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New 710 ESPN Lakers podkast, plus a QOTD

The newest bit of ear pleasure, plus a tri-pronged Question of the Day.  But first, I'll play deejay...Old woman

Part I: We discuss items like Andrew Bynum's rebounding woes (a hot topic in our and other corners of the cyberspace universe), the Lakers' struggles while shooting from distance and Kobe Bryant's game-winning jumper against the Milwaukee Bucks, which he swished while sporting a honkin' split on his right index finger. Kobe says this is the most difficult injury he's ever played through. We speculate what would be even tougher. Perhaps his hands mutating into some kind of hideous flipper. (All apologies to any pinniped that happens to be a loyal reader.) 

Part II: A conversation with NBA TV analyst and former NBA great Steve Smith about Kobe's evolution as a scoring machine and the Lakers from top to bottom. Plus, Darko Milicic's inability to picture an NBA career beyond this season, the Blazers' inability to stay healthy, and Lil' Wayne's inability to move real estate

And as noted earlier, there is a QOTD sparked by the poddy's first part.

We've grown so Kobe Bryant raises his arms after hitting a game winning shotaccustomed to Kobe Bryant playing hero at the buzzer, playing through injury, or in the case of the winner against the Bucks, both. We've discussed these moments every which way from Sunday. There's nary a stone left unturned when it comes to Kobe's greatest hits. I don't even know what's left to say, really, beyond simply recognizing and appreciating how incredible the Mamba is. 

But for some reason, that bucket got me thinking about my younger days playing sports, which certainly weren't in the same stratosphere in terms of level (I peaked in high school) and achievement. But that doesn't mean they never mattered to me. or that they don't provide vivid memories 20+ years later. Or that I don't ever picture what Kobe must feel like at the top of the mountain. And I imagine most of you are in the same boat.

Thus, I pose a three part query...

    -What is the best play you ever made in sports, whether at the little league, high school, college, or, if you happened to be that good, the pro level? And have you ever made a game-winning play?
    -What's the worst injury you ever played through?
    -How much would you give to make a game winning shot for the Los Angeles Lakers?  

My answers, in respective order...

    -The best play I ever made happened during my junior year of high school football. It was a line of scrimmage solo tackle that forced a fumble that I immediately jumped on and recovered. I nearly ruined the sequence with an ill-advised attempt at a run back in traffic, which lasted all of about two steps before I was leveled. Thankfully, I didn't lose the ball. (My coach's reaction: "Great play, Andy. If you ever do it again, you're benched for the entire season.") 
    -As for a game winning play, during freshman football, I ran down a guy returning a kickoff with nothing but daylight between him and the end zone. How I managed to catch this kid is beyond me (dude was seriously fast and I started from almost the other side of the field) but we ended up winning by less than a TD, so in a roundabout way, that saved the game. A bit of a stretch, admittedly, since there was at least a good half of football to go when my play happened. But that's the closest I recall coming.
    -Also football related, I played with slightly cracked ribs for a few weeks because I wanted to stay in the starting lineup for the game against our big rival season's end. Ironically, I broke my wrist in the game heading into that one, so I had to miss it. But the good news is I still have occasional aches ion that area of the rib cage. In retrospect, not worth the trouble or pain endured.
    -I'd easily give up two week's salary to hit a game winner as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. During a playoff game, make it a month. Done. No brainer. Yes, 15-30 days of Ramen noodles and having to lie to my wife about why I'm eating said Ramen noodles wouldn't be fun, but just knowing what it feels like to succeed on such a big stage as a member of such a big franchise more than makes up for the inconvenience. And queasiness.


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1. Pawn to King 4 on way to a Ruy Lopez.
2. Broken left forearm. Didn't let it stop me, Played using just one arm. Guy resigned after just 21 moves. Yeah!
3. Lets put it this way, I'd pay to seat on the bench. To be on court? Name it.

Hit 2 free throws with 4 ticks left to win a championship game. Got carried off the floor. Add mounds of money and a worldwide hi five to that and ya got Kobe's everyday.

Some people are born winners at the cosmic roulette wheel.

It was interesting to read the F & G blog's take on Bynum and the rebounds.

So they've noticed he doesn't fight for rebounds too. Interesting ...

I saw the Kareem posters. Interesting ... I wonder if they feel "punk'd"
that the child project/prodigy chose to play in Europe vs. prepping for
a championship run?

Made a lot of great plays in my life, in a variety of sports.

But inevitably, they are followed in the next inning/quarter/set by something clumsy/stupid enough to offset the great play. So I won't bother!

But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!

Seriously, who is choosing the games for ESPN. Wizards v. the Warriors? WTH?

celtics loose.

Aloha A.K,

My greatest sports moment actually happened in a pick up game. This may age me a bit but I went to San Jose State and at that time the Golden State Warriors use to do their summer training at San Jose City collage. I use to play pick up games with them. At the time they had an undersized center named Clifford Ray. He was kind of the Dennis Rodman of his time when it came to rebounding. Anyway I actually went over him for a rebound and a one hand slam put back. He yelled out sign that boy up! Totally made my day and a lasting memory.


Mark - it's kind of ridiculous, right?

Cap's Goggles said [edited]:
"a couple ... out there that don't understand the concept if an 82 game season... Get a grip all you people asking for trades and questioning Kobe or PJ on this or that... We true Lakers Fans worry like hell over everything, but we don't demand things get done on our whims. The last time I checked, it was Mitch Kupchack who's the GM, not us, so sit back and enjoy the ride."

Amen. A GMs job is somtimes to make moves, but more often patience is the key. It's easy to call for knee jerk moves when a 22-year-old center struggles for a couple of weeks, or young guards shoot poorly, or an old vet starts to show his age, or your sixth man seems to glide though a couple of games. It is usually teh wrong answer. The regular season is just to get positioned for the playoffs. Look at the way Shaq used to treat January.

And trades are easy to make on these pages and a lot tougher in real life. You go with what you have unless you can ACTUALLY make a deal to improve the team.

As they are, this team can win a title. And compete for years. Panic trades will usually hurt more than help.

Tom D.

Great job by Mitch for getting Pau's contract extension done! Love that it falls on the same day that the Celtics lose a game at home to the Sixers on a last minute tip-in by ex-Clipper Elton Brand of all people!

Celtics lose to Suxers, 98-97. Advance Merry Christmas.

RedsArmy: "Q: Is Kobe really the best player in the world?"
Paula Pierce: "I don't think Kobe is the best player. I'm the best player. There's a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don't cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself."

Dave- I'm at a loss for the proper adjective to describe it. Maybe they just throw darts at an NBA schedule?

I love the extension with Pau. Kobe should be next. I arrive in L.A. on Sunday!

Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!

1. State Championships, 1997. Hit a game-winner from just inside 3 with about .6 remaining on the clock. Almost came up with a steal on the inbounds pass, clock expired. bam.

2. I've never broken anything. I did, however, have the flu in the game mentioned above, and was so freaking sick that the coach didn't even let me on the floor until we had about 2 minutes left. Needless to say, with the exception of the final 5-odd seconds... I sucked. I'm not Kobe.

3. Game winner for the Lakers? That depends... is Kobe going to pass the ball to me, Mamba-to-Fish style, or punch me in the face post-game for stealing his moment?

Celtics lose to who at home in their Gaahhden.....?? Oh yeah to the 76-ers, which had one only one of the previous 15 games this season!!

I am thankful to the 76-ers that they also ended the C's 11-game streak (so that they dont beat our record so far this season)....

Now lets see, how do C's stay in Hollinger's "power" rankings even after losing to the lowly 76-ers... Hmmm thats on BSPN, so they'll continue to be #1 ;-)

Seriously, who is choosing the games for ESPN. Wizards v. the Warriors? WTH?

Posted by: Mark | December 18, 2009 at 07:20 PM

It was the only game that was still being played at that time slot (for West Coast viewers).

Tom Daniels,

you wrote: A GMs job is somtimes to make moves, but more often patience is the key. It's easy to call for knee jerk moves when a 22-year-old center struggles for a couple of weeks, or young guards shoot poorly, or an old vet starts to show his age, or your sixth man seems to glide though a couple of games. It is usually teh wrong answer. The regular season is just to get positioned for the playoffs. Look at the way Shaq used to treat January.

my response: You seem to be making my point. Let me explain:

Shaq relied on his size not his skill. Shaq was more interested in extra
curricular activities not getting better. Shaq had a chance to be the best
big man ever, but he's number 5 on the list. If Shaq had had the mindset of
Russell or Kareem he'd still be a Laker and we'd have how many more

Character counts. How you practice affects how you play. The belief that
you can turn it on when you want leads to bad habits which are not erased
when you suddenly become motivated. That leads to a loss against teams
who are close to you in talent, but who are hungrier.

In the long run, character is more important than talent. We are blessed that
Kobe, Pau, & Artest have a bucket full of each. We are blessed that the fire
in Kobe has influenced our bench. D-Fish is a great example of character
being more important than talent. There are a number of pg's who have more
talent, speed, athleticism. There are none who have 4 rings.

My issue with Bynum has always been about his character. I can live with
him learning. If he's not going to hustle on defense, I'd rather we find
someone else. Before you take this out of context, please recall that I asked
for some Laker coach to plant their foot into his backside, and only *IF* he
was unwilling to learn/hustle than trade him.

Did you see the comment on Forum P & G about he only gets rebounds that
*come* to him.? He doesn't fight to get them. That is not what will win a

Go Kobe!
Go Lakers!!

"celtics loose.

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2009 at 07:21 PM"

This is a pet peeve of mine:

Listen "guest" the correct spelling is LOSE. Unless you intended to type LOOSE. As in, anyone who does not know the difference between loose and lose must have a few LOOSE marbles upstairs! Loose is the opposite of tight, not the opposite of win!

LOSE !!!

The only thing, saving you from adding insult to injury, is that you lacked the balls to attach your real name to your embarrassing post.

P & G R

It was the only game that was still being played at that time slot (for West Coast viewers).

Posted by: The Snake | December 19, 2009 at 08:12 AM

TY, I thought someone had lost their mind.

So with Pau signing ...

Bynum won't be the #2 option until 2015?

Thank you Tom D,you and the Capt have it right. If it's any consolation, Laker posters aren't the only ones that overreact. If you go to any of the other top team blogs it's the same story. The team loses a couple of games and hysteria sets in. Everyone thinks they're a GM.

Best play. There were two.

The first was when I was in little league. I SUCKED. I couldn't play in the outfield because I would ALWAYS overrun fly balls. Always. Didn't figure out 'till I was 17 that it was because I needed glasses.

At any rate, during the championship game I was playing shortstop. And we were ahead and the opposing batter just hit a screaming line drive to my left (I'm right-handed). I closed my eyes and dove. When I opened them, everyone one was screaming and jumping and running towards me. I looked down and the ball was in my glove. Unquestionably, the loudest cheers was my mom.

The second was my junior year in High School. This was really a Kobe level 'play', though it was in Track and Field. I was the fastest guy on the team and we were invited to the Mt. SAC (Mt. San Antonio College) Invitational. This is a world famous track meet, if you follow track (I know, a forgotten sport in the US). At any rate, we were competing in the last event of the meet, the 4 x 400 meter relay. I was anchor (the last runner) for our team. When I got the baton, we were in fourth, about 160 - 180 meters behind first. Almost half the track behind. There was a big gap behind the guy in first and the group of us fighting for second.

I immediately passed the two guys ahead of me to get into second and continued to try and catch the guy in first. There is NO WAY this guy even suspected that I was coming. He was WAY ahead. Except the fact that the whole stadium was cheering my name. But, those cheers were indistinct. The only reason I know for sure what there were saying was because my mom was the one who started the cheer that all 30,000 or so people picked up on. He must have thought they were cheering for him.

My mom never EVER doubted me in my WHOLE life. She started the cheer when I got the baton, when it was still impossible for me to catch the guy. You know like that LA Times guy telling his daughter that Kobe was going to win the game? Except, he would have had to have said it at tipoff.

Well, I *almost* caught him. It was a photo finish. Sprinters are trained to lean across the finish line just in case of a photo finish. This guy finished erect, with his arms raised, in exactly the posture Kobe had when he made that shot. I dove across the line. Those two decisions would decide the race.

It took three hours to analyze the photo (computers weren't that fast back in 1988). We were declared the winner by less than the thickness of a credit card. The photo is comical because you see this guy in his victory pose, and me completely horizontal, absolutely parallel to the ground (that landing did hurt).

Ironically, my second Hero's reception was rather tame. Because of the delay, the stadium was nearly deserted when we were finally declared the winner. The only two schools still there was mine (Ontario High School) and the other school. But that was the race that made me the number one recruit in California for Track. I would do that same thing (snatch victory from the jaws of defeat) twice more and two other world famous track invitationals; Poway invitational and Occidental (the same Occidental that Obama once attended). But, Mt. SAC was the most dramatic and the most sweet. My teammates were big on heart and low on speed.

I did it 5 more times in my senior year. I was undefeated my senior year, except for the race listed next. These performances got me my Track scholarship to UCLA (one of two scholarships I got to UCLA, the other was academic).

As for playing injured; I ran the Masters Meet (a qualifying meet for regional champions for the state meet) with a severely pulled hamstring. This is so incredibly painful. OUCH! I had to finish in the top five to go to state. I came in sixth. However, I did beat three people. This is the reason I was so sympathetic to Pau. I know exactly what he was going through. I had trouble going to classes during those 6 weeks -- especially after re-aggravating it by trying to compete on it.

Winning shot? You name it. Having been there, I'd love to get back. But, whatever it is I'd have to pay, it can't be at the expense of my family. I've already chosen them above all other things.

Also, I'd like to add, I really was that far behind at Mt. SAC. I still can't believe that race, but one of my team mates video tapped it. I don't have a copy myself, never got one, But, he still watches it from time to time to this day. He shows it to people. It was really an incredible experience.

I know this is long, but I actually don't get to tell these stories that much anymore. Thanks AK for the opportunity.




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