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Lakers' Kobe Bryant lends advice to Shannon Brown on NBA dunk contest

Flash back to 1997, when Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was in his rookie season and only months removed from being a standout at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa. 

He says he can't remember that long ago, but the anxiety still remains fresh in his mind when he was invited to compete in that season's NBA dunk contest.

"I didn't want to do it," Bryant said, laughing. "I was too nervous."

That didn't matter. He took home the crown his rookie season, thanks to a between-the-legs dunk. It's a move, one reporter joked to the 13-year vet, that is now considered old school.

Bryant then jokingly scoffed at the reporter's indirect suggestion that the 31-year-old is aging, but he didn't appear to be joking when asked of his advice to teammate Shannon Brown for the NBA dunk contest on Feb. 13. It was abundantly clear: Rely on athletic ability and not props. It's fair to say then that Bryant isn't a fan of Nate Robinson's Superman leap last season over Dwight Howard

-- Mark Medina

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Hi everybody !

Is anybody as concerned as I am with the 20M in expiring contracts the Spurs have (including Ginobili) that they can use with those two great young kids (Hill and Blair) ???? ...... to acquire let's say Chris Bosh or Antawn Jamison ... that could be a real issue for us and I don't see anybody considering the Spurs on this year's trade market.

Eager to read your feedback on this.

"Rely on athletic ability and not props."

That is the reason why one of my all-time favorite dunks is Howard's sticker dunk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCNK6VaBXeY

Simple athletic ability.

--FEARless

Or, should I say, Superhuman Athletic Ability?

{Lakers Secret Agent Jon K. Reporting From DEEP Behind Enemy Lines In The Frozen Gray Wastes Of Northeast Ohio From Within A Cold Rusted Out Factory With Broken Windows Doors Clanging Open And Shut In The Chilling Wind As Huddling LeBroniacs Shuffle Along The Gray-Brown Sleet-Lined Potholled Surrounding Streets Muttering, "Don't Leave! Don't Leave!"}

So, last night I was watching the Cavs-Raptors game from my lucky barstool at a nearly empty bar and engaged in a conversation with three surprisingly intelligent Cavs fans (and the only other denizens of the bar.)

I asked them if they thought LeBron would stay.

They all agreed that there was a strong possibility that he was going to leave because he had not signed his extension. One stated, "If he was going to stay, you'd think he would have signed the contract by now, right?"

Another stated, "Here's the thing: If he leaves, sure all of Cleveland will hate him, but all of New York will love him. He gains that many more fans."

One even posed the potential of him becoming a Clipper.

An interesting thing (to me) is that beneath the passionate exuberance for LeBron is the fatalistic assumption that he's going to leave... I think because that's what people do in Ohio when they become successful. They leave.

It's an open discussion on the news here about the "brain drain" of the state. When someone gets a college education upon graduation, they start looking for a job out of state. It's part of the culture.

I don't hate everyone here. Like everywhere else, there are good people here and I do have sympathy for what Ohio has to go through. This place used to take pride in manufacturing and family. A person used to be able to get a job in a factory, have their wife stay at home to raise the kids, and generally be able to have enough money left over to build some savings/wealth.

That's no longer the case. Cities like Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Toledo are all decaying and sad while cities like Shanghai and Dubai are transformed into Las Vegas-like challenges to the expectations of human potential. While the pride of the community resting in the feeling of "I built that!" has been transformed into a culture of mom and dad both working long thankless hours at Wal-Mart, spending little time together as a collective family, unable to build wealth, and unable to mentor their children who grow up in a culture of cynicism, anti-intellectualism and escapist materialism.

I'm not sure people in California can really relate viscerally to what people in Great Lakes culture go through. The mood of despair is mirrored by the cold gray weather, communal cynicism, and ever-present signs of decaying infrastructure. It sinks into your bones emotionally.

It's something to "witness."

The general assumption is that if LeBron leaves that the Cavs will immediately degrade into a 25 win team. Unlike Lakers fans who assume that in crisis we will eventually rebuild because WE MUST rebuild, the contrary assumption is that if "their King" leaves, the only logical assumption is that the team will slide into extended sub-mediocrity.

I guess when a community loses hope they begin to lose faith in their ability to rescue themselves and look for an outside savior to save them. The issue with LeBron James is that he's not an outside savior. He's an Akronian and, as such, they know how he feels.

They know he wants to get out, just like they do, they just don't want him to leave them all behind.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

THE RAMBIS DOSSIER
Tony Rambis

*****

A very interesting point in the season. If there was ever a time to pay attention, this would be it. Many observations thus far have focussed on an array of topics, yet one that should be discussed on the daily is virtually muted in favor of player fanboyism and random, biased, sensationally implausible trade scenarios.

The cream and the cake lay in a few short, yet mysterious queries:

1 - Kobe's Injury.

The Rambis opinion is that Kobe will be fine going into the last quarter of the regular season and will start to peak on the cusp of the playoffs, presumably with his game reaching a climax in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Though his injuries have become more of an eye-sore recently with some porous shooting outings and relatively little jaw-dropping, heart-piercing plays, one can assume reading the contentment on Kobe and Phil's faces that all is going according to plan.

Let's take them at their word. However, it does remain rather mysterious that they have not been able to adjust the offense to better suit Bryant's current status. With poor performances against Utah, Denver, and Cleveland, one is left to wonder..


2 - The Misplacement of Ron Artest

Ron has played well. He has done the things the coaching staff has asked of him and has barely been a bad influence or a distraction. However, it can be said that this is Ron Artest 2.0, and in the Strategy Room, we don't know if that's exactly a good thing.

Artest is simply a better and more intimidating player when he is unpredictable. When he plays with fire and tenacity, as opposed to a mellowed, mechanical flow. It is obvious that defensively, with sub-par showings against Carmelo, Lebron, and a Roy, Artest has not been able to lock-in and play up to his potential the way Phil and Co. would like. The solution to this is simple: give him his personality back. We have misdiagnosed him, and in our quest for comprehension, we have tried to turn a ferocious warrior into a philosopher.

The name 'Thriller" is an example of this miscue. "Cardiac Artest" would be more fitting. Opposing players would enter "Cardiac Artest", because of his smothering defense and sensational palputations. But that is, besides the point.

It was Nietzsche that said "one must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star."

Let the man have his chaos, and let us stop living in fear of his fiery nature.


3 - The Curious Case of Andrew Bynum

A lavish contract and a perfect city, organization, coach, and set of players to lead him into self-actualization. However, as a inexperienced, unschooled kid he focuses on things out of the imperative. His successes, can essentially, be pointed at his external factors and his minus points can be directed toward his internal strife. What will prevail? It is an enduring question even Phil has mused about in his private quarters.

On court, the kid can play. He thrives against lesser teams and lesser players, and has shown a glimmer of hope in recent high-contest outings. However, he seems to fall ill in moments of need and has never come up big in a big game. It can be said that his internal strife manifests into injury due to his vibrational frequency.

But that is just a analysis based on no real evidence.

***

More to come on the importance and dynamic of the 8-game road swing.

Thank you all for tuning in.

Love and light for all.


Tony Rambis

We need to get some Laker games going here. It seems like forever since they played last.


And I wonder if Tiger Woods is still "thinking" about building that mobile hospital in Haiti. If he keeps thinking much longer he'll have to build a mobile mortuary instead. I mean, really. Why open your big mouth about something that important and not follow through? This makes LeBron's dunkergate seem like child's play.


Wes

You can do both - rely on athletic ability, and use props. The crowd LOVES props because they're original, but history doesn't look back too kindly on them.

For example, Ceballos won with a blindfold, but few remember that dunk contest for any other reason - and when you think of great dunkers, you don't think of Cedric. Dee Brown used his Reebok pumps as a prop and did the head buried in arm dunk, winning that contest. D Howard won wearing a cape and throwing the ball in (not dunking) - crowd loved it, but that no-dunk overshadowed what could easily be argued as some of the greatest dunks ever performed (such as his off the glass from behind the glass dunk)

When we think back to the great dunk contests, we think 85, 87, 88 - Webb, Nique, Jordan... we don't think Harold Miner, we don't think Barry, or Ceballos... we do think Carter though.

I would advise to look at all of these and go from there. Vince was a great blend of athleticism and creativity, something that it sounds like Bryant is trying to advise.

Troll Man,

I liked your posts...

Bloggers

Here is an excellent piece on Kobe to check out

http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/columns/story?id=4839469


I hear a lot of sportwriters suggest that Kobe is a boring interview but after reading this interview I am more inclined to believe that actually it is the sportswriters that are lazy and unimaginative with their questions.

This quote from Kobe about the great Bruce Lee and his influence on him.............."I draw so much inspiration from him and everything that he embodied," Bryant said of Lee. "The perfection of his craft to me was something that was extremely inspirational. To be able to get to a point where you are so good at your craft that you can actually perform it thoughtlessly is something that's still a mystery to me but something that I strive for and something that he inspired me to try and strive for".

After reading this quote from Kobe I realized how much of a deep thinker he is and how much he has to offer if it is "extracted" in a interview with thought provoking questions juxtaposed to the dull and unimaginative questions that most sportswriters ask.

AXLROSE: That is an interesting scenario, however I just can't see the Spurs letting Manu walk, he still looks as good as ever - although he does have a lot of wear-and-tear on his body. Pop is very loyal to his players, I can't see them not re-signing Manu and keeping him in black & white.

On a related free-agent note, I have thought for a couple of years now, since LeBron started rooting for the Yankees (who aren't exactly liked in Cleveland) that it is a signal he was sending that he was looking to shaking up the ghosts (and rats) in MSG. If one has watched LeBron's interactions with D-Wade when the Cav's & Heat have matched up, it seems they something pre-planned. In my mind, that probably means the both of them head to New York & revive the Knicks to their former greatness. That's how I'm reading the tea leaves.

LAKER SCENARIO: Nate Robinson is a free-agent this off-season. He will probably be somewhat overlooked because of his blunders + the deep free-agency class upcoming. If he really is committed to restarting his career and wiping his slate clean, he should look to come to the Lakers and take over for Jordan Farmar. He could play and learn the system under D-Fish's tutelage for a year, he won't be straying far from what he should do with this particular veteran group and Phil knows how to handle players like him.

What do people think of bringing in Nate Robinson to the purple & gold???

@ Jon K. that's a fair question. I guess in part I prefer the Celtic cheap-shots to the all of the hand-wringing-sky-falling-lets-trade-[fill in players name] comments that are in vogue. You yourself just pointed out there are an excess of these kinds of comments. It's like being invaded by an army of Plaschkes.
But probably at the heart of it is that a lack of Celt trolls is just one more sign that we're not going to see the Celts in finals, and that is just sad. Two years waiting for revenge with no payoff just leaves a big gaping hole.
Like I posted earlier, I just can't work up a good hate for the Cavs. BTW, the Cavs game on Thurs is problematic given our health. For me there has only been one bad loss this year and that was on Christmas Day. I thought the Lakers came out flat that day, still, that win by the Cavs might be the most impressive win by any team this year, so far.

Hi everybody !

Is anybody as concerned as I am with the 20M in expiring contracts the Spurs have (including Ginobili) that they can use with those two great young kids (Hill and Blair) ???? ...... to acquire let's say Chris Bosh or Antawn Jamison ... that could be a real issue for us and I don't see anybody considering the Spurs on this year's trade market.

Eager to read your feedback on this.

Posted by: AXLROSE | January 20, 2010 at 07:08 AM


AXLROSE -

I think that Emmanuel is still a difference maker for the Spurs, and he's one of the few people off the bench who can still create his own shot (besides TP). I also think that if they traded for Bosh or Jameson, that would stiffle the development of DeJuan Blair (who is a stud in the making, much like Milsap). I think they're going to ride it out, unless something comes along that is materially equivalent to the Gasol-for-Kwame trade.

Celtics made an offer for Nate Robinson...

Exactly what they need, another 3 point shooter who is actually shorter than Eddie House. Beither one plays defense and neither one can run the Point.

I Hope they make that trade.
I can already see the implosion Troll Man!!!!

Jon K, Pfunk, and AXLROSE:

Good stuff today. Enjoyed reading Jon K's post that could have easily been titled 'Graduating from Ohio'. I know a couple of people that have done that.

Pfunk's post is actually pretty deep. if you think about why Phil Jackson's philosophies on basketball, and compare them to Bruce Lee's Jeet Kun Do, you'd see why each has such respect for breaking the mold in their respective fields. Its the reason I believe Kobe and Phil see eye to eye. Be like water, etc, etc....

AXLROSE, you bring up a salient point. The Spurs are much like the Lakers in being able to sustain their talent level. Popovich has been great as a GM. So yes, to some extent, the Spurs worry me, but it depends on who they get. Its tough for me to believe that Pau, Bynum, and Lamar can be matched by anyone. Even though they can be outmuscled, they at least have mobility and the ability to be mismatches.

Has anyone seen Bill Simmons New Article on ESPN?
Blatantly Anti-Laker. Basically 1000 words of him kissing LeBrick's a**.
Is Bill Simmons for real? Are you serious? Who is that guy? Leave it to ESPN to sponsor the East-Coast biased writers.

I said it about 10 times last year....Nate Robinson isn't what the Lakers need......I vote no. I havn't watched him play extensively, however, I tend to think he would not be a defensive stopper against the strong point guards , small or big...and the game is won with defense.

As for the earlier comment about Popovich's loyalty....well he jettisoned Bowen...probably got a couple of bottles of wine. He's probably still upset that the center in the Gasol trade has better stats than his starting center, yup Marc Gasol (14.8pts, 9.7, & 2.3) versus someone named Blair (7.2,6.30,7).......hey Popabitch, "trade committee".....that sounds so spiffy. It is true that at the time the trade looked so lopsided, but you never know what you're going to end up with in those filler players, obviously we unloaded Kwame, and Crittendon (no comment, never saw anything about him, and he got 140 minutes of floor time as a Laker, plenty according to alot of bloggers to evaluate a players future career). Off the top of my head, I don't know whatever became of the draft picks, one must have been burned by now, and one must be coming....Popovich, based on your whining over the years, yes he has brought it up more than once, you and your trade committee comment, are a 2 time loser.....unloading Kwame was one of the main assests of that trade.....


Jon K. Great thoughts regarding the LeBron/Cavs neverending story.

I just don't see any reason for him to leave the Cavs.
Cleveland is a contender team.
He can lobby and veto almost any trade or signing (coach inluded), 30 M $ in expiring contracts (Shaq and Big Z) they can use next year to sign big game-changers as Amare, Bosh, Dirk or even a healthy Yao.
Besides he already is one of the most iconic athletes in the world and is making zillions in sponsorship contracts.
From a Lakers perspective ... I would love to see him joining the "almighty " Knicks.
I want the Lakers to play( and beat) the Celtics in the Finals a few times in a row ... that's a big deal for me.

Greetings from Spain.

Tim-4-Show,

You know, I think that you are on to something. Props can win the contest, but are horrible for posterity. However, Howard's prop was just the sticker, which was just there to accentuate the incredible athletic achievement.

That's probably why I like it so much.

--FEARless

REPOST: Sorry didn't know there was a newer thread. :)

Hello Lakerland -

Am I the only one thats concerned about Kobe's current struggles? I know he has a broken finger, but wouldn't it make more sense if he just sat out a couple of games to let it heal so he can come stronger for the final months and the playoffs? I don't know if the finger is the culprit, but I also noticed that his shots have been blocked a lot of times this year. I'm starting to wonder if Kobe is starting his decline.
I know he did have severe back spasms, and I completely respect his courage to go out and venture into battle, but I can't condone foolhardy bravery. I think a little rest in the middle of the season would do wonders, but knowing Kobe's work ethic, I know its not going to happen, especially since he was always used to rag on Shaq about the same thing - taking time off in the season. But seriously, a broken finger? Come on, thats a really serious injury.
I hope my rants here are just that - rants, but the evidence is telling me otherwise. This 8 game trip coming up is vital to measure where our team is at this moment.

oh and, GO LAKERS! [sigh]

Guys - A new post is coming up soon. I also talked to management about the purple & gold background. Idea was nixed because they want all the different blogs to have the same look

MM

Thank you MM for posting that excerpt of Kobe's dunk contest. No matter the awful quality of the video... that just stole my eyes (well, was that Brandi smiling with her cute hair back then? I use to like her songs when I was a kid...), and heart.
Even more the admission of Kobe that backl then he was "nervous".
Aww.
Cutie pie.
At least at 18 he was able to be that... adorable.

I am also glad if he doesn't like CryptoNate. I am really not impressed with the kid. He would just never ever fit LakerLand and our superior-ly brained way to play.

JonK, of course LeBronze will head to New York (and I hope New York and NOT Miami... Miami would scare me more). It's the great power of money man.
And he's ALL about the money.
The franchise needs a big spoke person and a toyboy to put in every single advertising there. He was already there up in every gigantography hanging around Times Square ehen I was there in between October and November (and then there were the world Series with the Yankees winning.. so go figure it out how much the guy is a poster for money there...).
If D'Antoni stays there, LeBronze could actually learn a bit of tactic, which he is so poor at right now. New York will benefit of him a lot. Just NOT enough. (Though I will be interested in seeing how/if James' ego could affect my beloved Danilo Gallinari... Honestly I think he could learn a lot of LeBronze, also in the department "things that you have NEVER to do unless you want to be shown as a Dba*g"...).
I don't see a single chance for LeBron to stay with the Cavs.
And if you listen carefully, you'll hear Alicia Keys and Jay-Z voices coming along every time loder and louder as June approaches, anytime you catch a glimpse of Lebron's gigantig ego anywhere.

;)


Just to discuss a little bit more on the Bynum topic :

Regarding Bynum: I think we are getting an Andrew Bogut/Chris Kaman style of player right now and we need him with a Joakim Noah/Marcus Camby workhorse attitude badly (he already has more post moves that both of them combined but less vision of his role on the team right now than Carter in Orlando) .
Great inside players know how to manage roles ( Robinson with Duncan, Rasheed with Big Ben, Garnett with Perkins). We'll see if Bynum is wise enough to walk the walk and focus on being the beast cause if he wants to be the dancer ........ bad news.


CyberCosmiX...

Did I steal your name? IF I did, I apologize. I had no idea.

Mike

I would have to agree with Chris H. I can appreciate Bryant's work ethic, but a <100% KB won't be enough to win an NBA title. Just like the Democrats, us Lakers fans can't take for granted that a injured KB is still good enough for the Lakers to win a title today, like it was previously, particularly with other teams tired of hearing that the Lakers are the favorites.

As for the rest of the fellas, it's important that they play well on a more consistent basis, especially against quality teams and hope KB does heal completely to make another run at a title.

For the Lakers sake, the fans and Kobe's sake, he better not mis-calculate his injury and cost us a shot at another NBA title!

pfunk36,

You da man! That was an awesome article. I have been a Lee devotee since I was 9 years old. Now that it has been mentioned, I can totally see how Kobe's approach to the game matches with Lee's teachings.

I am in fact a big fan of all those who have followed Lee; Kareem, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris. It seems that followers have a tendency to ascend the ranks of their chosen profession or venue. He is very inspirational.

Yours is one of the greatest all-time posts.

--FEARless

CyberCosmiX...

Did I steal your name? IF I did, I apologize. I had no idea.

Mike

Posted by: Mike | January 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM
===================================
LOL. It's all good Mike, sorta like great minds thinking alike? I've also gone by SoCalMike & HoopsFanMike on other forums over the years, so it's not like I have a trademark on the LakerMike name lol, it's just the name I had used on here and Lakersground.net.

Tell ya what, I'll just finish transitioning over to CyberCosmiX & be my pleasure to let you have LakerMike for yourself if you'd like. =)

humanomaly- Tell us what you REALLY feel about Popovich... lol Gotta give him credit though, he plucked DeJuan Blair in the second round. For a 2nd rounder he is an absolute steal!

As for Nate Robinson, he wouldn't play any worse defense than what the Lakers have been getting out of their PG position for years, probably since Ty Lue, is it? It would be nice to pair up two of this years slam dunk contestants, the athleticism of Shannon & 'Krypto-Nate' would be astounding. I can see though why Laker fans wouldn't want to hurt team chemistry & bring in a score-first PG like a Nate Robinson.

Aaron Brooks is a free agent after next year, now that would be a great target if D-Fish is ready to hang them up at that point...

The Spurs will still have over $54M of salary with 6 players next year. That's not much, if any, cap space to spend.

http://hoopshype.com/salaries/san_antonio.htm

PP

>>>Has anyone seen Bill Simmons New Article on ESPN?

Yeah, and he of course had to put a dig in against Kobe, as you would expect from a Celtic lovin Lackey like Simmons.

But ironically, he was reiterating the idea that JA Adande got panned for a week or so ago on espn.com, which is that LeBron should come to the Clippers this summer.

If you had a choice of the weak squads of New York or New Jersey or instead you could join a starting lineup of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Chris Kaman, what would you chose? You add LeBron to that lineup and there are few starting lineups in the league that could even come close.

But I don't think LeBron will consider the Clippers. First of all, Donald Sterling is a turd, so no self-respecting player in the league would want to work for him. Second, Dunleavy is the dregs of NBA coaching. And most importantly, LeBron knows that he could never be loved as much as Kobe in Los Angeles. He'd have to win 5 straight championships for the Clips to pass Kobe in the hearts of most Angeleno basketball fans.

>>>Celtics made an offer for Nate Robinson...

Yeah, and espn also reports that the Lakers inquired about Nate... and about Devin Harris.

I think Devin would be nice, but hell scoop up Nate too..Bench productivity..Under PJ's and Kobe's tutelage -- Nate could blossom...one cannot deny his ability to score..in the right system, he can mature and become better..He already has the skills...


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