Jordan Dethroned: Part One The New King of Basketball

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)

I already know some of you are foaming at the mouth and getting ready to type hate and venom into the comments but hear me out. Michael Jordan has been dethroned as the king of the Basketball world by not one, but two players in two distinct areas. Part one is dedicated to the forgotten one, Kobe Bean Bryant, the Black Mamba. By all accounts he has surpassed Michael Jordan as the one to emulate for Killer Instinct and winning on the highest scale.

The Foundation

Let us be perfectly clear by no means am I suggesting that Michael Jordan is lesser than. In fact, he is the blueprint of this era. There would be no Kobe Bryant without Michael Jordan. When we speak to greatness of his Airness we talk about the two three-peat with the Chicago bulls, never lost in the finals, the way he willed his teams to victory. For 15 seasons he put it all on the line. His career numbers were 30.1 pts, 6.2 rebs, and 5.3 asts. A slew of players came forth emulating his style to a degree looking to reach the mantle.

Rest assured I will not be using the lazy reference of G.O.A.T, I will put it out there and say Kobe Bryant has surpassed Michael Jordan as the new King of the Throne for the current era.

The New King

Kobe Bryant entered the league in 1997 and his career followed a similar beat pattern to Jordan. Jordan began in an era dominated by Magic and Bird. Similarly, Kobe entered the league during the apex of the second three-peat. It was Mike’s league and Kobe was the student. Once MJ retired Kobe aggressively took over, probably too aggressively. I recall the one of the several swan song All-Star games for Jordan where Kobe went at Jordan hard and rejected his shot, which in turn was met with rejection from the announcers. I believe this was a moment where Kobe would be omitted from “the conversation” because it didn’t fit the narrative.

From 2000 – 2002 the Lakers led by Kobe and Shaq were on a terror, they three-peated. After that drama hit in the personal life, sound familiar? Rather than taking time off, Kobe rode it through. He suffered a loss to the Pistons, sound familiar? Now with the Lakers dismantled, Kobe was determined prove he can do it on his own.

Here is where things get interesting:

• Kobe takes an entirely different team (same franchise) and wins two more championships

• Develops what we now refer to as Mamba mentality

• Changes the way the game is approached psychologically

• Creates a narrative in other players who has that killer instinct as Mamba mentality

• Does all of this with consistency up to his 20th season when his body quits on him.

I have always wondered why analyst never compared Kobe to Michael. I suspect the reason is because if you do it objectively you would have to truly give Kobe the edge and I am not sure the analysts are ready to do it, but for the future of the game we must.

Kobe Bryant had a discipline to the game that you could not easily emulate. There are stories where he would psychologically beat you hours before the game began. Players today are clamoring for Kobe’s eye of the game, his instinct, his killer nature. That is something that Michael had, Kobe is better and it is ok to say that.

The Biggest Double Standard of the NBA… the Kawhi Leonard Story

By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)

When I joined the opinionated family a couple of years ago I agreed to one principle rule and that was no one and I do mean no one gets a pass. We will call out odd behavior when we see it and when we do we will go all the way in.

With that being said, imagine my surprise that for an ENTIRE season the league has given Kawhi Leonard the biggest pass in NBA history while scrutinizing other players for how they PLAY the game. I get it, Kawhi was diagnosed with Tendinopathy and there are sin can manifest itself with inflammation and at worse degeneration, but here is the thing, and I am going to break it down real in the simplest terms.

HE HAS BEEN MEDICALLY CLEARED TO PLAY ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS!!!!!

At this point he is simply choosing not to play and no one wants to talk about that. If it were Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, or heaven forbid LeBron James, the Analyst and Internet would have a field day going to work on the reports and tv shows. There would be an entirely new show created just to talk about the injury, but not only are they not talking about, they have the audacity to instead talk about which teams should pick him up next season, REALLY!!!!

Look, I don’t, know about you, but I grew up in the time when:

• Isaiah Thomas twisted his ankle, went into a trance and dropped a 25 in a quarter on the Showtime Lakers.

• Michael Jordan had the Flu or was hung over; however, you want to see, and still had a career game

• Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles, shot his free throw shots, and walked off the court

• Countless players ice their knees, due to inflammation during and after the game to keep going

And Kawhi Leonard won’t even try!!!
But I’m supposed to be excited and play along about what team will pick him up next season? Ok, here are some potential options:

• South Bay Lakers
• Aqua Caliente Clippers
• Austin Spurs
• Grand Rapids Drive

What? Don’t recognize those teams? That is because they are part of the G-League. That is where I would send him. That’s right! He is showing zero effort to try and help his team in the PLAYOFFS against the team that took him out in the first place, which must mean he is afraid of them, so why should another team invest anything on the chance of him doing the same thing to them. See with the injury he has:

• If it is merely inflammation, then he will be on ice and anti-inflammatories indefinitely, which he doesn’t seem to want to do.

• If it is degenerative then he is retiring in a year or two.

The point is, this should be the story folks are talk about. How the so-called best “two-way player in the game” made the conscious decision to let his team hang out there to dry despite being cleared to play and allowing his team to potentially fold once again the reigning NBA champs. My how we far we go to protect the legacies of those we want to….