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Saturday , Jan , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Is LeBron the NBA’s Tebow?

‘Honestly, I’ve been paying attention to Tebow all year even while I was watching the Cowboys,’ James said Friday, referring to his favorite NFL team. ‘So I love to see what a guy can do when his back is up against the wall, when everybody counts him out.’ James says he’s in the “same boat” as Tebow, whose Broncos play at New England Saturday in an AFC divisional playoff. He’s not necessarily talking about talent, but about scrutiny. ‘I can relate to him a lot,’ said James, who like Tebow, is one of the most talked-about athletes anywhere. ‘I see how the media plays it sometimes and how the critics go at him and to see him continue to prove them wrong. If it’s a good game or a bad game on his part, he continues to stay positive and move forward. And that’s a great sign. It’s a great leader. You respect that no matter if you’re in that same sport or not.’”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We knew LeBron James was a fan, but his connection to Tim Tebow, the controversial quarterback for the Denver Broncos, is apparently deeper than that.

James says he can relate to Tebow’s plight as the underdog, as the guy everyone counts out, as the real life Rudy, Rocky, and Cinderella Man.

This is too much.

First, James isn’t a victim. Far from it, in fact. He was blessed with amazing talents, and has benefited from his talent.

Second, James isn’t the underdog. He was the odds-on favourite, dubbed The Next One by media and fans while still in high school.

For instance, in grade nine, James - an Akron, Ohio native - amazed in work outs with the nearby Cleveland Cavaliers. And a couple of years later, ESPN televised his games as prep school senior.

The reason for the attention was simple: James was expected to succeed. Nobody doubted him or counted him out.

And he has suceeded by winning Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, leading the Cavaliers and Miami Heat to multiple 50-win seasons, and advancing to two NBA Finals. Of course, James is arguably the most dominant player in the league today.

Third, the circus surrounding James in 2011 was largely self-induced. He turned his free agency into a spectacle with The Decision, and predicted multiple championships for the Heat before they played a single game.

Tebow is in the public eye in, large part, because of an unorthodox style and willingness to credit God and discuss his religious beliefs publicly.

So Tebow’s situation is very different than James’. No matter what James says or thinks.

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Sunday , Jan , 01 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron to D-Wade for game-winner against T-Wolves

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: A well executed in-bounds play.

Click the video below and watch LeBron James find Dwyane Wade for a last-second alley-oop to give the Miami Heat the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

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Thursday , Dec , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Norris Cole, the ‘MVP’, gives Spoelstra options

Fans chanted “MVP!” as Cole went to the free-throw line with 9.3 seconds left and the game already won. He swished both attempts to cement his storybook home debut. Cole scored 20 points, shooting 8 of 16 from the field, to go along with four rebounds and four assists. “I guess that’s some hard work paying off,” Cole said. “It was one of those nights where LeBron [James] and Dwyane [Wade] kept finding me and just kept knocking it down.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Heat fans, slow your roll.

Norris Cole will make a very nice player, however, he’s only had one strong game in the NBA and it’s premature to declare him a star.

If the rookie can solidify the point guard spot, the Miami Heat will be even stronger then thought.

Consider that Cole will provide Erik Spoelstra with options if Mario Chalmers struggles, which would allow LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to play off the ball. Of course, Cole has also shown he’s capable of playing off the ball with James and Wade.

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

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Sunday , Dec , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

D-Wade to Amar’e: ‘I got those hunting tips for you’

Dwyane Wade to Amarè Stoudemire: I got those "hunting" tips for you. Hit me on the cell L2MS.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s on.

Commissioner David Stern can say what he likes about achieving NFL-style parity between small and large markets.

Bottom line: he’s lying.

The NBA thrives when superstars are in major markets. And the NBA is at its best when superstars in major markets develop rivalries with other superstars in major markets.

So Amar’e Stoudemire and Dwyane Wade exchanging ‘hunting tips’ via twitter is great for the NBA, as it’s further proof the Knicks are once again relevant.

Will the Knicks challenge the Heat for supremacy in the Eastern Conference?

Probably not.

The Knicks are talented, and can score in bunches. However, I don’t think they’ll defend on a night-in, night-out basis to overtake the Heat. Not with offensive guru Mike D’Antoni on the sideline.

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

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Friday , Dec , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh: ‘I want to be the best player in the NBA’

Chris Bosh: I want to be the best player in the NBA. Maybe not this year or the year after next, but one day…’”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Well, it’s good to have a goal, I suppose.

Chris Bosh isn’t even the best or second best player on his Miami Heat, as that distinction belongs to superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Bosh is a very good player, a perennial All-Star, a third option on a great team, but I don’t ever see him being 'The Guy' in the NBA.

However, he played his best basketball with the Toronto Raptors at a bulked up weight, after spending a few months in the gym on conditioning.

His game went to another level. He could still use his skill at the high post or mix it up in the paint on both ends of the floor.

Last year, Bosh arrived at Heat camp out of shape. Instead of lifting weights, he got caught enjoying the hoopla of The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010.

It’s worth noting that Bosh has arrived in superb condition. And perhaps he returns to his top form like when with the Raptors.

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

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Tuesday , Dec , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

George Karl: you can win without a superstar

It has nothing to do about individuality and basically screw all the guys out there that think you gotta have a superstar to win a championship. I’m just not into the hype. I’m into some of the things we did when we went 18-7 and I can take anyone who wants to come into our film [room].

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It sounds good, but isn’t accurate.

Veteran coach George Karl is trying to appease Nugget fans and the Denver marketplace by declaring a superstar isn’t necessary to win a championship.

Not surprisingly, Karl's Nuggets don't have a top-tier player. He’s wrong, though. A superstar is necessary.

Sure, Karl will mention the 2004 Detroit Pistons, but it was a different time when superstars weren’t concentrated in a few major markets.

To beat a trio of superstars, you must have superstar(s). For instance, the Dallas Mavericks beat CB4, LeBron, D-Wade and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals with All-World Dirk Nowitzki and an exceptional supporting cast.

So Karl’s statement sounds good, but isn’t reality.

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Sunday , Dec , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Arenas has four-team wish list?

And I’m told that Arenas, in the wake of his Orlando release, has established a four-team wish list for resuming his comeback from the gunplay debacle in Washington that derailed his career and an unsuccessful stint with the Magic. The 29-year-old is holding out hope that the call comes from either the:

• Lakers …

• Heat …

• Knicks …

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s Christmas, so why shouldn’t Gilbert Arenas have a wish list?

Why shouldn’t a fading, shot-first combo guard, with a questionable attitude demand to play for top teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, or whatever team Dwight Howard ends up on?

Perhaps Santa will provide this gift. Or perhaps the Lakers, Heat, and whatever team Howard goes to will have enough sense to steer clear of Arenas -even if he comes at a bargain basement wage.

There are rumors the Knicks will roll the dice on Arenas, but with a star-studded frontcourt they’d be better off chasing blending players.

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Wednesday , Dec , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Nene turns down Heat, Nets; signs $70 million extension with Nuggets

The Nuggets and Nene have reached agreement on a five-year contract that will pay him up to $67 million.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: In the end, it was about the money.

Free agent post Nene won’t join a capped-out contender and will instead earn nearly $70 million over the next five years to stay with the Denver Nuggets.

On the one hand, this makes sense. This was Nene’s moment, his one opportunity to capitalize on a weak free agent market and get max-like money even if the league was coming off a lockout.

Only Denver and the New Jersey Nets were willing to meet his demands. And the Nets are in flux because Deron Williams still hasn’t inked an extension.

So Nene, who loves Denver, decided to spend his prime with the Nuggets.

On the other hand, this is surprising. The 30-year old decided against giving the Miami Heat and other elite squads a discount for the chance at a championship.

Of course, it’s hard to say just how much of a South Beach sale the Heat were asking for. And Nene could sign a short-term deal with a contender once this deal expires in June of 2016. 

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

 

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Tuesday , Dec , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Clippers miss memo: claim Billups off waivers

The Clippers have made a successful big on Chauncey Billups, who was amnestied by the Knicks last week. Under terms of the league’s amnesty police, any team under the salary cap can put bid on Billups. The Clippers put a bid of just over $2 million for Billups, according to Marc Stein.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Perhaps the Los Angeles Clippers missed the memo.

Veteran point guard Chauncey Billups warned teams not to claim him after he was amnesty waived by the New York Knicks.

Teams under the salary cap had first crack at claiming Billups, who wanted to go unclaimed so he could become a free agent and sign with a contender.

Mr. Big shot had his eyes on competitive squads like the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.

So Billups joining the Clippers is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, Los Angeles’ other team is big on potential but light on results.

Second, there are rumors the Clippers will send several pieces to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Chris Paul. This would relegate to Billups to the bench on a team that would be good but hardly great.

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

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Friday , Dec , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: LeBron gets Eddy Curry a gig in Miami?

Eddy Curry is getting another chance. The Miami Heat will sign Curry on Friday in time for training camp, sources told ESPN.com.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Rumor will become reality.

It's hardly a secret Eddy Curry was dropping weight to salvage his career, and bank account, with the Miami Heat.

Curry seems set to sign a one-year deal for the league minimum. And he has LeBron James to thank.

The former lottery pick has long had a business (they share agents) and personal relationship with James, which surely played a role in the signing.

Hopefully, the Heat aren't relying on Curry him to play major minutes.

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

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Wednesday , Dec , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James: I’m not the villain

“To be on the other side, they call it the dark side, or the villain, whatever they call it, it was definitely challenging for myself,” he said in an interview with ESPN. “It basically turned me into somebody I wasn’t. Me, personally, I’m not that guy.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He doesn’t like the consequences. But will he change his behaviour?

In a recent interview LeBron James told ESPN he didn’t enjoy being the bad guy or villain of the 2011 season.

Fair enough. 

However, James must accept responsibility. He and his people held The Decision, dumping his home-state Cleveland Cavaliers on national television.

And James got on stage and declared that the Heat would win multiple championships before the team had even held a practice.

So it’s hardly a surprise fans, media, and even some peers turned on him.

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

 

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Monday , Dec , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat to sign Battier?

Battier has been a primary target in free agency for the Heat, and sources say the pitch of Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and key Heat players could ultimately confirm Battier’s strong feelings about chasing a championship in Miami.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent matters but so does chemistry.

If the Miami Heat subscribe to the above theory then they’ll have to pull out all the stops to sign free agent utility swing Shane Battier.

The former Memphis Grizzly and Houston Rocket does all the little things necessary to win. He defends multiple positions and stretches opposing defenses with his range.

He just hasn’t had superstar talent to complement in the NBA. With LeBron, CB4, and D-Wade, talent won’t be an issue in South Beach.

Of course, Battier’s professionalism and likeability will go a long way in helping heal the Heat‘s tattered reputation. The Eastern Conference champions spent 2011 with a bulls eye on their back, facing the wrath of media and fans alike.

So Battier would get a chance at a championship. The Heat get a quality role player and person. Sounds like a mutually beneficial arrangement.

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

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Friday , Dec , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron, Durant do the Flag Football thing

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Heat GM Pat Riley and Thunder GM Sam Presti must have had heart attacks while watching LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s flag football teams go at it.

Luckily, the two NBA superstars, who earn tens of millions of dollars to play pro basketball, didn’t get hurt.

And LeBron returned interception for a touchdown. His celebration dance wasn’t half bad either.

Click the link, watch the video, and come back to HoopsVibe News with thoughts and comments.


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Wednesday , Nov , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Nene for Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem?

Nene, 29, has long coveted Miami and Dallas as landing spots, but would have to force his way to one of those teams via a sign-and-trade since both are well over the cap. And whereas LeBron James was able to get a max deal through a sign-and-trade when he went from Cleveland to Miami, Nene would have to settle for a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises under the new system in such an arrangement.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will he take a reduced salary to compete for a championship?

Today, the world wide web is filled with articles on the Miami Heat somehow adding Nene, the top free agent of 2011, to a roster already loaded with big-tickets.

Reports suggest that Pat Riley, the oil-slick GM, will offer Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller to the Denver Nuggets in a sign-and-trade for the Brazilian post.

Keep in mind the Heat and Nene would already have agreed on a multi-year extension as part of the deal.

In theory, this sounds good. In reality, it’s a long-shot because Nene seems determined to hit a homerun on the open market and won’t give ‘Riles’ a South Beach discount.

Unless we’ve got it wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time) and winning is his priority. Then Nene will take less for a chance at hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

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

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Monday , Nov , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Samuel Dalembert: Joining Heat ‘would be fantastic’

Joining the Heat "would be fantastic," Dalembert said Sunday night from Haiti in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. Miami is where more than 50 of his relatives live and is about one hour south of his home in Boca Raton. As for the volunteering part, Dalembert likely would require a big pay cut to join the Heat, which will be over the salary cap. Dalembert, who made $13.43 million last season for Sacramento, might have to sign for the $5 million mid-level exception.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Miami Heat nearly won a championship in 2011 with an ozone-sized hole at center.

Free agent center Samuel Dalembert wants to sign with the Miami Heat, plug that hole, and help Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade take the final step in 2012.

Dalembert, who spent last year in Sacramento, has a considerable size advantage over Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, the posts currently on the Heat’s roster.

On some level, Dalembert could fit. However, it’s worth noting that the lanky five was kicked off the Canadian national team and criticized for his work ethic and attitude in Philadelphia.

So the Heat may look elsewhere for reinforcements down-low.

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Saturday , Nov , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron on lockout ending: ‘Heat is gone be on FIRE’

LeBron James: Miami/South Florida let's go!!!! HEAT is gone be on FIRE

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: And so ‘The Redemption’ begins.

LeBron James and his Miami Heat were public enemy number one during 2010-11, as fans, media, and even some players objected to the way they came together as free agents.

Simply put, they were the villains, which made for great ratings and publicity.

Sadly, this momentum has been delayed by a petty, annoying, and trivial five-month lockout, where owners and players fought over minor issues when the framework of a deal - like the split of Basketball Related Income - had been in place for weeks.   

Now James begins the massive task of reshaping his image. Remember, the All-World three-man was routinely criticized and booed during the NBA Finals.

He was must-see TV. Just not in a good way.

In a sense, the lockout was good for James. It gave him time to pause, reflect and escape the harsh glare of the spotlight.

Time will tell if he’s learned from past errors. The shortened 2011-12 season holds the answer.

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Sunday , Nov , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Pat Riley and I nearly fought in Miami

I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then Zo tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll.Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. Noisy, too. He's yelling "F--- you!" and I'm yelling back, "No, f--- you!" Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, "Big fella, no big fella, big fella!" I finally turn around and tell him, "Don't worry. I'm not going to hit the man. Do you think I'm crazy?"

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal’s tell-all tour continues. No player, coach, man, or woman will be spared.

The future Hall of Fame center has a spill-the-beans book coming out, so he and his people have leaked excerpts to create a buzz.

Like O’Neal’s World Wars with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Like O`Neal`s take on LeBron James ignoring Coach Mike Brown in Cleveland. Like O`Neal`s lack of a relationship with iconic center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The latest: O’Neal nearly fought Pat Riley, also known as the oil slick, during practice with Miami. Of course, O’Neal says he was heroically sticking up for teammate Jason Williams.

This may or may not be true. There’s no disputing O’Neal has had problems with coaches.

There was the fallout with Riley. There were problems with Phil Jackson, another all-time great on the sideline. And he undermined Terry Porter in Phoenix.

So before blaming others, O’Neal should perhaps look inward first. This, however, is unlikely.

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

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Sunday , Oct , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: LeBron wants Nash and Crawford in Miami?

1 hour ago: Would love to see @JCrossover in a Heat uni! What you guys say? 1 hour ago: Maybe @SteveNash in a Heat uni! So we can help each other get our 1st ring

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Lockout or not, LeBron James is recruiting.

'The King' recently tweeted that he’d like Jamal Crawford and Steve Nash to sign with the Miami Heat when the labour impasse is solved.

Crawford, a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, would punish opposing defences for double-teaming James and fellow Heat superstars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

He’d have the same role as Mike Miller. Except Crawford can create off the dribble and has had better luck staying healthy.

The former Bull, Hawk, and Knick is a free agent. Nash, however, is not.

The two-time MVP still has a year remaining on his contract with the Phoenix Suns, so he’d need spend-thrift owner Robert Sarver to buy him out.

Then there are concerns about Nash’s mediocre defense. His teammates and basketball IQ should make up for his tiny stature, though.

We just need a new collective bargaining agreement to see if James’ tweets become reality.

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

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Saturday , Oct , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Heat owner Micky Arison blames other owners for lockout

A random NBA fan wrote on Twitter a message directed at Heat owner Micky Arison. "Fans provide all the money you're fighting over," wrote the fan."Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner," replied Arison on his Twitter feed. Arison has been categorized by NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter as part of a group of owners eager to reach a deal with the players.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The players union may be splitting, but so are the owners.

Case in point: Micky Arison, the owner of the star-studded Miami Heat, who tweeted his frustration over the two sides not finding common ground on a new collective bargaining agreement.    

Arison wants to settle on a new CBA, so his Big Three can win a championship and he can maximize his investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.
 
Clearly, Arison isn’t alone in wanting to settle. Other big-market, ‘have’ owners are comfortable in winning these negotiations with players and do not wish to extract blood.

Unfortunately, the Bulls, Celtics, Heat, Lakers, and Knicks are in the minority. The Blazers, Bobcats, Bucks, Suns, and eighteen other owners are determined to have total victory.

And so we continue to wait for basketball.

--Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Magic Johnson: Kobe’s better than LeBron

“Everybody’s always asking, ‘Who is better between Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron?’” Johnson said. “I’m like, Are you kidding me? I’m like you’re kidding me … Kobe, five championships; LeBron, zero. I love the young man though. I know he’s going to get better in the fourth quarter this year.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He speaks the truth.

Magic Johnson isn’t hating on LeBron James by saying that the Miami Heat three-man can’t compare with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

Magic’s reasoning is fair: Bryant has five championships, while James has none.

After all, championships have long been the mark of greatness in the NBA. Superstars, the real elites, measure themselves by the number of times they hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in June and not individual statistics.

Johnson was simply holding James accountable to this criteria. To be fair, James is currently superior to Bryant, but has yet to enjoy true post-season success.

Until James does, he’s not in the same company as Bryant.

O.Sandor

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