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Questions of the day: On the Olympics, gold and priorities

There were mini-waves kicked up yesterday when it was reported Kobe Bryant said that, on the Importance-O-Meter, an Olympic gold medal trumps an NBA title.  Why? 

"You're playing for your country. You're not playing for a region, a state … you're playing for the United States of America and that has more importance."

Seems fair enough, but on the other hand, as a Laker sfan, does this bother you?  Listening to the sports talk on the radio last night, I heard AM 570's Joe McDonnell railing not on Kobe personally, but on this idea that a gold is a bigger deal.  I was given the impression he believes players have a larger obligation to the fans of the city for which they play, to the organization that pays them, and so on, and that an NBA title is a bigger deal.  I didn't listen long, nor particularly closely, but there were probably a few callers who agreed.  Of course, in some ways, your thoughts on this issue are linked to the Olympic question generally.  So with that, I ask today's Questions of the Day:

1) Do you care that Kobe said an Olympic gold was more important than an NBA title? 
2) Generally speaking, do you like to see the stars of your favorite teams play in the Olympics?  Especially a player like Kobe, who is risking injury, exhaustion (yes, even Kobe gets tired), and putting off surgery on his finger?  Don't forget, Pau Gasol is playing too. 

For me? 

1) No, it doesn't bother me.  As important as an NBA title is to him, the city, the organization, fans, and beyond, it doesn't have to be literally the top priority of his life.  Family, friends, and yes, even other basketball competitions can come first.  I do wonder what Kobe would say if he didn't already have three rings, and if his thoughts would be any different.  But even if they weren't, it doesn't matter.  He has, by force of his play, shown how much he wants an NBA title.  Nobody is more competitive.  That should be enough. 

Had he said that an MVP was more important, we could talk.  But chastising him for believing that winning for one's country is larger than winning for one's city and employer?  I don't see it.

2) If I'm Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, Mitch Kupchak, and the rest of the Lakers organization, I'd just as soon see Kobe and Pau rest.  I'm sure most GMs and coaches feel the same about their players who are part of Team USA.  The NBA is a brutal place, especially for players who go deep into the postseason.  There is little time to rest and recoup before things crank right back up for training camp.  Players need downtime, and can suffer if they don't get it.  The Lakers are in a position now where they could play an extra 20+ games a year for the foreseeable future.  That takes a toll.

That said, I also understand- and totally agree with- the idea that as a team, you can't stop a player from playing in something as special as the Olympics.  I know some of the mystique of the games has gone as more pros in every sport get involved, more money is pumped into and sucked out of, and more politics play into the Games, but they're still the Olympics, and the opportunity to represent one's country in international competition is huge.  It's a different kind of pride, one that Kobe alludes to and that clearly Gasol feels as well. 

Is it a nerve wracking time for fans and teams alike?  In a lot of ways, absolutely.  But big picture, you can never fault a player for wanting to play for his country. 

BK

 
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kobe's just "in the moment" ask him next playoff season what's more important, and I'm sure we'll get a different answer.

I had a feeling there would be some backlash over his comments but people fail to understand the meaning behind it. He isn't saying that winning a gold medal is "more important" in the loyalty sense but that they're wining it for a wider and more important audience, the U.S.

On team USA, no one will be rooting for the Lakers of the Cavs or Nuggets...they'll all be rooting America's team...OUR TEAM. This has a deeper meaning because there is no division in Americans on this one...everyone is supporting team USA regardless of what team they're on in the NBA. They're playing to represent our country, not Jerry Buss or Phil Jackson, etc. That's what he's saying by that. By bringing home the gold, they are representing the entire population of the US, not the checkbooks that pay their salaries in the NBA.

On the road to redemption, episode one, Coach K said Kobe teared up when he received his jersey. Following Kobe's career hes always wanted to play in the Olympics, and he went through mountains (Colorado incident, injuries and what not) just to get to this point. I think for him, the Olympics means so much more. Its a way for him to celebrate the triumph and the resurrection of his career. I'm happy for him to get his opportunity, and he passed on surgery just to get his chance. I say good for him.

I don't know if I would want him to play for US bball after this year. I think that is where the debate should be. Every player deserves that chance to play in the Olympics once in their career. Once they fulfill this dream, I don know if the decision to play solely rest on them anymore. They have to seriously take into consideration what their respective organization want, the risk of injury, and letting their fans and city down if they were to get injured.

The Olympic Gold is more important. One way to measure
importance is by scarcity of the resource. Since the
Olympics come once every 4 years and every year there
is an NBA champion, the Olympics should carry more weight.

Also, the NBA is just played on the North American
continent and only contains two countries. The Olympic
Gold is *truly* a world championship.

I wish all of the NBA players would be patriotic enough to
want to play for and represent their country. Regardless
of how screwed up this country is, it's ours. Stand up
and be counted you candy-a$$ millionaires.

It's unfortunate that local radio hosts have to say things like that. They do it to cause controversy and raise conversation, which is their job, but it's also insincere. There is the chance that he has no pride in this country or how it's represented, and that's fine too. He has the right.

I think Kobe has his priorities perfectly straight, as do all of the members of team USA. The letters on the front of that jersey mean so much more than money. Many people never have the chance to represent their country and would love the opportunity. These athletes are just proud to do that in some capacity. Most athletes who've won titles and been to the Olympics will say that winning a gold medal was the more exciting of their achievements. Good for Kobe for saying that. He is giving something back to the USA by doing what he's doing, no matter his motives are.

Let's not forget that USA is what makes LA and Lakers possible.

This particular Olympic situation can do more to improve Kobe's
reputation than an NBA championship would have this season.

If the U.S. National team had won the last Olympics and the last
World Championships, then it would be no big deal. People would
still be saying, "Oh the Americans are the best and I doubt they'll
ever lose a title."

Now that the U.S. team has been sucking for a few years,
even featuring the young stars like LeBron and Carmelo,
having Kobe come in and turn it back into a dominating
gold medal winning team will (at least for the time being)
reduce the chatter that LeBron[ze] is better than Kobe.

And from what we hear of the team, Kobe is literally making
his teammates better. Not only is he sacrificing offense to be
the defensive stopper of the team, but the talk is that he works
so hard both on the court and off that guys like LeBron and
Carmelo are stepping it up and working harder on improving
their games as well.

This U.S. team will not lose a game this summer. And most
games will be blowouts of 20 points or more. Believe it.

Joe McDonnell is a moron. We are Americans first, and Laker fans second. How hard a concept is that to grasp?

I'm glad Kobe has his priorities in order.

It definitely worries me that Kobe and Pau are playing but only because they could ge injured. I will be supporting both the US and Spain, hoping both Kobe and Pau play well and end up injury-free. it'll be fun to watch them play on a different stage. As far as Kobe saying that the Gold Medal is more important, I agree with him. Obviously he should give 100% effort (and does) when he plays with a Lakers jersey, but playing for your country is more special. Usually when teams win in the NBA anyway is not if when they only play for money, but have good chemistry with their teammates and care about the fan base. It is more enjoyable that way. If it's only for money it's not (look at the Knicks) and you lose.

I think the Olympics are larger and not just for the U.S. - you have to kind of view them in the historical/global context. You can't deny the Olympic dream for athletes and anybody who wants to chase it should.

1) I don't care if Kobe said those words as I'm sure winning an NBA title is still very important to him.

2) Yes I like to see stars play for their country. America cannot rely on reputation as being basketball's best. OUR last two international competitions ended in disappointment and humiliation. I already experienced my hometown team's bitter defeat in the Finals and I don't want to experience my home country's defeat either.

I love watching international competitions especially if they involve a European crowd. Those crowds give the energy of a Euro soccer tournament.

Gold medal is more important. That doesn't mean the NBA Championship isn't important.

The only comparable team sport is soccer (futbol, football). You play for titles at every level (MLS, EPL, La Liga, et al). But to be HONORED by your nation to represent your country in the World Cup is a whole different story. It is bigger because ITS BIGGER. To wear your nations colors is to fight for who you are, where you come from, what you believe in and to fight for all those people who are united by a common nation. Ask players in the world cup which is more important, and though very very few ever win a World Cup, the sentiment I would guess would be near universal: THE WORLD CUP IS MORE IMPORTANT.

Basketball's Wold Cup isn't the World Championships (at least not yet and maybe never--history of the tournament is the differentiating factor here) it is the Olympics. I am proud of Kobe like I was proud of AI, and like I am proud of any and all athletes who realize that to play for you country is a special privilege and honor that few ever see. Knowing that they understand this I have faith that they will lay it all out on the line for their flag. And god bless them for it.

Think about it. Even in youth sports one of the greatest motivators is to remind the players of what they represent. To high school students you will remind them that in their performance (the way they play, the way they carry themselves) they represent more than themselves, they represent their teammates, their families, their whole school and in turn their community town or city.

Now lets stretch out that same sentiment (props to tommy lasorda) to represent your people, and all the people that have come before you and all those who will come after you. And in playing for America it goes one step even further because America is not just a nationality or a people. We are not bound together by color or by tribe, by only language or even heritage. We are the only nation in the world built on an idea. It is the idea of freedom and liberty that makes you an American. All of our diversity stems from the notion that an American is a person who believes in freedom and is willing to fight (figuratively and often literally) for that idea. We fight for that idea for ourselves individually and for our communities collectively. We struggle to preserve the idea for all of our citizens and all those who share this idea, share this dream. To be able to represent the idea on a national stage. To be able to represent all you countrymen, all your people, all those tied together by the dream, desire, dedication and active pursuit of freedom---How can that honor be compared with any leagues championship??

The NBA Championship is huge. The Olympics are simply huger. Not every athlete understands this. Some do. More power to them.

I'm more proud of Kobe today than I was when he won his MVP.

If you would have asked me a couple of olympics ago...I would have said vehemently that the NBA championship chumps all, but this is after a BRONZE. That changes it all.

At the very least this is about regaining respect.

As for Kobe and Pau playing. I'm also not going to beat around the bush. I do not like it. I know Kobe is our best bet in the US of A to get a gold, but dude...I'd rather he not play. I love my team that much lol. Lest we forget what happened to Pau a couple of years ago (broke his foot I think). But I for one am crossing my fingers and legs on this one...please for the love of God, no injuries!

What is more important? Whatever lies in the individual players heart. It is up to nobody else but them to decide, and wrong for the public judge them for their decision.

The "club vs. country" debate is most common in international football (soccer). There are constantly problems caused by the intertwining commitments that players have to the teams that pay their lucrative salaries and to their respective national teams. Although rules are in place to help ease these problems, they never truly get solved. It is part of the price that teams pay by choosing to have the best talent on your squad.

I think all this hype and hoopla is a grab for attention by media outlets. I like to call people like Joe McDonald and Steve Hartman "Controversialists" because all they want to do is look at an innocuous statement/issue and create controversy.

Of course our country is a greater priority. Even if the Olympics itself are purely money making now, the intent of the athletes should not be as shallow, at least not primarily.

Besides, how un-American is it to assume there isn't profit to be made there? Selflessness isn't a requirement of capitalism.

LakerTom,

I think you mean that people didn't think Deron Williams was in Paul's league until his second year. After Deron's second year there were many people saying he was better than Paul, until Paul's unbelievable 07-08 season.

It is a big sacrifice for the Lakers org. as well. If Kobe goes down with a career ending injury in Beijing, Dr Buss will be paying Kobe over 60 million to fulfill his contract. (Insurance?)

It would seriously set back the Lakers Team if that were to happen.

So when Kobe goes to win the Gold, he should be commended, as should Dr Buss for his contributions.

Mcdonell is a jerk for questioning a private personal decision by Kobe. Its none of his business. But knowing him and his character, if Kobe stayed home, he would be bringing up the Kobe is selfish angle. He is just a media whore looking to make a buck anyway he can.

Joe McDonnell is criticizing an athlete for taking what he does seriously. If the Olympics is not the most important thing to Kobe then what the heck is he doing there to begin with. It's attitude like that that gets you beat.

Rick F.

Finally, you're speaking too much love on the home team not for the country's team. Well, it is all about dollars and fandom on individuals. They can't be balanced and accept the best players representing the country, it's all about the Lakers in the morning, Lakers in the evening and Lakers in the summer time. huh!

Question of The Day #3:

In a period where Laker news is scant,isn't it obvious that we're playing conspiracy theorists on decidedly non-issue stories just to keep our hits up?


I mean that in love, K-Bros! :o)

BK

Great question for discussion.

I'm a big fan of the whole Olympic tradition and international competition. The camaraderie between athletes is special, beyond words.

To put it simply, Kobe is going to have a blast. Good lord, the guy is willing to give up being the big banana of scorers to help his team. For Kobe, that is real big and shows where his heart is.

Go Team USA! Bring back the gold!

Honestly, it does bother me a bit, but I agree with Eddie Brock, he's just being in the moment and stressing the importance of winning the Gold. (He may also be psychologically compensating for the disappointment he felt at the Lakers' Finals loss.)

And, yeah, I share Phil Jackson's concerns, but I sure am glad that we'll have basketball to watch this summer.

GO LAKERS!

1) What Kobe said didn't bother me.

2) Depends if that person is an injury prone athlete. Kobe always gets injured but is a fast healer. With age he should stop playing for the gold. But he hasn't before. I'm sure KB24 would like to relish that.

Pau on the other hand is a mixed feeling. I don't him playing because he is injury prone and he is not playing for the US. If he was playing for the US, then it would be awesome to have 2 players on the fight for the USA Gold!

Andrew the K and Brian the Kamenator,

Where do ALL these NBA trade rumors start? Do they actually begin with insiders in various team administrations or are a lot of them fantasies of journalists spun to create chatter?

Please let me know your insight into this issue.

GO LAKERS!

Nice post jandro.

Amen.

BK,

Excellent article and very interesting issue. You’re right to note that Kobe might feel differently if he did not already have 3 NBA rings. I also agree with Long Time’s insight that the Olympic Gold Medal would be a big factor in Kobe’s redemption as a player and with hobbitmage’s point that the Olympics only occur every 4 years and thus are rarer than NBA championships that occur annually.

I would not go so far, however, as to claim the Olympics are the “World Championship.” Not when they have modified the rules and changed the game to their advantage. After all, our team of all stars isn’t really a team at all like other countries teams that have been together for 10 years. Now if we sent the Lakers or the Celtics intact to play the rest of the world after the NBA Finals, that would be a World Championship.

Tom

Joe McDonnell (all these years I thought it was McDonald) rails against everything it seems. He's right more than 50% of the time, but when he gets it wrong - wow does he really get it wrong, and he's wrong on this one. I'd echo the sentiments of jandro, who posted above. Futbol players all around the world take more pride in representing their country, not the Premier League team they play for. It's a great honor to make the Olympic team and you're playing for more than money when you put on your country's colors. Good for Kobe for realizing this.

An article on sir Tex,

http://tinyurl.com/68t5l5

1. What Kobe said doesn't bother me. He deserves to choose his own priorities in life as should every free-thinking individual.

eddie brock's point about Kobe being "in the moment" is very applicable here too I think.

Also, I don't really think we can consider this situation to be true. Kobe skipped out in 2006 to get knee surgery that he needed for the NBA season. He made the choice for the Lakers then.

The fact that we haven't won in international basketball since 2000 really bothers me. I want it back. It's for the pride of our nation, we founders of the game, and for the pride of the NBA too. I think it's important that we make a strong statement.


2. Yes, I like the see the stars in the Olympics. I want to see the best that international competition can offer so we can where we're at as a nation. I'm selfish. If they get injured, they get injured.

And, as far as Kobe goes, I know he'll play hurt (but conscientiously) and will bust his ass to get back on the court at 100 percent so I'm not even worried if he gets injured. For Gasol? Since he's not playing for us, I'd rather not see him play. I also don't think he recovers as well from injuries as Kobe so from a selfish Lakers fan standpoint, I'd rather he didn't play.

It's nice to see different mixes of players and allegiances in the Olympics that you don't otherwise see. It's cool to see where people are from.


One last thing. Kobe doesn't need rest.

BK,

You're nuts to suggest that. Kobe is the indefatigable basketball horse!

Jon-

To answer your question... all of them. Sometimes rumors come from real inside information, some of it is actually fed to reporters, either to put rumors out there (to put pressure on another GM to pull the trigger on a different deal, b/c it looks like a player might go somewhere else, for example) or float an idea to see the response, some of it is just speculation.

In the end, for me I always default to thinking big trades won't happen until they do, because in the NBA, it's so much harder to pull off a big one than not.

It's best not to put too much stock in rumors,since so much can change. Even solid information based on excellent reporting can still turn out not to be correct, in the sense that the rumored deal doesn't happen.

BK

all I have to say is... I'm... OUTRAGED that Chris "The Beautiful People" Kaman isn't home resting his weary bones instead of playing for the German squad... He's as German as I am, I think I have a relative who was Dutch 4 generations back... there's a connection there somewhere, I'm sure of it... LOL!

Anyway, I think it's cool to see the best of our league get together, learn from each other and go beat up some foreign foes. Kevin Love and OJ Mayo got to practice with these guys and it can only help them to learn how hard and HOW for that matter these guys prepare themselves to play. It just makes the whole league that much better in the long run. You would think Chris Paul, Deron Williams and some of those other guys learned some things a few years ago and that paid off big time for them this year. I wouldn't mind seeing Bynum do this in the next go around. Possibly he, Oden and Dwight Howard would be on the same team. That would just make them more competitve for the next season due to bragging rights...


He’s bringing the NBA back to respectability by showing the world who is the most dominant force in the sport of basketball. Why question his motives?

For Kobe, the next chance to be a champion will always be more important than the previous chance. It's one of those things that makes him Kobe and the rest of us fans.

is there any website that gives updates on practices that the US team is doing, what they look lke? im tired of waiting til friday to see them run a scrimmage.

1. olympics- bigger, better, voluntary, representing your country. its an honor

2. i always like to see the best of the best compete, and the best of the best should want to compete. if theyre injured, he was doing it for their country.

BK,

Thanks for the insight.

GO LAKERS!

listen guys kobe is just been in the moment thats all. no need to get static over this. we will see a golden metal in six weekes. hopefully ok then we go to win national basketball association championship. some of make me roll on the floor laughing trying to make something out of nuthing. seriously laugh out loud you know. ok nothing sascha so far but as soon as i hear news, i'll share with you.

ding how in prattville

hobbitmage

I love your reasoned argument. Of course the Olympics is MUCH more important in the scheme of things than an NBA championship.

The very fact that this question is even asked is an indicator of why the Olympic team hasn't fared so well recently. NO PRIDE!

The principles contained within the Constitution of these United States is one of the most Beautiful documents ever written. This document is the idea of the pursuit of a more perfect union and guarantees in principle that the individuals rights supercedes that of "the majority".........A Limited Republic and not a democracy.

Although this Country has many flaws the fact that we are guaranteed in the Amendment to the Constitution (The Bill of Rights) The Bill of Rights protects the freedoms of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom of assembly; the freedom to petition; and prohibits unreasonable search and seizure; cruel and unusual punishment; and compelled self-incrimination.

The Rights if applied courageously can give birth to a voice in the wilderness of North America that may grow to be the country's saving grace when the powers that be have deviated from the principles laid out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It is these principles that gave birth to PATRICK HENRY and this famous quote............."Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!"

It is these principles and Bill of Rights that gave birth to the great SUSAN B. ANTHONY and the publishing of her weekly journal .......the REVOLUTION........as she fought for voting rights for women.

It is these principles that produced DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING and the American Civil Rights movement that guaranteed ALL this Country's Citizens the right to vote.

It is these great principles of the Constitution that has made it possible for the daughter of slaves to have a real possibility to become First Lady of this great Nation.

When Kobe Bryant puts on a uniform and represents his country and these principles he is right and exact. There is no greater service than to represent one's country in this regard and give the best effort possible and bring home the Gold.

Now compare that argument with this one presented by BK

2) "If I'm Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, Mitch Kupchak, and the rest of the Lakers organization, I'd just as soon see Kobe and Pau rest. I'm sure most GMs and coaches feel the same about their players who are part of Team USA. The NBA is a brutal place, especially for players who go deep into the postseason. There is little time to rest and recoup before things crank right back up for training camp. Players need downtime, and can suffer if they don't get it. The Lakers are in a position now where they could play an extra 20+ games a year for the foreseeable future. That takes a toll."

BK

The question shouldn't be "can you find fault with a player who wants to play for their country" (for no money)

The question should be "can you find an excuse for those who question it"?


BK

1) You are a bright and articulate guy, and you dont have to listen to guys like Joe McDonnel who develop sharp opinions about things without knowing ANYTHING about the underlying facts. Case in point: he railed against Kupchak for months a couple years ago for a missing out on three trades proposed by Joe himself before an enlightened caller pointed out to him that the salaries had to match up within 15%.

2) Hopefully, the vast majority of fans can forgive a player for putting country before city in these difficult economic and political times.

In theory I think playing for "your country" is more important. That reasoning loses some of it's credibility, though, when you see players playing for certain countries even though that is not their country. That doesn't apply in Kobe's case, but it does (I think) for Chris Kaman, for instance, and you see it more often in soccer. The players are looking to participate on that stage (World Cup/Olympics). I don't fault those players for that, but it does take away from the "Olympics is representing your team" theme.

1) Does not bother me. The NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal are not mutually exclusive, so I have no problem, because although Kobe says that a gold medal is more important, effectively there is no difference in the effort (which is maximum effort) he will put out to achieve one or the other.

2) Doesn't bother me that they play in the Olympics in the offseason, because they would be playing somewhere, and you want your players to improve in the off-season.

What bothers me is that the Lakers take all of the financial risk AND someone else gains financially (Olympic merchandisers, sponsors, etc.). If it is truly an amateur endeavor, fine. But someone is making money off of these players, while the teams that employ them get nothing for their risk. Either donate all the Olympic-made money to charity, or compensate the teams for allowing their players to participate. This applies not just to the NBA teams, but the Euro League and other international league teams that pay these players. Whether or not making money is the primary goal of the Olympics (I don't claim it is), there are entities making money off of the pro athletes' participation in the games. The ball clubs are essentially leasing out their players for free for someone else to make money off of them. This should be rectified.

Kwaminus I can teach you, but I have to charge Brownicus,

I, too, am outraged that Chris Kaman is playing for Germany. Let me count the ways...

1. The guy played a sub-par season, often injured, for the Clippers after signing a major deal with the Clippers.
He owes the Clippers. He owes Germany squat.

2. He's playing AGAINST USA. What the hell?

3. He's not really even German. He's like part German and his great-grandparents (I'm not positive on that, but it's not immediate) were German immigrants. Give me a break. I'm more Canadian than he is German. Ridiculous.

4. They gave him German citizenship so he could play for Team Germany.

#4 is what drives me absolutely bonkers.

Remember when France won the World Cup in Soccer like in 2004 (?). There were practically NO FRENCHMEN on that team. A big chunk were foreign nationals, and another huge chunk were foreign nationals who were given French citizenship so they could play for the French team without going over the set World Cup limit for foreign nationals on a team.

And France was celebrating in the streets! Why because they won through a loophole by cheating? Outrageous!

How could I be proud of my national team when it doesn't even reflect the honest citizenship of my country? If the American team was composed almost exclusively of non-Americans or people who were given temporary citizenship just so they could win, I'd want them to lose as a statement that we would do better if the team was composed of Americans.

Urgh!

This is why I hate Oregon State basketball, by the way. Oregon State (and Oregon) fans HATE UCLA and USC. They HATE them! They are the worst, most abusive fans in the West. Period. They suck.

However, OSU and Oregon's basketball rosters are almost entirely composed of players from California (especially Southern California).

So, let me get this right, you root their hearts out for your team (Go Oregon!) and you HATE California, but your team is almost entirely composed of Californians and has almost no representation of Oregon.

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.

Idiots.

Back to the subject....

I thought Germany was a relatively important country. I mean, they've tried to take over the world twice. You'd think that they'd have some degree of self-confidence, but NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! they end up following the same path as those cheese eating surrender monkeys in France and are basically cheating in the Olympics by stealing American talent to shore up their team.

How can this be allowed? Why isn't this against the rules? Shouldn't someone have to be a citizen for two or more years before they can play for an Olympic team?

Hey, why don't we give citizenship to half of Kenya and Ethiopia so we can win the Gold in the Olympic marathon?

It's just stupid.

And Chris Kaman has allowed himself to be a pawn of Der Faderland so he can have the honor of playing in the Olympics.

Hey, Chris! Work on your fricken game in the United States so you can help AMERICA win a Gold in four years, you moron!

Seriously, Laker Nation, could any of you be proud if you won a Gold for another country?

Oh yeah, here's my Gold medal that I helped Madagascar win in water polo! I'm really proud of it! They made me a citizen so I could compete against my own country and undermine their potential for success! And I did it! I feel really good about my choice.

Urgh.

Chris Kaman, as a Clipper I like you. But as an American, you're a complete slack-jawed moron.

GO USA!

GO LAKERS!

I agree with all who say that he's just caught in the moment. If you were to tell Kobe that he can win the gold this year and even in 2012, but never again for the rest of his career step foot in the NBA finals, he'd change his mind REAL quick about which is more important. He's just competitive and wants to overcome whatever challenge he is facing in the moment. It just so happens that right now it's the Olympics.

I don't care how many gold medals he wins, if he doesn't win a championship without Shaq, that's what he'll be remembered for. It may be a greater honor to play for the US than for the Lakers, but an NBA championship means way more than a gold medal in "the world of sports". People are remembered for championships. And I'm pretty sure Kobe will want to be remembered as a champion, not as someone who couldn't get it done without Shaq.

GO LAKERS!!!

A) I don't care if he said a medal is more important. Kobe wants to WIN no matter if its the olympics, NBA title, MVP awards, titlywinks, holding your breath underwater, rock/paper/scissors, ect.........

B) As a fan of the olympics I want americas best on the court period. Would Il kie to see him rest and get the surgery he needs..absolutely, but I also want to see the US win gold, besides the olympics only happen once every 4 yrs and The lakers are not the only team with their best players playing last I checked lebron and howard were just injured recently in practice aswell. I just wish there was a little more down time between the olympics and the NBA finals

LOL! Actually, I was joking a bit on Chris "The Beautiful People" Kaman... hey, if that's what they want to do...

I actually have a much bigger problem with what Elton Brand did. That guy took the Clipper's money for the entire year while he was injured, then played on their good faith move to pick up Baron Davis, and then bailed on them all for a few more bucks. The guy was going to get paid whatever, $13m for playing friggin basketball, now he's going to get a couple million more... How did he get those extra millions? By STICKING A KNIFE in the back of the people who supported him while he was injured. Nice. My hero... the back stabber...

Kobe saying he is more proud of winning an Olympic medal than winning a championship is perfectly fine!

An average looking woman in LA would be considered attractive in certain other parts of the world. Should the average looking LA woman be more proud of her attractiveness relative to the world, or to other women in LA? I would say, she should be proud of her appearance relative to the world. It is all about relativity. Kobe should value a potential gold medal because he is being compared to all teams/players of the WORLD, as opposed to the NBA, therefore making it a prouder moment.

OK, quite a bizarre abstract analogy but who cares haha

I think no one can dispute Kobe's desire to win an NBA Title. I mean, it's his job. He makes alot of money, sure, but if someone's ultimate passion is also their day job, then you're going to want to achieve the highest level that you possibly can. I think that goes without saying.

I do think there's some truth in the timing of the question, that he's all caught up in the excitement right now. But at the same time, I think what he was kind of getting at was the fact that the Olympics is something quite larger than himself or any of teammates. Yeah, there's history in the NBA, no doubt, but, man, this is the Olympics. The legacy goes back to ancient Greece. Granted, there are alot of global politics seemingly getting in the way of Beijing, but truth be told, the modern era of the Olympics has been used as a political vehicle almost since it's existed. Look at Berlin or Mexico City or many others. I think most of the athletes just focus on the sports anyway and don't really put alot of thought into that. That's an element the media, etc, infuse into it. This is also more of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, whereas he will get a shot every year for many more years to compete for another NBA Title.

Kwaminus knows that Elton Brand is a SCUMBAG Brownicus,

David Falk is an even bigger scumbag than Elton Brand, but Elton Brand is liar and a scumbag for letting David Falk convince him to go back on his word.

I mean, the demonic duo of Falk & Brand, really stabbed the Clippers (and Baron Davis) in the back.

Worst betrayal of an L.A. franchise since Shaquille O'Neal's meltdown.

Just sucks.

Go Clippers!

GO LAKERS!

Has anyone heard about Justin Reed?

One of my frat brothers told me he's a pretty tough defender with a nice oustide shot at SF. I looked him up on hoopshype and looked decent enough-even though we may be a little loaded at that position

Oh come on Kobe has to say that.He can't exactly say at this point that he cares about something else more.I think they are two different things and important for different reasons so its not really a fair question but something tells me Kobe would rather have a '08 NBA championship ring than an '08 Olympic gold....

Jon K

"they end up following the same path as those cheese eating surrender monkeys in France and are basically cheating in the Olympics by stealing American talent to shore up their team."

Is there an American on the French team? Am I missing something? And are you implying that the cheeseheads in Wisconsin are surrender monkeys?

"pig"
thanks bro.

Pfunk--

You are absolutely correct sir.

Fact: I know American "progressives" who contend that rooting for our home team is jingoistic; they actually become ill at ease around others who do. They secretly hope that the red, white, and blue will get their butts handed to them by the opposition (not that they recognize the opposition as the opposition) and most lack the integrity (or guts) to own up to their true sentiments. (Of course, If they did own up, these nut breads would immediately lose sway over one of our major political parties). After all, big fat immoral imperialist America needs to be taken down a few notches and taught a lesson, right? Perhaps, (in this context of Olympic basketball competition) if scores were not kept and all teams were declared the winner, they wouldn't be so embarrassed to be American. Frankly, I'm embarrassed that so many of them are. Even Kobe is smart enough to know which side the bread is buttered on. Good on the Saint.

Sonnybelfast

RUMORS: CHICAGO STALEMATE
by Eric Pincus for HoopsWorld

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=9575

Here is Lakers news in article

>>>>>

The Chicago Bulls have some difficult decisions over the coming week. Given the slow moving progress of negotiations, restricted free agent forward Luol Deng reportedly gave the team a two-week time limit to come up with a deal. His threat is to accept the qualifying offer and leave next year as unrestricted free agent without giving the Bulls the opportunity to negotiate.

A number of teams would have interest in Deng via sign-and-trade. The Los Angeles Lakers, when negotiating with the Bulls last summer for a potential Kobe Bryant trade, desired both Hinrich and Deng. That interest has probably not waned despite the team's climb back to the NBA Finals.

A source close to the Lakers noted there are some long-term concerns at point guard with Derek Fisher in his thirties and Jordan Farmar yet to prove he's more than a change of pace guard off the bench. Hinrich would be an excellent fit. Deng is a versatile true small forward and capable defender.

To date the Lakers have said they intend to see how well the front court of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom operate together. That remains the case but if the Bulls were interested in wholesale change, LA would certainly be willing to at least discuss the possibilities - even if that meant giving up on the super-sized front court before giving seeing it practice.

Credit the Lakers for thinking big. They got Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown (and pieces). If they could fill two positions for the next four to five years in one motion, Dr. Buss may be willing to pay the luxury taxes; otherwise they're unlikely to make a lateral move.

>>>>>

Tom

You can't question Kobe's heart. When he's playing, he wants to win. If you've ever watched him in an All-Star game (and, yeah, most of you have), you know that he's the guy on the court that actually wants to WIN. Kobe is the most driven, most competitive athlete in sports today. I love that he's driven to bring the gold medal home to the USA. And he'll be just as driven to bring home that trophy next year. That's what I love about him.

By the way, did anyone catch that '72 Finals game on ESPN2 the other night? Classic.

Go Lake Show!

Sonnybelfast,

Any American who is "embarassed" to be an American is a tool.

While I am VERY critical of many of our country's policies and I think the curent administration is a bunch of self-righteous, sadistic, retards...

I still am very proud to be an American.

If an American is so self-righteous and pretencious to not be able to root for America in the Olympics... well, that's just a lousy human being, not just a lousy American.

GO USA!

GO LAKERS!

Too bad Starlet Kobe don't know how to play with other superstar.

haahahahahahaah

That's why you Fakers are losers.


hahahhahhahahhh

Miss me?

Sonny

"Fact: I know American "progressives" who contend that rooting for our home team is jingoistic; they actually become ill at ease around others who do. They secretly hope that the red, white, and blue will get their butts handed to them by the opposition (not that they recognize the opposition as the opposition) and most lack the integrity (or guts) to own up to their true sentiments. (Of course, If they did own up, these nut breads would immediately lose sway over one of our major political parties). After all, big fat immoral imperialist America needs to be taken down a few notches and taught a lesson, right? Perhaps, (in this context of Olympic basketball competition) if scores were not kept and all teams were declared the winner, they wouldn't be so embarrassed to be American. Frankly, I'm embarrassed that so many of them are. Even Kobe is smart enough to know which side the bread is buttered on. Good on the Saint"

I think you may not know the meaning of the word fact, which wouldn't surprise me. Personally, I root for the Lakers and Angels because I was born in LA (well Orange really but my parents were living in LA at the time, wish my mom hadn't done that to me), I root for the Red Wings and Lions because the rest of my family is from the Detroit area (I was a Rams fan once upon a time). I root for UCLA because that's where I attended school. And I root for the U.S. because I'm an American. Most people vote their origins and roots whether they're liberal or conservative.

If yoos want Olympic Golds, take out Starlet Bryant and put in the "three headed monster", the "mean green machine" Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnet and Ray Allen.

Then you'll win Gold.

Starlet Bryant?

ahahahhhahahah

Fools gold.

hahahahahahahah

LO, Luke & Vlad for Hinrich & Deng. The curse of the Triangle of Mediocrity lifted off our shoulders in one fel swoop!

Maybe Sasha Vu-ya-Chick should tryout to be a Lakergirl?

He's pretty enough.

I'm bored with the tiny bit of news we get about the Olympics team. I guess I'll create some of my own.

Between Amare backing out and injuries to Dwight Howard,
Tyson Chandler, and LeBron James, the US Team is in danger
of not having enough healthy big men to really dominate.

How about if the U.S. team trades Carmelo Anthony to the
Chinese team for Yao Ming and a future draft pick?

thoughts?

What bothers me is that the Lakers take all of the financial risk AND someone else gains financially (Olympic merchandisers, sponsors, etc.). If it is truly an amateur endeavor, fine. But someone is making money off of these players, while the teams that employ them get nothing for their risk. Either donate all the Olympic-made money to charity, or compensate the teams for allowing their players to participate. This applies not just to the NBA teams, but the Euro League and other international league teams that pay these players. Whether or not making money is the primary goal of the Olympics (I don't claim it is), there are entities making money off of the pro athletes' participation in the games. The ball clubs are essentially leasing out their players for free for someone else to make money off of them. This should be rectified.

Posted by: Amazing_Happens | July 23, 2008 at 02:45 PM


Really good point. I also feel the whole profiteering aspect of the Olympics is ruining the true spirit of the games. It's a shame because the games themselves are such a cool idea.


Anyone else read some players didn't want to play in 2004 because they were worried about a terrorist attack? I thought that was interesting.


As for Kaman, while I think it's lame that he signed a contract and was bad that year, and lame that he's playing for Germany (it's in the rules so he should be able to though), I do think he had an amazing year last year, truly breakout. He got injured a lot near the end, but otherwise he was just outstanding, a strong candidate for most improved with nearly double his previous years points AND rebounds. Obviously it helped that Elton Brand was hurt all season.

Squid,

Who said anything about liberal or conservative?

It is a "fact" that I know these self described "progressives". It is they who should rediscover the meaning of a word.

Sonnybelfast

Wow. Sounds like "Let's Go C's" has a crush on Sasha. You might consider turning your crush toward your candidate for "Best Actress of the Year," Mrs. Paul Pierce.

Damn, how many Celtics are on the Olympic squad? Oh, right, none. I love it.

That's my last time responding to the troll.

Go Lake Show!

Jon K,
"While I am VERY critical of many of our country's policies and I think the curent administration is a bunch of self-righteous, sadistic, retards..."

Someone clueless is using your name again.

Jon K,

Good point. Heretofore, I will refer to at least a few of the self described "progressives" that I know as "tools".
Most of them are soft.

In fact, I should also refer them to Squid, who can clarify the literal error in their own self descriptions.

Sonnybelfast

LakerTom,

Tantilizing article on the Chicago Stalemate. Thanks for sharing it!


sonnybelfast,

Rooting for your country isn't jingoistic, it's just nationalistic. It makes no sense to lives somewhere and have no regard for the place. If it's so bad, go somewhere else! I'm as lefty as anyone and I get super annoyed when people are rooting for Brazil in the world cup that are from America. Just... lame.

USA basketball should clearly be the best. It's obvious.

Assuming everything about the USA is better than everything in every other country is, on the other hand, silly and jingoistic.

We simply do not make better wheat beer than Kaman's country, Germany.

Other people are proud of their countries. We have a lot to proud of with ours. We even have our own art form, jazz.

Given the richness of our ethnic and cultural diversity, the world as a whole should celebrate our victories as representative of their own because in a strong sense, they are.

BTW, I went to Berkeley for college.

utzworld,

>>>LO, Luke & Vlad for Hinrich & Deng.

Nice try, but the only reason Chicago would be trading with
the Lakers would be to dump Hinrich's salary, so why would
they take back Luke's & Vlad's?

It is a "fact" that I know these self described "progressives". It is they who should rediscover the meaning of a word.

Sonnybelfast

Posted by: Sonnybelfast | July 23, 2008 at 04:38 PM

Yep, you're right. Or really, these people should realize being a progressive has nothing to do with confusing jingoism and nationalism.

Plenty of stupid people in the world that go for style rather than substance with their words. Look at the National Socialist Party in WW II Germany. About as socialist as Iran is now. Or the Deutsche Demokratik Republik (DDR). That was East Germany! Oh, the irony.

Sonny

I'm certain that I know more progressives than you do Sonny. Many aren't sports fans, but those who are will all be rooting for their prospective country of origin in the Olympics. I suggest that you are meeting some very strange progressives.

What's up with all of the esoteric political ideology BS. I thought this was a sports blog. Didn't we all agree to leave that off? Representing the USA is awesome. Let's not get into the progressives v. conservatives garbage.

Sonny's post answered neither of the questions posed above. Why respond? He just wants to make you do his bidding and stir the Laker pot. Kinda like Mike t. Only smarter and not psycho.

Ex,

Not to turn this into a political debate, but I don't see how a person of either party can say that this current administration has been anything but disgraceful. C'mon I know you're a republican but you've got to admit that. I'm a 22-year-old democrat AND a black male and I'll readily admit that I'm so wary of Obama's flip-flopping and rhetoric over substance that I'm still not sure if I'll vote Obama, McCain or not at all!

Sorry Dave M

Birdman back to Denver.

Sonny

I apologize for misreading your post. However, anecdotal evidence is evidence of nothing. As I said, you know some strange progressives.

i here what your saying but i do not understand how you think hes rebounds did not help in the finals. the efort was there an may be when he challenge perkins he was out dueled. just because his disadvantage in games 1 and 2 it was not becas of effort. i still like him and his attitude but you cant blame the guy becas the efort was there. if he would have not tried than ok i give it to you and agree. may be next time we see the practise help him but hopefully he prsactise this of season. we see ok

ding how in prattville

Well, I guess we get to see Pau Gasoft, I mean, Pau Girlsol...uh, Paula Gaso-, well, I guess we get to see our so called "number 2" player wimp out again, this time for the Spanish team.

Jon K

I thought you're Canadian.

Kidding!

I'm glad Kobe feels that way. I mean, when a dooch from Boston, Salt Lake or the alamo shuts down their hate to root and cheer for their number one enemy on the hardwood to do well, it's easy to feel the high level of importance in said situations...

and I hope Pau well too, but only to get the silver.

peas,

troy,

You do know that Spain WON the 2006 World Championships, right? And that they're one of the 3 best teams in the world, led by Gasol, right?

Stop the haterade, we wouldn't have made the playoffs if we didn't pull that Gasol trade. But I suppose to you and Mike T. it's better to miss the playoffs with Kwame then make them with "Gasoft" as you call him.

Benjamin,

Take er' easy dude. Closely read the post you responded to. Fundamentally, I have no problem with your positions. Furthermore, I have never met a person more left wing than I was (before I grew up). You know what they say: Anyone under 25 who isn't a hard core liberal doesn't have a heart. Anyone over 25 who is a hard core liberal doesn't have a brain.

But I must take strong exception to your beer analysis. Apparently, you haven't sampled Chico, California's Sierra Nevada beer.

Enjoy.

Sonnybelfast

tory, uh, I mean troy,

>>>Well, I guess we get to see Pau Gasoft, I mean, Pau
>>>Girlsol...uh, Paula Gaso-, well, I guess we get to see our
>>>so called "number 2" player wimp out again, this time for
>>> the Spanish team.

Oh, you must mean Pau "MVP of the last World Championships" Gasol? You remember, the World Championships
where the U.S. team led by LeBronze finished 3rd.


It's one thing to root for the U.S.A; it's another entirely to cast aspersions on other teams. Spain will be tough, Argentina will be tough, Greece will be tough and China will be tough (home team advantage). I don't expect any of these teams will seriously challenge this US team, but I could be wrong.

Besides rooting for the U.S to win out, I will also root for players associated with the Lakers: Gasol, Turiaf, and Yue.

And sorry Jon K, but if Coby Karl were playing for Germany, I'd be rooting for him too. Kaman isn't one of my favorite players so I'll pass there.

Hoho, it's kind of funny how, over the course of a thread, topics can begin to morph. Before you know it we'll be debating freedom fries vs. french fries!

All I know is that ever since I was a kid (many moons ago), I have loved and looked forward to the Olympics, whether winter or summer. It's a special time and of course there's a nationalistic pride, no matter where you live. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team? How cool was that? There's always some great story in the Olympics. Regardless, the great story this time around is gonna be Kobe and Team USA.

As far as Kaman goes, yeah it's kind of weird but I doubt the guy had any ill intent.... he just wanted to play in the Olympics. Still, I hope he gets dunked on... over and over and over.

30 years ago that radio announcer would have had a lot more chance of losing his career than in generating excitement with a question like that. It is a little sad to reflect on how much love of country has been replaced by cynicism and apathy during that time. People feel the way they feel, however, and they can't just feel something else simply because they are supposed to.

Maybe people have just been exposed to too much political heartbreak over the years so that they are a bit numb. Maybe some people are relatively new here and don't fully understand what this country should be about. A lot of people have been treated a little less "equally" than others here and it might be tougher for them to get all tingly with patriotism.

But having said that, it is not the way things should be.
Whether we just got here or if our ancestors came here generations ago, we should feel a deep sense of pride and appreciation for our place as U.S. citizens, as well as our country's relationship to the rest of the world. It should be the kind of pride and appreciation where we are willing to sacrifice our lives to defend the country's sovereignty, and the kind of pride and appreciation that makes a question like McDonnell's completely irrelevant and illegitimate.

Hey folks. I know with this topic, politics can play in, but at the very least, let's try to keep the tone civil. Politics, religion, and Kwame Brown- three subjects that can turn a debate ugly in a hurry (haha).

Thanks!

BK

I can't talk Kwame? Ok.

Yes, Kudzu, you can. I was making a joke.

BK

Sorry Dave M

Birdman back to Denver.

Posted by: Fatty

What??!! Okay, NOW I'm angry.

Politics and basketball are like oatmeal and refried beans:
They don't go well together.

Kobe should do what he can for his country.
We all should.

Don't talk politics like you're bending the king's ear.
Volunteer once a year. More if possible.
Then you can talk all you want.

Kobe's playing for our team with a torn ligament in his hand.
I can think of people giving a whole lot more than that right now and none of them will sit in the Oval Office in January.
I just want to see our boy hoist the Larry O'...

Peace.

GO LAKERS!!!!!

Sorry, BK. I just couldn't resist.

I'd love Kwame as a Clipper.

He'd be back in LA and Dunleavey IS pretty good at getting alot out of bad players but not really knowing what to do with a talented head case (see Corey Maggette).

I think he'll end up in Atlanta, he's probably playing the field, making sure he ends up somewhere humid, make the ball a bit stickier.

Are there rules that definitively say no gloves in the NBA?

BK,

Question for you. Since Childress signed a 3-year deal with the Greek team, do the Hawks still retain his NBA rights if he wants to return and play in the USA in the future? You would think they wouldn’t since his contract had expired.

If he will be a free agent when he returns, what is to keep any player from signing a 1-year contract with an overseas team rather than accept a qualifying offer from his NBA team? Theoretically, he could make more money, teach the team a lesson, and then return to be an unrestricted free agent next year. Is that right? Thanks.

Tom

Sonny,

While the quote attributed to Churchill is pithy, history suggests it's well off the mark. Einstein, Gandhi, Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Charlie Chaplin, George Orwell etc. were all socialists when they "grew up".

People's political views are probably largely shaped by their personalities and experiences not their IQ.

>>>Damn, how many Celtics are on the Olympic squad?
>>>Oh, right, none. I love it.

Uhhh, trust me. You don't want to take the argument there.

The last time the U.S. won Olympic gold, two of the players on
the team were Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Feel free to mock Paul Pierce, however. He was on the first
team of NBA pro players to lose an international competition,
at the 2002 World Championships. They finished 6th.

I think I want to revise my trade proposal.

The U.S. Team should trade Carmelo Anthony and Tyson
Chandler (our alternate) for Yao Ming and Sun Yue.

That way Sun Yue could get used to sitting on the bench and
watching his team dominate other teams.

>>>Question for you. Since Childress signed a 3-year deal
>>>with the Greek team, do the Hawks still retain his NBA
>>>rights if he wants to return and play in the USA in the
>>>future?

Yep. They will.

If I read right, his contract with the Greek Team has an opt
out after each year. So he wants to come back, he can check
back with Atlanta each year and see if they are willing to
sign and trade him.

giantsquid,

>>>>>People's political views are probably largely shaped by their personalities
>>>>>and experiences not their IQ.

But not people’s sports views, right? We ALL know Lakers fans are smarter. LOL.

Actually, Bravo! For your statement was genuinely profound and insightful. I could not agree with you more. The implications in politics once one realizes this are frustrating.

Tom

Wait...so does everyone feel less pride in the USA since 2004 when we lost the gold medal? Do you think this country is less great because we couldn't win a basketball game four years ago? Are the Olympics more or less important than the World Basketball Championships in 2006? Every country tries to win those too, but we lost again....so America isn't so great anymore?

For me, pride in my country has nothing to do with whether a bunch of athletes can best those from another country. It's the spirit of competition, the fun of watching the different styles of play, and of even cheering on people from OTHER countries and taking pride in everyone's effort that makes the Olympics special.

The disappointment comes from knowing that these games are taking place in a country where human rights are horribly trampled every day. The disappointment comes from knowing that we are gutting our own Constitution and spying on our own citizens, holding hundreds of prisoners hostage without hope for a trial, torturing innocent people and assuring the same treatment for our fine soldiers in the future. The disappointment comes from knowing that we are failing to lead the world on alternative energy, on education, on health care, on caring for the poor and the sick. We can do much better in this country, we have in the past, and no amount of gold medals will get the job done.

I am proud of my country, and of the great majority of her citizens, and of the bright light of freedom we have shown the rest of the world for such a long time. And I will be no less proud of my country if Team USA loses every single game this summer, nor will I be prouder if they win every game. I am simply proud that they will participate and give the best effort they can.

LTLF/Laker Tom,

To expand upon what LTLF said, I think the way Childress' situation works is the Hawks retain his rights as long as they make a qualifying offer every season. I imagine that's what they'll do. If nothing else, it gives Atlanta the ability to screw up negotiations with Childress when he's a free agent again in 2011.

AK

LT-

To my knowledge, since Childress was a restricted FA, the Hawks still own his NBA rights once/if he decides to return. Had another NBA team bid on him, the Hawks could have matched. Obviously that right doesn't extend to Europe, but once he's back under the NBA umbrella, I believe he goes back to the same status with the Hawks.

BK

Long Time,

>>>>>That way Sun Yue could get used to sitting on the bench and
>>>>>watching his team dominate other teams.

LMAO. I hope Mitch works out some deal so Sun can play this year. I’m half-Chinese and would love the Lakers to have Sun on the roster – as long as he can play, of course. The Lakers seem genuinely intrigued by Sun and I thought he look tantalizing in his videos. The comparison to a smaller and quicker Lamar may have merit. Not to mention that 6-9 point guards have a special place in Lakers history. Another thing is left-handers always seem to have an edge defensively, especially blocking shots by right-handers as we saw Sun do twice in the YouTubes. Truthfully, we desperately need a new player to blog about. That’s the one down side about team and roster stability. LOL.

Tom

 
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