Kobe Bryant – The Legend

Kobe Bryant 8Kobe Bean Bryant entered the National Basketball Association (NBA) right out of high school as the first guard to ever do so, in 1996. On draft night the Hornets selected him and he was immediately, as was prearranged, traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Black Mamba stayed with the Showtime Lakers for his entire 20 year career, earning 18 trips to the All-Star game, being named 15 times to the All-NBA team, locking in 12 All-Defensive Team honors, taking home 5 NBA Championships (one three-peat and one repeat), nabbing 2 NBA Finals MVP Awards, and 1 NBA MVP, among many other honors and accomplishments. His 18X All-Star appearances is second only to NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 19 nods.

Kobe Bryant 24He was a monster on the court, offensively and defensively, and earned the respect of virtually anyone who played or watched the game, even those who hate on the Lakers, for their 16 total NBA Championships, second only to the Boston Celtics who have won 17, 11 of which were gathered with NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Bill Russell.

obe Bryant 5 time champKobe was the first-ever NBA player to amass at least 30,000 career points coupled with 6,000 career assists, and is one of only four NBA players with 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists. In 2006, the Black Mamba scored 81 points in a W over the Toronto Raptors, second only to 100 dropped by legend Wilt Chamberlain.

During his career, Kobe averaged 25.0 points, 5.20 rebounds, and 4.69 assists per game. His 33,643 total points scored ranks 4th all-time in the NBA. He played 1,346 regular season games and another 220 NBA playoff games.

Kobe Bryant OscarDue to a very serious torn Achilles tendon in 2013, and further injuries to follow, his remaining few years with the team were not vintage Kobe, although his last game, the 2016 season finale on April 13, saw him scoring a season-high 60 points against Utah, where, during this last hurrah, he outscored the entire Jazz team 23–21 in the fourth quarter, ensuring a Lakers 101–96 victory.

He was also a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner (2008 and 2012) and, after his retirement he won an Oscar in 2018 for the Best Animated Short Film, titled “Dear Basketball.”

Kobe Bryant will be missed on many levels.

May he Rest in Peace!

Over For Now.

Main Street One

 

Shaq Gets Shaq’d on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Very few Centers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have ever dominated in the way that Shaquille (Shaq) O’Neal did during a career that spanned 19 years.  During his time on the court, Shaq was an All Star 15 times and was on four NBA Championship teams, three of which were during his eight years playing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Two years ago the Lakers retired Shaq’s #34 jersey in honor of his achievements with the team.  While this was an expected action by the Purple & Gold organization, it is generally not done until a player has been selected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  Shaq was, last month, nominated to be inducted.

Recently, the NBA big-man, who can be quite the practical joker, received a fantastic surprise.  In Shaq parlance, he got Shaq’d.  During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host orchestrated the event perfectly, a can be seen below, where the big man is told he is getting a statue outside of the Lakers’ Staples Center arena.

It was great to see Shaq so surprised. It is a well-deserved acknowledgment, done in an absolutely wonderful manner.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Announces Retirement

On Sunday, November 29, Kobe Bryant formally announced his retirement, to take place at the end of the 2015-2016 season.  This was done via a written poem simply titled “Dear Basketball,” published on The Players’ Tribune website.

As the Los Angeles Lakers were playing that evening, all attendees received a letter from their star titled, “When we first met, I was just a kid.”

Kobe Bryant Fan Letter
Image via Twitter/ArashMarkazi (ESPN Staff Writer)

Regardless of anyone’s personal love or hate opinion, future NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant is a bonafide legend.  Many of today’s younger players have looked up to him, as he had looked up to Michael Jordan.

Reaction to his announcement was as it should be.  Following are but a few from the hoops world, which are pretty typical of those found around the web:

“It’s time for u to take it all in… sit back, relax & enjoy all that u have built. Love u lil bro @kobebryant” —  Shaquille O’Neal (@Shaq)

“We have lived incredible moments together on and off the court. Thanks for everything brother! @kobebryant #ThankYouKobe” — Pau Gasol (@paugasol)

“Hard to believe @kobebryant is finally going to hang it up. One of the NBA’s great champions. Enjoy the rest of this season my friend.” — Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen)

“Cherished every second out there with you @kobebryant !” — Paul George (@Yg_Trece)

“You loved the game @kobebryant and the game loved you back! Proud to know you and honored to have represented the #PurpleandGold together!” — Rick Fox (@RickFox)

Kobe Bryant quote
Image via Facebook/LA Lakers

Following three injury-plagued years, The Black Mamba’s numbers this season are definitely off from his 25+ point career average.  But, there is no denying that there are very few players who have amassed the scope of accomplishments he has been able to achieve over his years with the Lakers.  Following are a few of the more significant highlights of his storied career:

* 20 years with the same team (NBA record)
* 17-time All Star (16 as a starter)
* All Star MVP Award four times
* Five-time NBA Champion
* NBA Finals MVP twice
* 3rd on the all-time NBA regular season and post-season scoring lists
* NBA scoring leader twice
* Two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner

And, in 2006, Bryant set the second highest single-game scoring record by a player with 81 points vs the Toronto Raptors.  Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors still holds on to the #1 spot with 100 points in a 1962 game against the New York Knicks.

Enjoy you farewell tour, Kobe, as we have enjoyed your play and absolute dedication to the sport.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Golden State Warriors 2015 NBA Champions

In a hard-fought six-game series, the Golden State Warriors took down the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For the 1st time ever the 1st two games of the NBA Finals went into overtime.

For the 1st time since the very first Finals in 1947, as the Basketball Association of America, a rookie NBA head coach wins it all (though that was going to be the case no matter which team won).

For the 1st time since 1975 the Warriors can call themselves the NBA Champions.

For the 1st time since 1991 a team won the Finals without any players ever having played in a Finals game.

For the 1st time since 1999 one of the two Finals teams was not named the Spurs, Lakers or Heat nor had players named Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade.

For the 1st time since 2000 a player, Steph Curry, won his 1st NBA MVP and his 1st NBA Finals in the same year.

Curry is the 1st player to ever face and defeat all four members of the All-NBA First team, one in each of the match-ups through the Finals (Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, James Harden, LeBron James).

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six
Bill Russell and Andre Iguodala (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andre Iguodala became the 1st NBA Finals MVP who did not start every game in the series, being inserted as a starter at Game Four. He averaged 16.3 points, 4 assists, 5.8 rebounds and held James to 38% shooting when guarding him.

Some of the games were not the greatest to watch at times but there was spectacle to be had, such as the Cavs being able to initially contain the league MVP Steph Curry or watching LeBron James’ monster output (where he led both teams in total points, rebounds and assists averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists).

2015 NBA Finals
Scramble for the loose ball (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

There were nights of individual great performances from many players, too many to list. Suffice it to say after Game 3 it looked to be anybody’s series. However, in the end, the talent and depth of the Dubs was just too much for the Cavs to overcome, especially with their role players, trying to fill in for injured Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, running sometimes hot but mostly cold throughout the six games.

Game 1 Cavaliers 100 Warriors 108 (OT)
Game 2 Cavaliers 95 Warriors 93 (OT)
Game 3 Warriors 91 Cavaliers 96
Game 4 Warriors 103 Cavaliers 82
Game 5 Cavaliers 91 Warriors 104
Game 6 Warriors 105 Cavaliers 97

Golden-State-Warriors-Celebrate-Finals-Trophy
Golden State Warriors Celebrate Finals Trophy (NBA.com)

A very well fought series and well deserved championship for the Warriors. Congratulations!

Over For Now.

Main Street One