Bryant to miss three more weeks with sore knee

Kobe Bryant might be out another month.

(USATSI)Bryant doesn't like the idea of sitting out for the entire season. (USATSI)
UPDATE:The Lakers confirmed the report Tuesday night, with the following release:Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was examined prior to tonight's game by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo and still has pain and swelling in his left knee. Bryant will continue with a program of non-weight bearing exercise, consisting mostly of working out on a stationary bike. He will be examined again in approximately three weeks.

Kobe Bryant recently said he'd be back in time for the All-Star Game, which is why he wanted to be taken out of it and let someone more "deserving" in.


Kobe's coming back from a fractured lateral tibial plateau, a fancy way to say the bone connecting your shin and knee, and was set to miss six weeks. The injury happened Dec. 19, and six weeks would be this upcoming Thursday, Jan. 30. But it appears unlikely Kobe is going to make it back to meet that, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Bryant's level of discomfort is such that his visit with Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo on Tuesday evening before the Lakers face the Indiana Pacers will not even include an MRI or any other diagnostic procedure to judge the bone's healing, according to a team source. Bryant is expected to miss at least two more weeks, perhaps even another month.


Bryant said Sunday in New York that it is “absolutely killing” him not to be medically cleared for anything beyond conditioning work on a bike. He has been reluctant to answer questions directly about his knee in a series of interview sessions over the past week, saying vaguely he'll be re-evaluated “in February. ” But what he and his fans hoped would be an inspirational comeback season from the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered April 12 has eroded into a whole lot of Bryant sitting around, wincing at the end of the bench at Lakers losses and wearing colorless clothes that represent his basketball lifelessness.

The All-Star Game is in just a little over two weeks, so unless Kobe were able to return on the fast end of this, the whole discussion about him being voted a starter could be moot.

Obviously, Kobe wants to be back. If he could play through this, I'm sure he would. But coming off the Achilles injury and now this, at 35 years old, he has to be prudent. The Lakers are suffering and falling well out of position to have any hope of a playoff push, and it's doubtful Kobe can save that.


But he wants to be on the floor, he wants to be competing. He will be eventually, but he just might have to wait a little longer for it.

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Kobe Bryant Doesn’t Want to Play in All-Star Game, Prefers the Young Guys be Rewarded

Kobe Bryant All-Star game
Kobe Bryant has solely played is six of L.A.’s forty three video games this season, so Mamba has correctly expressed that he doesn’t need to play within the All-Star recreation despite finishing fifth general in voting, preferring as an alternative to see the guys who've performed all season lengthy be rewarded.

In addition to the fashionable phrases above, Kobe added, “I believe it’s vital for them to go in and perform. They’ve been playing all season. They deserve to be in there. They should play. So, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be out there doing their factor.”

It probably is smart for Kobe to get the additional relaxation anyway. Nonetheless, it’s good to see him recognize it’s unfair to the standout players who have been on the market all 12 months.

Outdated, increasingly sincere and candid Kobe is everyone’s favorite Kobe.


NBA: Who makes the West All-Star team?


 With the NBA All-Star Game taking place in less than eight weeks, it’s time to look at who will be representing the respective conferences in New Orleans. With injuries plaguing both conferences, a fresh crop of talent could be finding themselves on the rosters. We’ll take a look at the Western Conference standouts first.


Last year, the starting lineup for the Western Conference in Houston included Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant in the backcourt, and Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard in the frontcourt. This was the first season the balloting eliminated the “Center” position and included three selections for frontcourt players (comprised of Small Forwards, Power Forwards, and Centers). Injuries to Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant have opened up the possibility of a new starting backcourt.


With the second All-Star vote returns from December 26, the West’s leaders in the backcourt included both Bryant (723,031 votes) and Paul (533,647). Rounding out the top five are Stephen Curry (481,698), Jeremy Lin (358,725), and James Harden (270,476). Injured OKC Point Guard Russell Westbrook comes in at sixth with 216,070 votes, followed by four more Point Guards in Tony Parker, Damian Lillard, Ricky Rubio, and injured Lakers Point Guard Steve Nash.


Assuming Bryant’s and Paul’s exclusion from the game, the starters would then comprise of Curry from the Warriors, and either Harden or Lin from the Rockets. Given Lin’s strong fanbase in China, we could see Lin holding on to the second spot, though inconsistent play may give way to his backcourt mate in Harden.


As for the frontcourt returns, Durant is the leadingvote-getter in the West (850,728), and he is currently looking to be joined by Howard (408,623) and Griffin (399,357), which would result in the same starting frontcourt as last year. Howard, playing in his first year with the Rockets, would be making his appearance as a Houston representative instead of a Los Angeles representative. The next four contending starters are all having standout seasons from the Power Forward position, including Kevin Love (377,941), Tim Duncan (312,809), MVP candidate LaMarcus Aldridge (282,613), and Sophomore phenom Anthony Davis (188,589).


In anticipation of the starting lineup comprising of current vote leaders (not including Paul or Bryant), we would then see Curry, Lin, Durant, Griffin, and Howard leading the West. The bench, which comprise of two guards, three frontcourt players, and two wildcards, could wind-up being more difficult to select. These bench players are voted on by the Western Conference Head Coaches, and no coach can vote for a player on his own team.


The most likely candidates for the last two backcourt spots include Harden, Parker, and Lillard. Two of these three will likely take the backcourt spots, and the third could potentially be used as a wildcard. The most competition for these spots will come from Dallas’ Monta Ellis, Phoenix’s Goran Dragic, and Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio. Lack of exposure will likely prevent these three from overtaking the spots, however, as Harden, Parker, and Lillard represent three of the best teams record-wise.


In the frontcourt, Love, Duncan, and Aldridge are all worthy candidates for the bench based on both team success and individual success. Love is dominating the league individually, and both the Spurs and Trailblazers are in the hunt for the best record in the West.


With the game taking place in New Orleans, it would be extremely fitting if Pelicans forward Davis made the roster for the first time. This will likely be fulfilled as either a frontcourt or wildcard selection. The most notable competition for the wildcard spots should come from Andre Iguodala, the stabilizing factor on a surging Golden State roster, and DeMarcus Cousins, a young beast in Sacramento’s frontcourt. Iguodala may end up missing out due to being outshined by fellow Warrior Stephen Curry. If Cousins misses out, it is unlikely to happen again due to his rising presence and exposure as one of the top young Centers in the league.


Stay tuned for more coverage as the next returns from voting should be coming soon. Look for our follow-up feature detailing the prevailing candidates from the Eastern Conference later this week.


Lakers predict ‘dominant’ Kobe in his return

Kobe Bryant To Return Sunday

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Kobe Bryant will make his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center.

It will mark his first game since tearing his left Achilles nearly eight months ago.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant will return to the lineup Sunday for the first time since tearing his Achilles in April.

Bryant announced the news by linking to a two-minute video on his Facebook page Friday afternoon. The video showed his No. 24 Lakers uniform floating in the middle of the screen and being battered by the elements – wind, rain, snow, etc.

Eventually the jersey is torn down the middle of the chest, presumably representing the Achilles tear that Bryant suffered, before being repaired with a blinding beam of sunlight.

The video begins with the full-screen title "Seasons of Legend" and ends with "The Legend Continues.. December 8. "

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni was asked what his reaction would have been if he was told during training camp that Dec. 8 would end up being Bryant's return date.

"I'd probably be saying, 'What took him so long? '" D'Antoni said jokingly before the Lakers' 106-100 win against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. "No, I think it's terrific. Obviously he feels good about it and we'll see going forward, but this is good news. "

Xavier Henry, one player who benefited from Bryant's absence as he went from training camp invitee to regular contributor, said he didn't bother trying to figure out Bryant's return date.

"I didn't have no guess, but I'm glad it's Sunday, " Henry said. "I'm glad he comes back and we'll see how everything goes. "

D'Antoni said he had yet to watch Bryant's announcement video, and he wasn't the only one on the team in that boat. Nick Young watched it for the first time on a reporter's iPhone in the locker room before the game with Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill peering over his shoulder at the screen.

"To hear he's coming back, it's definitely a positive influence for everybody, " said Meeks, who Bryant could replace at shooting guard in the starting lineup. "We want to win this game tonight and Sunday will be a tough game, but with him back, we will play with a lot of confidence. "

D'Antoni was confident that the long layoff would not affect Bryant's impact on the game.

"He'll be a dominant player, " D'Antoni said. "He can play any way. He can play below the rim, above the rim, beside the rim. I mean, the guy can play any way. He'll figure out how he'll be effective and then he'll come at you with everything he's got. That's been his M. O., and I think that's what he'll do. "

The coach was asked to reflect on the game in which Bryant went down, tearing his Achilles on April 12 against the Golden State Warriors.

"What do you think I'm thinking? " D'Antoni said. "I mean, 'Holy crap. ' I just hated it. I hated it for him. I hated it for the Lakers. I thought we finally had it going pretty good. Stuff just [did not work out]. We got ourselves in a hole and he had to play unbelievably hard to get us back in the playoffs, he did it and then he goes down. It was a tough thing to take. "

D'Antoni said he never doubted Bryant, 35, would return.

"Modern medicine and the way he is, yeah, I thought he'd come back, " D'Antoni said.

Bryant said Thursday he would "probably" have a reduced amount of playing time when he returns. He averaged 38. 6 minutes per game last season.

"Getting your sea legs, it takes some time to do that, " Bryant said. "That's why we have preseason games and it builds to the regular season. It just takes a while, no matter how much running and conditioning you do, to get out there and play is different. So I'm sure I'll be limited in some capacity. "

D'Antoni would not state an expected minute range for Bryant.

"I'll talk to [Lakers trainer] Gary [Vitti] about that and Gary will talk to Kobe and we'll try to figure it out, " D'Antoni said. "A little bit of it will be he'll just have to go, 'I need a blow, ' and we'll try to figure out the best way [to limit his minutes]. I don't think we know. We'll have a game plan, but he'll adjust to it as he feels what he feels his body can do. "



Kobe can see return by end of November

Kobe Bryant Returns To Apply


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Kobe Bryant continued to inch nearer to a return, working towards at full velocity in 5-on-5 drills for the first time Tuesday and saying he might see himself returning to sport action for the Los Angeles Lakers by the end of the month.

“Yeah, yeah I can,” Bryant mentioned when requested if it was potential he would possibly return in one of the group’s five remaining games in November.

Bryant has been out since rupturing his Achilles tendon April 12. While Bryant and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni burdened that he isn’t again to 100% and there are “areas the place it nonetheless must get stronger,” both noted they have been “pleasantly stunned” by how properly the guard seems to have responded to the escalation in exercise since he was cleared to resume all basketball actions Saturday.

“I would not say ‘limitations,'” Bryant said. “I think there’s areas where it still must get stronger by way of the jumping and being able to plant shortly and change instructions and issues like that. Those are areas the place you simply must get stronger.. however I could adjust my recreation and play at a fairly high level proper now.”

D’Antoni repeatedly harassed that the Lakers intend to be cautious with Bryant, but also noted that he was “surprised” at how good he appeared in apply Tuesday.

“He hasn’t played since April however he seems pretty good,” D’Antoni stated. “I do not know why that surprises me, nevertheless it does. He was up and down pretty good. A little rusty here and there, but good.”

When requested if he seen any of Bryant’s teammates taking it easy on him, or if he was frightened about pushing Bryant too onerous, D’Antoni laughed and said, “No. They better beat him up while they’ll as a result of after he will get back they will not be capable to.”

The Lakers (5-7) could use Bryant’s scoring potential usually and especially late in games. Fellow shooting guard Jodie Meeks is the team’s main scorer at thirteen.7 factors a recreation, by far the lowest workforce scoring leader in the NBA. The question is how lengthy it should take Bryant to step back into that position once he returns.

“I do not know, we’ll see,” he mentioned. “It is always different while you get out on the practice flooring and when the game actually begins. It stays to be seen. I do not know.

“My duty is to make life easier for my teammates. That is my job and that is [Pau Gasol’s], job to command double-groups, command load defenses where we will get some guys some open looks and high proportion opportunities. If I can step out on the ground and try this, that is an accomplishment.”

Bryant mentioned he’s working to change his sport and compensate for the issues he cannot yet do.

“There’s sure things that I used to do this I can not do now,” Bryant said. “I will not attempt to do them. You have to figure out different ways.

“I simply got to glide and just react. If you have limitations, you must be trustworthy with your self and self-assess. You probably have those limitations, you must determine a strategy to be efficient around these. You possibly can’t be stubborn about it.”

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant mentioned he could see himself returning to sport action by the tip of November.

D’Antoni repeatedly confused he felt Bryant “wants just a few extra steps” and that caution should be exercised in how the Lakers deal with his return. However he also conceded the ultimate choice on when Bryant would return can be made by Bryant and Lakers coach Gary Vitti. D’Antoni may not even be aware about the decision till the final second.

The Lakers play Friday in opposition to Golden State, the crew Bryant was initially injured in opposition to. They host Sacramento on Sunday before leaving on a weeklong journey through Washington, Brooklyn and Detroit. They host Portland on Sunday, Dec. 1, then have nearly per week off earlier than touring to Sacramento on Dec. 6.

“Do you know Kobe? You may guess whose decision that will probably be,” D’Antoni joked.

When requested if he may see Bryant enjoying Friday, D’Antoni stated, “That will shock me.”

When asked if it was unattainable for Bryant to play Friday, D’Antoni said, “That might be, well, nothing is unattainable, but that might shock me.”

And Sunday?

“I do not know when the surprise goes,” D’Antoni stated. “We’ve to urge warning. It will be somewhat bit.”


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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings- Week 3


With just about 3 full weeks of NBA action in the books after the conclusion of Tuesday night’s games… let’s take a look the latest Power Rankings as some teams continue to surprise and others continue to fall. Indiana, the last of the unbeatens suffered their first loss at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.


San Antonio and Indiana are playing like the two best teams in the league while early top 10 Philadelphia is falling fast.


Teams 1-30 with records and last weeks rankings in parentheses are as followed:


1 Indiana Pacers (9-1 LW 1)- They lost to Bulls on the second of a back-to-back. Danny Granger expected back soon.


2 San Antonio Spurs (9-1 LW 2)- The Spurs have won 7 straight while Tim Duncan is averaging career-lows of 12 points and 39.4 percent shooting.


3 Miami Heat (7-3 LW 5)- LeBron James is averaging 34 points per game during the Heat’s three game win streak.


4 Los Angeles Clippers (7-3 LW 7)- The Clippers have won four straight while Blake Griffin is averaging a double-double with 22.9 points and 10.9 boards.


5 Golden State Warriors (7-3 LW 8)- Warriors have won three straight while suffering through injuries.


6 Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4 LW 4)- Kevin Love and Kevin Martin have formed the league’s highest scoring-duo in the season’s opening month.


7 Portland Trailblazers (8-2 LW 13)- One of the league’s early surprises…. the Blazers have won six straight.


8 Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3 LW 3)- Thunder will be looking for revenge against the Clippers on Thursday night.


9 Houston Rockets (7-4 LW 10)- Back up center Omer Asik wants out of Houston and has been benched the last two games since his request.


10 Chicago Bulls (5-3 LW 12)- Derrick Rose hits six 3’s in their big win against Indiana on Saturday night.


11 Dallas Mavericks (6-4 LW 11)- Mavs look to get back on track when Dwight Howard and the Rockets visit Wednesday night.


12 Phoenix Suns (5-4 LW 6)- Suns have dropped three straight by an average 2 points.


13 Atlanta Hawks (6-4 LW 17) Another early surprise team is getting it done with Al Horford, Ronnie Millsap and the return of Lou Williams.


14 Memphis Grizzles (5-5 LW 9)- They continue to struggle and have the Clippers and Warriors on the road coming up.


15 Charlotte Bobcats (5-5 LW 16)- Continue to surprise with Al Jefferson still nursing a bad ankle. Have five of their next six games at home.


16 Philadelphia 76ers (5-6 LW 14)- Back to losing but still in first place in a bad Atlantic Division.


17 Denver Nuggets (4-5 LW 28)- Have won of four but have OKC, Chicago and back-to-back against Dallas coming up.


18 New Orleans Pelicans (4-6 LW 15)- Ryan Anderson lit it up with six 3’s against the Sixers… can he continue?


19 Los Angeles Lakers (5-7 LW 19)- Steve Nash is still out… but good news is Kobe Bryant has begun practicing.


20 Cleveland Cavaliers (4-7 LW 20) As Kyrie Irving goes, so do the Cavs. Averaging 27.5 in wins and 17.7 in losses.


21 Orlando Magic (4-7, LW 25)- Will Aaron Afflalo be traded? He’s averaging 21.7 points per game and playing well.


22 Toronto Raptors (4-7 LW 24)- Have lost three of four and still only getting scoring from Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.


23 Brooklyn Nets (3-6)- Too much talent to be struggling but dealing with various injuries.


24 New York Knicks (3-6 LW 23)- Disappointing start and Carmelo Anthony is unhappy.


25 Boston Celtics (4-7 LW 26)- Started 0-4, won four in a row now has lost three straight.


26 Washington Wizards (2-7 LW 22)- Turning into a major disappointment early on… not was expected.


27 Detroit Pistons (3-6 LW 18)- Josh Smith makes his return to Atlanta on Wednesday night.


28 Milwaukee Bucks (2-7 LW 27)- No Brandon Knight, no Caron Butler… now have lost five straight.


29 Sacramento Kings (2-7 LW 29)- Only one win in November and three of next four is on the road.


30 Utah Jazz (1-10 LW 30)- Avoided tying their worst start in franchise history by beating the Pelicans.





By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter




NBA Power Rankings 2013



Week 3 Power Rankings for the NBA


With Week 3 of the NBA starting on Tuesday night, let’s take a look at this week’s Power Rankings for all 30 teams.


1. Indiana Pacers (7-0)- Paul George is leading the Pacers to their best start in franchise history. The team to beat right now.


2. San Antonio Spurs (6-1)- With Philadelphia, Washington, Utah and Boston coming up, they can distance themselves from the pack.


3. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1)- With Russell Westbrook back in the fold, things are looking up.


4. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-2)- Having a healthy Kevin Love does wonders for a team.


5. Miami Heat (4-3)- A sore back is slowing down LeBron as they work out their chemistry issues.


6. Phoenix Suns (5-2)- Eric Bledsoe is leading this week’s NBA’s surprise team as they have won all four of their home games.


7. Los Angeles Clippers (4-3)- Big road win at Houston as they are still trying to find their way under coach Doc Rivers.


8. Golden State Warriors (4-3)- Warriors have four different players averaging at least 15 points per game.


9. Memphis Grizzles (3-3)- Coming off a big home win against the Warriors may jump-start them.


10. Houston Rockets (4-3)- They hit the road after dropping their last three-games.


11. Dallas Mavericks (4-3)- Monte Ellis leads the team in scoring averaging 23 points a game.


12. Chicago Bulls (2-4)- Derrick Rose and the Bulls have a showdown with the Pacers this week as they look to get back to winning and avenge an earlier loss.


13. Portland Trailblazers (4-2)- Two of their four wins came against Sacramento with more winnable games coming up against the East.


14. Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)- Went 1-3 last week after starting 3-0… is the clock getting ready to strike midnight?


15. New Orleans Pelicans (3-4) Big win at home against the Lakers on Friday night, can they repeat that performance on Tuesday night in L.A.?


16. Charlotte Bobcats (3-3)- Another early surprise team in the NBA so far.


17. Atlanta Hawks (3-3)- Ronnie Millsap is off to a big year for the Hawks so far with 20.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists.


18. Detroit Pistons (2-3)- Josh Smith is fitting in nicely with his new team leading them 18.8 points per game.


19. Los Angeles Lakers (3-5)- As Kobe Bryant is still working his way back, Steve Nash is suffering from back pain once again limiting his play.


20. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4)- Kyrie Irving is heating up having scored 25 or more in two of his last three games.


21. Brooklyn Nets (2-4)- Nets need more production from K.G who is only averaging six points per game and 6.7 rebounds a game.


22. Washington Wizards (2-4)- Still a better team them their record indicates but must finish games.


23. New York Knicks (2-4)- Can the return of J.R. Smith give them the shot in the arm they need?


24. Toronto Raptors (3-4)- Expect Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan to get their shooting touch back after struggling in the early season.


25. Orlando Magic (3-4)- Center Nikola Vucevic is averaging a double-double to begin the season with 15.7 points and 12.1 rebounds.


26. Boston Celtics (3-4)- The Celtics have won three straight including a win over the Miami Heat.


27. Milwaukee Bucks (2-3)- Their three losses have been by eight points or less.


28. Denver Nuggets (1-4)- Rough start under new head coach Brian Shaw as they are off to their worst start since 2004.


29. Sacramento Kings (1-5)- DeMarcus Cousins is a one-man show, but it will take more then that as they have dropped five in a row.


30. Utah Jazz (0-7)- Jazz are off to their worst start since going 0-11 in their first season in the league.




By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter



Kobe Bryant gets $24 million in lump-sum payment

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will obtain more than $24 million Friday as an advance on this season’s salary.

The amount represents 79.7 % of the $30.5 million he is due to receive in compensation for the 2013-14 season.

Whereas some gamers get paid every two weeks during the season, others get paid twice a month year spherical. A select few, together with Bryant, obtain lump-sum payments like the $24,363,044 he’ll receive Friday.

The league’s collective bargaining settlement gives that this up-front compensation might be as much as eighty percent of the contract’s annual worth.

The payment was earlier reported by the Los Angeles Occasions.

Bryant’s whole take dwelling of that $24.three million verify, however, is topic to heavy taxes, which could total as much as fifty five % of his salary. That would cut back his take-dwelling pay to closer to $11 million, based on Robert Raiola, a licensed public accountant who heads up the sports and entertainment group at FMRTL in Cranford, N.J.

In his tax bracket, Bryant is topic to paying a federal tax on the prime rate of 39.6 %, which would mean $9.6 million will probably be withheld and given to Uncle Sam. As a California resident, he’s topic to paying an additional thirteen.3 %, or $3.2 million, in state taxes. California has the best state revenue tax within the United States. The Medicare tax and surcharge would scale back his complete take to about $10.9 million, Raiola said.

Bryant pays so-referred to as “jock taxes” to states by which he plays on the highway. However those funds will probably be credited towards his California income tax.

Bryant’s salary this season is the second-largest single-season wage in NBA historical past behind the $33.1 million Michael Jordan made for the 1997-ninety eight season.

Although Bryant is out indefinitely recovering from an Achilles tendon tear, his wage is fully guaranteed. The timetable for his return is unknown.

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D’Antoni says Kobe like great Secretariat

Kobe Bryant is used to hearing comparisons to the NBA’s all-time greats, to everybody from Michael Jordan to Elgin Baylor, however Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni referenced not only a different sport but a special species in describing Bryant on Tuesday.

“Kobe is a singular particular person and he’s very headstrong,” D’Antoni instructed “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio. “And one of the the reason why he’s been the perfect within the game, and will likely be and is, is that he is that way.

“You are undoubtedly not dealing with him, you are attempting to work with him. And he has sure ideas and you take that away from him after which he turns into slightly bit extra regular. And he’s something but normal. So it’s a problem on the identical time.

“It is most likely like using Secretariat. I imply, you rise up there, there’s numerous instances all you might be doing is using. He’s carrying you. And Kobe’s carrying us rather a lot. Obviously you want to sure things to melt up, however you’ll be able to’t take away his spirit.”

Secretariat, after all, is the thoroughbred racehorse that gained the Triple Crown in 1973 and captivated the nation.

Bryant, in the meantime, is lacking opening night time for the first time since 2006 as he recovers from Achilles surgical procedure on his left leg. D’Antoni confirmed after the shootaround that Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Shawne Williams and Pau Gasol have been the Lakers’ starters in opposition to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Bryant played a median of 45.7 minutes in the seven video games main as much as suffering the Achilles tear on April 12 and later suggested it was his resolution to play as much as he did and that D’Antoni couldn’t have benched him even when the coach had tried.

D’Antoni was asked if a extra aggressive teaching model would be better suited for dealing with the headstrong Bryant.

“I better carry around an elephant gun or something,” D’Antoni joked. “Previous coaches, I think everyone will inform you, you got to be who you are, since you try to be any person you are not and it will get you. It’d work for 5 minutes nevertheless it’s not going to work in the long term. I attempt to stick to who I am and attempt to make it work. I believe the underside line, although there are some bumps and bruises right here and there, is Kobe will lead you to victories.

“And sometimes it’s a must to swallow your pleasure a little bit bit. You may’t get into a ‘put him in a corner, put me in a nook’ form of match. You do not get that far. Generally it takes simply attempting to determine it out collectively. Finally he desires to do the identical thing I do. He wants to be nice and win. And I would like him to be nice and win. So we just received to try to figure it out.”

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers stated Tuesday he want to see Bryant play in the remaining three Lakers-Clippers video games this season.

“I’ve two sides to that. The competitive aspect of me says ‘sure,’ ” Rivers mentioned. “The rational facet of me thinks different things. I mean, he will be back. I would like him to be again, I really do. I feel Kobe is important to L.A. I feel he’s important to the NBA and I believe we must always cherish him as long as he’s going to play and I really consider that. I couldn’t stand playing in opposition to him in Boston.

“I can’t get pleasure from playing against him right here, however I do like seeing him on the ground. He is a uncommon one. He’s a one percenter. There may be only a few guys to ever play like Kobe Bryant and I believe all of us, every time we get an opportunity, we should always take that chance and watch him play.”

Within the meantime, the Lakers will try to figure out find out how to win without Bryant, who’s sidelined indefinitely as he continues the rehabilitation course of.

With Bryant out, Dwight Howard with the Houston Rockets and the rest of the Lakers’ roster revolving round growing old superstars in Nash and Gasol, D’Antoni acknowledged that making the postseason might be a tall job.

“I can perceive why ESPN, I feel they picked us 12th and I understand that,” D’Antoni stated, referencing the NBA Summer time Forecast that predicted the Lakers would end twelfth in the Western Conference. “If my producer instructed me, ‘OK, make them 12th,’ I could put out a case there why they’re 12th.

“But when my producer says, ‘Make them a playoff workforce,’ right here you go: Kobe will get effectively, Steve Nash has a very good 12 months, Pau Gasol is without doubt one of the finest centers within the league, they put it together, a couple of the young guys reach the potential that they haven’t but, and that is what we have now to do.

“Maybe I have about six eventualities and 4 of them should work out. You recognize, Xavier Henry has to have a really, really good yr – thus far he has bounced around somewhat bit – so simply so many issues like that that we’re working on, and if that happens, then yeah, we’ll make the playoffs.”

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NBA Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Lakers Prediction


NBA Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Lakers Prediction


Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers 10/29- 10:30PM EST


The Los Angeles Lakers will take to the court Tuesday night at Staples Center against their in-house rival Los Angeles Clippers with one lingering question on their minds… when will Kobe Bryant return?


The Lakers after a 2012-13 season filled with high expectations of another championship title, instead became a season filled with injuries after injuries with some turmoil thrown in… Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and the worse injury of them all, a torn Achilles tendon by Kobe Bryant that all but sealed their chance of another NBA title.


Once the Lakers disappointing season was over, Dwight Howard decided to pack his bags for Houston and away from the L.A. spotlight.


There is still no exact timetable set on Kobe’s return despite him being ahead of schedule.


The new look Lakers of 2013-14 appear to be more athletic under second-year coach Mike D’Antoni and ready to right-the-ship under the leadership of veterans Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.


It’s really important for us to embrace these low expectations, try to find a chemistry and build ourselves into a team that has some confidence,” said Nash.


New additions through free-agency that will look to run a lot more under Mike D’Antoni’s system will be Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams and the return of Jordan Farmar.


We may not be as talented at the top like last year, but I think we got younger, more athletic with more shooters who can space the floor,” Nash said.


As for the Clippers, they have Doc Rivers as their new coach now as he looks to instill a new mental and physical toughness along with a new identity to his Clipper team who seem to lack the fortitude to put teams away and close out a playoff series.


Last year, they held a 2-0 lead over the Memphis Grizzles before bowing-out.


We have higher expectations for ourselves than anybody else,” forward Blake Griffin said. “We don’t feel we’ve arrived until we win a championship.”


Clipper point guard Chris Paul likes the championship mentality coach Rivers has brought to the organization.


You always want someone to push you and motivate you,” said Paul. “In our first meeting, he told me I hadn’t really done anything in this league, and he’s right.”


The Clippers feel they have also upgraded their team with added depth shooters to their roster with the likes of J.J Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison, who can spell Paul for a breather or two.


Last season the Clippers swept the Lakers winning all four games by an average of 13.2 points and I expect to the Clippers to take advantage of a Kobe-less Lakers team and win Tuesday night.


PICK: Los Angeles Clippers

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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14

Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14


With the 2013/14 NBA season upon us starting Tuesday night…. Let’s take a look at the Power Rankings of all 30 teams to begin the season.


1. Miami Heat- The defending champion Heat will be looking to three-peat with Lebron James in the final year of his contract.


2. San Antonio Spurs- With all the pieces still intact, the Western Conference champs are still the team to beat out west.


3. Chicago Bulls- After sitting out all of last season… Derrick Rose is back and ready to lead his team to challenge the Heat.


4. Indiana Pacers- Last years team was good, now with Danny Granger back and the addition of Luis Scola… they will be even better.


5. Los Angeles Clippers- Can new coach Doc Rivers instill the mental and physical toughness that has been lacking with the Clippers in seasons past?


6. Houston Rockets- Can the tag team of Dwight Howard/James Harden co-exist and get them to the promise land?


7. Golden State Warriors- Will one more year of experience under their belt make up for the lack of depth at the point guard and center positions? Key addition with Andre Iguodala.


8. Oklahoma City Thunder- Still no Russell Westbrook until December… until then, can they keep it together?


9. Memphis Grizzles- The addition of Mike Miller should help with a team depleted with shooters.


10. Brooklyn Nets- Can an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce be the difference that Deron Williams and new coach Jason Kidd need to contend?


11. New York Knicks- J.R Smith is still on the shelve and Amar’e and Kenyon Martin are not quite ready for back-to-backs yet.


12. Minnesota Timberwolves- A full year of a healthy Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio can finally make the Wolves a playoff contender after a drought of nine seasons.


13. Denver Nuggets- Andre Iguodala is now with Golden State and no Danilo Gallinari until at least December.


14. Washington Wizards- Key addition with Marcin Gortat to fill in a true center position and move Nene to his natural forward position.


15. New Orleans Pelicans- New team nickname and two nice additions will help the Pelicans improve… Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.


16. Dallas Mavericks- Monte Ellis was added to help give Dirk Nowitski an offensive boost… but it’s the defense I’m worried about.


17. Portland Trailblazers- LaMarcus Aldridge vows this years Blazers team will make the playoffs.


18. Detroit Pistons- Two big additions with the face of the franchise now Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.


19. Los Angeles Lakers- Much more athletic team then last year’s team, however their season still rides on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant’s return.


20. Cleveland Cavaliers- When will Andrew Bynum play? Oh yeah #1 pick Anthony Bennett has a sleeping disorder.


21. Atlanta Hawks- No Josh Smith… it’s Al Horford’s team now.


22. Toronto Raptors- Andrea Bargnani is now a Knick.


23. Charlotte Bobcats- Should improve in the win column with new center Al Jefferson.


24. Sacramento Kings- Will DeMarcus Cousins live up to hype of a max-contract deal.


25. Utah Jazz- Young talent is nice, but no quality point guard to dish the rock.


26. Milwaukee Bucks- Can new coach Larry Drew keep the rebuilding Bucks together?


27. Boston Celtics- New coach, new faces and no Rajon Rondo.


28. Orlando Magic- Another rebuilding year.. looking towards the 2014 NBA Draft.


29. Phoenix Suns- Traded away their best player Marcin Gortat.


30. Philadelphia 76ers- Many are predicting the Sixers to challenge for the all-time worst record of 9-73 (1972-73 Sixers).

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

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By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter

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Jim Buss: Lakers won’t let Kobe be free agent

Kobe Bryant is not going anywhere.

Los Angeles Lakers govt vice chairman of basketball operations Jim Buss said Friday that the workforce has began talks with Bryant’s representative on a contract extension for the 5-time NBA champion and totally expects a new deal to be completed earlier than the star guard can grow to be a free agent July 1.

I wish to put an finish to any hypothesis that we might enable Kobe to develop into a free agent. That’s not going to occur. Kobe is a high precedence for us. He is a Laker legend and all the time shall be. I don’t think we’re executed winning championships with him yet.

- Jim Buss

“I wish to put an finish to any speculation that we’d enable Kobe to turn into a free agent,” Buss informed on Friday night time. “That is not going to occur. Kobe is a top priority for us. He is a Laker legend and all the time will likely be. I don’t assume we’re finished winning championships with him but.

“[Lakers basic supervisor] Mitch Kupchak and [Bryant’s agent] Rob Pelinka have been speaking, but with him being hurt, it has slowed the process some. I don’t know when it will get done, however I place confidence in Rob and Mitch to work things out.”

Bryant, 35, is within the last 12 months of a present deal that may pay him $30.5 million this season, the very best wage within the NBA.

He is recovering from surgical procedure on his left Achilles tendon and hasn’t set a return date yet.

In July, Bryant told that he totally intends to retire as a Laker and does not believe there might be any drawback securing an extension for as long as he can play at an elite level.

The query for both sides is how a lot he’ll be keen to play for in the future, with the Lakers positioned to pursue two high free brokers in the summertime of 2014.

“As a businessman, the goal is at all times to not take a pay lower,” Bryant mentioned in July. “However.. ”

The Orange County Register reported Thursday that Buss had talked to Bryant and believed that they had an understanding that the Lakers would allow him to grow to be a free agent so the staff may first spend on other free agents to upgrade its roster.

The Lakers presently have simply three players (Steve Nash, Nick Young and Robert Sacre) under contract for next season.

Bryant confirmed to the Register that he had spoken to Buss in regards to the situation, saying, “We have probably talked. But I am putting off any thought of that.”

As a substitute, Bryant is targeted on coming back from what could have been a career-threatening injury.

“I’ve additionally heard from so many people who have handled something like this, and it’s like they’re anticipating me to beat it, so I’ve to do it for them, too,” Bryant instructed the Register.
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Lakers offended by Clips covering banners

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers were principally diplomatic when requested in regards to the Los Angeles Clippers’ new initiative, led by coach Doc Rivers, to cowl up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired uniforms during Clippers house games, nevertheless it didn’t sit so well with L.A. native, and former Clipper, Nick Young.

“He can do this?” Young stated after Lakers practice Sunday, the staff’s first since coming back from China. “For real? That’s disrespectful. We acquired to speak to Doc. He can’t have that. We acquired to do something about that.”

ClippersThe Clippers put banners of seven of their gamers over the Lakers’ sixteen championship banners and 10 retired numbers during a preseason recreation Friday night time.

The Clippers revealed their Staples Center redecoration during a preseason sport Friday, as they plastered giant posters of gamers Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick over the Lakers’ 16 championship banners and 10 retired uniforms.

“That’s lots of pull y’all are giving Doc,” Younger said, considerably facetiously. “I think he shouldn’t are available in and have a lot pull like that. He is acquired to earn his preserve.”

When a reporter argued that Rivers’ championship resume from his time with the Boston Celtics should give the coach the credence to take action, Younger retorted, “However he didn’t win no title in L.A. That is the place it is at. Look at all these banners in here, you may’t shadow those up.”

The Lakers and Clippers have shared the Staples Heart since it opened for the 1999-2000 season, making them the one groups within the league to have such an association.

“I suppose in case you had been within the Clippers’ organization you most likely wish to do that, too,” Lakers point guard Steve Nash stated. “It is their area on their night time, so I might attempt to make it really feel like house.”

Meanwhile, the Lakers are trying to make L.A. really feel like dwelling once more after spending nine days in China.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni gave the workforce the time without work Saturday to recover from their cross-continental journey dwelling, which left most of the gamers jet-lagged. Younger stated he couldn’t go to sleep till 5 a.m. Saturday morning after the staff landed back in L.A. round 10:30 p.m. Friday evening.

Despite the fatigue, every Laker aside from Chris Kaman (stomach virus) and Kobe Bryant (Achilles rehabilitation) practiced Sunday, though D’Antoni lower the session brief, so as not push his players too much. Nash was additionally held out of the top of practice because of abdomen discomfort.

“They have been tired,” D’Antoni stated. “During movie session I believe a few them nodded off… In fact, that may very well be normal, too.”

Bryant was capable of do some on-courtroom sprinting and set taking pictures previous to the second of the Lakers’ two exhibition video games in China, but has but to ramp up that exercise with the staff’s regular-season opener towards the Clippers looming less than 10 days away.

“I don’t know,” D’Antoni stated when requested if he knew when Bryant would have the ability to return to observe.

Bryant’s teammates are starting to settle into the very actual risk of going into the season with out him on the courtroom. Younger, who has taken 15 extra pictures than the next closest Laker via the first six preseason games, is prepared to continue his Mamba impression.

“That’s one thing I’ve been trying to get in my thoughts and just working on my game and talking to coaches,” Young said. “I have been talking to Kobe, too, about where to be at and picking my spots out there.”

What does Bryant say to him?

“More specific sort issues, what I ought to have achieved right right here,” Young said. “He’s telling me to look at film more and attempt to examine the sport of basketball more.”

Gasol is also readying himself to choose up the slack without Bryant.

“I believe I’ve to be extra of a vocal chief on either side of the ground,” he said. “Make certain we arrange offensively and the ball tries to get by way of my hands quite a bit so I could make plays for others and get open pictures for my teammates, appeal to the defense, make the defense flip and make it simpler for the blokes.”

Like D’Antoni, Gasol merely doesn’t know when he’ll have Bryant again by his side.

“I feel he has an enormous need of coming back, however he understands there’s received to be a few steps that he needs to take to ensure that him to come again, and I do not think he is taken these steps but,” Gasol mentioned. “He’s going to come again when he will come again, whether that is in two weeks, three weeks, a month, two months. Who knows?”

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LeBron un-clutch?

LeBron James says he doesn't care what his peers think about clutch shooting. (USATSI)
LeBron James says he doesn’t care what his friends take into consideration clutch capturing. (USATSI)

A number of debate has occurred over whether or not or not LeBron James is a guy you’d need taking clutch photographs if the game, your life or all of humanity was on the line. Guys like Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and others are individuals you are presupposed to want to decide to take that shot in right now’s NBA. Michael Jordan, Larry Fowl, Robert Horry and Reggie Miller are historic figures that are presupposed to be the selection for the legendary clutch shot.

LeBron is dismissed by a lot of followers as an possibility for that shot because he doesn’t have as many memorable recreation-winners as a few of the different options. Regardless of being the very best player within the NBA, James can not seem to get that honor. Apparently, he can’t even get it from his friends within the NBA. Based on ESPN, 26 anonymous gamers were polled on whether they would need LeBron, Jordan or Kobe taking the ultimate shot of a recreation. Nobody picked LeBron in this state of affairs.

While virtually one-quarter of the 26 gamers who participated in an ESPN The Magazine ballot assume LeBron James will finish as one of the best NBA player ever, none of them would want him taking the final shot if Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were additionally on the floor.

James obtained decidedly combined opinions from the players, all of whom had been granted anonymity, in the ballot carried out for the journal’s NBA preview challenge.

Asked which participant they wished to take the last shot with the clock winding down and a recreation on the line, 88 p.c of the players picked Jordan, with Bryant getting the other 12 p.c.

“That’s like rating the shortest big,” an Eastern Convention guard stated. “I would want the ball in LeBron’s arms on the end of the game, however I’d want him to move to Kobe or Jordan for the last shot. And don’t forget, LeBron shouldn’t be a great free throw shooter, both.”

There was one vote for Mario Chalmers, however Mario Chalmers declined touch upon whether or not he participated in the ballot (this may or might not be something I just made up).

Should LeBron be offended that his fellow NBAers wouldn’t choose him if the options had been Jordan, Kobe and LeBron? Presumably. It’s form of hard to argue with the overwhelming majority of the gamers deciding on Jordan, who is the best competitor in NBA history, the greatest participant in NBA historical past and one of many greatest clutch performers sports has ever seen. The other 12 percent choosing Kobe isn’t that surprising either as a result of he’s often on the prime of player polls for final shot duties.

As for LeBron, he could also be one of the best participant within the league but it surely doesn’t suggest he needs to be the best choice to finish a close game. In actual fact, he apparently doesn’t actually care what the outcomes of this ballot are and would fairly put video games away earlier than depart it up to probability/clutch photographs. From

“Gamers in our league stated that? All proper,” James mentioned after the Miami Warmth went by means of a workout in New York Metropolis earlier than their exhibition game Thursday in Brooklyn.

“I actually don’t care what 30 guys in our league say about me taking the last shot. I’ve got just a few sport winners in my profession. I don’t let teams cling round an excessive amount of for the final shot. I do not suppose the definition of clutch is who takes the final shot. There are guys who come by way of for their teams in several circumstances.”

He has a point about not letting groups hang round. He has been pretty good at placing his opponents away a few minutes before a last-minute shot needs to enter the conversation. He has also develop into a significantly better clutch shooter over the past couple years and has all the time been a prepared playmaker at the finish of games. He even hit the title-clinching jumper on the finish of Game 7 of the NBA Finals in opposition to the San Antonio Spurs.

James has had plenty of moments proving he is capable of pulling down that shot. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean you would select him over Michael Jordan and even Kobe Bryant for that matter.

It is positive for LeBron to be aggravated or insulted by this. It is also high-quality for the nameless players to vote this fashion, as effectively. What’s possibly extra fascinating is that possibly six of these guys picked LeBron to finish up as the perfect participant of all time. That’s in all probability the glory LeBron James would somewhat have when it’s all said and performed.

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Source: Kobe in germany for work on his knee

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Kobe Bryant is in Germany and can endure the platelet-rich plasma treatment often called Orthokine on his right knee, a source confirmed to on Thursday.

Bryant underwent the same remedy on his right knee in Germany in 2011.

Yahoo! Sports activities earlier reported that the Los Angeles Lakers star was touring to Germany for the treatment.

The Lakers stated Thursday that Bryant had left the country Wednesday night to endure an undisclosed medical process not related to the torn Achilles he suffered in April. The team stated it expects him again early subsequent week.

Kobe BryantJayne Kamin-Oncea/USA AS WE SPEAK Sports activitiesKobe Bryant, pictured with the Lakers for media day last weekend, is anticipated to return to the staff early next week.

Bryant, 35, did not speak with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni prior to this departure. He did go over his plans with Lakers coach Gary Vitti, who then informed D’Antoni.

“I do not assume it’s a surprise,” D’Antoni stated Thursday of Bryant’s procedure. “I think he had it programmed, and simply the way in which it was, he knew he had time as a result of he’s not getting on the court yet. So I don’t assume it’s a big deal, and I don’t suppose it caught him unexpectedly. As a substitute of doing it in August, he is doing it now.

“There isn’t any concern in any respect.”

A spokesman for Bryant declined comment. Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s agent, could not instantly be reached for remark.

D’Antoni estimated Bryant could be gone from the group for a few days.

Leaving the United States for medical attention is nothing new for the star guard. He traveled to Germany twice in 2011 – once in the summertime and once within the fall – to undergo platelet-rich plasma remedy on his left ankle and proper knee.

Kobe’s procedure involves removing blood from the affected space and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that trigger inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area.

“It labored out properly,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol stated when asked about Bryant’s earlier journey to Germany. “He mentioned he was a brand new man with a brand-new knee. He mentioned it felt lots better. I suppose that’s why he’s going back, to get another boost.”

Bryant’s docs have stated the remedy is like a tune-as much as his knee, one which should be maintained.

Bryant had deliberate to return to Germany in the summer of 2012 for the same procedure on his right knee but decided against it. He received a gold medal while taking part in for Crew USA that summer in London.

“No,” Bryant said throughout coaching camp last 12 months when requested if he visited Dr. Peter Wehling, the physician accountable for the innovative blood manipulation approach, once more. “I used to be slightly busy.”

Bryant did some light jogging and set capturing previous to follow Wednesday, his first on-court docket participation in training camp because it opened final weekend.

The Lakers haven’t supplied a timetable on Bryant’s return from the Achilles damage apart from saying in April that he can be back in six to 9 months.

The Lakers scrimmaged Thursday with Jodie Meeks taking part in taking pictures guard with the first unit as a result of Nick Young sprained his ankle. Young is day-to-day and is not expected to play in the crew’s preseason opener Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.

Information from’s Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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He’s Number 1: LeBron’s jersey is top NBA seller


PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – LeBron James has the world’s best-promoting NBA jersey.

The Miami Warmth star and four-time league MVP tops the NBA’s global record of jersey gross sales for this previous season, in keeping with numbers launched Tuesday. James – who additionally has the highest-promoting jersey in the United States – outsold Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Warmth teammate Dwyane Wade for the No. 1 spot.

James stated having the world’s high-selling jersey “means everything” to him.

“To know that so many people look up to me, so many kids, that is what means greater than anything, that I continue to encourage the youth and so they have a look at me as a job mannequin,” James said after studying the news at Heat coaching camp in the Bahamas. “I understand, whenever you put on someone’s jersey, you actually like consider in them. You imagine they will do supernatural issues. It is like an extension of our household, and I really admire that.”

The league unveiled the rankings – primarily based on adidas’ global gross sales for the previous season – just days before the start of NBA World Games 2013-14, which includes eight preseason video games in seven countries, then regular-season games in Mexico City on Dec. 4 and London on Jan. sixteen.

Most of the top names on the global-sales checklist – together with Rose, Bryant and Durant – are on teams participating on this season’s worldwide matchups.

Carmelo Anthony is sixth on the global-sales record, adopted by Dwight Howard (his now-former Lakers jersey), Deron Williams, Blake Griffin and Rajon Rondo to round out the top 10. In U.S. gross sales, James is adopted by Rose, Bryant, Durant, Anthony, Wade, Howard, Williams, Griffin and Rondo.

Despite missing all of final season with a knee injury, Rose had the top-promoting jersey in China, Latin America and Europe. James had the top vendor within the Philippines.

To James, finishing atop these rankings further signified how things have modified since he made his choice to signal with Miami in 2010 after spending the primary seven seasons of his profession in Cleveland.

“I’ve come a good distance,” James said. “I’ve come a great distance. I’ve grown as a basketball player and as an individual off the floor in each side since 2010. I am undoubtedly humbled by it, appreciative. You all the time hear me say that I’m only a child from Akron, and to be able to have this stature and that accomplishment, I feel that’s pretty cool.”


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Jim Buss says Dwight Howard was ‘never really a Laker,’ which is factually inaccurate

Jim and Jeanie Buss introduce non-Laker Dwight Howard to Lakers followers and reporters (Kevork Djansezian/ Getty).

New Houston Rockets heart Dwight Howard’s one season with the Los Angeles Lakers did not go very well. Confronted with massive expectations, the 2012-13 Lakers never appeared to find an id, with Howard struggling by way of injuries, complaining about what he perceived to be Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system, and customarily wanting uncomfortable with the strain of enjoying for a demanding fan base. While the Lakers cannot have been blissful to lose an All-Star in free company, the pain was likely alleviated by the truth that they wouldn’t must deal with the issues of an uneasy partnership.

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Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that their commerce for Howard in August 2012 was initially seen as a coup, the sort of transfer that would immediately return the Lakers to title rivalry and create a easy transition into the interval after Kobe Bryant’s retirement. It was an occasion in step with one perspective on Lakers historical past, in which their image and success creates a optimistic feedback loop and issues are inclined to go their method as a rule.

So it might be flawed to act as if Howard never fit with the franchise’s values or picture. But that is exactly what Lakers owner and executive vice chairman of participant personnel Jim Buss says in a new, huge-ranging piece by Ric Bucher for The Hollywood Reporter:

Jim insists he is simply following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a web page. As a substitute of Jim spending time with Howard, the crew launched a broadly derided media campaign that implored “Keep” on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t shocked or dismayed. “He was never actually a Laker,” says Jim. “He was simply passing by.”

Those close to Howard say the Lakers could have persuaded him to stay. Even [Jim’s sister and co-owner] Jeanie believes that if her father had not been sick, he would have sealed the deal like so many earlier than it. “It is disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,” she says. “I really feel like we failed him.”

As Bucher suggests and Jeanie Buss says, it might be incorrect to behave as if the Lakers did not need Howard round. From the moment they acquired him, the group’s executives and players spoke about Howard as if he would be round for a lot of seasons, constructing a private legacy and adding to the rich history of the NBA’s most constantly successful organization. It’s true that Howard didn’t obtain those goals, but the Lakers certainly imagined Howard in their colors right up until the second he determined to go to the Rockets. It appears as if Jim Buss is utilizing the unhappy conclusion to Howard’s season with the franchise to rewrite the terms of their relationship.

His comments wouldn’t be much of a narrative in the event that they did not connect with an increasingly common tendency of Lakers partisans. During Howard’s free agent recruitment period, it was often stated that he would select the Lakers if he wished to workforce up with a franchise of proven winners. But that argument never appeared totally related to realities during which the Rockets had a young core of improving players (in addition to a transparent organizational philosophy) and the Lakers spent an entire season with an uncertain sense of their on-courtroom structure. It was as if the Lakers believed their rich history conferred upon them magical powers, not admitting that their success (whereas definitely aided by luck) arose from pursuing new opportunities and by no means resting on the power of their image.

Claiming that Howard was “never actually a Laker” appears to purchase into that mystique without taking up-the-floor realities significantly. It is considerably reminiscent of New York Yankees’ fans insistence within the mid-2000s that the staff’s failure to win a World Sequence after a interval of dominance was a sign that common manager Brian Cashman wasn’t buying “True Yankees,” gamers like Paul O’Neill who apparently understood the mythic forces that animated the franchise’s success. Issues bought so ridiculous that one-time columnist Jay Mohr presented non-Yankees and future journeymen Chris Capuano and David DeJesus as lurking True Yankees who may hand the crew titles, if solely they were given the chance. In fact, it was way more accurate to say that big-title signings like Jason Giambi struggled with age, like many players, or that Main League Baseball’s brief-sequence playoff format caused some very good teams to get eliminated early.

The Lakers are not yet at this level of delusion, but it’d be finest to get off the trail as soon as doable. Howard played for the Lakers and was as soon as thought-about to be a franchise cornerstone. These info constitute proof that he was “really a Laker.” Saying otherwise presents a perception that a franchise might be immune from disappointment and the travails of building a winner in the fashionable NBA. Some teams have advantages, but all of them play by the same primary rules.


How will increased smartphone access change the in-arena NBA experience?

LeBron James arms an iPhone again to a fan after checking his email (Isaac Baldizon/ Getty).

The smartphone has change into a relative necessity to the lives of American adults with comfy incomes, a marker of standing and an vital instrument for checking up on work, taking good care of various responsibilities, and playing Candy Crush. Actions that were once thought to require full attention at the moment are ruled by completely different cultural norms, to the point the place it is not stunning to see someone argue for the suitable to use Twitter in a movie show. It is a new panorama with new guidelines, and numerous businesses are accommodating their clients accordingly.

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That contains the world of sports activities, the place fans may not feel the necessity or need to pay full attention to the in-game action even while in attendance. The problem for these fans, in fact, is that utilizing their phones for actions both associated (e.g. trying up Kobe Bryant’s profession stats in advance of a milestone) and unrelated to the competition (e.g. checking email to see if the babysitter blew up their house) requires internet access. The simplest way to do this is with an in-enviornment wi-fi connection.

However, many arenas are usually not outfitted for such providers. Impressed by a current piece by Don Muret of SportsBusiness Journal on the technical and business challenges of such a enterprise, Steve Aschburner of spoke with Steve Hellmuth, the league’s government vice president of communications and know-how, about how the NBA intends to present fans access whereas still maintaining them targeted on their product (by way of PBT):

“It’s a must to set that table and supply them with all the pieces they’re accustomed to,” Hellmuth mentioned. “It’s not nearly Fb and Instagram – it’s the fact that they’ve a babysitter at home. They’ve a business that they’re operating. And we’re all expected to be related and to be out there today.” […]

“While you walk into the [Brooklyn Nets’] Barclays Middle and also you see that WiFi large open and also you’re pegged, it’s just like being in a pleasant warm bath,” he stated. “Similar factor once you stroll into a Starbucks. It’s an actual amenity for fans , to say, ‘Hey, we care sufficient to get this best for you.’ “

Once the programs are in place, with adequate bandwidth, the subsequent frontier is optimizing the in-recreation experience. It can be as easy, for instance, as tipping hungry followers to the concession stands with the shortest strains. Or offering thank-you low cost codes on the phones of repeat customers, whose earlier attendance has been tracked wirelessly as effectively.

Then there are the NBA-particular prospects, such as streaming video, stats, premium content and extra. If the accessibility to social media – and simple cellphone calls and texts – are what may keep fans tethered to their worlds, the opportunities of in-arena wi-fi can bring them together the way the height moments of great video games do. […]

“We don’t want to create extra ‘heads down’ experiences around video. It’s good to have but when you take a look at the investments our groups have made in HD video screens, for me, I wish to search for and revel in a replay with the individual I got here to the game with, proper?”

The majority of Hellmuth’s comments indicate that the NBA hasn’t but settled on a selected strategy (or at the least one that they are willing to elucidate intimately to the public). That’s tremendous, as a result of this technology is new enough that getting it proper would require experimentation and adjusting plans on the fly. Being too certain of how the in-recreation smartphone experience could be an indication of hubris.

Although this a brand new frontier for the league, it’s potential that there is not much to fret about. Elsewhere in the article, Hellmuth factors out that followers at playoff games hardly ever battle to concentrate on the games and cheer loudly when the result is in doubt. Foolish Miami Heat fans apart, attending followers care about basketball enough to remain at their seats and concentrate. Those that do not wish to do so have already got plenty of in-enviornment activities to function distractions, and increased smartphone access will only change issues so much.

All of which is to say that, irrespective of what number of new elements are introduced into the NBA expertise, the sport itself has proven remarkably resilient to these kinds of shifts in tradition. Fans have found out ways to juggle watching a replay on the video board while live action continues, to remember the sport situation during more and more distracting timeout entertainment, and many others. Unless they stop liking basketball, they will watch the game.


Shaquille O’Neal rips Dwight Howard for signing with ‘a little town’ like Houston

Dwight Howard lines up with Shaquille O’Neal in 2010 (Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal played in the NBA from 1992 until 2011, he played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2004, and he’s been acting like a petulant brat when asked about players he doesn’t like from 1992 until ???.

Really, it starts with David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning, it continued with Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh, it’s kept up with Dwight Howard and will no doubt go on for the next player O’Neal feels uneasy being compared to.

O’Neal commented on Howard’s free-agent departure to the Houston Rockets on Saturday while making an appearance at the Daytona International Speedway. From the Associated Press:

”It was expected,” Shaq said. ”We’ve all been in LA, and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That’s right, little town. I said it.”

It should be noted that O’Neal was at the event to promote the movie “Grown Ups 2,” and apparently the concept of irony.

We should mention that Houston remains the fourth-largest city in the United States, with some five times the population of the city of Miami, a town Shaquille O’Neal forced a trade to in 2004.

It’s true that Howard did not respond well to the pressure in his first year in Los Angeles, he battled a back injury and shared plenty of cross glares in public at Bryant, Steve Nash and the coaching staff. We should also remind that it took Shaquille O’Neal four seasons to win his first ring in Los Angeles upon leaving Orlando in 1996, as Shaq clashed with twice as many teammates and two sets of coaching staffs.

It’s also true that this is the “safe move” for Howard, moving away from an aging, injured, and ill-fitting Laker lineup and a coach that clearly did not know what to do with two potential high- and low-post demons in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. The Rockets nearly matched Los Angeles’ win total last year without Howard and they’re a much younger team that isn’t finished exchanging assets and building around Dwight. Yeah, safe and smart move, Dwight Howard. The right move.

Dwight Howard handled the overwhelming bulk of this Orlando-to-Los-Angeles-to Houston run terribly. He has much to learn from and a lot of growing to do, and this well-researched and thought-out (and communicated, unlike LeBron James’ last free-agent dalliance) decision is a step in the right direction.

He’ll never be as great as Shaq at one thing, though. Acting like a brat in public.