Featuring Opinionated MJ
Featuring Opinionated MJ
Listen to MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Ep 28 – RIP Kobe, NBA Deadline Deals, NBA All Stars and more! by Opinionated Media/Opinionated MJ on #SoundCloud
I… don’t know how to explain how I feel. I’ve not experienced loss in my family that was close to me. Somehow, someway, this feels like I just lost my older brother. Someone who was tried and true. Someone who fought through everything that was thrown his way and ALWAYS found a way out of the fire. Kobe. Kobe. Kobe… You riddled my childhood with being able to see what I didn’t see from Mike cause I was too young. It didn’t make sense to me until I was about 3, 4 years old. Pistons in the middle of winning over Jordan. You gave me the full experience of being able to see you in high school and then jump straight to the NBA. You instantly became my favorite. The smile on your face as you declared from the league. The bald head you rocked that mirrored Jordan. Even I used to sport a bald fade. The one that looks like yours actually. I did it because of Jordan. It related directly to you. Except, there was a missing piece that I didn’t get from Jordan. The trials and tribulation of encountering things in life that set you up to make a decision. Make a jump. Take a risk. You were successful early but never sat down and ate your dessert. I was the same way. Not knowing how to accept success, only looking at my next challenge. Not stopping to bask in the moment.
Nowadays, I don’t even want moments, I want forever. Why didn’t I get blessed with forever? A basketball obsessed boy now grown. I’m interested in everything that comes with the passion, after the passion that exists because of the passion. I’m rooted into all things basketball and you have been the root of my debate, my argument, my perspective, my everything when it comes to basketball…
“With the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft…”
My basketball world began to revolve around you. Waiting for every moment you stepped on the floor. I watched so many Laker games that I have a constant highlight reel of you that has never stopped playing in my head at all. When I think of basketball, you are the first thought that comes to my mind. Greatness. The willingness to lay it all on the line and risk failure… Then actually fail. The airballs against the Jazz. It only truly led to the ascension. It only showed the willingness that many people lack. It’s not something that can be teached. It already has to be there. It became apart of my DNA. Maybe it made me a bit argumentative when it came to things regarding you and the NBA as a whole. Maybe it’s the reason I tend to view things with a chip… How? I write. I didn’t make the NBA.
Countless late nights that rolled into 1am, 2am in Detroit, putting up shots and competing with my friends. Shoveling the snow to shoot. Sweeping the rain from my father’s old place to keep the ball a bit more drier and chasing it down to avoid the puddles. The mud. All to try to perfect the leaner. You and MJ. Much more of YOU.
The days I had to fight over who was the best slasher. The best 2 guard. Kobe, Iverson, Carter, T-Mac, and so on. We won Kobe. You’re the only champion of the group of those greats. The playoffs against the Kings, although Robert Horry knocked down the shot that helped continue your legacy, I still felt as if you had taken the shot. Biased a bit. Much of a Stan in those days. A Kobe Stan. They labeled me. I didn’t care.
The tough match-up against the Pacers where it was clearly shown that you were the reason that your team was to succeed. Winning! Winning! I knew you had arrived during the season that had led up to playing the Nets in the finals and it was proven. Only then were you truly challenged thereafter. Still chasing Jordan. Playing games against him and using his arsenal against him. Although he was practically helpless at this point, you still took the time to show him all that you’ve mastered up to this point. You took the baton without taking time to grab it. You just brought the fire to the baton instead.
We live in a America. Land of second chances. I know what mistake you made. I’m not one that agrees with your decision but I support your actions during that time thereafter. Everyone who hated you began to hate you more. You were dropped by many sponsors. In the end, it led to stability and an understanding that there’s things you have to honor and nurture. You began to do those things. People do that everyday without someone trying to get something out of it. No respect for marriage. You also violated yours. Human? Lacking discipline. You came to each game anyways even after the cases with no prep, all travel and still performed and even led you team to huge victories with game-winners. I have not forgotten the greatness you possess on the basketball floor. You are the ultimate fear for your opponent. I think everyone forgot the games against the Blazers to help you jump multiple spots in the playoffs out in the tough West. Constant fights with Duncan, Webber, Nash, one with Melo, even fighting with CP3 for an MVP award. You succeeded because you wear the will within. Then everything fell apart against my hometown Pistons. Even I was torn for who to root for. This was my team, but so were you and the Lakers. I’m happy I was able to experience a championship in my lifetime. Some teams have none. You already had 3. The team then implodes and things change drastically…
“We all fall down to get up again…”
You ended up With Rudy T as your coach en route to you fighting to become independent from the arguments that “you cannot win without Shaq”. A man. Staking his own claim. Placing himself in the group of the greats without being Robin to some other Batman or Superman. You fell to injury that season and the Lakers weren’t able to carry themselves without you. Then you came back to full strength. You made amends with Phil Jackson. Maybe the truth is he knew he could continue to win with you. Either way, it helped further cement your growth at this stage and your ability to continue on and make things work. You still had issues with teammates who lacked the will to become better. Then you even decided to put the world on notice by playing within the gameplan and not hijacking it. To show everyone you could be a team player, but it was heartless. Even in that moment against the Suns who were able to be beaten, you decided that you’ll be back. Who even believes in what they say anymore? That willpower is unmatched.
Fast forward, the team goes through a rebuild period not known by many superstars. Eventually you land Gasol and the sky is the limit once the new Batman received his Robin. You then go on to win WITHOUT SHAQ! YESSSSS! Then you go on to become apart of the Lakers/Celtics history. What more could you ask for? 1-1? I’ll take it. A loss and then revenge. It was a perfect addition to your career. Everyone didn’t consider the Magic a real test for your team, so why not beat the team that came together, in my opinion, because of you? WIN WIN WIN!
Suddenly the league has others to want to spread their wings, other injuries ensue and Dirk, KD & Russ, and the Spurs takeover what will be the future of the West. Well, it seemed that way. Then, the Achilles snaps… I was right there feeling low as I watched you shed tears while reporters surrounded you. The man of the league at the time. You handed the league to LeBron but you may have given your magic touch to the same team you were injured against, the Golden State Warriors. I’ll just throw in that I’m still upset that Dahntay Jones decided to sprain your ankle on purpose while playing for the Hawks in that same season. You still gave it a go against the Pacers. Indomitable will. You’re covered in that. I’ll run through things like, another rebuild, Gasol leaving, and you dropping 60 in your final game against the Jazz. Shaq only asked for 50! LOL
Retirement… the end of seeing my favorite player on the basketball court but old enough to understand that you weren’t a superhero, you weren’t invincible, you weren’t without fault, you were human. You fell like us, you thought like us, you fought like us, you even held grudges against competition same way we hold grudges. I then began to wonder what would become of you. Would we see you at all. Maybe just sitting in at games. Then came “Dear Basketball”. Oscar winner. Recently, Emmy winner. Mamba academy. Coaching GiGi and being a father and husband to your family. I seen you being a man. Just like the ones I rub shoulders with. Football coaches, recreational basketball coaches, and so on. Being there for their sons and daughters. Being active. I watched every interview that included you. You and Shaq burying the hatchet. You speaking on Mamba Academy. You with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes recently… I’m rambling and lost at this point. I’m lost because you didn’t get a chance to fully be everything that was setup for you after basketball. You didn’t get a chance to watch you daughters grow and leave the nest. GiGi, God bless you, she was destined for the WNBA… I’m hurting from this loss… Life isn’t fair. I’ve shed my tears and now my eyes are heavy. Kobe.. I’ll never get over this. I’ll never let go of the constant highlight reel in my head that features you first. I’ll never forget your mistakes the helped shape me. Your will, determination, your drive. I’ll never be happy until the “job is finished”.
I’ll probably never love to watch a basketball player the way I loved watching you. I hate memories because they aren’t forever. I can’t wake up and you’re still alive and still doing this. Everything is now a chef that’ll serve me tears. I’m torn. God bless everyone on that helicopter. I can’t imagine the last moments you had with Gianna as a father. As fathers, we always say that everything will be alright. I can’t imagine the feeling of falling knowing the world is ready to pick you up but can’t catch you… I can’t imagine watching the Hall Of Fame ceremony without you Kobe. I can’t imagine basketball without your guidance to players. Without creating the next Kobe-like player. I can’t imagine. Unfortunately, this is reality… I’m heartbroken. Tears are now how your memories end. Thank you for being apart of my childhood, my adulthood, and in my life Kobe…
I guess God needed you on Pluto…
By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)
By: Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall Jr.)
Before we begin, I know when people say effect, they mean impact, but for the purpose of the conversation I am going to stick with effect.
So the emerging debate in the basketball world is stats versus effect and I understand why that is, but we are using extremely poor examples on either side. I’ve seen posts on YouTube attacking NBA FG% Twitter, which I completely agree with, but when I saw my favorite station, ESPN, weigh in on the argument I couldn’t take it anymore. Here they go again trying to own both sides of the argument.
ESPN is notorious for using stats like crystal balls, which has diluted the impact of its usefulness and in turn most people rely on effect as a mystical means of determining success. Here is the reality:
Stats can not and will never be a sole predictor of future wins or success.
Effect does not always transfer between games and in all scenarios, it is a predictor of behavior and response.
Here is the secret – You can use stats to measure effect, but you must use the right ones and frame the narrative you are trying to tell.
Why are we getting this argument wrong?
We have been conditioned to see the game as efforts of individuals who all just happen to be on a team.
We have been conditioned to look at basic stats and not the full picture.
We haven’t been told what the stats are used for or how to properly use them.
We sensationalize certain player types and only look at one side of the ball.
We have been conditioned to believe that if our superstars did more, the results would be different.
We have been conditioned to only look at key aspects of a game and not the entire game.
How should we use stats?
If you are using stats it must be framed properly to explain a specific situation. Here is a bad example using the most improperly used stat ever the +/- rating.
What is the stat telling us? +/- rating tells us the point differential in the game while a player is on the court. That stat is useless in the moment as there are so many variables as to why a team is scoring or not scoring.
There was a segment on Undisputed where Skip Bayless was concluding that LeBron James just wasn’t good enough because his +/- rating was negative for a stretch of games. That is an empty narrative because it does not take into account what is happening on the floor.
The +/- rating is better used over a large segment of games, i.e. season or possessions to gain an understanding of tempo and scoring flow. It, however, cannot tell you if a team will be successful.
The next stat is P.E.R, Player efficiency Rating.
What is the stat telling us? P.E.R is an attempt at measuring a player’s efficiency on the court. That is it. John Hollinger even says so himself:
“Bear in mind that PER is not the final, once-and-for-all evaluation of a player’s accomplishments during the season”
I think we all know the infamous segment on first take where Skip Bayless tried to infer that Kobe Bryant wasn’t the Black Mamba because his P.E.R rating was in the 90’s and then Stephen A. went off. Stephen A. was 100% correct although he was arguing the point from an effect standpoint, a statistician will tell you:
You haven’t factored in the number of games Kobe played (or didn’t play) in comparison to everyone else on the list.
You haven’t factored in the number of shots Kobe took or overall production Kobe needed to create for the same level of success.
You haven’t factored in the previous success of the team Kobe is on.
In other words, P.E.R can absolutely tell you that Kobe Bryant at that time was less efficient than others, but P.E.R can not tell you that Kobe Bryant was less effective than others.
This is definitely a multi-part topic and both areas of discussion are absolutely valid, but years of poor use of stats has eroded its usefulness.
I’ll conclude part one with this – I said effect or effectiveness can be measured. Here is how:
Set the frame of reference for which you are making your statement, i.e. number of games, seasons, shots, possessions, etc.
Establish the direct statement you are looking at. Words like ‘better’ or ‘worse’ are relative so those are no good, efficient, effective, productive are better words.
Never use basic stats as the foundation of your argument and while you can speculate wins, stats, especially individual stats, are not to be used.
Taking everything into account. Using the stats of players this year between Golden State, Houston, and the Lakers who have taken more than 15 shot attempts per game here are your effective players in order
Steph Curry – by far
James Harden – tie
Klay Thompson – tie
If I tighten my statement to include that the players must have played at least 80% (41) of games this year. I take LeBron James off the list. Prove me wrong.
I don’t really understand why all the major media outlets believe that this is an “off year” or “honeymoon” season for LeBron. That’s wild. Must be the new narrative for the year to continue this LeBron/Jordan debate.
By: Opinionated MJ
Low Expectations Bron. You like what I did there? Let’s talk. Best player in the world. Best player in the NBA. Best player by far, right? Better than Steph, KD, Kawhi, and whoever else you would argue is second. Wait, distant second, right? Okay. If that’s the case, why is everything thinking this Lakers team won’t be a top 4 seed in the West this upcoming season. I’ll go on a limb and say that they will be a top 3 seed this upcoming season.
Who is standing in LeBron’s way besides Golden State, Houston, OKC, and Utah? Yes, Utah. They have a good wing player in Donovan Mitchell, a great rim protector in Rudy Gobert, and a point guard who seems to still be improving in Ricky Rubio. Not to get off subject, these are the only teams I think truly are a threat. With that being said, I see the Lakers landing at the 2 or 3 seed.
Golden State may get bored like they did last year. Houston may take a step back. OKC may hover and be where they have been the last 2 seasons. The wildcard here is truly the Spurs. I’ve got to see what product they put on the floor once training camp is underway. It’ll take time for things to transition smoothly for the Lakers, the Spurs, and maybe the Rockets as well. The Warriors didn’t retain everybody either and may face growing pains. Let’s not ignore the shortened preseason either. It’ll be less time to gel when it doesn’t count and they’ll all have to get it together as the season progresses.
This narrative that this is an “off year” for LeBron only sets up the idea that if he wins this year, many will raise him above Michael Jordan. I don’t know how many still expected LeBron to make the finals in the east but there were many. We just watched him carry a team that was constructed in FEBRUARY throughout the rest of the season and the entire playoffs. He landed the Cavs in the finals. The NBA Finals! I don’t care Kyrie and Gordon were hurt. I don’t care the Pacers were inconsistent when it mattered. I don’t care that the Toronto, Barney, LeBronto Raptors really loved LeBron so much that they just let him walk by, untouched. Then he came up against the mighty Warriors. Mistakes by George Hill and JR Smith, then a total collapse that followed. The Cavs were also loaded with old, but highly depended upon Kyle Korver, a troubled Tristan Thompson, and coaching inconsistencies with Ty Lue.
Excuse my sarcasm. I had to use it to make my next point. How does anyone really expect that this Laker team will struggle and that the Laker youth will struggle next to LeBron? I think LeBron will reinvent himself. He’s already done so by luring in a team of rivals. The signings of Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson show me that LeBron is ready to try a different approach to his style of play and to how he incorporates his teammates. LeBron will have those playmakers that he’s asked for. There’s also this myth about the Lakers, that they can’t shoot. I’ve seen numbers that were just under 40% from 3 from a few Lakers during the second half of last season. It will easily go into the 40 percentile with LeBron, Lonzo, and Rondo at the helm. Rondo alone will be enough to ensure better flow.
How about we realize how much you guys scream that he’s the greatest active player, and then turn around and actually give him credit for carrying Cleveland to another 50 win season all by himself. Translate that to the west, along with the fact that anyone out west will need to win Game 1 to stand a chance against LeBron in the Playoffs. Period. I don’t think any of you die hard LeBron fans truly believe that anyone outside of the Golden State Warriors will dust the Lakers off. You can be honest. Let’s stop the Kobe slander as well. LeBron hasn’t even played a preseason game as a Laker yet. Let’s just focus on LeBron in his own version of purple and gold. You’ll realize what these Lakers are by game 40. They’ll be 29-11. That’s when everything will click in and run like a well oiled machine, if not sooner. Let’s give LeBron credit for his maturation as well. I expect to see his game mature this season too. He may just take MVP.
I predict a 53 win season. Once this happens, you’ll realize why I call him, “Terror”. Welcome back to the playoffs LakerNation!
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 two is dedicated to LeBron James, the King. By all accounts he has surpassed Michael Jordan as the new standard of basketball.
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 LeBron James 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 LeBron James is currently tracking to surpass Michael Jordan in the key statistical categories and as a Small Forward on pace to be in the top 10 in points and assists, with strong ratings in rebounds.
The New Standard
LeBron James entered the league with enormous expectations. He was one of a long line of players who the sports analysts were looking at as the heir apparent. If you could dunk or brand yourself with the number 23 you were automatically placed in that running. Vince Carter, Jason Richardson, Danny Granger, and countless other were in that running and all fell short, LeBron held firm. His career was always viewed in terms of years and was somehow expected to take a team who couldn’t spell playoffs all the way to the Finals in year two.
Despite being self-described facilitator, he was forced into the scorer role and in 2007 he took the Cavaliers to the finals only to be swept by the Spurs. Poor Management, Lack of local support, and subpar advice from other players led to a move to Miami where LeBron began to develop further into what he is today.
What we began to realize is that LeBron had other mentors on the business side who advised him not to wait for what is there and take the opportunity when it is presented. What followed is a string of dominance that is a double-edged sword. For 15 years and counting LeBron James has been consistently dominant. No, he has not always won in the finals, but his teams have served to be formidable in all obstacles.
Lebron makes teams that would be garbage on paper a threat. He is equally a threat as a scorer as he is a facilitator and he remain in the conversation for MVP and NBA first Team well into points where his actual peers have shown true signs of decline.
We are now seeing players emulate his style play such as Anthony Davis, Lonzo Ball, and Ben Simmons.
The problem we face with LeBron James is that we continue to have the wrong conversations regarding his place with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. In today’s social media frenzy there seems to be this need force rank them, or worse, bring up senseless comparisons. You cannot seriously do it. You may prefer one over the other and that is fine, but here is what is factual.
• Michael Jordan set the world on fire and set the foundation and did what at the time was undoable for a shooting guard
• Kobe Bryant truly emulated that style and enhanced with a viciousness that is unmatched. His love for the game was represented in every fiber of his being
• LeBron James need for the game as an outlet fuels his undying desire to be better. He is creating a legacy and new standard that will be one for the ages. Players may be on teams that win more, but the established presence and dominant longevity will be one for the ages.
If we truly respect the game, we must honor the past while realizing that we have players who are drawing upon it to make it better. Failing to do so will only result in a stale product resting on the laurels of yesteryear with no evolution to call for.
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.
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.
By Opinionated Reezy (Ronald Stovall)
I am aware that this is no longer the older days of (sports) journalism. The days where the facts were presented first and then opinion is long gone. We now have opinion first and then cherry-picked facts to back that claim. Journalists today would still hold some degree of foundational facts in their craft to allow themselves to be respected for their opinion. Skip Bayless; however, throws fact against the wall and just runs through whatever opinion he thinks to be true. This makes Skip Bayless horrible for the game of basketball – maybe even sports.
Remember, Skip Bayless believed Tim Tebow was going to box office, better than Kobe and Lebron
Skip Bayless does not really appreciate the game of Basketball. He does not truly understand it and yet he gets paid the big bucks to analyze it and provide commentary.
You are not great unless you make the final basket in a close game to win for the team night in and night out. Never mind, if your team is good enough to not be in those situations. Never mind if your team is structured to pass the ball and avoid tight situations.
People listen to Skip because he says the one thing that people will unanimously agree with, Michael Jordan is the GOAT. However, to do that he has tear down every player on that team and any player who would ever attempt to rise to greatness to considered in the conversation. This is not how Basketball works.
Remember, Skip Bayless believed Kobe Bryant should be ranked in the 90’s in terms player ratings.
Basketball is a team sport and should always be reported that way. Yes, star players make the game exciting, but role players make the game watchable. Team play should be celebrated over individual contributors. The farce the Skip puts on night after night when talking about the game of basketball has to come to an end. It is great for comedy, but horrible for serious sports commentary.
By: Opinionated MJ
It began for me as a Detroit Pistons fan but a lover of Michael Jordan. I didn’t cling much to Grant Hill, I didn’t cling to Penny Hardaway, and I didn’t come to terms with choosing Iverson, Carter, or McGrady as my next most favorite player. You were my choice. Since I seen you play in high school. Highlight reels about some teenager who would eventually decide that the NBA was his next step, I became a fan of yours, through thick and thin.
I stayed glued to my TV watching Jordan slowly exit and watching you rise at the same time. It’s almost as if it was seamless, the transition from Jordan to you, Kobe. I watched you fail countless times. I endured hearing Iverson fans, Vince Carter fans, and Tracy McGrady fans say that those players were the heir to the throne Jordan left behind. Apparently, he gave you the torch, or as you would say, you have to take it. You did that.
I seen Shaq fail in Orlando with Penny Hardaway, I seen Scottie Pippen travel to the west in hopes of landing another championship playing with other really good players. There was flair missing from all of their games. There you were, fighting for minutes over the likes of Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel. I watched you continue to rise. “He’s a ball hog. He’s too selfish. He will never win a ring!” Then I watched as you beat Jordan’s nemesis to land your first ring. I watched you beat the legendary Allen Iverson to win your second ring. I watched as you win 3 straight. Who could say they defeated the mighty Spurs? Who can say they beat the Rasheed Wallace Blazers? Who can say the finally became better than the Karl Malone Jazz? The Gary Payton Sonics? They all had Kobe stoppers right? No, not Chris Childs throwing a punch. Not Reggie Miller throwing you over a table. Not Raja Bell, once you would compete without Shaq. Not Ruben Patterson. Not Doug Christie. Not Bruce Bowen or Shane Battier. Not even Ron Artest.
I think your greatness is wholly forgotten in this era. They didn’t see what I seen. They didn’t go from rooting for “no rings” Kobe to a superstar who measures himself on rings attained. Only Jordan set those kinds of bars for himself. Those expectations. You stayed a Laker. You proved everyone wrong and you excelled, even in times of desperation. I’m sure everyone remembers your huge mistake. That seemed to create a new you. A new purpose and appreciation for basketball that not many have at all. You never took a second on that floor for granted.
I seen you dominate the Phoenix Suns, practically alone. I even gave you a pass that you didn’t deserve when you decided to let the media see what your team could do if you didn’t shoot. I watched you fallout with Phil Jackson and makeup with him in preparation for another run. I watched you elevate the games of so many players around you. You didn’t have to do it like Magic or LeBron. You succeeded the way only Kobe could. You led by example and set yourself up in your own lane. You gave us great strings of performances. You gave us 81. We’ll probably never see it again. It was a perfect storm in the perfect situation. Your team needed it and you provided it with the most focus I’ve seen in a basketball player.
You became an inspiration to giving oneself to something to reach a goal. You gave us a mental blueprint on how to attain excellence without needing to do what people say, in any profession. Maybe it was the triangle. I still seen greatness after it, before it, in the midst of not having it before your injury during Rudy Tomjanovich tenure as coach. I watched you torch Jordan as a Bull and especially a Wizard. I seen countless game winners. The two against Portland. The ones that followed a championship against the Spurs, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat, against the Toronto Raptors. I could go on.
There’s only one problem. Those are now afterthoughts. Those are memories. I wasn’t done watching you. The game isn’t the same without you. There’s no single player that is worth watching every game for, like it was with you. You could play on a team full of 10 year olds and it would be fun to watch you still find ways to win because you always went with what you had. Same expectations: champion. True dedication and will.
I hope that you enjoy your life now that you’ve given most of your youth to the game. It was just yesterday I seen you with Brandy. Now I’m going to watch as the Lakers organization hangs your jersey in the rafters? There’s pain there. There’s age there. There’s time there that I can’t get back. Time I can’t relive. All I’ll have is moments. I guess this one is second to last. This moment means more than you becoming a hall of famer, because this means that you are truly done. No comebacks. No resurgence. No more blood, sweat, broken bones, and no tears.
The game and the fans of the game itself will always appreciate you. We will never forget exactly what you did, at least not us die-hard fans. I won’t ever let go of the amazement I felt when watching you play. I don’t think I’ll get that again. I don’t think anyone will harness that ability and maintain it throughout a career. I hope you enjoy watching the game the same way I do now, as a fan. I’ll never forget what I felt as an 11 year old watching greatness unfold. Watching you fight for your spot. I’ll also never get to see you suit up in real time again. I guess this is it. They can wear your shoes but it’s still not you, Kobe. So, I guess this is goodbye.
By: Opinionated MJ
Derrick Rose, LeBron, Kyrie, Celtics, and more!
By: Opinionated MJ
Kyrie Irving finally gets his wish!
Expectations of the new look Celtics & Cavs
Isaiah jerseys being burned. Why
LeBron and his new look Cavs.
How both new teams match-up to GS.
Will LeBron still leave if Cavs come up short?
Stephen A. Smith, please stop giving passes…
By: Opinionated MJ & NilClassic
Stats vs Effect
LeBron vs Kobe
And everything NBA!
Enjoy and thank you for the support!
Kobe Is Somewhere Hoping LeBron Gets Swept… It cements him as the 2nd Best Behind Jordan in this 3 headed debated.
By: Opinionated MJ
We’re currently sitting on a 3-0 Warriors lead in these playoffs. LeBron has played very well but he just doesn’t have enough done to have anything in the win column. Is it his fault now? That’s to be determined and deciphered. There is 1 thing that would be made plain and simple if the Warriors sweep the Cavaliers tomorrow night, the Jordan AND Kobe conversation ends. It’ll just disappear like smoke in the wind.
We’ve spent most of the last 2-3 seasons asking if LeBron is the GOAT. With that comes a direct comparison to Michael Jordan. To be the best, you must beat the best. It’s easy to see that LeBron has been topping Jordan in a lot of records. Blame can be put on what age they came into the league and the fact Jordan retired DURING his prime. Other fingers point to the heavy Eastern Conference Jordan had to deal with. He had so many rivals, especially in comparison to LeBron. Even LeBron tried to mimic the fact that Jordan had to go through the Detroit Pistons to become a champion. That led to him being swept out of the finals. After that happened, his only true rival had been formed in the form of the Big 3 Boston Celtics with KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo was on his was to greatness as well.
James finally had to face-off a few times with the Celtics before deciding that he’d be better off fighting this monster by joining forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Mind you, Kobe Bryant is still apart of the terror that resides in the Western Conference. Kobe then fought with the Celtics twice and becomes a repeat champion after 3 finals visits. Fast forward to the Mavericks team that finally beat Kobe and became the NBA Champion against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. LeBron then becomes an NBA champion a year later versus Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder setting up a dream rematch that we wouldn’t see for 5 years. LeBron then repeats against the San Antonio Spurs, giving him revenge and solidifying him as a champion. He then falls to the Spurs and goes back home to Cleveland. There, he takes them straight to the NBA Finals and loses to the Golden State Warriors. The next season, he posts an epic 1-3 comeback versus these same Golden State Warriors. Now to bring it full circle, we are looking at LeBron down 0-3 to the Warriors again.
Now, should LeBron lose to these Warriors in a sweep, there’s one thing that would be cemented: He CANNOT be determined as the Greatest of All Time. Ever. He can’t even be placed as the second best, in my opinion, behind Michael Jordan. He will be etched behind Michael AND Kobe Bryant as the 3rd best between those 3 players. We’ve been overlooking Kobe for a long time and his legacy can be cemented with him simply sitting at home, retired. I’m sure he’s somewhere right now hoping that LeBron falls to the Warriors 4-0 in this NBA Finals matchup. It does nothing but put Kobe back into the conversation where he never truly existed AT ALL in the minds of many LeBron James fans. Rather it was because he was a facilitator that Kobe never was, rather he was “considered” the one who elevated his teammates, he was ALWAYS put over Kobe. We can debate rather Kobe made his teammates better or not, I thought he made them better players, taught them preparation, kept them all reeled in and uncomfortable with losing, and ultimately, made them step their game up to catch their last 2 championships. He didn’t have Shaq for the last 2. He had Pau Gasol who was considered SOFT and Andrew Bynum who was considered aloof and was often injured. Kobe gave his teammates toughness. Kobe was never swept out of the Finals. Kobe often played through injuries throughout most of his career and still played at an elite level most of his career before the Achilles injury. LeBron is standing on a floor of eggs shells right now and looking at the door that Michael Jordan entered. There’s two ways this can go, the likely scenario is that he will either fall through and drop a level, under Kobe, who he is eye to eye with, or he will post the greatest comeback and walk through that door. I’m sure Kobe is watching, waiting, hoping for his legacy to be cemented as 2nd best behind the mysterious ghost that is Michael Jordan.
I’ll leave you with this, could Jordan win at least 1 game against this Warriors team? Could Kobe?
“The LeBron Standard” – Featuring Opinionated MJ & Sean Legend