that he's playing with the Celtics. I don't think Laker fans as a whole are. I don't think it's that big of a deal."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not weird. Really, it’s not.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant doesn’t believe there’s anything unusual about former teammate and partner-in-crime Shaquille O’Neal being a member of the Boston Celtics.

Bryant and O’Neal won three consecutive championships with the purple-and-gold. And O’Neal was the face of the Lakers before their feuds forced him east to the Miami Heat.

I’m not buying Bryant’s no-comment. Neither should you.

Bryant and O’Neal are still rivals. Tension still exists from the World Wars. It’s just under the surface and can manifest itself at any moment.

For instance, right after winning his fifth championship last spring, Bryant boasted to the throngs of reporters that ‘he now had one more than Shaq’.

Perhaps that comment drove O’Neal to sign a two-year deal with the Celtics last summer, even though it meant accepting less minutes, shots, and spotlight.

O’Neal probably believes he could’ve been the difference in last year’s NBA Finals when the Lakers needed seven-games to beat, you guessed it, the Celtics.

So Bryant and O’Neal are rivals. These Lakers and Celtics are rivals. And historically, the Lakers and Celtics have always been great rivals.

But hey, Shaq on the Celtics isn’t weird. Really, it’s not.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Jan , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jerry West: ‘I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer’

Jerry West's words -- "The reason you 'can't play defense' is because you can't!" and "I don't think the Lakers will be good for much longer" -- stung the Lakers. Bryant nodded in agreement when informed of the substance of West's criticism and Derek Fisher offered the utmost respect for West, who drafted the veteran guard as a rookie in 1996.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It doesn’t matter that he was an All-Star on-court and in the executive suite for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerry West, possibly the most influential member of the purple-and-gold clan, believes the two-time defending champions have lost their motivation and are too old to continue their reign atop the NBA standings.

Perhaps he’s right. Now is not the time to make this assessment, though.

The Lakers are currently mired in the grind of the regular season. The games mean little. And because their defence is still solid they can win playoff rounds without home-court advantage.

That’s the positive news. The negative news is that the Lakers have stagnated, while the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and San Antonio have gotten better. Much better.

These teams might not have enough to overthrow the Lakers in the playoffs, but it will be closer than previous years. And some, like West, believe the NBA will crown a new champion.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jan , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Battle of Los Angeles: Blake Griffin vs. Lamar Odom

The Lakers (30-12) were also outrebounded and outmuscled, part of the reason Odom grabbed Griffin's jersey after Griffin bulled into him while getting position after a free throw in the final seconds.

Griffin wasn't pleased with the jersey grab and neither was Baron Davis, who started jawing at Odom, which led to some seriously harsh words between Davis and Odom as four players got ejected (Griffin, Davis, Odom and, curiously, Artest, whose apparent crime was trying to pull Odom away from the fray).


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: A rivalry is brewing.

Yesterday, the lowly Clippers beat the two-time world champion Lakers in the battle for The City of Angeles.

However, the Clippers’ 99-92 win was only one part of the story. Blake Griffin, the runaway favourite for Rookie of the Year, was involved in an end-of-game shoving match with the Lakers' Lamar Odom.

Mr. Khloe Kardashian took exception to Griffin trying to gain position on a missed free-throw when the game was decided. Then all hell broke loose.

Fortunately, the good folks at youtube have the highlight reel for your viewing pleasure. Click the link and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jan , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant in LA?

All of Orlando has seen this haunting movie before. The Magic know what's out there, too. They're aware of the rumbles in circulation that Howard secretly longs to make the same cross-country trek to Los Angeles that Shaquille O`Neal mapped out in 1996, with one source close to the situation insisting that Howard and Lakers star Kobe Bryant are far closer pals than people realize.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We’ve seen this before. Franchise post leaves the Orlando Magic, signs with the Los Angeles Lakers, and wins multiple championships next to Kobe Bryant.

Technically, Dwight Howard is a ways away from pulling a Shaq-Fu and leaving the Magic as a free agent –the big man can exercise an option on his contract in July of 2012.

However, the rumors and rumblings were loud enough for the Magic to initiate two blockbuster trades last month, acquiring Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu.

Will the combo guard formerly known as The Hibachi, J-Rich, and Turkoglu appease Howard?

After all, Howard loves the spotlight. He loves flashing his pearly white teeth for the cameras and busting jokes for reporters. Unfortunately, Orlando is small; so small he can’t maximize endorsements and get another legit superstar to join him.

Without a premier wing-man, Howard has little shot at a championship in Orlando. He needs help; really good help to beat the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in a seven-game, do-or-die series.

Howard knows this, so leaving Orlando for a major market like New York or Los Angeles remains a possibility. Of course, the Knicks have Amar`e Stoudemire, while the Lakers have Kobe Bryant.

For personal and professional reasons, Howard would prefer Los Angeles. He and Bryant are friends, and would form a deadly inside-outside combination. A Howard-Stoudemire pairing sounds enticing, but could be awkward.  

In the coming months, there will be more talk of Howard joining Bryant in Los Angeles. Orlando can quiet the talk and re-sign their superstar by winning a championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jan , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on recent techincal fouls: ‘Expletive it’

On an unrelated note, Bryant expressed not a hint of concern for picking up five technical fouls in last six games: [Expletive] it. Don't care. I can afford it.".


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Forget Kobe Bryant’s choice of words. He has bigger issues than a fine from league head office.

Consider the recent plight of his Los Angeles Lakers: they’ve lost four of their past six games; they haven’t played well for weeks; they, according to Bryant, are ‘skipping steps’; and last night they were booed at home for a terrible effort in a loss to the average Memphis Grizzlies.

Their problems are greater than being bored with the regular season. And their problems are also greater than arrogantly thinking they can hit a switch for the playoffs.

This year, the Lakers have serious competition. In the Western Conference, there’s the San Antonio Spurs and, provided they get past their recent string of injuries, the Dallas Mavericks. Neither team will concede an inch in a best of seven playoff series.

If the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals, they could face the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat, two superb defensive teams. And the Orlando Magic, despite two mid-season trades, is still dangerous.

So the competition is better, while, it appears, the purple-and-gold is worse.

Don’t get it twisted: the Lakers are extremely talented. But something is missing from the two-time defending champions. Perhaps the hunger is gone. Perhaps the motivation is gone.
Or perhaps everything will be fine next June, and Bryant and his teammates will be celebrating a three-peat. Right now, this scenario seems unlikely.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jan , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Teams talking to Raptors about ‘intriguing’ Stojakovic?

An intriguing player on the market is Raptors sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who has not played since Nov. 26 because of a knee injury but is close to returning. Stojakovic is earning $14 million this season, and the Raptors also have most of the Bosh trade exception to facilitate a deal.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Let’s clarify. Peja Stojakovic is ‘intriguing’ because of his contract, and not because of his on-court play.

Teams that inquire about Stojakovic are interested in his $14 million dollar expiring contract. They have no illusions about him recreating his Sacramento glory days by moving off the ball, catching, and converting from the outside.

It won’t happen. Injuries and age have taken its toll.

One scenario is worth watching, though. A rebuilding squad could trade for Stojakovic before the deadline and waive or buy him out.

Stojakovic would then become a free agent and, perhaps, ink a pro-rated one-year deal for the minimum with a contender.

In the all-or-nothing world of the NBA, a top team may have interest in renting Stojakovic for a couple of months and the playoffs.

However, the Euro gunner must first prove he can still play before Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, or any other contender takes a flyer on him. This means getting on-court and producing for lowly Toronto.

If Stojakovic can’t contribute to the cellar-dwelling Raptors, how could he contribute to a team with championship aspirations?

The business of basketball means there’s a market for Stojakovic’s contract. Hopefully, he has something left to offer the game of basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need healthy Bynum, not ‘pissed off’ Bryant

Now as for the loss to the Spurs, Kobe said, "I'm just pissed." "That doesn't mean you're going to play mad [against New Orleans] does it?" I said with just the right amount of concern. "I don't know," Kobe said. "I've been playing mad as long as you have been writing mad."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant pissed off. They do need Andrew Bynum healthy and playing well.

The giant post missed the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, and he has struggled to find his form since returning.

Simply put, Bynum, when on his game, makes the Lakers unstoppable. His height (7-1) and wingspan were the difference between winning and losing game-seven of last year’s NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, as several teams added size to battle Bynum in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics signed Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler and re-upped with Brendan Haywood; the San Antonio Spurs brought Tiago Splitter from Europe and developed the powerful DeJuan Blair.

Of course, Bryant will be better than yesterday’s game against the Spurs, where he missed 13 straight shots.

However, the purple-and-gold needs a healthy Bynum, not a pissed off Bryant, to win their third consecutive championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Dec , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to LeBron James: ‘I’m a champ’

The Lakers lost again on Christmas. After being rousted by the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, they have been beaten by the Miami Heat yesterday. They don`t play well and Kobe Bryant is frustrated. At the end of the game, he started trash-talking with LeBron James, saying:``I`m a champ``.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Them be fighting words.

Kobe Bryant took this not-so subtle dig at LeBron James during the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat Christmas Day match-up.

James’ squad was again routing Bryant’s Lakers. Last year, the Cavaliers had their way with the purple-and-gold on Jesus’ birthday.

So Bryant reminded James while he may win the odd regular season battle, ‘The Black Mamba’ wins the playoff war – and five times he has hoisted the Larry O’Brien championship trophy.

Two thoughts on Bryant talking trash to James. First, he’s right. Until James wins a championship, or two, he can’t be compared to Bryant.

Second, Bryant engaged James in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s game when the result was decided. Then following the game, he criticized his teammates for lacking focus.

Bryant is the game’s greatest player, and has earned the right to do as he likes. Still, with his Lakers looking distracted, perhaps yesterday wasn’t the best time to talk trash with James.

To them, Bryant may seem more focused on his individual battle with James than on righting the ship for his team.

To be fair, this is only the regular season. Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum will improve. The Lakers will likely hit their stride in the playoffs.

If the Lakers don’t turn things around, the shoe may be on the other foot next Christmas. And James could be telling Bryant ‘I’m a champ’.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron on Dec 25th game vs. Lakers: I would rather be home with my family

James says any player in the league "would rather be home with their families." He's been in the NBA eight seasons - and his teams have now been chosen to play on the marquee Christmas schedule five times.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Credit LeBron James for being truthful.
James admitted he'd rather be home with family and friends on Christmas than leading the Miami Heat against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Fair enough. Too bad, though. James has to play. And he won't get any sympathy from the public.

Superstar athletes, like James, earn millions of dollars and enjoy an amazing lifestyle. With the money come expectations –like the possibility of having to entertain the masses on Jesus’ birthdays.

This is the deal with being an NBA player. And the positives of this deal far outweigh the negatives.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Dec , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers have bigger worries than Kobe’s pinkie finger

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was down to three healthy fingers on his shooting hand Friday in his Philadelphia homecoming but a fourth-quarter surge won it for the Lakers, 93-81.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant will be fine. His finger is nothing to worry about folks. So move along.

Word is the Black Mamba sprained his right pinkie finger after catching a ‘bad pass’ from Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

For Bryant, injuries don’t matter. He has played through knee troubles, broken fingers, and other aliments before.

The purple-and-gold has a bigger issue: boredom. After winning two consecutive NBA championships, the Lakers are cruising through the regular season.

Problem is, the San Antonio Spurs, behind their revitalized big four, are flying with a league-best 22-3 record. And the deep Dallas Mavericks are 21-5. If the Lakers get through the Western Conference, the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat will be waiting.

So Bryant’s finger is the least of the Lakers’ worries.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Nov , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Orlando Magic still interested in Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul?

The Magic are still open to making trades, reports Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.

Schmitz writes that the Magic still like both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony -- they are partial to Paul -- and they'll trade anyone but Dwight Howard for either All-Star.


HoopsVibe News: One step back. Two steps forward.

Translation: the Orlando Magic is prepared for short-term struggles if it leads to long-term success, especially if that long-term success includes Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul.

Magic GM Otis Smith realizes his current squad lacks the horses to beat the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, or even the revamped San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series.

He needs another superstar. Dwight Howard aside, Smith will move anybody on his roster for Anthony or Paul. 

Trades mean transition. Players need to adjust. Coaches must alter game plans. Roles must be redefined. And chemistry must develop.

Smith would accept these temporary stumbles because Howard with Anthony or Paul would supposedly give the Magic a better chance at a championship than the status quo.

Of course, there are complications. Anthony seems destined to suit up for the New York Knicks, while Paul appears to have reconciled with the New Orleans Hornets.

However, give the Magic credit. It’s championship or broke for Smith and Howard.

Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Nov , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: I was mentored by Michael Jackson, not Michael Jordan

“It sounds weird, I guess, but it’s true: I was really mentored by the preparation of Michael Jackson.

We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts…He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did – and how he did it – was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.

“That’s the mentality that I have – it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from [Michael] Jordan. It’s not from other athletes. It’s from Michael Jackson.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant was inspired by MJ. Not that MJ, though.

Turns out the great Los Angeles Lakers two-guard drew inspiration from his relationship with the late Michael Jackson.

These two would chat. These two found common ground. And these two became friends.

This shouldn’t surprise because ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘The King of Pop’ had much in common.

For instance, both were child prodigies. Bryant was a high school sensation in Lower Merion, Philadelphia and as a prep-to-pro lottery pick in 1995. Jackson was a singing and hit-making sensation with his brothers.

(Fair or not, both have been embroiled in controversy. Bryant was engaged in a nasty sex scandal in Colorado, while Jackson went to trial on child molestation charges.)

Both are exceptional talents. Bryant is the best player of his generation and an all-time great. Jackson was a trend-setter. Thriller was a monster; his dance moves and singing is replicated by today’s pop stars.

Fortunately forever Bryant, he seems destined for a better ending than MJ.

Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Ron Artest’s NFL career: ‘expletive that’

Bryant also called it “silly” — but in a different tone — when informed teammate Ron Artest was planning an NFL career. Bryant laughed and then said: “Wait till I can’t use him no more, then he can play. Till then, (expletive) that.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What #24 says goes. No ifs. No ands. No buts.

If Ron Artest ‘really’ wants to strap on a helmet and suit up for the National Football league, he’ll have to get permission from Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

After all, Bryant is thinking big picture. He knows Artest’s defense is important in winning additional championships, which would further cement his legacy as an all-time great.

So Ron-Ron better put those pigskin dreams on hold. Or he’ll face the wrath of Bryant.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Nov , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers interested in Erick Dampier?

The Lakers will talk to the representative for free-agent Erick Dampier, though it might not be a good match for either side. 


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To be in demand.

For years, Erick Dampier was a bit player. However, the NBA loves size, so Dampier, at 7-0 and 300 pounds, always had a seven-figure job.

Sometimes he played. Most of the time, he sat.

Everything changed last summer, though. The Charlotte Bobcats acquired Dampier in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, exercised an out-clause, and waived the final year of his $13 million pact.

Charlotte gained cap space. Dampier became, and still is, a free agent.

While the 35-year old hasn’t been making the free agent rounds like LeBron James, he has been connected to several teams.

For instance, Miami, a contending squad, had interest. Houston and Toronto have also been linked to the veteran.

Yesterday, the internet exploded with reports the Los Angeles Lakers were considering Dampier’s services.

It may not be a fit, though. The Lakers need a short term fill-in because Andrew Bynum and Theo Ratliff are injured, while Dampier will want greater security.

Still, Dampier should enjoy being in demand. He may never experience it again.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Nov , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant Makes Cameo in Call of Duty: Black Ops Commercial

As one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, KB24 has a habit of popping up here, there and everywhere. Still, I can't have been the only one who was surprised to see Kobe Bryant make a cameo in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial. In the one-minute TV spot Kobe appears for just a few seconds, wielding a heavy-duty firearm in the middle of a simulated combat situation alongside various other civilians.

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Tuesday , Nov , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Are ‘The Renegades’ key to Kobe and Lakers Three-peating?

Just one week into the season, Lakers coach Phil Jackson has already coined a nickname for his team's energetic bench: The Renegades.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never argue with a Zen-Master, especially one with 11 championship rings.

Phil Jackson is right: the Los Angeles Lakers made three subtle moves this summer to solidify their bench, and counter the national headlines made by their eastern rivals.

First, they signed Steve Blake. He’s a feisty, intelligent table-setter, who’ll fill-in and eventually replace veteran Derek Fisher.

Second, they inked giant Theo Ratliff. He’s 7-2. And has a massive wingspan. When the tin-man, Andrew Bynum, is hurt, Ratliff can clog the middle against bigger posts.

Finally, Matt Barnes was brought-in. The former Mohawk can guard and play multiple positions; stretch opposing defenses with his range; and, most importantly, brings grit and toughness.

Blake, Ratliff, and Barnes fit perfectly next to Shannon Brown, a dynamic open-court player, and Sasha ‘The Machine’ Vujacic.

Of course, the piece de resistance is Lamar Odom, a versatile forward who is always a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

Odom has taken his game to another level after spending his summer leading Team USA to the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

So renegades is an interesting moniker for this group. Whatever the nickname, they'll be a big part of the Lakers' quest to three-peat.

--Oly Sandor.

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