Featuring Opinionated MJ
Featuring Opinionated MJ
MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Episode 29 – Experience or Hunger? by Opinionated MJ on #SoundCloud
#Kobe #Gianna #WNBA #NBA #MJ
Experience or hunger? #Blazers, #Grizzlies, #Bucks, #Heat – Hunger
#Drummond & #Kevin Love can provide one year of beautiful chaos for the Cavs
#Zion will not be rookie of the year, stop, it’s Ja.
#Lakers & #Clippers in trouble? Clippers playing coy imo
#Rockets super small lineup
#Jordan should continue Kobe’s legacy
#Embiid troubles, Philly
#Raptors win streak generates no buzz
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)
Featuring Opinionated MJ, NilClassic, Lenny Justice, and J. Johnson
Pod is NSFW
Shout out to ShopTalk and PartyFavors! CrispyChrisTV and LXJ!
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!
I think Kevin Durant Matches LeBron’s Ring Total, Then Decides To Play Alongside Him.
By: Opinionated MJ
In the famous words of his ex-teammate Russell Westbrook, “Why Not”? I think that once we learned about the failed phone call LeBron made to KD, I believed that it potentially still had the makings of some type of team up down the road. We seen them hanging out shortly after. Let’s play in fantasy land a bit. We didn’t hear real news about KD just slamming him with a thunderous “NO”, so why not believe that maybe he told him he’d team up after he matched him? Food for thought!
KD could leave the Warriors, go to the Lakers and still maintain focus towards the following season once he becomes a Laker. The motivation will be simple: “Steph, Klay, Dray… They have 4 rings. I have to surpass them and take LeBron with me”. This could set KD up to usurp LeBron and the Warriors all at once. You defeat LeBron in the finals 3-1 individually. Then, you defeat the team you beat LeBron with, but this time you do it WITH LeBron. At least to the tune of 1 Championship more than them for all-time. LeBron’s ring count is elevated because of you after you eviscerate whoever is on the opposite team and you become the reason why LeBron got closer to Kobe and Jordan in ring total. Maybe even surpassing them both.
This really could be the only way Durant receives the level of acceptance that could keep him from continuously taking shots at random people on Twitter. Laker fans could defend him if he brought titles to LA. This could also go down as one of the greatest stories in NBA history. Beat the mighty Warriors and potentially have another showdown with their bitter rival, the Boston Celtics. This would be great theater, great history, and great for basketball.
Think about it.
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 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
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!
By: Opinionated MJ
Who would’ve thought? An Article about Kobe making his teammates better. Although, yes, he’s retired. He’s no longer a member of the Lakers roster. He’s no longer in the locker room. He’s no longer giving anyone the infamous death stare. He’s no longer just jacking up jumpshots with a focus on increasing his total points number to etch himself in the top 5 of scoring for years to come. He’s no longer handing down his criticisms and showing no emotion when the kids are excited and jumping around. He was like a father to these Lakers for a couple seasons and it paid dividends.
I read an article and seen video from NBA analysts that explained how the whole Kobe rebuild experiment worked. Let Kobe shoot away, increase the chance for lottery picks, and develop the young players while he is still there. Let that Mamba Mentality rub off and let’s see how they perform once he’s gone and they are unleashed. Here we are now. Luke Walton brought the championship culture from being a member of the Golden State Warriors coaching staff. He also brought championship experience, playing experience, and even having been apart of a Phil Jackson team (if that matters), allows him to relate and give great advice to the young Lakers. Maybe his coaching last year while Kerr was out wasn’t a fluke. This offense is nearly identical to the offense run in Golden State. Just different players who share similarities with those on the Warriors.
Back to Kobe. They say he was never able to make his teammates better. In theory, this is true. He didn’t set them up well unless he wanted to, he didn’t increase their numbers, blah, blah, so on, so on. He made Lamar Odom better, he made Andrew Bynum play to his potential, he made Gasol tough as a Laker, he made Shaq step his game up and compete with him as well in the past. Isn’t that making your teammates better? Fast forward. He jacked up shots but led by example. Having a killer instinct that is all over these Lakers now, right now. He left them with a sense of freedom now to play their game and know that execution is everything. He didn’t have to have gaudy assist numbers, he didn’t flirt with triple-doubles every night, he didn’t shoot lights out from 3, he didn’t shoot beautiful floaters over big men constantly, and he wasn’t the one to shy away from the blame, from the final shot, from being hated. He wasn’t even appreciated until he declared retirement. Yet, he still found a way to improve the young Laker kids and help propel them to this surprising start to the 2016-17 NBA season.
If you look at the holdovers from the past couple of seasons, those are the players affected the most. Julius Randle, Nick Young, and Jordan Clarkson are those affected the most. They have come out and been surprising individually while also playing well within Walton’s team concept. They defeated the Warriors handily. They had a major comeback against the Sacramento Kings. They’ve also competed in every game this season. They’ve been highly competitive. Which wasn’t expected at all. Everyone expected another lottery season. Why has no one expected this team would rise like last year’s Utah Jazz? Maybe everyone had higher expectations on the Minnesota Timberwolves. They have saavy veterans who will help with the growth of the Kobe Kids in Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, and Lou Williams. They have consistency with their offense now that they have a coach that won’t limit them and not use their strengths, sorry Byron Scott. They can now spread their wings, and the ball, now that Kobe is gone. What he left behind was will. Will. Something that can carry you when the odds are against you. He left behind professionalism. A way to carry yourself from game to game, media conference to media conference, practice, and games. He left behind Mamba Mentality. I’m sure you Cleveland Cavs and Kyrie Irving fans know about that. Even he gave Kobe praise. Kobe taught the young Lakers, and others, to push the button and not care if the shot falls or bricks. He taught them to go for it. Leave it all on the floor and deal with the success and/or ramifications later. He taught them how to be leaders and how to translate that to the basketball floor. He left his imprint on this current Lakers team. It’s up to you to see it. If you were never a Kobe fan and didn’t watch him from day 1 up to now, you wouldn’t understand what he left behind and how he affected these Lakers. They’re exceeding expectations. Russell Westbrook can set his teammates up from drives, LeBron as well on drives and from the post, Steph sets his teammates up from 40 feet away by being a threat to shoot anywhere and simply find an open man or angle, but if you take them away from their teams they will surely lose their way and won’t play the same. The difference is, Kobe improves you individually and that will trickle down and around every which way. The proof is in these Lakers. Watch, enjoy, and remember how they became this way. Imagine if Ingram had a season alongside Kobe.
I predict they’ll win 30+ games this season. I won’t be surprised if they make a big move and land a star either now or in the upcoming offseason that will put them over the top. It’ll be fun to watch them rise in the west again. It is much more wide open this year from 4 thru 8. Let’s see if they can land a playoff berth and make some noise.
By: Opinionated MJ
Congratulations to LeBron and the Cavaliers! Cleveland, embrace this moment! You’ve been waiting for this. To finally see one of the best players ever, fulfill his promise to bring Cleveland a ring has got to be a breath of fresh air. I remember the feeling of living through a championship with my Pistons in 2004. The Red Wings were also prosperous. The Tigers were doing well as well if I’m not mistaken, I think we may have made the World Series that year. We had the Super Bowl here as well and I think a WrestleMania or something like that. Final Four NCAA basketball around this time as well. Great Year! Enjoy it!
LeBron has been preparing for season’s opening since Kevin Durant decided to become a part of the Golden State Warriors. They seem to be the only team that stands in the way of a repeat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’d like to add that, if I were Carmelo Anthony seeing this ring ceremony tonight, I’d probably cringe and play with nothing but anger and hunger in my heart. Knowing I had the chance to be a part of the Miami team that won a ring and to be able to finally experience that level of success. It must be fulfilling for LeBron for sure. He has one ring by himself now as well. Kyrie pitched in BIG! I even thought Kyrie would win finals MVP after closing out Steph Curry and the Warriors in crunch time of those last few games.
I’m not big on picking another team except the current reigning Champions as the favorites to win it all. I’m going with the Cavs but I will admit I want my Pistons to win and if they can’t then I would love to see the Warriors win one for KD while he’s on a LeBron-esque mission to obtain a ring and put that on his resume. That would solidify him with other future Hall of Famers. I’d also like to see if they Bulls could somehow someway pull a rabbit out of a hat. Although, I think Chris Bosh is the only way they could achieve such success. I would also like to see the Spurs acquire DeMarcus Cousins for LaMarcus Aldridge. You heard it first. Chris Bosh to the Bulls, Cousins to the Spurs.
LeBron wants to win the MVP this year and that is making waves throughout the league. I think Paul George may have mentioned MVP first but he’s driven to do so as well, Damian Lillard wants to, and I’m very certain that Russell Westbrook wants to as well without saying it. Westbrook was chasing Magic Johnson’s triple-double record last year and didn’t admit it until someone asked him. I think LeBron should relax and let Kyrie and Kevin prove themselves and let them man the battleship until it absolutely requires LeBron to come in and take over. I know things used to fall apart fast when he exited the game last season and they would struggle to extend their lead over other teams at times. Let’s not forget their struggles en route to their triumph. Up and down season with LeBron thinking of his Banana Boat squad being teammates one day, social media jabs at some of his teammates, and a few other things. Maybe he also took a few pointers from Kobe about challenging your teammates. You do have to PUSH others to get something done more times than not. He successfully pulled that off and led his team to a Championship after being down 3-1. Congrats again to the Cavaliers! Good luck to the Cleveland Indians!