Tag Archives: Shaquille O’Neal

The End Of Kobe Bryant: The Beginning

“Posthumously.”

It was an SAT word we learned but never used. That is until the 1996 release of Tupac Shakur’s album The Don Killuminati under the pseudonym ‘Makaveli’ following his unsolved murder.

A few months before, Magic Johnson had officially called it a career. His retirement in the summer of ’96 coincided with the beginning of the new Los Angeles Lakers’ dynasty.

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant arrived in Los Angeles during a tumultuous period of transformation. The city was going through a major police scandal, and homicides spiked amid gang violence. The infamous Death Row record label began to crumble, losing foundation members Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg. The Los Angeles music and sports entertainment industry would forever be changed.

Shaq and Kobe became intertwined with hip-hop. They would both drop records before winning their first championship.

In the fall of ’96 a rapper named Jay-Z released his debut album titled Reasonable Doubt. Although sales were mediocre, Bryant says the album is his favorite. Despite both rookies having slow starts, Kobe and Jay-Z would ultimately go in the pantheon of greats in their respective professions. It was O’Neal and Bryant’s hug after winning the 2000 NBA Finals which inspired the line “Jigga man is diesel, when I lift the eight up,” in his song Breathe Easy off his 2001 album, The Blueprint.

In October of ’96, Shaq released You Can’t Stop The Reign with rapper Notorious B.I.G. only a few months before the Brooklyn native was slain. After entering training camp out of shape, critics began accusing Shaq with being more concerned about being an emcee than a basketball player.

Meanwhile Bill Clinton was re-elected in the 1996 Presidential Election, the first Democrat to win a second-term since Franklin Rosevelt.

1996 brought the retirement of Magic Johnson, the arrival of Shaq & Kobe, the exit of Tupac (rather Makaveli), and the entrance of Jay-Z. All are still very much relevant 20 years later, but only one still holds the same job with the same company.

Bill Clinton’s wife is now running for president, Jay-Z ditched the Roc and became a mogul who raps part-time, while Shaq is still watching Kobe play as a TNT commentator.

Now Bryant announced he is walking away from something he has done for more than half of his life. To put it in perspective, Kobe has been a Laker longer than he has been an adult.

All eyes or on him now that he’s decided it’s check out time.

Michael Jordan Has Brotherly Love For Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan made it abundantly clear about his feelings regarding Kobe Bean Bryant during his 20th annual Michael Jordan Flight School in Santa Barbara, California.

“Even though he stole all my moves, but that’s OK. I still love him like a brother,” proclaimed the iconic Jordan.

“I think he’s one of the great players of the game, I think he’s done a lot for the game, and he has a true love for the game of basketball,” he continued. “I absolutely have high regard for Kobe Bryant.”

Mainly anonymous sources, along with some players and coaches around the league, have been known to make Bryant out to be a competitive yet treacherous nomad with whom nobody gets along.  A few others have tabbed him as the reason the Los Angles Lakers have been unable to land big name free-agents lately. And then there’s that whole Shaq thing.

But when the greatest player in the game expresses high regard and love for you, how much does the opinion of Jared Dudley really matter?

We discuss how the power of Michael Jordan’s love exceeds any hate for Kobe Bryant in this edition of P.A.G.E. 24.

 

Lakers Last Supper Portrait for the 2010 Lakers album 'Purple Reign'

Lakers Album: Purple Reign

Intro:

 

Lakers World Order Theme:

 

2 Sweet:

 

Gunz Blazing:

 

Light’s Out:

 

The Greatest Show:

 

Lakehouse:

 

Downtown Live:

 

The Hotness:

 

Lakers Haters:

 

Outro(Fame & Fortune) / Never Give Up:


BONUS TRACKS

The Public Option:

 

Count On Me:

Warriors Use Pistons Game-plan Against Shaq in 2004 NBA Finals

It’s a page straight from the 2004 NBA Finals. Larry Brown chose to play Shaquille O’Neal with single-coverage on the way to a 4-1 series win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Detroit Pistons chose to double Kobe Bryant instead and stayed at home with the rest of the shooters. Ben Wallace couldn’t stop O’Neal, who had his way with him, but it wasn’t enough to dominate the series. A younger O’Neal would have went for sixty each night if left alone. But the Pistons knew they were better off letting Shaq get his while shutting down everyone else.

LeBron James scored 44 points in Game 1 of 2015 NBA Finals, but only two in overtime. He continued to struggle with his outside shot, missing a fade-away three-pointer that would have won the game at the end of regulation. Steve Kerr decided not to double-team LeBron James, and as a result, the role players didn’t get open looks.The Golden State Warriors can’t stop LeBron from scoring, but they can stop him from getting his teammates involved.

J.R. Smith who has been huge in the playoffs thus far for Cleveland went 3-13, and starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert went 2-6. The Cavs had only one player with a field-goal off the bench. Kyrie Irving was productive on both ends of the floor, scoring 23 points and blocking Stephen Curry’s game winning shot attempt. But just like Karl Malone on the 2004 Lakers, Irving entered with a knee injury and will not finish the series after fracturing his kneecap.

At this point there is no need for Kerr to make any adjustments. James went 2-8 from the three-point line, and though still in his prime, no longer posses the athletic ability to dominate an entire series by himself. It was Shane Battier, Ray Allen, and Mike Miller who made multiple timely three-point shots during championship runs in 2012 & 2013. LeBron will need that same type of support to win his third ring. The Warriors look to cutoff the support and make LeBron carry the ailing Cavaliers.

Kobe Bryant, Lakers Sell Magic Beans

When he isn’t dishing out punishment in practice, Kobe Bryant is handing out assists for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Having grown weary of the spotty play of point guard Jeremy Lin, Head Coach Byron Scott has used Bryant as the primary ball handler in the back-court along with Nick Young. It has been an early success with the Lakers picking up consecutive victories against the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant has played facilitator before in his career in Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense. The Triangle didn’t require a traditional point guard, but an “initiator” who could start the offense. After the conclusion of the Shaquille O’Neal era, Bryant became the Apex of the offense where plays would go through him that setup shots for others.

Nick Young scored 29 points in the Lakers’ 112-110 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Kobe Bryant finished with nine assists and is only nine points away from replacing Michale Jordan for number three on the NBA’s All-Time Scorers list.

Continuing A Historic Season

He became the all-time leader in missed field-goals, the only player to score over 30,000 points with 6,000 assists, and is eight points away from tying Michael Jordan in career points. Now Kobe Bryant is about to add a defensive accomplishment to the list.

Bryant is tied with James Worthy for sixth on the Lakers’ career blocks list with 624, and needs five blocks to pass Andrew Bynum for fifth all-time.  Ahead of Bynum is Vlade Divac (834), Elden Campbell (1022) Shaquille O’Neal (1278), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2694).

 

 

 

Kobe Bryant is the most unselfish scorer in NBA history

Kobe Bryant became the first player in NBA history with at least 6,000 assists and 30,000 points in the Los Agneles Lakers’ 129-122 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Bryant also notched his 20th career triple-double in the process, tallying 31 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He fell three assists shy of his career high.

After setting an NBA record for missed field-goal attempts, dishing out the most assists of any player to score 30,000 points indicates the balance and control in which Bryant has played with throughout his career.

Ray Allen once chided the post-Shaq/Phil era Kobe saying his pride and ego would doom the Lakers:

“He’s going to be very selfish…he feels like he needs to show this league and the people in this country that he is better without Shaq. He can win championships without Shaq. So offensively, he’s going to jump out and say, ‘I can average 30 points. I can still carry the load on this team’.”

Allen was partially correct. Bryant would go on to twice average 30 points and win championships. His play was aggressive, but far from selfish.

Ask Luke Walton who earned a six-year $30-million contract playing alongside Bryant during that span, or Trevor Ariza, who went from bench player to a $33-million dollar deal with the Houston Rockets.
The benevolence didn’t miss Sasha Vujacic, who was left wide open during Kobe’s 2008 MVP season and got $15-million over three-years.

Some like to say Shaquille O’Neal carried Kobe Bryant. But history will show that Shaq, in all of his dominance, never broke the 30,000 point plateau. Kobe will also more than double O’Neals career total of 3,026 assists.

Michael Jordan dropped 5,633 dimes in his career. Without factoring in three-point shots, that assist total is worth 11,266 points. Add in the total amount of points scored over his career (32,292) and Jordan finishes with being responsible for 43,558 points scored.

Using the same formula (Points + Assists), Kobe Bryant is responsible for 44,159 points scored. He has already passed Michael Jordan in scoring.

Kobe Bryant still building legacy brick-by-brick

The case against Kobe Bryant officially began with a set of missed field-goal attempts.

The Lakers were eliminated in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals when Bryant shot an air-ball at the end of regulation, followed by another that would have tied the game in the extra period. He was comforted by his  teammate Shaquille O’Neal who encouraged him to keep shooting the ball. It was advice that would ironically contribute to their division years later.

Kobe Bryant hasn’t stopped shooting. He became the NBA’s all-time leader in missed field-goals during the Lakers 102-107 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. As infamous as it sounds, being known as the player who has missed the most shots means you have been around long enough to take them.
It wasn’t a forgone conclusion that Kobe Bryant would miss the most shots in NBA history. He had a mere 176 attempts during the regular season of his rookie year. To put it in perspective, fellow 96 draft class rookie Antoine Walker hoisted away 1,354 attempts for the Boston Celtics. It took Bryant two seasons and change to become the starting shooting-guard for the Lakers after Eddie Jones was traded to the Charlotte Hornets during the 1999 lockout season.

Kobe has been consistently good for so long that the evolution of his game is taken for granted. Unlike LeBron James, Bryant wasn’t given the green-light as a rookie. He even endured DNP’s under coach Del Harris when he was known as “Showtime” because of his flashy play in practice. But Bryant still had to earn minutes behind Eddie Jones and current Head Coach Byron Scott.

And he kept shooting.

He quickly earned the reputation as an introvert by choosing not to be a part of the Hollywood club scene with known playboys like Shaq and Rick Fox. His competitive nature and aggressiveness got around the league quickly, and the elder statesman started laying the wood as a right of passage. It all culminated with a fight with Chris Childs against the New York Knicks during the Lakers 2000 championship run. The nationally televised game between the two most popular teams in the NBA was the graduation of Kobe Bryant into superstar status.

His longevity has masked the fact that he’s played in seven seasons of 70 games or less. It took him five years before he completed an 80 game NBA season.

Bryant hasn’t ceased firing away, continuing to add bricks to the foundation he’s set. He has the chance to join Michael Jordan as the only players to lead the league in scoring at 36-years old. He has displayed that athleticism is still very much a part of his game, and although they won’t admit it, many analyst privately expressed that Bryant would no longer be an all-star after the layoff.

Kobe said he would rather go 0-30 instead of 0-9. He’s missed the most shots because he’s had the drive to make the most.

 

What’s Beef? Kobe Tried To Squash Dwight/Shaq Fued

The last days of Shaquille O’Neal included some classic public quarreling that The Big Aristotle was known for. Most of the drama was simply Shaq being a shameless self-promoter mixed with the media salivating for a story.

Enter Dwight Howard, who was now parading around the Orlando calling himself Superman. Not only was Howard copying Shaq’s nickname, but he seemed to be emulating his ‘Maybe I’m Too Big For The Orlando Maigc’ style prior to his pending free agency. Shaq set the record straight in a Sports Illustrated interview:

Doesn’t bother me. I can’t be impressed by something I invented in ’92. I mean, you look at what he is doing, I’ve been there and done that. Every street he is driving down in Orlando, I have been on that street. Every nightclub, every restaurant. … I have been there and done that. Until he wins three, four championships, then we can talk about him. But right now, he is just like every other big guy: ‘You can run and jump, but you haven’t won yet.

A recent story quoting numerous anonymous sources painted Kobe Bryant as a pariah who has ex-communicated the Lakers organization due to his nefarious reputation. Dwight Howard has since come out and denied that Bryant was a deterrent in him returning to Los Angeles.

During the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend, Kobe and Shaq were set to meet for dinner. Dwight Howard caught up with Bryant and was sure to explain to him that he had no beef with Shaq. Bryant, widely thought as an O’Neal nemesis, assured Howard that he’d talk to O’Neal on his behalf.

That’s right- Kobe played peacemaker between Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.

Rick Fox Had Tunnel Vision In Lakers-Kings Preseason Battle

The Staples Center is made in classic Coliseum spherical style. One can make a complete revolution around the arena through the tunnel area. This allows easy access to both locker-rooms to those with backstage access.

Rick Fox was well aware of this when he cunningly met Doug Christie at the visitors entrance to finish a physical confrontation in a memorable exhibition game from the 2002-2003 NBA season.

The Sacramento Kings suffered a trifecta of defeats in the Western Conference playoffs to the three-time champion Lakers, the last of which was a 7-game heavyweight bout. After going up 2-1 and seizing home-court advantage, the Kings fell victim to Robert Horry’s epic Game 4 shot which served as the coup de grace in the playoff trilogy.

The Kings were flashier, but had been criticized for being too much of a finesse team that could not physically compete with the Alpha’s in the conference. Fox was the Lakers de facto enforcer who had gotten into Peja Stojakovic’s jersey and head in the previous two series. Stojakovic, Christie, and Hedo Turkoglu seemed to have wilted amid the harassment on defense.

The Lakers and Kings squared off in their preseason finale, and it was obvious early on that Sacramento wanted to ditch the soft label. Doug Christie immediately began to blanket Rick Fox on defense and drew an offensive foul after Fox caught him in the jaw with an elbow only two-minutes into the game. They got tangled up and Fox’s left hand slapped Christie in the jaw, who immediately retaliated with an uppercut to Fox’s chin.

After both players got tossed from the game, Fox ran off the court past the Lakers’ locker room and waited for Christie to enter the tunnel. Christie arrived to find Fox who put the unprepared Christie into a headlock. Shaquille O’Neal was involved in the scuffle in the tunnel, but he nor the Sacramento players who left the bench received any suspensions. Fox and Christie received six and two game bans respectively.

Though the teams would not meet again in tournament play, it wouldn’t be the last time they had conflict.

Later that season Shaquille O’Neal became the 28th player in NBA history to score 20,000 points in a Lakers’ 107-99 loss in Sacramento. On top of receiving boos during the halftime announcement of the milestone, someone at Arco Arena defaced the game ball presented to O’Neal.

P.A.G.E. 24 – Kobe Bryant Works With Nature & Byron Scott Turns Back The Clock

The Los Angeles Lakers look to rebound from their worst season since relocating from Minneapolis.

Former Laker, and new Head Coach Byron Scott’s first priority will be to establish a new team identity, and institute a defensive philosophy.

An even greater challenge may be managing the minutes of 19-year veteran Kobe Bryant, who returns after only six games played in 2014.

In this chronicle of P.A.G.E. 24, we analyze the Lakers re-branding effort, the parallel between Byron Scott and Pat Riley, and Kobe’s strategy against that which is natural.

RunTheTriangle.com is proud to announce a partnership with the World-Wide LakerGang 4 Life network, and will be providing them with exclusive Lakers coverage all season long!

P.A.G.E. 24 – Purple And Gold Everything- All Lakers, All Day.