Tag Archives: KB20

For Kobe 31 Is The New 81

Kobe Bryant can get hot still. He scored 31 points in a vintage performance to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-104 victory over the Washington Wizards.

The rumors of his demise have been greatly circulated. The declaration that he his playing in his final season lit social-media on fire, and before it ends he’ll probably start another trend.

After shooting 1-14 against the Golden State Warriors from the field, there were lamentations for Bryant to immediately call it quits. He was embarrassing himself. It was over.

But dead men don’t make go-ahead buckets to get road wins on the second night of a back-to-back. For one night Bryant was resurrected.

If it were as bad as the experts claimed, then his 31 point outburst is right up there with the game in which he scored 50 more than that against the Toronto Raptors. Five years before that he scored 61 in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. Everyone knew that Kobe was capable of the unbelievable. But this Kobe, the wounded warrior with nothing left to give basketball, nobody is expecting the spectacular.

Like Wilt Chaimberlin’s 100, Kobe should have drawn 31 on sheet of paper and taken a photograph. No player at 37-years old has returned from achilles surgery to score 31 and make a game-winning shot. Bryant’s heroics are that of legend, I guess you can say a new one just begun.

Lakers’ Trip On The Magic Buss

The Los Angeles Lakers have set precedent when it comes to paying top-dollar. Kobe Bryant received a lucrative $48 million contract making him the NBA’s highest paid player after suffering a torn achilles.

Current Lakers owner Jim Buss continues to draw criticism for paying Bryant so richly during the twilight of his career. The reason why Buss took such a gamble on Bryant may have more to do with genetics than loyalty.

It was his late father and former Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, who made headlines in 1979 by lavishing rookie Earvin Magic Johnson with a 25-year, $25-million contract. It seemed ridiculous in the moment, most notably the the length of the agreement . But the NBA’s increased revenue and television ratings that followed confirmed Buss’s foresight.

The latter Buss has has proven he’s a gambler like his father. Selecting little known Andrew Bynum in the 2005 NBA Draft, and passing on Jahlil Okafor for D’Angelo Russell in the 2015 installment proved he’s more than willing to risk his chips.

Despite missing the playoffs the past two seasons, and being eliminated in the first-round twice before that, the Lakers continue to rake in the dough. Forbes estimates the Lakers are worth over $2.6 billion, most in the NBA. This is in large part due to their rich local TV deal with Time Warner ($4 billion over the next 20-years.)

Needless to say the team is striving monetarily. What’s forgotten in the midst of the newfound losing ways of the purple-and-gold is that the franchise ultimately exists to make money. Although hanging banners while entertaining the fans with a quality basketball product is a top priority, what really matters is the bottom line.

By that measure, Jim Buss has become more successful than his father.

His ability to generate capital has not freed him from being viewed by a large assortment as the chief culprit behind the demise of Lakers exceptionalism.

Their belief is that Dr. Buss would have convinced both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to remain Lakers, and been able to lure Carmelo Anthony or LaMarcus Aldridge as he did with Shaquille O’Neal.

So as the Lakes go on to miss the playoffs for a third straight year during Bryant’s farewell tour, Magic Johnson believes it’s time for Buss to seek assistance.

“I love Jim Buss. He should just be the owner, like his dad was just the owner,” the Dodgers owner said. “Let’s go back with facts, so I can back this up with facts: 27 wins a couple years ago, 21 wins last year.”

ESPN Analyst Stephen A. Smith asserted that Johnson himself assume full control of the Lakers’ affairs. This season James Worthy joined the staff as a consultant. Others believe the Lakers have made a mistake by not having more of their hall-of-farmers in the mix. But then again, some of those same people are calling for the ousting of Byron Scott.

It was the Magic-Buss connection that sparked the beginning of the Showtime era. It remains to be seen what next Jim Buss will conjure up for Lakers fans.

Young Wants Lakers To Get Act Together

The ordinarily comical Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young was sharply critical and disappointed with his Los Angeles Lakers team following a 103-91 loss to the (then) winless  Philadelphia 76ers.

“All I know is the circus came to town today and we did what we normally do,” said Young, referring to the increased media attention and arena demonstrations to honor Kobe Bryant following his retirement announcement.

The irony of Young, who is in a high-profile relationship with pop music artist Iggy Azalea, being concerned with distractions is that it was he who last season interrupted a post-game interview following a victory which ended up on Kobe Bryant’s Summer Jam screen on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

But after a season of being publicly scolded by Byron Scott for lackadaisical play, it is now Young going on the offensive in the media.

“It can’t be like a video game & you’re playing with your favorite player, you know,” said Young after a Lakers’ 111-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors. “We’ve all got to share the ball.”

It is no secret that the Lakers attempted to trade Young this offseason and had no takers. Their relationship became rocky with Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol after seasons of failed trade attempts.

Time will tell if Young is developing into a veteran who is more of a vocal leader, or has grown weary playing under the lights of the greatest show on earth.

We’re a circus,” chided Young. “We’re playing terrible. We lost to Philly. Philly! What does that make us?”