It’s Monday: Kobe Bryant

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…The 2012 NBA All Star game was held over the weekend with the game taking on it’s usual form…a bunch of dunks and no-look passes in the first 3 quarters.  Then in the 4th quarter the game always becomes more competitive with teams from the East and West trying to gain a victory over the other.  But a milestone was reached during the game, Kobe Bean Bryant, the polarizing Guard of the Los Angeles Lakers became the All-Time leading scorer (271 career points) in NBA All-Star game history surpassing Michael Jordan (262 career points).  I started to wonder out loud…is Kobe Bryant really appreciated for his accomplishments? Or have his off the floor mishaps and his career starting when it did put a damper on his achievements?  If you would go strictly by his numbers, Mr. Bryant should be considered one of the Greatest Basketball Players that has ever lived.  He is a 14-time NBA All -Star, with 4 All-Star Most Valuable Player Trophies (tied with Bob Pettit for the most in History),  a 13-time All NBA team member, and an 11-time All Defensive team member.  Mr. Bryant is also currently 5th on the all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul- Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928 points), Michael Jordan (32,292 points), and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points).  This is truly some rarefied company to be in!  But yet there always seems to be a question about Mr. Bryant’s abilities.  In the beginning the discussion was always…he couldn’t win a title without former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal (the two won 3 NBA Championships together 1999-2002), but he has won 2 NBA championships since Mr. O’Neal was traded.  Then it became, he is trying to be like Michael Jordan.  But I ask the question…what NBA player past or present, didn’t/doesn’t pattern their game after the greats that preceded them?  Michael had Dr. J, Magic had Oscar Robertson…they all have someone.  But with Kobe it always seems to be something else attached to it.  I believe Mr. Bryant’s career started too soon…meaning…if their was a lapse in time between his and Mr. Jordan’s career, I think most fans could appreciate him more, rather than always comparing him to Jordan.  Mr. Bryant is an excellent basketball player…and if your dislike comes from what I’ve mentioned or some other basketball rumor, or his personality, or his sexual assault case on a hotel worker in 2003 in Eagle, Colorado (the charges were dropped when the accuser refused to testify), or whatever it may be…you’re witnessing something that doesn’t come along that often.  A man that is aliening his name to some of the greatest records ever by an NBA player.  And if you like or don’t like him…you need to respect what he is doing…because greatness doesn’t come along too often folks!  And even though we have been lucky to see it twice in the last 2 decades (Jordan, Bryant), doesn’t mean that it still isn’t great!!

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It’s Monday: The Washington Wizards

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The 0-8 Washington Wizards lost another game on Sunday to the Minnesota Timberwolves and if it wasn’t certain…it is now…the Wizards are the worst team and organization in the entire National Basketball Association…by far!!  The lack of talent on this team is criminal!  How General Manager Ernie Grunfeld could assemble such a team, and believe that they could be competitive should be diagnosed as INSANITY!!  I believe that half of the team’s roster should be in the DBL (Development Basketball League) rather than being on The Wizards.  The team held a “players only” meeting on last week called by veteran Maurice Evans to go over some issues that they were obviously having.  After the meeting, they at least came out the next game and played with some effort and some passion…but to no avail.  They lost..AGAIN.  Now this…on Sunday Forward Rasard Lewis and Assistant Coach Sam Cassell engaged in a pre-game scuffle and after the altercation Mr. Lewis refused to join his teammates on the court and didn’t participate in the game.  (I guess that meeting didn’t go over to well huh Moe?)  This is just another reflection of the dysfunction of this team and their organization.  Something has to change here!!  I’m speaking directly to you Mr. Ted Leonsis…you’re the owner of this mess.  FIX IT!!  FIX IT NOW!!!  You have to do something…even if it means firing Mr. Grunfeld for assembling this mess you call a team or trading or cutting more than half of your roster…down to firing Coach Flip Saunders and his entire staff.  Whatever decision you come up with..Do IT NOW!  Because the lack of professionalism and effort displayed by this team and organization is not just embarrassing it has become shameful…

Tuesday’s Topic: NBA Lockout

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So the National Basketball Association’s owners have decided to cancel the first 2 weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA regular season and for most of you this decision went by without a second thought.  By now most of you are so wrapped up in your NFL Season with your Fantasy football leagues, Major League Baseball in their Post season, and the start of the NHL, most fans haven’t even given the NBA Lockout any thought whatsoever.  But this may be a bigger deal than most of you think.  The NBA (its owners and players) had a similar dispute back in 1998 which led to cancelling a substantial portion of the season.  Even though the two parties eventually agreed to terms on a Collective Bargaining Agreement, the damage that the Lockout had on the sport is still felt to this day.  In their negotiations with the players, I believe the owners made a huge mistake in posturing for public support.  Trying to gain sentiment for their cause, the salary structure and financial information was put on display for public consumption and with the vehicle of the Internet and booming of Sports Talk Radio, the average fan got a behind the curtain view of what most NBA players earned in salary.  And with those revelations, a resentment was born that still exists to this day (more in this sport than any other).  In the NBA, the majority of the players who earn these salaries are African Americans.  In this country, the average fan of the league works 40 hours a week (if they’re lucky) and makes a “honest” wage for that work.  Of a more important note, the majority of these workers are Caucasian males and they have grown to really resent the players.  You hear it all the time: “they make too much money!”.  But when is the last time you heard this about MLB or the NFL?? – where the “ELITE” players/quarterback’s (the majority of whom are White) contracts and earnings never get scrutinized.  By using this negotiating tool, the NBA owners may have done irrefutable damage to their league and may have never realized exactly what it was doing.  And with the current economy, the last thing your league needs is more resentment towards it.  The league has finally started to recover from the ’98 Lockout and with the interest in the NBA starting an upward swing in viewers and attention by the average sports fan, the last thing it needs now is to make the same mistake that was made 13 years earlier.  So be careful this time will you?  You can win the battle, but lose the war!!