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Talking with: Maurice Evans, Part I

UPDATE (8-6): We're on the road today, so expect a delay here and there in comments getting posted.  We'll do our best to keep up, as will HQ.

As some of you may already know, Lakers swingman Maurice Evans recently took part in the NBA Player's Assn.'s "Feeding One Million" campaign, a partnership with Feed The Children to help provide food, clothing, medicine and other essential items to 1 million children in Kenya.  Evans accompanied Ron Artest (Sacramento Kings), Theo Ratliff (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Etan Thomas (Washington Wizards) to Africa, embarking on an eye-opening journey into a plight and poverty most of us are lucky enough to find unimaginable.  I caught up with Mo by phone a few days ago, and we discussed the goodwill mission, how the trip affected him on a personal level and, of course, hoops (Lakers or otherwise).  Here's Part 1 of what he had to say:

Andrew Kamenetzky:  How did you find out about the trip to Kenya?   

Maurice Evans:  Actually, I have been with Feed the Children already prior to that.  They did the "Feed the 5,000," which was feeding 5,000 families in Oakland.  We did that when I was in Detroit.  We fed 5,000 families there.  And last year, with the Lakers, we went to New York and a couple guys from the team were involved with that as well.  (Players Assn. President) Billy Hunter knew that I had been involved in the first two and called me over the summer and asked me if I was interested in doing (the trip to Kenya), and I was like, "without a doubt."  I wanted to help these people.

AK: Had you heard before about them looking to go overseas, or did this take you by surprise? 

ME: I didn't know that they planned on doing a project that feeds 1 million people somewhere in Africa, something like that.  When he told me about it, it just sounded like something special, something that I definitely would try to get involved in.  It made it that much better to go to Africa to actually give it to people who can't really measure poverty, in my opinion.  I mean, people are hungry and starving whether it's in the United States, whether it's in Europe or Africa -- it's all the same.  But to be able to go over there and actually see how people are living there and to feel like you could make a difference, it was really cool.

AK: Obviously, you knew going over there that you'd be seeing people living in dire straits.  But even with that in mind, was the level of poverty still shocking?

ME: Yeah.  It was very shocking.  Like I said, you can't measure poverty, but there's so much poverty amongst children.  It's really eye-opening.   For children, who obviously don't have a hand in what they've been dealt.  They didn't have any part in the hand they're dealt, you know?  There are children who have limited opportunity to even get an education that are in that situation.  We went to the school when we first got there.  This building is for educating children and it was one room, two chalkboards, rundown benches, just a long picnic table.  The kids sitting there with probably one or two teachers trying to educate a room full of kids.  There's no individual attention.  There's nobody raising their hands and saying, "I don't understand.  Can you explain that to me?"  There was nothing like that. 
And kids go as much for food as they do for the education.  Even more so for the food, because they know that by going to school, the motivation is that you're going to get a meal while you're there.  It was so bad that you eat that one ration and you have to provide your own bowl.  And some kids couldn't even afford their own bowl, so they had to put it in their pocket.  It was beans and rice, and the rice is submerged in, like, juice.  So the kid's pockets is all wet and he didn't have any shoes on.  And you see the kid with the bowl and he was trying to get as much as he can in it, because it's not only going to feed him but it's also gonna feed his brothers and sisters later that evening. 

AK: Is that the worst thing you saw or did it even get more upsetting?

ME: Well, you know, the thing that's so crazy about the situation there was that as poverty-stricken as it was, there was still a bigger discrepancy between "the haves" and "the have-nots."  Before we left, they did show us the nice areas in Kenya, where you have nice restaurants.  We went on a safari for a couple days.  We were able to go see their malls, some of their government buildings. 

Probably one of the worst things we witnessed: We went to the Ray of Hope Clinic, and that's where the player's union actually donated money on behalf of all the NBA players.  They have these people who have AIDS.  And they also help out children, help these people out.  I noticed there was a kid standing there who didn't have any shoes on.  And he was right in this area called "the slump."  "Slump" meaning exactly what it sounds like.  Like "slump, that's terrible."  And he was walking around barefoot.  There's glass.  There's rocks.  It's hard walking there with shoes on, let alone without.   I could see that he was cut all over his foot.  I had a little bit of money with me, something like 250 bucks.  I see this guy, a vendor, he's selling shoes.  I just took the little kid over, tried to get him a pair of shoes.  And it wasn't like they were Jordans.  They were just like some shoes.  Some leather shoes.  We took him over to get those shoes and then the next thing you know, here comes another kid who didn't have shoes.  And then another kid and another kid. 

Before too long, there was a super-long line of kids, and they were realizing that they were going to get a pair shoes if they got in line before the money ran out.  I felt so bad that I didn't have more money, you know what I'm saying?  You just feel how much of a difference something just small like that will make in their life.  When the kids had these shoes, you could just tell the difference.  Now they're running around and playing.  The kids are playing soccer, kicking a rundown soccer ball with no shoes.  Now it seems like when they're playing soccer, they're excited.  Little stuff like that.

AK:  Did that almost feel surreal, because there are some guys in an NBA locker room who basically get a new pair of shoes for each game? 

ME: Yeah.  Exactly.  It obviously put things in perspective, because even the shoes that we wear for multiple months and multiple games, by the time they're done, they're still in such great condition that anyone would love to have them.

AK: Did these kids know you were in the NBA?  Does that mean anything to them?

ME: No.  Because the NBA, nice cars, nice houses and lots of money, it's intangible to them.  I don't even think they realize what that is.  That's not a reality for them, the NBA.  I bet you could bring some of the bigger stars that we have and they probably wouldn't be able to recognize them.

AK: Did they know you were basketball players?

ME: They knew we were basketball players, but they knew we were there to help.  I'm sure they were extremely appreciative that we were there and we were able to help them out. 

AK: Was it weird being there with three other NBA guys and not having people ask you about the Lakers?  About Kobe?  The NBA? 

ME: It wasn't really strange to me, only because I knew what the purpose that we went over there for.  It's almost like once we got there, seeing the area, the poverty, what we were in for, we didn't even think much about the fact that we were in the NBA anymore.  It was almost like, we're here.  Let's see what we can do improve the situation while we're here.  Ron brought a video crew so he could document everything that went on and kind of take it in.  I think that we did some good things while we were there.  All four of us.  Theo, Etan, Ron and myself, we all four had a really, really good experience.  We really tried to do as much as we could and really tried to be involved with the kids.

AK:  Ron learned about his upcoming suspension while you guys were over there.  Did that put a damper on anything, or did the circumstances and surroundings make it feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things?

ME: I don't think it put a damper on it, because Ron did a really good job of doing the things to stay positive.  He understood.  Obviously, he's going to continue to grow and mature every day in this league.  He still turned it into a positive.  Everyone wanted to call and talk about the dispute that he had with his wife to get suspended.  But all he talked about was the good that he was doing and bringing light to the fact that they need even more help over there and around the world.  I think he did a really, really good job deflecting that and turning it into a positive. 

AK: I read he's looking to build a house in Kenya, just so he can go back and keep tabs on things.

ME: Yeah.  Well, I know he also donated money for the Ray of Hope clinic so they could build a lab there, so they can actually help with the medicines and administer them to people.  That's one of the pieces they were really lacking.  It only costs about $20 to deliver a baby at the Ray of Hope clinic.  The people still couldn't afford to pay the $20. The problem is also that they don't turn anyone away.  They're there to help people, so it's pretty much free.  Also, when they deliver the babies, the problem isn't delivering the baby, it's that they deliver the baby and have the woman go to the recovery room for two to three hours.  She'll just sneak out and leave the baby because she can't afford to take care of it.  When you're dealing with issues of that magnitude, anything obviously helps.

AK: Did this trip make you think a little differently about the world or put certain elements of your life in perspective?

ME: To be honest, I can't really say that.  I can't say that I didn't appreciate life or that I didn't appreciate being in the NBA, given how hard it's been for me.  But it makes me want to succeed that much more, so that maybe I can be able to help out even more so on a financial level.  I think it serves to be a motivation.  Not that I lacked any at all, because I really want to be accomplished.  I want to have a great year.  I want to build upon the things that I did last year and I really want to expand my role with the Lakers.  Just really make an impact for a long time in the NBA.  So I think it just serves as extra motivation.

AK: It adds another level of what can come from those accomplishments, aside from the direct  basketball results.

ME: It shows you what more can be done.  It shows me that there's so much more that can be done.  It shows me an extra path where I can really help and affect, in terms of people's lives. 

AK: I imagine the answer is yes, but do you plan on staying involved with these programs?

ME: Yes.  Like I said, I've been involved for the last three years, and I'm definitely going to continue to be involved and continue to help out in whatever way I can.

Part II to follow soon.      

 
Comments () | Archives (262)

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the line of kids trying to get shoes part is just so sad. i wish kobe would do something like this, go to africa and make a difference. i mean, this is a dude who pulls in 20 million a year. i know even 1 million of that would buy shoes for all those kids.

and before you guys call me a kobe hater, i am one of kobe's hugest fans. i just am saying the obvious: kobe should quit that vivo foundation crap and help people who TRULY need help.

Great Stuff AK.

I wish more of these things were mentioned or reported.

Artest is a crazy guy but hes well educated and knows his stuff so Im sure he and Mo, Theo, and Etan (who writes a great column at SLAM) were the right people to send.

But I wish more of these guys went. You know who I would really love to see go?? Guys like LeBron, Iverson, Garnett, Carmelo, D-Wade, etc. You know if you really wanted the NBA to change its image it would be by sending these guys on missions over there.

Since this thread isnt about basketball then I feel okay to write about this. I wish more of these African-American athletes went back to help out. I dont think its racist or stereotypical to say this at all. I wish more black athletes went back to see how their brothers and sisters lived in conditions overseas. It would really put things into perspective.

Now of course as a minority myself, I know that black people in this country have been screwed since the day they were brought on slave ships, and between Jim Crow, Missouri Compromise, George Wallace, George Bush, Katrina, Rodney King everything else, things like racism, urban poverty and lack of resources have been thrown onto black people as a whole. Many of these athletes, and NBA players have come from these situations. Many of them have used basketbal to escaple jail or death and so its valid in my opinion to say that they do have a perspective of tough living conditions.

However, when compared to issues facing other nations, I wish that Blacks who have come so far here in the U.S. would make that next step like the Dikembe's and Hakeems. I know those guys are connected over there because they were actually born there, but to see an Iverson, or LeBron really go over there would be something else.

Look if I was the NBA commisioner I would plan big trips. Send Kobe, LeBron, Iverson over there to run basketball camps and begin a crop of NBA players. You can use that as your justification for sending athlets. You can sell this idea to corporate sponsors.

The NBA is currently doing this in China, but in typical capitalism and odd foreign policy, the NBA is looking at bucks instead of impact. I mean here were are with a trade embargo on Cuba because of their communism, but we are the worlds' biggest trade partner with China (so much that we have a huge trade deficit), even though they are communist and probably have way more human rights violations than Cuba. But China is the bottom dollar.

The NBA is doing the same thing, running basketball camps, bringing Kobe and MJ to China, trying to bring Yi and Yao, and encourage their system of doing things. This whole Yi fiasco??? Thats stupid.

If you want to really do something, send those guys to really change the world and send them Africa where they will have a great chance of doing something special. I always thought basketball players had that power because there is so much emphasis on the individual that the individual players can affect so much, more so than other team sports.

I think the NBA culture would be served well to see more of these humanitarian missions. It would really change players and GMs and so forth. It would save the image of the NBA, and also do something really socially relevant.

This is awesome. And before this thread becomes inundated with comments again, I wanted to ask if you guys (and the LAT) would consider switching this blog with an easier-to-follow comment thread format? Am I the only one who finds the current "flat" format frustrating? People are constantly referring to other comments. To see what which comments they are referring to, we have to scroll up. Sometimes the comments in question are buried at the beginning of the thread. I much prefer the organization of a "threaded" or "inline" format. It would also make it easier for me to follow up on a comment discussion I'm interested in. (If you don't know understand these formats I'm talking about, please check out the comment forums on IMDb.)

Just 2c from a semi-lurker ... obviously a very minor problem compared to third world hunger :/

E

Thanks AK. That's the kind of story I want to hear about, something that might serve as a wake-up call to other people, including us. Sounds to me like Mo had a much better, much more important summer than most.

It's wonderful to see that some players are sincerely willing to give something back...

NOT ONLY A GOOD BALLER BUT A NICE PERSON AS WELL!!!!

THANK YOU FOR BEING A LAKER....

We are all so busy talking about Kobe's demands or Ron's suspension or why the Lakers are such a poor team that we forget just how much these human beings try to contribute to the society. NBA players have more than most of the rest of us, but they also usually give more, also.

Thank you for publishing this piece. Not only for the exposure of the world's problems that we often try to forget, but for the positive things it says about Mo and other NBA players.

AK, that was a GREAT interview with a GREAT person. Mo obviously understands that the only things that count are the things you can't count and has made a commitment to service and to getting blessings so he can give them. And the same holds true for the alleged "head case," Ron Artest, along with Theo Ratliff and Etan Thomas. If every NBA player "tithed" a measly 1% of his gross salary to a program such as family planning or fighting global warming, etc. we would be in much better shape. How about spreading that idea to the NFL, to MLB, to all these really overpaid "entertainers" in whatever industry they're in? I'd be willing to give 10% of my taxes to similar efforts, why not them?

Think about it.

Meanwhile, thanks for a terrific read.

That great that Mo Evans is doing that.

Chris-

Kobe does a lot of community help besides Vivo, just look around on the web or on KB24.com. He does help people who really need help. Like those young child cancer patients he surprises and takes out to have a good time.

Africa is the neglected continent, except when it has resources for multinational companies to exploit (one of them happens to be 7 foot basketball players!). But even when westerners take an interest in the resources, they neglect the people. It's heartwarming to see dudes like Mo Evans and Ron Artest stepping up and stepping in (with or without shoes).

I think somebody should send a copy of The Lake Show's post to David Stern. Maybe the kind of honesty Mo Evans shows will distract Stern from the dishonesty of one (or some) of the refs.

Thanks for the great interview! Keep up the good work Mo!!!!!!
As far as helping......I think WE should look for ways that WE can help out, instead of hoping for NBA players to do it. Its easy for everyone to just point to those in the financial class above themselves. Here is one simple example of how I have been able to make a big difference with a small sacrifice (Many other ways as well):
http://www.compassion.com/default.htm

Lake Show,

David Stern and every NBA owner, coach and player should read your post.
These privileged few have the power and opportunity to redeem the sport and themselves. They have the power and opportunity to turn "the ugly American" into the "welcome American."

All the "NBA Cares" promos we are subjected to during the season seem about things so small, however valuable, that they just ring hollow. Artest, Evans, and the others have recognized something they can teach all of us. The biggest beneficiary of giving is actually the giver. It is the recipient who bestows honor and blessing on us.

When you read Evans' account of how far a bowl of food received at these schools must go, it is absolutely heartbreaking. Perhaps you could provide a link for bloggers who would like to contribute.

The conversation with Evans is absolutely inspiring. It is a great antidote to what has otherwise been a wretched off-season.

Mo is a class act. I liked this guy since we got him and I like him even more now. This guy gets it. He is blessed to make a lot of money playing a game that he loves and has a God given talent to play, but he still sees the bigger picture of life and the role he can play in making someones future a little bit brighter.

AK, great interview. Thank you for helping us all put things back in perspective for a minute. We all sit here and blog from probably multiple computers eveyday: work, home, crackberry's whatever. Sometimes I sit here and read the blog on my laptop while eating dinner and watching tv after work. Not thinking about the kids and people suffering in other parts of my city, country and world. Hopefully I can change that as well.

$250.00 is more to me than it is to Mo, but hey $20 bucks to help deliver a baby here and there is no big deal. We can all think about that kind of stuff. couple of times a year that can make a difference.

Thank you again for the eye opening interview.

T-Woody

Chris,

Kobe is also involved with the Make A Wish Foundation. That doesn't even get much press, except here on this Blog, of course. Mo Evens wouldn't have gotten any press if it weren't for AK and BK.

You cannot possibly judge what any athlete is doing that is charitable based on the press. Those types of things do not get good ink.

Kobe does even more than that with his own money, without planning or press, all around the city and league, all the time. He doesn't even try to get people to notice. He helps through the kindness of his own heart. To know what he truly does, you have to run into these people and hear their stories.

No one here can adequately judge Kobe's Philanthropy because none of us really knows. But, rest assured it is a LOT. The only press Kobe seeks in this area is for causes for which the publicity would specifically help in and of itself. Vivo is such a cause.

Stay off the Dude's back. Yeah, it would be nice if he helped with this cause. That is true. But, don't take the next illogical step of assuming that he isn't helping at all, or that he is helping the wrong cause, or that he is offering some token sort of help. One does not mean the other. That was an illogical leap of faith.

--FearlessWhackJob

Too bad Kobe didn't go with Mo Ev. I think a trip like that might bring Kobe back to earth a little. it'd be nice to see Kobe experience a bit of a reality check.
Besides, Kobe could have spent the trip trying to convince Artest to force his way to the LAkers...
Good Story. Mo Evans might not be the perfect basketball player for our rotation, but i think he and Derek will really bring some positive vibes to our locker room. Sometimes you forget there are NBA players with their heads screwed on straight.
Maybe this offseason is more about the character restructuring of our team, as opposed to talent. Last year the team, literally, fell apart at the first sign of adversity. Maybe this team will be able to handle the challenges.
If that's the case, the last order of business this summer is shipping out Cook and Kwame for some hard working big men (Drew Gooden?, Marc Jackson?).

There was a Mr Show sketch where Bob Odenkirk is doing a whole bunch
of charity work while on the show and he at one point informs David Cross
that charity is "Doing something for someone while other people are watching."

Shaq is big on having the press there when he's delivering toys to kids at
Christmas. The NBA gets LOTS of press for the Feed the Children thing, to
try to raise the image of the NBA. And of course there are the ads during
NBA games showing players teaching kids how to read. And all of those
things are fine, and the actions by the players involved is great.

But just because other players (including Kobe) aren't pushing for the big
national news story surrounding their charity work doesn't mean they
aren't out there doing charity work. I think most of the NBA players are
involved in several charities, and I know Kobe is.

Chris-

There are plenty of reasons to be critical of Kobe, if you'd like, but I don't think it's fair to pick on him for not giving time/money to charity. In one form or another, I think he does a lot (as he should). It's certainlly not fair to pick on him for not giving to the "right" people. Help is help.

BK

Bob Jackson--

Our family also supports a child through Compassion (www.compassion.com). With administrative costs at less than 5%, it is one of the great ways that our family can make a difference in the lives of others.
Thanks for the reminder.

I've followed Kobe's make a wish foundation and vivo and an assortment of all his other volunteer activities throughout the years. i repeat, i'm a BIG fan of kobe. but let me ask all of you this: what has a greater impact, going out for one day to play ball with a kid who has cancer, or going out to Africa and feeding thousands of kids who are starving?
while kobe certainly does his share of philanthropy, if not more than his share, it's impact is questionably less than that of other people. i am not trying to being critical of kobe, but rather, critical of his selection of volunteer work.
BK- "help is help" is a fun phrase to say, but is it really true? Who do you pay more respect to at the end of the day? Who made a greater impact this summer, Kobe of Mo Evans? kid with cancer or thousands of starving kids without shoes?

Chris,

"Who do you pay more respect to at the end of the day? Who made a greater impact this summer, Kobe of Mo Evans? kid with cancer or thousands of starving kids without shoes?"

Why don't you ask the cancer-stricken kid that Kobe visited before just assuming the answer?

You should pay equal respect for anyone looking to help others less fortunate. It's not important how you help or who you help, but simply THAT you help. If everyone took as much time doing what Kobe does, Mo does, or just spent time with hundreds of other charitable outlets, the world is guaranteed to end up a much better place. How the energy gets divvied up isn't nearly as important as the energy simply being expended.

AK

Rick Friedman (and others who might be interested),

You may not have noticed, but there's a link at the top of the introduction for Feed The Children. If you're interested in contributing, that could be a good place to start.

AK

Lake Show,

I've read some of Etan Thomas' stuff, too. You're right. He does a very nice job. I'm pretty sure he participates in poetry slams as well.

AK

Chris

O.K now I have seen it all, your'e bashing Kobe for doing the WRONG TYPE of charity work? Cant we just appreciate this thread on MO and his charity work?

Mh

AK

"It's not important how you help or who you help, but simply THAT you help."

no, actually it IS important how you help and who you help AND how many you help. all help is not created equal, sorry for shattering your misconception of the world. last time i checked, helping starving kids is more important than helping one kid with cancer. just like helping the Katrina victims is more important than helping a kid learn how to play basketball better. there are more definitely differing degrees of philanthropy. maybe in the sheltered confines of an LA Times media outlet, it's easy to say what you say, but why don't you tell it to the millions of starving kids in Africa that have been abandoned by their parents?

Chris,

So basically what you're saying is that Kobe visiting that kid was a waste of everyone's time.

"actually it IS important how you help and who you help AND how many you help. all help is not created equal, sorry for shattering your misconception of the world."

First off, you haven't shattered jack, which is a shame, since you just broke your arm patting yourself on the back. But at least your arm will now match your leg, which ended up in a cast after falling off your high horse.

"maybe in the sheltered confines of an LA Times media outlet, it's easy to say what you say, but why don't you tell it to the millions of starving kids in Africa that have been abandoned by their parents?"

I'll make you a deal. As soon as you tell the kid Kobe visited that he's a jerk for taking up Kobe's valuable time better spent doing other things, I'll get right on that.

AK


I think it does not matter which charity is more important. It only matters that people help. we all wish that more people will help other people wether they have cancer, hungry or no shoes.

Chris,

Stop telling other people (Kobe) on what to do with their time and money. Its their choice. also, just because its not in the news doesnt mean Kboe isnt doing anything. BTW, I dont know if you donate to any charity, i dont hear that in the news either. so, stop criticizing and just start applauding all these people

Ron L

AK- no, but that's a wonderful mis-characterization of my thoughts. thanks. what i WAS saying was that kobe should be proactive and take on greater challenges, such as the problems in africa. helping kids with cancer is great, but in my opinion, is simply too little from a person like kobe. if mo and mutumbo and artest can make a difference in Africa, so should kobe. i think that's a fair claim, but if you disagree, that's fine.

Ron L- yes, i do donate to charity. i donated several thousands to the katrina cause and have volunteered significantly with the red cross and kiwanis club. sorry if i don't show up in the news for my efforts.

AK,

I commend you on your efforts to enlighten some, including Chris, who simply serve to define the term myopic.

Is it the American kid's fault that his particular ailment (cancer) costs more to fix than maybe the plights of a thousand African children? Is he just to die alone because his cause is too expensive? Is his suffering any less great?

Chris,

Besides, you are absolutely unaware of Kobe's efforts in Africa or any other continent. He chooses to not publicize his efforts. I bet you are barking up the wrong tree and making a fool of yourself in the process.

You simply do not know from where you speak.

You only know what you know thanks to our very enlightened Bloggers (AK, and BK), who continually feed us these tidbits that we would otherwise never have heard of.

Get off his back, dude. You are seriously making a fool of yourself. I refuse to rate the suffering of one child above another.

--FearlessWhackJob

Chris,

The flaw to your argument (in my opinion) is that you're taking it upon yourself to decide what charitable efforts are worthier than others. Who are you (or anybody, for that matter) to make that call? And, especially, who are you to literally put down someone else's generosity simply because it isn't your first choice of how to expend energy? No offense, but that's awfully arrogant.

If you were to say, "I would love to see Kobe get involved with an organization like "Feed the Children" and leave it at that, that's fine. You're right. It's a worthy, important cause and a presence like Kobe's could lend it more attention (and funding). And yes, there is a "mass help" angle to Mo's mission that doesn't apply to visiting one child. But to essentially slam someone else's hard work and community involvement because it doesn't fit your idea of the "proper way" is in very poor taste, I think.

And by the way, "Make A Wish" doesn't comprise the entirety of Kobe's charitable work, since you appear to be criticizing him for that.

http://blogs.ocregister.com/lakers/archives/2007/03/bryants_citizen.html

You should learn more about what he does before presenting it that way. Kobe's certainly affecting more than one person through his work.

AK

Long Time Laker Fan,

I remember that Mr. Show sketch. Hilarious stuff. Just thiking about it makes me laugh.

Fearlesswackjob-
"I refuse to rate the suffering of one child above another."
millions of starving kids > cancer patient who will probably survive. the rest of your post is ad hominem, so i refuse to address it. don't call me a fool when you yourself have foolishly failed to assess my posts.

AK-
"The flaw in your argument (in my opinion) is that you're taking it upon yourself to decide what charitable efforts are worthier than others. Who are you (or anybody, for that matter) to make that call?"
wait, what? i don't have the right to judge which charitable efforts are better than others? i guess that's where we differ in opinion. if we can judge players in a myriad of ways, then i guess i just assumed we could judge actions as well. last i checked, a plethora of sportswriters wrote significant judgemental pieces about kobe's radio interviews this past summer.
i realize it's difficult for people to acknowledge that certain volunteer work is more important than others, but the reality is that it's true. there's a reason why organizations like the american red cross have to ignore people who need help sometimes. there are just so many people in the world that need help, and at the end of the day, you need to pick and choose wisely who needs help most. now, does the american red cross always make the best deicision? no. nobody's perfect. i've sure wasted my time with some really stupid volunteer projects before. it happens. but fair criticism is fair criticism, and, in my opinion, i made fair criticism. if you disagree, that's perfectly fine. life goes on. at least for us.

AK,
Thanks for pointing out the link. I did, in fact, miss it in the early morning bleariness.

Also, thanks for standing up for Kobe's right (and everyone else's) to choose the charity of their choice. The number of worthy causes is abundant for a reason: there are lots of needs in the world.

Chris,

"if we can judge players in a myriad of ways, then i guess i just assumed we could judge actions as well. last i checked, a plethora of sportswriters wrote significant judgemental pieces about kobe's radio interviews this past summer."

That's a serious reach on your part. To compare and cast judgement on the effects of Kobe's radio tour vs. the effects of his charity work is beyond "apples and oranges." One naturally invites criticism or judgement while the other doesn't (or shouldn't, at any rate). The radio tour can easily be argued as having negative results and served to help nobody outside of a pure basketball context. The latter has zero negative effects (except in your head, I guess) and served to help someone in a humanitarian context.

AK

So the Mavericks are using their mid level to sign Webber and Posey...Hmmm.....

The Knicks are rumored to be close to a deal with Sac for Artest...Hmmmmmmmmmmmm....

The Lakers signed Coby Carl.....

Hm.

I was ready to forgive Mitch and give him a second chance, but this offseason has proved his uselessness. Come on Mitch. Can't you make a little trade to improve this team? Can't you bring in a few new players to shake up an environment that needs shaking up?

When your star player demands changes, a small lateral move can have a signifigant impact. New faces = new hope.

For Mitch to give away that last roster spot to Coby Carl when Webber and Posey are still out there..well, he should loose his job. We need players with experience, not kids...

If they shot Old Yeller, they can surely fire Mitch.

Wes

AK-

if you've ever heard of the concept of opportunity cost, and i guess to some degree, sunk costs, maybe what i'm saying would make more sense to you. i guess i could explain it briefly, but i think it'd be easier for you to just wikipedia it. i'm sure it's there.

anyways, after you've learned what an opportunity cost is, you'll understand that by contributing to the make-a-wish foundation, kobe forgoes the opportunity to help starving kids in africa. thus, there are negative effects that arise from his actions. this is basic business 101. everybody learns it in their intro business course of freshman year college. a very simple concept to learn, but a difficult concept to regularly apply in real life.

the point is, when you say , "The latter has zero negative effects (except in your head, I guess) and served to help someone in a humanitarian context.", you completely miss the point. there ARE negative effects. by serving someone in a humanitarian context, he loses the opportunity to serve thousands in a humanitarian context in africa, where there is a greater need for humanitarian contributions.

Chris,

Ad hominem can only be reached if the central point of your argument is accepted as true; that it is possible to place relative value to human life and suffering. That is the only point I refute, because it is the only point that matters. The rest of what you say is a direct descendant of that point. I would, therefore, be trying to treat the symptoms and not the cause in trying to refute the rest of your points.

It is your task to somehow convince the rest of us of two central tenants of your position; 1) that it IS possible to quantify and compare human suffering, and 2) that YOU have the wherewithal to make such value judgments yourself.

Because, I daresay, even if you were able to satisfactorily convince every one here that you are correct on position number one, I doubt you would have any success at all at convincing us that you are the person from which we should look for guidance on who to save, and who to let die.

BTW, "probably" isn't "definitely". And more than a few of those Kobe has directly helped most certainly did NOT survive (one or two rather publicly because of the circumstances surrounding their passing). He has decided to put his name, $$, and efforts behind a particularly expensive cause. One that may be particularly suited to getting help from the very rich.

BTW, you have ignored my central point completely. While I have not avoided any of yours. My point is that you are speaking from a position of ignorance. You do not know, or have any particular idea of the sum, distribution, or type of philanthropy that Kobe engages in. It is always foolish to make an argument when you don't even have all the facts, or even access to such facts. You make it easy debunk everything you say. You make our job easier when you do that.

That is foolish, unless you prefer loosing your arguments.

--FearlessWhackJob

PS: the main reason I would never agree to your point number 2 is that you have already proven to me that you lack the critical thinking skills necessary to be my Oracle. You obviously think it OK to judge someone when you don't have all the facts. I already know that the fact you don't know what you need to make the judgment isn't your fault. Kobe has done that on purpose. But, even if your ignorance isn't your fault, it does specifically preclude you from being qualified to make such judgments.

Chris,

The concept you're explaining isn't particularly tough to understand, so maye you can drop the condescending tone and assumptions that it's over my head. I get what you're saying and I got it before you even brought it up. I just don't think it's really possible to say one is truly more "important" than the other, at least not to the degree where you actually criticize someone for going out of their way to help another human being.

If you want to say one requires a more mass effort, again, fair enough. But you're also treating this as if Kobe's efforts with "Make a Wish" somehow prevent others (and himself) from also contributing to African funds, which is conceptually ridiculous and perhaps even inaccurate when it comes to what people are actually doing. It's not a "one or the other" scenario. You are actually allowed to do both (and beyond). You're also allowed to choose to help in a variety of ways. But all "Business 101" lessons aside (and thanks, because they were quite profund), labeling the effect of Kobe's work as "negative" still strikes me as rather distasteful.

AK

Now I've truly heard it all.

Kobe's been accused of every bball misdeed there is, including and definitely not lmited to, choosing bad shots. But now to be choosing bad charities?

Fearless,

I thank you not as a Kobe fan but as human being.

Fearlesswhackjob-
okay, i'm gonna keep this short and sweet:
- look up the definition of ad hominem
- because you insist on using ad hominem arguments, i'm gonna do the same.
- stop using big words. they are both out of context and make you look like a junior in high school who is trying to practice his SAT vocab. i mean, seriously. who in the world uses "daresay"?
- i already satisfied point number one
- i don't need to satisfy point number two. i'm not trying to convince any of you what to think. please read the words that are on the screen. as in, the letters. that form words. which form sentences. which specifically say things that i believe. you know, the stuff that i'm just saying. that are just OPINIONS. and yes, i am allowed to share my opinion, oh intelligent one who likes to use big words and sound stupid at the same time. because this is america. no, i am NOT trying to be your oracle. please wake up, we're living in the 21st century.
- and finally, i DO know what kobe does. how many times do i have to say this? i am one of kobe's BIGGEST fans. please read the words that i am typing. i find it funny that AK posted that link at first because I've already seen the site. the example with the cancer kid was just that; an EXAMPLE. stop and READ.

In response to the Chris vs AK thread regarding Kobe's charitable contributions, there are two ways to help make the world a better place, on the macro and micro levels. Giving money to the United Way or Feed the Children or Katrina relief is helping on the macro level; playing basketball with one dying child is another. I don't think it's fair to compare the two, because doing work on a smaller scale can often have the ripple effect of a small stone thrown in a pond. Perhaps it would be best for all NBA players to forego doing any actual charity work and just hold very expensive basketball camps; they can give all the money to the Darfur relief fund. On a dollar by dollar basis, something like that may be more effective than taking a trip to Africa to do the work firsthand. However, just giving money may not satify the soul or one's sense of personal involvement in a cause. I admire anyone who selflessly gives of their time and money to causes that better the human race, and it doesn't matter to me what the charity of choice. And Chris - yes, your examples from Micro and Macro Econ 101 are very good, but they come from the world of ceteris paribus; there are other factors besides pure opportunity and sunk costs to keep in mind in any economic model of charity work.

Chris. . i think you're not realizing that the kids from the make-a-wish foundation WANT to meet kobe. . mo evans working with the make a wish foundation, while a nice gesture, is not nearly as effective as kobe because the odds are none of these kids WANt to meet mo evans. . so, kobe has an unique way to help these kids that mo evans can't. . i think it makes sense if you use a ven diagram. .

anyhow your whole 1 cancer patient vs. 5000 starving children argument comes close to playing God so to speak. . daring to determine whose life is more valuable. .

anyhow if you really feel strongly about that feel free to email me and we can go on to discuss it. . i really don't think this post (or blog) is the place to argue such things. . plus we both probably have views that don't have any business being put on a public forum haha

peace

AK-
Kobe is a busy man. he has to play 82 games a year, train every single day, go through media blitzes, different endorsement meetings, along with i don't even want to know how much other stuff, like taking care of his kids, his family, and maintaining a happy relationship with the wife. the dude is BUSY. he often sleeps 4 hours a day during the season. so yea, he really can only pick and choose what he can do with his spare time volunteer-wise. and it's not like he's going to give all 20 million of his dollars away each year. the guy earns that money and deserves to use it on himself and family as well. so ultimately, it IS one or the other. either he does make-a-wish, or he does feed. on or the other. or he chooses to split his time in half with make a wish and give little bit of time to feed. his call. but he can' t just do every volunteer activity there is.

Wrong heading, suppose to be-

AK and Fearless,

I thank you not as a Kobe fan but as human being.

Sorry AK, sometimes we bloggers take you for granted.

Chris,

"i find it funny that AK posted that link at first because I've already seen the site. the example with the cancer kid was just that; an EXAMPLE. stop and READ."

Hey, you harped on this "EXAMPLE" and didn't present it in the context of acknowledging everything else Kobe does. It's up to you to establish your point to its fullest, not me. I'd figure somebody as smart as you knows that. "Stop and READ" your first few comments on this topic. You present little knowledge of Kobe's background and what you do talk about, you basically belittle.

You definitely don't sound up on everything Kobe does, because if you were, you'd realize that he does indeed divide up his time between more than one charity. In fact, he divides his time between many. Therefore, your contention that he basically has to choose between "Make a Wish" and an African charity is patently false.

What this really comes down to is Kobe's choices in charities vs. yours. You feel the African charity is more imporant, and therefore you're upset that he doesn't (publicly, at least) partake in such an effort. Which takes us back to my original point, that it's not really possible to say which is more "important," and not by you in particular. Or at the very least, it's not possible in a context that allows you to criticize the choices of a guy actually bothering to do something to begin with. To pick on the efforts of someone else as misguided because they don't prioritize in the same fashion as you is ultimately quite petty.

AK

Chris,

The secret is out. I AM a Junior High School kid practicing his SAT words. How did you guess? Opened your Thesaurus did you? Unfortunately for you and your arguments, maybe you need to read my posts to find who uses words like "daresay". That person, most obviously, is me.

The best way to practice for my upcoming SAT is to actually use my quite formidable vocabulary in my every day discourse. However, I've never berated another blogger for his/her use of or mastery of the English language. I have spoken the way I do for the past two years that I have been on this Blog without ever once being condescending or judgmental.

Come to think of it, that means I've been speaking this way since at least the sixth grade. Boy, I must be smart, huh?

But, we all know that you are both condescending and judgmental. And, I guess, none of us believes that you do know what Kobe does when it comes to charity. So, to each of us, you are speaking out of ignorance.

Without that, we can't give your opinion any weight.

It is fallacy to assume you know what Kobe does charitably, when it is already an established fact that some large portion of Kobe's philanthropy never makes it into any media outlet, anywhere, at any time. So, to know you must personally know Kobe. You have offered no such proof.

I guess it is my job to read what you say. It is yours to apply logic to your thoughts and words. Claiming to know what cannot be known is the ultimate in hubris. And, patently illogical.

Prove to us that you personally know Kobe, and I'll take back everything I say. Other than that, you will find it very difficult in convincing anyone other than yourself that I'm stupid.

--FearlessWhackJob

AK- i will say this one last time. millions of starving kids versus hundreds of suffering kids. if you had the choice to help one of those categories, which would you pick?

Fealesswhackjob- wow, where do i start? first of all, it doesn't matter how good your vocab is if you can't formulate a concise argument. secondly, the vocab you're using isn't formidable. it's just out of context. seriously, read the crap you're writing man. it's just... bad, and that's an understatement. third, i think it's hypocritical to categorize me as condescending and judgmental when you're the one calling me a fool. fourth, good vocab does not equate to high intelligence.

and finally, to both AK and Fearlesswhackjob: okay, fine. i haven't seen and documented every single volunteer action kobe has ever done in his life. and since, apparently, i'm trying to be an oracle (at least according to fearlesswhackjob) that was my responsibility as an american citizen. which must make me completely ignorant of course, and unable to give my opinion on what is important. because i have no right, absolutely none, especially not in america, most definitely not in america. because to say that millions of african kids who are dying of STARVATION is more tragic than several hundred dying of cancer is just completely out of line.
look, the point isn't that kobe doesn't do enough. kobe does more than his fair share. and maybe i didn't make this clear in my first couple posts. my bad. but i think i clarified it several times thus far . i didn't think people would get so worked up over what i said. so if it doesn't make sense to you yet, i'll say it one last time: i'm just offering my opinion on what kobe should be doing. just one man's opinion. don't need to agree. don't even need to care. and certainly, kobe doesn't have to care. i'm just offering my opinion.
peace.

wesjoenixon,

Re: Your post, "For Mitch to give away that last roster spot to Coby Carl when Webber and Posey are still out there..well, he should loose his job. We need players with experience, not kids..."

Well, we'll just add this latest example to a long list of reasons why Mitch should have long ago walked the gangplank.

Just pray he holds firm on keeping Lamar out of any deal for Jermaine O'Neal. The Pacers will blink and JO will be a Laker if we remain patient.
------------------------------

And to Chris: You can tell by the other responses to your litany of posts that we are not impressed by your relentless drilling of a point of view that eliminates freedom of choice for others. Chill out. It's not healthy to be so judgmental.

Ok, this is a new low. Kobe is criticized for a lot of things, but to knock him for doing the "wrong" charitable work according to you, is just ridiculous.

Chris,

"AK, i will say this one last time. millions of starving kids versus hundreds of suffering kids. if you had the choice to help one of those categories, which would you pick?"

Well, to clarify, the "hundreds of suffering kids" aren't just "suffering." Many to most are actually dying. I say this because it feels like you're brushing over that fact to accentuate your view.

But as to your question, it might depend on where I thought I was actually making the biggest impact and difference. Sheer volume of people helped doesn't necessarily equal true progress, if it's something that might have a very temporary effect. Or maybe I would go with whatever charity moved me the most on a personal level, since I know (or at least hope) others will look to help organizations that I don't. Or I'd look to do both, since your "either/or" scenario is ridiculous.

All I know for sure is that I wouldn't criticize those not making the same decisions as me. I'd save any complaints for those doing nothing for anybody.

AK

Chris,

Are you 100% certain that Kobe has never ever done anything to help the kids in Africa?

Wow.

Chris, I'm assuming this has ballooned beyond your initial expectations. I think we can all agree on the following points?

1) It's really great that Mo Evans went to Africa, and we're all happy he's part of the Lakers organization;

2) Some people (like Chris) have the right to criticize high-profile athletes who give to certain charities, but not others;

3) Other people (like AK and FWJ) have the right to tell the people from point 2, above, that they are jerks for airing these opinions.

Can we put this to bed now?

SBPimp,

You have earned your moniker. You have said more with just a few words than all three of us have in pages and pages of posts.

--FearlessWhackJob

PS: Since the first candidate as Oracle failed in that task, I nominate you.

BTW,

I always knew that I liked Mo Evans. This just makes me like him even more. He is a character dude, and we don't need to be trading away any more of those.

--FearlessWhackJob

AK, nice to know Mo Evans and Artest's charity work. Props to them and your reporting it.


IIRC, Kobe also helped the Katrina relief work.

Daresay I suppose,

All good deeds are good deeds. Who said that Laker fans are idiots? Send your cash to me.

Sonnybelfast

Rick -

Maybe the REASON Mitch signed Coby Karl is that he's setting up the 5-for-1 deal I proposed yesterday for JO and is going to need more guards after he pulls the trigger.

If you missed it, since we don't want to let go of Lamar and they don't want to take on another 5 year $30 million contract (like Rad or Luke) the only deal that works salary wise is Kwame, Bynum, Cookie, Farmar and Sacha. This would leave us with only Evans and Critt behind Kobe and Fish, so Karl would be a nice addiditon.

I think people have taken Chris's comments the wrong way. Chris, like he said, was stating an OPINION. He thinks it would be great if Kobe would donate to charities that fight starvation in Africa. Everyone jumped on him for 'criticizing' Kobe. I look at Chris's comment as more of an opinion, less of a criticism. We ought to be arguing Chris's values concerning charity, and not jumping all over him for wishing that a guy who makes 20 mil a year would give (more?) money to starving kids in Africa. People tend to think that a person's charity, like their religion, is untouchable. It's nonsense to say that we can't think and come to some conclusions about these things and others. Nobody's actions or beliefs are immune to criticism or the application of reason. Evil is fostered and progress suppressed when we don't question our own beliefs and those of others.

I'm BORED!!!! So y'all know what that means, 3 team trade idea!!!!

Atlanta gets:
Bynum
Marquis Daniels

Indy gets:
LO
Kwame
Zaza Pachulia

We get:
JO
Josh Smith
Solomon Jones

The money works, and the idea itself is not TOO ridiculous since:
Atlanta needs a true center, wants to get rid of Pachulia (so I hear), and can't seem to come to an agreement on a contract extension with Smith.

Indy wants LO, Kwame's expiring contract, and a talented young player to help their youth movement(Pachulia definitely has game).

We need a true number 2 scorer, defensive help, and a big man to help replenish the front court since we won't have Kwame, or Bynum.

COULD it happen? Sure. WILL it happen? Probably not.

I've got to believe that Kupcake has inquired about Posey. He would be a definate upgrade. I'm thinking we don't have the $$$ to do it. It's hard for me to believe that Mitch Kupchak is that "clueless".

Hey Rick and Wes

Just to ease your minds a little, Coby Karls contract isnt guarrenteed money, He has to earn a spot so in reality he hasnt yet made the team And we could still sign a free agent if the right one came along.

MH

Chris and AK,

I think the main problem here is that there are more problems than problem solvers.

Simple as that.

Its not about choosing charities, its about filling ALL of them.

That being said, I understand Chris's point. Does going to some kid at a a hospital to vist and sign an autograph the same as donating a million bucks and building an entire village in africa and feeing thousands??

Well it seems like its opportunity cost issue. I tend to agree. However, put me in the reality of that kids' shoes and maybe Kobe's vist keeps the kid motivated and he becomes a millionaire one day and gives back. Who knows??

Think of it this way. Kobe can go feed a million children...for a day..but the next day, the kids are still hungry and he has to leave. Was that opportunity cost??? He spent thousands of feeding people for one day, but yet the next day people have to continue to eat and so forth..

Chris, I understand you, although your message didnt come out right into the computer on this blog...but we do need more of you. Would I love to see Kobe go to Africa and help kids out? Sure. Does it make me happy when Kobe goes to visit kids and lift their spirts? Yes.

But you know what would make me happier?? If people in this country with your attitude voted people to represent them or even ran themselves to fill positions in government who all shared in the same vision of helping out others..not for ecnomic investment, but because its the right thing to do.

Maybe this should be put to bed ,especially since Chris isn't being comvinced. However, I have enjoyed AK's spirited defence of Kobe and if only for that maybe it should go on.

I'm reading the blog at an airport of undisclosed location and I noticed we are so sensitive nowadays in the blog. Charity which is really a non issue becomes the main issue by airing individual points of interest in this thread. That's what happens when we have nothing to talk about the Lakers, so we create a hullabaloo on a non-issue.

Peace, can we all just forgive and forget and let egos fly like MO & Kobe?

Former Laker Tyronne Lue didn't do his old team any favors. This is from the Boston Globe:

"I talked to KG and it was tough at first because he's so loyal to Minnesota, his family, friends, and the fans," said Lue, who was spotted at an LA tennis tournament with Garnett July 20. "All he knew was Minnesota for the last 12 years. I thought Boston would be a great situation, a perfect situation with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. I thought automatically they'd be in the Eastern Conference finals with KG. He thought about it and asked, 'You think so?' I said, 'Yeah.'

"Then, Chauncey came out and said, 'You have to take the best thing for you and that's playing in Boston, even though we'd be in the same conference and play four times a year.' We definitely convinced him to choose Boston because two great players were already in place. Adding KG and being in the Eastern Conference, it'd be easier to win.

"Then, KG asked me, 'What about the city?' I said, 'You don't go out anyway, so it doesn't matter. You don't go out of the house. You could play in Alaska.' He's like, 'Yeah, you're right.'

Lots of athletes do charitable work not covered in/by the media and I prefer it that way. Charity is not intended to get the person giving positive press ,its intended to help others.

"Ultimately, McHale goes down as a loser in this high stakes poker game because—with the exception of the 2004 run with Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell—he failed in 12 years to surround KG with the pieces necessary to win it all." --

this is taken from an article found at nba.com

Can this be said of KOBE and the lakers management?

the lakers has failed to surround KOBE with the pieces necessary to win it all.

It's sad being a laker fan.

I guess I have my answer ...

E

Absolutely amazing. And, not in a positive way either.

Granted, this is the off season, but has the quality of submissions to this Lakers Blog really fallen this far? This ridiculous banter surrounding the charities that Kobe does (or does not) support is beyond ridiculous. I feel like I need to disinfect myself, and take a long shower after reading the posts on this thread.

Since some bloggers (you know who you are) want to feel smug and superior about your ability to wield the sword of English vocabulary, here is my contribution; my word-of-the-day for you: SMARMY.

I trust you know what it means. Before you reply, look at the Man in the Mirror gentlemen.

Could we please try to limit the commentary to BASKETBALL related matters? Thank you very much.

AK is on hoopshype. He's now in the league of Ric Bucher, Marc Stein and T. J. Simers. lol!

http://hoopshype.com/rumors.htm

I'm so sad right now it isn't even funny.

Two weeks ago, I at least had my Dodgers in first place with the most wins in all of the National League.

Then, something happened, Mitch started moonlighting in the Dodger's front office and they stood pat as the trading deadline came and went while the best competition went out and got an arm (an established starter, no less) and a fielder.

No we have two marquee going nowhere teams in LA at the same time.

Sad.

--FearlessWhackJob

Mitch is definitely contagious.

Message to Long Time Kobe Fan, Peace, and Dice8up

Long Time Kobe Fan
"You're welcome to compare LeBron to Kobe or Michael or anyone you'd like, but until he's got some rings on his fingers, it ain't gonna mean much."

Kobiatch got his rings from riding Shaq's coattail. thank you!


Long Time Kobe Fan
"LeBron is a very good player and he carried that team to the EASTERN
conference championship. But without a second star beside him, he wasn't
able to beat the varsity squad"

And Kobiatch is a very good player who can't carry his team past the first round. So, what are you trying to say?


Long Time Kobe Fan
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Put down the hash pipe for a minute. EVERY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE WANTS KOBE"

Well let's see if every team he wants to go to want Kobiatch.

Chicago = "F-U Kobe"
Phoenix = "F-U Kobe"
New York = "F-U Kobe"

So, yes your logic is right. Everyone wants Kobe. "Not!"


Peace
"If your point is that Kobe is a once-in-a-generation player, you're absolutely right. No need to resort to histrionics to make that point. "

Kobiatch is just like any SG. They come a dime a dozen. After Kobiatch 2 years is up, there's Dwade, Lebron in the free agency market that will get us much closer winning a ring again!


Dice8Up
"the lakers has failed to surround KOBE with the pieces necessary to win it all."

Kobiatch made this mess when he chase of Shaq. Has nothing to do with the Front office. He wanted to be the man!. So now he can be the man! The team is a reflection of his leadership.

just like helping the Katrina victims is more important than helping a kid learn how to play basketball better.

---

Actually, Kobe did both of those things.

Wes,

"So the Mavericks are using their mid level to sign Webber and Posey...Hmmm.....

The Knicks are rumored to be close to a deal with Sac for Artest...Hmmmmmmmmmmmm....

The Lakers signed Coby Carl.....


I HAD TO LAUGH AT THAT. TRULY WE ARE ON THAT 2009 PLAN FOR SURE NOW.

If anyone is really interested in Africa, instead of complaining about how other people support charities, write to your representatives and tell them to change the trade policies that cripple African economies. I can assure you that even if every NBA player gave a million a year to starving kids in Africa and if David Stern declared that the luxury tax would automatically go to an African Aids fund, it wouldn't have an iota of impact compared to fair trade, which is a principle the US promotes philosophically but only when it's to our advantage.

I'd suggest looking at the history of Africa's relations with the so-called civilized world (essentially Europe and North America) and then hanging your head in shame rather than debating about where an athlete's time or thousands of dollars out of his pocket should be spent. The only point on which I would agree with Chris is (and it's a point he doesn't specifically make) that drawing attention to the problems of Africa is more important than actually spending money there.

Gunner

Actually the only one that has said in your elequent term F U to Kobe was the Bulls. Paxton basically said he wouldnt break up his team for Kobe. Of course he said the same F U to KG also because he refused to break up his team for him as well.

Kerr didnt really even want to speculate because he didnt believe the Lakers would put him on the market.

As far as New York, Thomas was drooling over the prospect. He basically said if Kobe did indeed go on the market , that he would be crazy not to try and put a deal together. There was trade speculation in the New york press for weeks and Thomas didnt deny his intrest one time. GM's have to be carefull exactly what they say due to tampering issues.

The fact of the matter is the Lakers have went about their business , like they should, trying to add to the team. If they had been shopping him around the league, that is the kind of news that would have leaked out. So really, where are you getting your info from? Perhaps you know of a secret site that reports things that you cant find in espn hoopsworld S.I or yahoo, I would love to read it.

MH

I fully respect your opinion Chris...but in a general commentary sense, I wonder when it is that we as a society started to question even the good deeds. I mean Oprah was being scrutinized for not helping at home instead (which she actually does).

Props to Mo for his efforts...just that he's there makes a world of difference. I mean we're talking about it aren't we? Good stuff.

Mark my words:

Before your beloved #24's little Colorado "incident," he had hired a divorce lawyer to explore the possibility of ditching the ol' ball 'n chain...Well having her sign any papers during that time would have further killed his already shattered image...So, I have insight into this, it is about time to do it...He will be soon be divorcing his wife...possibly before the season begins...trying to start with a clean slate...possibly with a new team too.

Heed my words all you myopic Laker fans!

I told you that you were going to like this kid. Mo Evans. I was not comfortable when Sacramento let him go; too much upside with this player/person. I just hope to hell that he doesn't make Beverly Hills his home. It's not safe up there, burgularys are rampant, and the residents are pissed that they have to live that way.

I've got a deal for you. Stipulating a "reasonable" number and severity of injuries during your season, the Lakers would contend for that in-the-moment championship experience in 2008. I doubt this will happen, and it definitely won't before mid season next year, but I could see a swap which would definitely put you back in the running. Oh, let you guess. It would be win-win with your best buddies up north. Although, if at mid-season, Andrew and Testes are happy and playing well, it will nevva happun, which could also be a good thing for both partys.

The plan also takes into account that for one injury or another; one protest or another, one reason or another, before all is said and done, the Saint will spend big parts of the season on the bench or elsewhere. Your young team will inspire when that happens.

Maurice Evans does not presently figure into the swap.

Sonnybelfast

Tiny Balls,

"...drawing attention to the problems of Africa..."

is central.

I do believe your African remarks of 1030 pm are thoughtful, on the mark, and have fallen on deaf ears.

P.J. Brown

P.J. Brown, who continues to consider retirement, has been receiving interest from Dallas, Phoenix and Boston.

Because there's competition for Brown, there's speculation that he could command the full mid-level exception of $5.36 million. His double-double days are in the rear view mirror, but he'll still provide a much needed veteran presence and frontcourt backup.


Dikembe Mutombo

At least three teams, including the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics, have made offers to center Dikembe Mutombo.

Both teams have offered him the league minimum ($1.2 million), and a third team is said to have made an offer as well. Mutombo will have a very tough decision to make, as both Houston and Boston have a legitimate chance to go to the Finals. But with the eyes of the world seemingly focused on the new-look Celtics, don't be surprised to see him get a change of scenery and back up Kendrick Perkins.

burglary, it's burglary

I wish the lakers would make this trade already.......
lo-baby drew for JO
We will make it to the second round an if we do lose it will be in 7 game's.
FISHER....we can all agree he's not smush parker MR .4 sec
KOBE....(WILL NOT OPT OUT).
VLAD....... look for him to come back strong (THAT'S A PROMISE )still one the best marks men in the game.
JO........... LOW POST SCORING......something we hav'nt had in a while
K-BROWN.......SO HE CAN MAN UP THE DUNCAN'S-MING'S-ODEN'S.....TO let JO .......ROME..... THE PAINT FOR BLOCK SHOT'S AN REBOUNDS.
with a stong bench
walton
RONNY T
C-M back up center
mo evans..... this is a strong team people are sleeping on.... ????why??? I dunno.
THIS team will make it further than what people think......An that's another problem people just not THINKING.......
CPT
..........YOU ALREADY KNOW............

Tsphere,
Please note that this is not intended as a criticism of anyone who gives to charities; this is just a statement of the facts.

"I'd suggest looking at the history of Africa's relations with the so-called civilized world (essentially Europe and North America)"

While the colonial system that the Europeans (not North Americans) put in place in much of Africa caused much of the current situation, that is 'water over the dam' at this point. The biggest problem now with Africa is the culture of corruption there. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the aid that gets sent there gets funneled through the existing governments. By controlling who gets food, that aid actually ends up making the situation worse because it strengthens ths hold of the corrupt government.

Tsphere, you are correct in that probably the best thing that can be done is to change the trade policies, so that African products (other than raw natural resources, which there is an abundance of there) can compete. The biggest problem in that area is the European restrictions on imports of agricultural products, which is done to protest their own farmers. U.S. farm subsidies have somewhat the same affect, but to a much smaller degree.

How about a new thread???

It's obvious that the NBA has a lot of great guys and it's good that the media tells a good story once a yr as oppose to ZERO times a yr.
The media kills the NBA and it's wrong.

However as for society and fans, I think the expectation of the athlete is silly. Athletes are not your society leaders from a standpoint of intellect and being well read about what's going on in the country.
So why do folks want these guys to be the leaders of everything.

Just because they make a lot of money,
there are plenty of intelligent mothers and fathers with regular jobs and a perspective on society and the world. Go ask them?

Parents should lead your households and when an athlete like a Magic, Braylon Edwards, Keyshawn, Kobe, or DWade gets it then good it's a bonus but why depend on an athlete.

These athletes are not Bill Russell, Ali, Kareem and Curt Flood who had strong perspective on many issues in society.
It is what it is. It's a different era.


Why waste time saying what the athletes should do as oppose to doing the best you can with your family and community?

That must have been a heck of an experience for Mo Evans. It's always good to hear that NBA players are doing what they are supposed to be doing with all of thier priviledge.

Like Chris, I would like to see more of this type of philanthropy in Africa. We all know, hopefully, about the hopeless situation in Africa. It hurts to even think about it. I do have to disagree with Chris' assessment about Kobe's role in this though. Kobe does plenty of charity work, even when he's being a wannabe Bull.

If only Kobe would be more charitable to his own team....

Tsphere made a great point. We must find a way to remove those lopsided, unfair trade barriers in Africa to get some economic flow into that continent. There also needs to be a solution to the problems of malaria, AIDS, and corruption among many, many other things if Africa is to overcome. Kobe's role in that is minimal at best. He's just a basketball player. Even Bill Gates is having a hard time just putting a dent in this situation.

Good debate guys.

FROM CNNSI.COM (Arash Markazi):

LOS ANGELES -- If Jermaine O'Neal gets his wish, he will not be playing for the Indiana Pacers next season. If he gets his dream, he will be suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant.

While here Sunday for a charity basketball game hosted by Baron Davis and Paul Pierce, O'Neal said he doesn't want to be a part of a Pacers youth movement and that it would be in his and the team's best interest to part ways.

"I would welcome a trade to the Lakers," said O'Neal, who averaged 19.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots last season. "Indiana has given me the opportunity to establish myself as a really good player in this league, but they're into rebuilding and going really young, and I'm just not in a position physically to go through another five to six years with a lot of losses and a lot of down time."

The Lakers have tried to acquire O'Neal, 28, several times this offseason, but talks have reportedly stalled over Indiana's insistence that the Lakers' package include both Lamar Odom and 19-year-old center Andrew Bynum. The Lakers' refusal to part with Bynum, the 10th pick in the 2005 draft, cost them a chance at Jason Kidd during last year's trading deadline. The failed trade was the basis of Bryant's infamous videotaped tirade in a shopping center parking lot in which he said the Lakers should have dealt Bynum for Kidd.

"I was ready but you never know in this business," said Kidd, who was also in Los Angeles for the charity game. "Playing with Kobe makes the game easy. He's the most dominant offensive player and he's a competitor, and I love playing with guys who love to compete."

If the Lakers once again fail to deal Bynum for a proven All-Star, Kidd could be the benefactor: O'Neal said he would also welcome a move to the Nets.

"Los Angeles and New Jersey would be my top two teams," O'Neal said. "I think L.A.'s a real possibility and I think New Jersey's a possibility too."

The idea of O'Neal coming to New Jersey quickly put a smile on Kidd's face.

"I think that would be a great addition for us if we had an opportunity to get a guy like Jermaine," Kidd said. "He comes every night to play and he's a great person and a great basketball player. It would be a huge move."

If O'Neal had to choose one destination, however, it would be Los Angeles. He recently sold his home in Westwood after getting an unexpectedly good deal but said that he and his wife were already searching for a new house in Los Angeles and would love to make it a permanent residence.

"I love L.A.," O'Neal said. "I normally train here every summer. The last two summers I haven't trained here because I got hurt, but I love it here. My daughter loves it. My wife loves it. This is one of the prime places that if I were to be traded, I would allow Indiana to trade me here."

The main reason O'Neal would welcome a trade to Los Angeles has little to do with the sunshine and shopping that his wife and daughter enjoy and more to do with playing alongside Bryant, whom he entered the league with in 1996 as the only two high school players selected in that draft.

"We've spoken a couple times this offseason," O'Neal said. "Me and Kobe have been on each other since we were 15, playing AAU basketball, adidas All-American Camp, Nike All-American Camp. It's been a long relationship that we've had. We talked about maybe playing together. ... We just want to make sure that our thought processes are similar and now we're going to let the business handle itself. I mean, we could talk for years, but if [Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak and [Pacers president] Larry Bird don't decide to make the deal, then it's all talk."

While Bryant has had little to no interaction with his teammates this offseason, he and O'Neal have found a common ground in their respective positions. Both are leading rebuilding squads in the prime of their careers without enough help around them.

"I think Kobe's in a position right now where he understands that he needs some help," O'Neal said. "He needs some help to get to the position where he wants to be. I think he's the best player in the NBA and the world, but obviously no player can do it by himself. He has a nice group around him, but he needs some help and I can give him some support. ... He wants to prove to people that he can get back to the NBA championship, and I'm at a point in my career where I want to prove to people that I can help a team get to the championship."

While some have suggested that O'Neal might not be the player he once was, he said that had more to do with injuries, including a left groin tear and a torn meniscus in his left knee, than diminished skills.

"What people don't realize when they consider my last three years to be 'down years' is that I was physically hurt," said O'Neal, who missed 82 games during that stretch. "I went out and played on knees I needed to take care of. My meniscus, I put that off for two years [before having surgery in April]. I'm 100 percent right now. I really want an opportunity to rejuvenate myself. At 28, I'm going into my prime. The game is slowing down for me, I understand it a lot more, so I'm ready to go out and show people what I could really do."

O'Neal, who admits he hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with the direction Bird has taken the team, has been in constant contact with the Pacers during the offseason. He's spent the majority of his time at home in Indiana and away from the spotlight while his name is bandied about in various trade talks.

"I've had quite a few conversations with the Pacers," he said. "I just wanted to see where the organization's focus was with the team. If they're trying to rebuild, maybe it's better to get younger pieces [in a trade] for me so they could grow with the young guys. I just told them that I can't be in a rebuilding mode right now. I can't go through that. Physically that's going to wear on me too much to do that."

After the charity game, played at USC's Galen Center, O'Neal, who didn't play, smiled and laughed as Lakers fan after Lakers fan, including Snoop Dogg, tried to persuade the five-time All-Star to come to Los Angeles. It's a plea he's heard many times before but one that especially hit home this time as he contemplated the end of his seven-year career in Indiana.

"I tried not to come out here this year. I wanted to stay away from a lot of the talk because it's an emotional time for me to talk about being traded," he said. "I get emotional talking about it because I always told Reggie [Miller] I'd win a championship for him, and for whatever reason we've had some tough times up there [in Indiana]. I thought if I came out here [to Los Angles], it would help persuade me to make the decision that I need to make. My decision is for me to get better as a player, and if things don't work out this year, I have an option in my contract next year and I will opt out and become a free agent."

Tsphere,

To add further on what you said:

"I'd suggest looking at the history of Africa's relations with the so-called civilized world (essentially Europe and North America) and then hanging your head in shame rather than debating about where an athlete's time"

I was reared-up in a third world country & what I learned from dealing with the poor community, you've to form a private army or bodyguards to protect yourself from goons, thieves plus the blessing of a bureacratic (oftentimes, corrupt ) local government to effect a real permanent change. Nonetheless you can help in a small way but whatever help you can give for the few in form of food and money, it has only a palliative effect because the endemic problem stays. As you delve deeply into it, you will discover that the problems are not merely economic but it involves social, political and long parental and/or community neglect, all working in a vicious cycle. A Peace Corps or the churches could offer some solutions because they lived within the community.

However, we're proud of MO and Kobe's efforts in spending their time for the underprivileged and sick children. I don't know if you all recall, Kobe was the first NBA player to offer help for the Katrina victims.

for those who think the lakers should wait until next summer to get jermaine o'neal, since he can opt out and become a free agent, i say that's wishful thinking.

dr. buss is not a fan over paying luxury taxes. never has been, and i don't think he would start next season.

some people say having kobe, jo, and lamar would make us elite.

i have to agree with that.

however, that would also put the lakers over the cap by a huge amount. i mean look at the money each of those players command. once again, dr. buss wants no part of that luxury tax...unfortunately.

and if the lakers choose to wait until next summer, i am positive the pacers will deal jo to the nets so they can at least get SOMETHING in return for him.

jermaine o'neal is a better basketball player than lamar odom. point blank. like i have written before - if you think otherwise, you are simply a lamar odom fan.

the only tough part of the deal is trading bynum. and bynum is roughly a 50/50 shot of becoming good. i don't think the kid will ever become great.

kupchak, MAKE THIS DEAL before the new jersey nets offer richard jefferson and a cup of coffee and STEAL JERMAINE O'NEAL - A PLAYER WHO IS BEGGING TO WEAR THE PURPLE AND GOLD.

what more could you want from an all-star player? even after the kobe drama earlier this summer, jo IS STILL ADAMANT ABOUT BECOMING A LAKER.

he has spoken with kobe on SEVERAL OCCASSIONS THIS SUMMER.

make the deal.

let's move on.

lamar, thanks for the sometimes great, sometimes erratic play. what lamar has been through in the past year and a half is pretty damn sad. no human being should have to go through that.

bynum, best of luck. you simply became a trading piece to help improve this squad.

with the jo deal, the lakers ESSENTIALLY and EVENTUALLY would receive:

jermaine o'neal (via lamar odom)
kwame brown (via caron butler)
jordan farmar (via draft pick)

for

shaquille o'neal.

i would have been cool with this deal 3 YEARS AGO!

Any comments on Oneal demanding to be traded to the lakers... How is this any different from what Kobe did.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/arash_markazi/08/06/oneal.trade/index.html

Hey take a look at Magic Johnson's comments on the Lakers off season.
Gosh, he seems not satisfied or deflated a little.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Asr5brp4qVbanL_uG.02CceLvLYF?slug=txalstonarrested&prov=st&type=lgns

He's too savvy to give you the real Laker insider info but he mentions being hopeful for another move or 2 before TRAINING CAMP.

I think we're going to get something.

I know all the "stand pat" guys will not be happy.

Hey AK, are there any moves you like other than KG?
That's not gonna happen obviously.

the competition for JO to the Lakers is New Jersey, the other team he said he'd accept a trade too:

From SI adn Hoopsworld articles:

"Los Angeles and New Jersey would be my top two teams," O'Neal said. "I think L.A.'s a real possibility and I think New Jersey's a possibility too."

This is a concern and I truly believe will be the answer to the question of Kobe accepting the team or not.....

From what I've read, Indiana would want from NJ Richard Jefferson, Nenad Kristic and Marcus Wiiiams - From the Lakers they want Bynum and Odom---

Of course there is a benefit from Indiana's perspective of sending him out West----If they can't get both Bynum and Odom in the deal from the Lakers, the Jersey deal is better and they'll accept it because they won't risk O'Neal opting out next year...

If ONeal goes to Jersey or anywhere else, Kobe will quietly confirm to the Lakers that he won't play for them again----my bet is he plays in Europe for a year and then comes back as a free agent....

Nice work by Mo and his friends. I wish more casual fans appreciated the fact that there's more to the NBA life than bling. I also liked how Mo expressed that helping out unexpectedly gave him even more motivation to succeed in his chosen profession. I believe that people who are motivated to succeed for the purpose of helping others feel a greater sense of peace and accomplishment.

I have to say, though, I don't understand the (few) who take a holier than thou regarding the charity work of others. If you were holier than though about your own charity work, you'd merely be tiresome. If you are the sort of person who compares the charity work of A to the charity work of B, just to denigrate B, then you can be sure that you a being C, for "complete a____le."

I also think the famous are different from you and me when it comes to charity. If you are celeb, I think it's a positive thing to draw media attention to your efforts, b/c like it or not, it's inspiring to the young and impressionable. It also gets the issue in the public eye. For the rest of us, yeah, giving should be its own reward, but my point is that if you are famous, lending your image can be more powerful than any action you take or check you write. Celebrity, like money or other forms of power, can be used for good or bad. I'm all for the Oprahs, the Jolies and others of the world who cause people to pay attention to people who would otherwise be forgotten. Kudos again to Mo, Ron-Ron and Etan for adding their own spin to this tradition.

ctlaker,

That is the best Laker news I've heard in a long time. I hope it happens. And I hope it persuades Kobe to want to stay.

with elton brand being out for so long, the lakers better get jermaine o'neal before the clippers enter the fray.

By the way, in case Gunner and KL missed it, here are some quotes from the article about J.O.:

"I would welcome a trade to the Lakers," said O'Neal

"I was ready but you never know in this business," said Kidd, who was also in Los Angeles for the charity game. "Playing with Kobe makes the game easy. He's the most dominant offensive player and he's a competitor, and I love playing with guys who love to compete."

The main reason O'Neal would welcome a trade to Los Angeles has little to do with the sunshine and shopping that his wife and daughter enjoy and more to do with playing alongside Bryant, whom he entered the league with in 1996 as the only two high school players selected in that draft.

In other words...

O'Neal: I want to play with Kobe
Kidd: I want to play with Kobe

Now could you please provide sources for all of your "F.U." quotes? Direct quotes from any of
the players that say anything to the effect of "I don't want to play with Kobe" will do. They don't
have to actually say F.U. (and by the way, wouldn't it technicallybe F.Y.?)

sounds like magic johnson also EXPECTS more moves.

hopefully those moves include jermaine o'neal becoming a laker.

this deal would have been done & dusted with jerry west as gm. we'd already be talking about what other role player to sign or trade for to help kobe & jo contend for the title.

c'mon lake show.

Since this blog is now more into negative press, I thought some of you would enjoy these articles

jermaine wants to be a Laker, and read CAREFULLY what he says about iif mitch and bird don't do anything Kobe and him can talk all they want it won't happen, also read jason kidd's quotes for those who doubt he wanted to be a laker BAD.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/arash_markazi/08/06/oneal.trade/index.html

http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_22961.shtml

10mil,
"my bet is he plays in Europe for a year and then comes back as a free agent."

Interesting thought, but who would have enough money to be able to afford him, and would any of those teams be good enough that he would want to play for them? I am assuming that he will not take some amount well below his "market value".

I wanna read part 2!

More Mo!

Mo Money, Mo Problems!

...ok, nevermind last part.

 
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