Do The Right Thing ……………….

Do The Right Thing ……………..

There’s a great deal to be said about the legacy of baseball , its history and the fact that Jackie Robinson played a part in integrating team sports, being the first African American to play a professional sport where its embodiment was integrated . And granted, were it not for Branch Rickey willing to take a chance on a social experiment that would have lasting ramifications that would reverberate across the landscape of the country , I seriously doubt that we’d have seen the integration of the game at the time we did. Consider this, at the time that Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers the US military still hadn’t been fully integrated wherein African American soldiers could be part of the same platoon and serve alongside their Caucasian counterparts but yet this myth continues here within this country that it’d rather gloss over this whole episode concerning African Americans within the US military. The US military wouldn’t be fully integrated until 1953 , some eight years after World War II had ended .

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In light of the above evidence a patron (chappy81) of my site and I mulled over the situation with regard to the image of the NFL and that of MLB and the fact that both sports are so image conscious . He remarked about the fact baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day and that baseball also has its Civil Rights —– games played this weekend . But that in of-itself I find to be a real misnomer as it simply means nothing in the greater landscape of things , given the fact that now we’re seeing an attack to repeal many of the advances made under the Civil Rights Act . And whereas Jackie Robinson’s number has been retired by the league I do find it somewhat asinine that the league especially now under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has somehow refused to retire Roberto Clemente’s number in honor of the player and his accomplishments but specifically as a human rights activist and philanthropist . If Selig and the league hierarchy simply can’t view Clemente’s accomplishments other than to institute an award in his name , I think it somewhat inane that they simply believe that honor only ought to be bestowed upon Jackie Robinson , merely because he was simply the first person of an ethnic minority to have the game as part of an integrated team at the professional level ! Baseball while steeped in its traditions has become archaic and fully out of touch with the realities of the world .

Given the current problems within the league , financial instability of teams around baseball , team owners who’ve simply put greed above common sense and a hierarchy who for the most part simply show the naivete of an immature child that it’s hard to imagine that the game has made the advancement that it has over the years. Character issue asides of the players past and present I do feel that it is now time for Bud Selig do the right thing and actually retire Roberto Clemente’s number , not just simply as an act of benevolence but also to acknowledge his achievements as a philanthropist .

Now one might suggest that in allowing Clemente’s number to retired it would diminish what Jackie Robinson’s entry at the major league level meant to the game . But I say …no ………. because if anything these are two great players who by their own deeds and willingness to beat the odds has done a great deal to establish the game of baseball across a broad demographic and therein making it relevant socially as well being viewed as America’s pastime .

Well now that the conference finals appear to be set with regard to the NBA Playoffs . The Eastern Conference Finals sets up an intriguing match-up between the top two seeds within the confrence . The Chicago Bulls will host the Miami Heat at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday 15th May in a game one of this best of seven game series . For LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade they see this as a form of vindication having defeated the Boston Celtics in their conference quarter semi final series 4-1 .

So clinical was the defeat of the Celtics that it had many wondering whether or not this might the last charge of the Boston Celtics’ ‘Big Three’ of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Ray Allen . To my mind I do feel that this Celtics’ roster labored because of the fact that is in large part an aging one . And whereas Doc Rivers was able to lead the Celtics to an emphatic triumph in the 2008 NBA Finals . This might very well be a time for a changing of the guard in some part . GM Danny Ainge and senior general partner Wyc Grousbeck may very well have to overhaul this roster if the Celtics are to have any serious chance of challenging for an NBA title next season .

And while it is being widely reported that Rivers is now in the process of accepting a renewed five year $35 million deal to remain with the organization . It may well pretty much put into effect that the Big Three will likely also remain with the Celtics . Beyond that it remains to be seen what now becomes the next saga of the Boston Celtics’ history.

In going back to address this conference finals’ matchup between the Bulls and Heat it will most certainly be an intriguing one. The Bulls swept the season series between the two teams with some ease but that was in large part before the Heat had found any real consistency in their play . If the Bulls are to prove that those results during the regular season were no fluke then they will have to play with a fluidity and resolve that they’ve shown throughout the large part of the postseason . League MVP —- Derrick Rose and his teammates have to be mindful as to the knowledge that will be imparted to them by their coach Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff if they’re to have any chance of beating the Heat in this series . And for the Heat who’ll no doubt be looked at as the presumptive favorites for coach Erik Spoelstra , he knows that it is now or never for this team which has been looked at to win it all ever since team President & Head of Basketball Operations Pat Riley engineered the moves that brought Bosh and James to the Miami Heat during the offseason.

Not since the Michael Jordan era led Bulls of the 1995-96 season has there been this much fervor over this organization for which the expectations are now extraordinarily high. Should the Bulls prevail in this series then it could be viewed as one of the biggest shocks in recent NBA history , in terms of postseason upsets .

Amazingly enough while the Dallas Mavericks awaits the winners of the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder . I’ve now got to ask myself after this monumental disastrous display by the Thunder in their fourteen point loss to the Grizzlies on Friday night how is it that Scott Brooks can feel that his team can now close out this series ? On a night when league scoring champion Kevin Durant had an abysmal night shooting , that this was a game that I believe that the Thunder would rather forget ! Once again it was left the heroics of Zach Randolph as he led the team in scoring and in taking the lead as its vocal leader in erasing a 3-2 deficit to even this series with everything to play for as game seven brings the two teams back Oklahoma City to bring this conference semi finals to a fitting culmination. As to what that might be , we now all wait to see what unfolds in this exhausting and thrilling series .

If the rumors are to believed as it is now being reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have allowed Phil Jackson’s assistant Brian Shaw to speak with both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets as to both vacant coaching positions. Strange as this may seem , unless the Lakers are extremely confident that Jackson will be returning to the organization then I feel it somewhat less than prudent of them to allow Shaw to seek out an initial interview with either organization . Shaw if anything has to be the favorite for the position as he has the respect of a number of players on the team. But it may well be that GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Dr Jerry Buss may well feel that it is indeed better bring someone anew to be Jackson’s successor. From my own perspective although I’ve heard the name of Rick Adelman being bandied about as a likely successor I do feel that it’d be step backwards for the Lakers should they hire this well respected coach. A retread is very much the last thing that this organization needs in light of their rather embarrassing 4-0 series loss to the Dallas Mavericks . The one candidate I feel who fits the bill as the successor to Jackson would be Tom Izzo of Michigan State and his given his coaching pedigree I think he’d certainly be the appropriate choice ! However , that decision is now in the hands of the general manager and owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and it may well be some time before they come to a final decision .

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What thoughts if any do have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thank as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) From left to right Branch Rickey , Jackie Robinson and his wife Rachel seen are as the former player receives his plaque after his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame . AFP Archives ………

(2) Pirates’ outfielder Roberto Clemente whose tragic death is still mourned to this day . Baseball archives ….

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat gets emotional after closing out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(4) Omer Asik (3) reacts with Luol Deng (9) of the Chicago Bulls after Asik drew a foul from the Atlanta Hawks in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images …….

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There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

Well it now appears as the Los Angeles Lakers’ —- season has been somewhat derailed by their uneven play there’s rumblings in ‘ La-La Land’ that the Lakers are prepared to trigger a deal that would bring the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum and either Lamar Odom or Ron Artest that would bring the prized All Star to the “City of Angels” . There are already preliminary talks that have taken place as was being reported by ESPN’s —- Chris Broussard the station’s widely respected NBA analyst.

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As we all know the New York Knicks and in particular GM Donnie Walsh , owner James Dolan and coach Mike DAntoni have expressed a desire to bring the Anthony to his native New York. The player himself has made it his desire to go to New York but herein lies the problem the Knicks aren’t any closer to being a contender in their present guise . And if anything the Knicks and the pieces that they would have on offer to the Nuggets would not be in any way as desirable as Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak would be able to offer the Denver Nuggets. Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has to do what’s best for the organization and clearly he’s now caught between a rock and hard place.

Courtesy of ESPN Los Angeles

Andrew Bynum dismisses trade talk

By Dave McMenamin

All The Pros and Cons of Melo in LA ….

Boston — The basketball world might have been set aflame overnight considering a scenario where the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers would acquire four-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets for center Andrew Bynum, but you wouldn’t know it from looking in on Lakers practice Wednesday.

As the team made its way off the practice court at Emerson College, Bynum joked with Lamar Odom, and Kobe Bryant bristled when asked if he had to comfort Bynum.

“If he can’t deal with that, forget about a Game 7,” Bryant said of the trade talk that was first reported by ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard on Tuesday. “I don’t need to talk to him about that. He’s a big boy, he can handle himself.”

Coach Phil Jackson barely batted an eyelash as he was approached by a throng of media that included reporters from national news outlets.

“I haven’t given it a second thought,” Jackson said. “I haven’t really entertained it.”

If Jackson hasn’t given it a second thought, then what was his first thought about the Lakers moving their 7-foot, 285-pound big man to pick up a wing player in Anthony?

“My first thought was, ‘Why are these people interrupting my life with these kind of rumors?’ ” Jackson said.

Bynum said his agent, David Lee , called him at 4 p.m. Tuesday to tell him about the report. It was a familiar refrain for Bynum, whose name has popped up in rumors linked to a laundry list of players — Jason Kidd , Jermaine O’Neal , Kevin Garnett , Chris Paul and Pau Gasol among them — in his six-year career.

“It’s just another rumor as far as I’m concerned,” a nonchalant Bynum said Wednesday. “I was caught up in [Chris] Bosh and Pau [trade speculation], so it’s nothing new to me. I’m just going to keep playing basketball.

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The NBA trade deadline is on the 24th February and there’s bound to be a flurry of trades around the league as a number of teams will look to bolster their rosters in order to make a playoff push. And it goes without saying that Carmelo Anthony is the most prized asset of the lucrative restricted and unrestricted free agents that are about to come on the market.

Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson clearly sees that there’s a flaw in his team and the way in which they’ve been playing recently . Statistically the load being carried on this team is being done predominantly as always by Kobe Bryant , who at times is being ably assisted by Pau Gasol when he’s completely free of injury. And it has been clear for all to see that this Lakers’ team has systematically limped along the way to their current position in the standings. The team’s 35-16 mark places places them third in the Western Conference Standings behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (42-8) and the Dallas Mavericks .

Now it’d be a surprise to many to see the Spurs be so dominant in the NBA this season but those who’d taken note of the Spurs’ team would have realized that this has been a collective effort , and not totally reliant on the team’s triumvirate of stars Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . And one ought to take into account also that in Gregg Popovich the Spurs might possess the best coach in the NBA outside of the Lakers ‘ Phil Jackson .

Should the Lakers pull off this deal then clearly it would place them amongst the mainstay within the conference and even though they are the reigning NBA champions . This team was meant was built with the intent of making a successful defense and based upon the changes made by Jackson and Kupchak over the last season it’s very clear that the Lakers have fallen short of those desires . Ron Artest has been increasingly inconsistent and it’s clear that the likes of Odom , Bynum , Shannon Brown , Steve Blake and the Lakers’ bench haven’t met the expectations of the coaching staff or the fans in attendance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. aren’t gense

Carmelo Anthony for his part gets to play on a team alongside a perennial All Star in Kobe Bryant and that can’t at all be bad for a player whose desire to win an NBA title at this stage of his career the desire is to win. The Nuggets aren’t any closer to doing that and their window of opportunity has already come to a close . They’re still a very good regular season team and that is in spite of last season’s playoff performances and the heroics by the team. Unfortunately with the illness of coach George Karl even with the experience shown by Adrian Dantley as he took over from Karl while he underwent chemotherapy and then the long drawn out process of recuperation . The problems for Nuggets stem from the fact that they contend in the always competitive and cuthroat atmosphere of the Western Conference .

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A chance to see Carmel Anthony in the Lakers’ purple and gold could be the biggest thing to hit LA since the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal and from there the team’s unprecedented success of a trio of NBA titles under Phil Jackson . At this juncture when there’s more entertainment to be had from watching the Lakers’ co-resident at the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers then you simply know that things aren’t all right with this Lakers’ team. It’s now gotten to the stage where Blake Griffin is now getting collectively more exposure on both ABC/ESPN and TNT than the reigning NBA champions. And when that happens then clearly one could surmise that all isn’t right in the basketball world and the fact that basketball gods are now said to be smiling.

The New York Knicks could well be on the outside looking in as the ones left out. The fans at Madison Square Gardens aren’t entirely happy that as of late that their team has suddenly been slipping and their recent displays can be best described as being erratic. With the excellent play of Amar’e Stoudemire , Landry Fields , Raymond Felton it has been the Knicks’ bench that has continued to let them down in the most untimely of situation when they’ve had games within their grasp. There’s no denying that the addition of Carmelo Anthony would be a tremendous boost to the organization from a number of standpoints not the least from a financial standpoint of the league’s most valuable NBA franchise. The most recent estimates have the Knicks valued at approximately $655 million with the league average being $370 million .

The cat and mouse games will now begin as quite possibly Donnie Walsh and James Dolan may well look to make a last ditch attempt to bring Carmelo to New York. You have the glamor of Hollywood being thrown up against the 24 hour none stop mayhem that we know to be the “The Big Apple” and it will all come down to which organization can use its wiles to lure the Nuggets’ player to be a part of their immediate and long term future. As of now either these two organizations could start to play a very interesting game of chicken with the loser quite possibly end up looking the fool. And as of now there’s no clear indicator as to who that might be.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the potential trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers rather than quite possibly ending up with the New York Knicks ? Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic or any other as it relates to the NBA. Thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture and slide show details below

(1) Denver , Co,. : Carmelo Anthony (15) of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center on November 16, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. According to reports, the Denver Nuggets are in preliminary talks with the Los Angeles Lakers for a trade that would send Anthony to the Lakers for a package built around Andrew Bynum . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(2) Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom goes to the hoop in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, against the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tenn. Odom scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 93-84 win. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) handles the ball away from the Memphis Grizzlies defenders in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) defends Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, left, of Spain, in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman …………………..

(5) Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl hangs his head during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ………

(6) New York Knicks owner James Dolan (right) listens as newly hired president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh speaks during a news conference in New York, April 2, 2008. The organization are still said to be pursuing all venues possible to bring Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Gardens home to the New York Knicks. But with the now rising interest of the Los Angeles Lakers the team will be matched in a battle of wits with the West Coast rival. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(7) ESPN’s NBA analyst Chris Broussard who first broke the story of the Lakers’ interest and pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony. The two teams have met privately to discuss a possible deal looking to finalize it before the NBA’s trade deadline of the 24th February . AP Photo / Steve Pearson ……….

(8) Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri formerly a mid-level executive with the Toronto Raptors . Ujiri who reports directly to owner Stanley Kroenke and his son Josh Kroenke the President & COO of the Nuggets organization . It will be on their say so whether or not the player will be traded to either the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks . AP Photo / Richard Todd ………..

(9) Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson (left ) left is seen here with the team’s GM Mitch Kupchak on a private jet discussing team business . The two obviously not happy with the current state of affairs concerning the team are said to be eagerly in pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony in a trade that might possibly have the team’s center Andrew Bynum heading out of Los Angeles to Denver. NBAE/ Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ……..

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🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………

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Sasha

Eye candy …………. Sasha Delvalle

Nadia Dawn
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Tony – Toni – Tone …………”It Never Rains” (In Southern California)
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You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You Can’t Force It To Drink…….. Ah !

So the NBA season still in its infancy, and already it has had its first managerial casualty. Put your hands up if you thought that the New Orleans Hornets’ Byron Scott would’ve been that first casualty ? C’mon now, raise your hands I can’t see them ? Well, surprise, that’s definitely what has happened. Much to the surprise no doubt, to the Hornets’ fans and quite possibly the team’s All Star point guard Chris Paul. Now don’t get me wrong , I love Byron Scott and I believe him to be one of the better coaches in the NBA ! But how the hell can he not get the best out of this team which has a very good nucleus of players and if anything one the league’s elite players in Chris Paul ? Am I missing something here ?

Byron Scott,  the  now fired former  coach of the  Hornets.  GM ,  Jeff  Bower  who  has now  assumed  the  position  of  head coach  on  an  interim  basis.   And assistant  coach  ,  Tim  Floyd.   It's safe  to assume  that the  reins may  well be  handed  over  to Floyd   at some  time in the  future  given the  fact  Bower  has  no  experience  as a  coach of  any kind with   regard to the  NBA .   picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/  getty images / Richard  Tyson ..............
Byron Scott, the now fired former coach of the Hornets. GM , Jeff Bower who has now assumed the position of head coach on an interim basis. And assistant coach , Tim Floyd. It's safe to assume that the reins may well be handed over to Floyd at some time in the future given the fact Bower has no experience as a coach of any kind with regard to the NBA . picture appears courtesy of nbae/ getty images / Richard Tyson ..............

Now to make matters worse for the team, they will be without Chris Paul for anywhere up to two weeks. At 3-8 , having lost three straight games and with their last defeat being a rather lopsided loss to the Atlanta Hawks, 121-98. And with GM, Jeff Bower having assumed the reins, as coach of the team , on what is believed to be an interim basis. No one is quite sure what to make of the situation and what led to Scott’s abrupt firing and departure. Needless to say, that there’ll be a great deal of speculation as to what may well have went on, with regards to the action taken by Bower. Meanwhile,the task ahead for Bower and his assistants is to get the players, playing with a sense of urgency and more consistency. And that has obviously now been made a great deal harder with the loss of Paul, due to an injury. As he’s was viewed as the leader vocally , both on and off the field of play.

And things aren’t going to get any better for the Hornets in wake of what has transpired. In the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, they’ll have to deal with the likes of the Dallas Mavericks (6-3), Houston Rockets (5-4), San Antonio Spurs (4-4) and the ailing Memphis Grizzlies (2-8). Any respite that the team thought it might have , has been clouded in the aftermath of this internal upheaval. And with each of the teams in question having made significant changes to their player personnel. The thought that this might be the year for the Hornets to do something significant may well have to be reviewed.

Courtesy of NBA.com

Byron Scott relieved of coaching duties

Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower to serve as Head Coach

November 12, 2009

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have relieved Byron Scott of head coaching duties. Scott will be replaced by General Manager Jeff Bower.

“I want to thank Byron for the hard work he has put in during his time with the Hornets,” said Hornets Owner George Shinn. “I’ve hired Jeff Bower to take over the coaching reign. He knows this team better than anyone, has the respect of the players and in basketball circles, is regarded as one of the best basketball minds in the business. This is our best opportunity to reach our goals this season.”

Bower, who has spent his 14-plus seasons with the club, has been an invaluable asset for the Hornets at all levels in basketball operations. He began his tenure with the Hornets as an advance scout from 1995 to 1997 before earning a promotion as the team’s director of scouting. In addition to his scouting duties during the 1998-99 season, Bower joined the coaching ranks as an assistant after Paul Silas was named interim head coach on March 7, 1999 (and helped him lead the Hornets to a 22-13 record). After serving as the assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season, Bower was promoted to general manager in June of 2001 and has since held that position. He returned to the bench as an assistant coach under Floyd in 2003-04. Bower’s years of experience working at all levels in the Hornets’ basketball operations department culminated with his appointment to the current post of general manager just prior to the start of the team’s 2005-06 training
camp.

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Bower for his part, does have within his midst the experience of assistant coach,Tim Floyd,to fall back on. And with Floyd’s experience as a coach within the NBA , as well as at the collegiate level. It may augur well for the self installed novice coach. But that would of course be predicated upon Floyd being able to provide the much needed analysis and communicative presence to get his points across to Bower and the players alike. And based on what has transpired with Floyd on his previous foray into the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. I’ve a feeling that things might not go the way he or Bower might anticipate.

Certainly I’ve misplaced feelings about this all. As Byron Scott was the coach who brought along and nurtured the talents of Chris Paul. And it was also under his watch that David West also became an All Star in the NBA. All of a sudden, overnight, Byron Scott can’t have become the worse head coach in the NBA ? He’s had the privilege of leading the New Jersey Nets to consecutive Eastern Conference Championships and the on to consecutive NBA Finals, where upon, his teams would lose firstly to the Los Angeles Lakers, (2001-02) 4-0. And then the following season they would lose to the San Antonio Spurs, (2002-03) 4-2. On both occasions Byron Scott’s teams gave a spirited account of themselves. Albeit, that the sweep at the hands of the Lakers, came on the final leg of a hree-peat under the watchful eye of their coach, Phil Jackson .

And though this scenario may well seem far fetched. I’ve no doubt in my mind that Byron Scott will resume a coaching career in the NBA ! If the rumors are to be believed and that this could very well be Phil Jackson’s last years as a coach in the NBA . Then who better to assume the reins as his successor there in Los Angeles ?
Byron Scott as a former player with the team and a winner of multiple titles with them also. He’d essentially be the perfect fit for the team. The Lakers’ coaching staff as it is , it is bereft of someone with the same level of experience as a coach based upon the level attained by Byron Scott.Whether or not Mitch Kupchak, as general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers and the team’s owner, Dr. Jerry Buss would be amenable to such a hire, would no doubt be predicated upon the thoughts of Jackson, himself.

The fate now awaiting the New Orleans Hornets seems an uncertain one. I’d like to think also that Bowers’ action wasn’t a rash rush to judgment in getting rid of Scott. It’s tough enough for Jeff Bowers as he tries to maneuver through the terrain of the NBA as a novice coach. But it’s even far more daunting a prospect, if you’re doing that without your best player and vocal leader being on the court.

As one tries to look over the situation and review what transpired. You can’t help but wonder how much of this was in part due to Byron Scott ? And how much of this was due in no part to the players who were unable to follow the lead of their coach ? And it would be remiss , if not in part to question the action of Jeff Bower. At this stage of the season which is still in its infancy. One would’ve thought it best to keep Byron Scott on board and let him try and turn things around. Instead the scenario is now being created , that if things do get much worse.It could very well place the franchise in an irretrievable situation.And that’s something that no one within the Hornets’ organization, I fear would be willing to contemplate.

New Orleans Hornets’ roster 2009-10

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
12 Hilton Armstrong C-F 6-11 235 11/11/1984 Connecticut 3
6 Bobby Brown G 6-2 175 09/24/1984 Cal State-Fullerton 1
23 Devin Brown G 6-5 210 12/30/1978 Texas-San Antonio 7
2 Darren Collison G 6-0 160 08/23/1987 UCLA R
1 Ike Diogu F 6-9 250 09/11/1983 Arizona State 4
4 Sean Marks F-C 6-10 250 08/23/1975 California 9
50 Emeka Okafor F-C 6-10 255 09/28/1982 Connecticut 5
3 Chris Paul G 6-0 175 05/06/1985 Wake Forest 4
24 Morris Peterson G 6-7 220 08/26/1977 Michigan State 9
41 James Posey F 6-8 217 01/13/1977 Xavier (Ohio) 10
9 Darius Songaila F 6-9 248 02/14/1978 Wake Forest 6
16 Peja Stojakovic F 6-10 229 06/09/1977 Belgrade, Serbia 11
5 Marcus Thornton G 6-4 205 06/05/1987 Louisiana State R
30 David West F 6-9 240 08/29/1980 Xavier (Ohio) 6
32 Julian Wright F 6-8 225 05/20/1987 Kansas 2

Kobe You And Are I Going To Rule The World And We’ll Have the ‘Illest ‘ Rap Video Out There ! And Tell Kanye At The 2010 VMA’s We’d Appreciate His Support

As a child growing up in the West Indies, I can remember my grandmother telling me “…… what doesn’t hurt you , won’t kill you.” Imagine to my surprise then when I heard that the Los Angeles Lakers had signed the enfant-terrible’ Ron Artest . Now don’t get me wrong , as a player , I admire Artest for what he brings to the table. An unstoppable zest for the game and a zeal not too often seen from players with far more ability but even less heart. In many respects after the Kobe -Shaq era of unbridled success with the exception of the lopsided loss of an NBA championship series to the Detroit Pistons . The last thing one might have expected , was the for the Lakers to have made a full court press and to have acquired Artest as a free agent.

Kobe  Bryant  (left) and   newly  minted  teammate  Ron  Artest   picture  appears   courtesy  of  reuters /  Mike   Blake  ..............................
Kobe Bryant (left) and newly minted teammate Ron Artest picture appears courtesy of reuters / Mike Blake ..............................

And if one remembers at the time , that Lakers’ team had enough egos on it , that it would’ve made more sense to have five separate balls on the court . Rather than them all having to share one apiece. You had Kobe Bryant , Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone and last but not least Derek Fisher.

From  left  to  right  Gary Payton,  Shaquille O'Neal,  Karl  Malone  ,  Kobe  Bryant   and   Rick  Fox.   All  have   a  forelorn   upon them as  they began  to    realize  that   the  improbable  and  the   inevitable was  about to  happen.   They  would   lose  the  NBA  Final   series  to  the  Eastern  Conference's  Detroit  Pistons.       picture  appears  courtesy  of   getty  images /    Mitchell   Russell  ........................
From left to right Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. All have a forelorn upon them as they began to realize that the improbable and the inevitable was about to happen. They would lose the NBA Final series to the Eastern Conference's Detroit Pistons. picture appears courtesy of getty images / Mitchell Russell ........................

There’s a saying that oil and water don’t mix . And in the case of adding Malone and Payton into the mix. Whilst on paper , it may well have all looked good. And the NBA pundits were saying that the Lakers at the time were “a sure thing thing to win to win it all “. The fact of the matter was the Lakers were too cock sure of themselves. And as the complacency set in , so too did the acrimony between the quartet of superstars on the team. What transpired in those NBA Finals was a lesson as why the old adage stills holds true. “Too many Chiefs not enough Indians .”

Lakers'  coach  Phil  Jackson  speaks  to  the   members  of  the  media   at  a  news  conference   at the   team's   training  facility  in  El  Segundo  ,  California.      The  team   now  embarks  on the  defense  of  their  2008-09   NBA  title.    picture  appears courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Nick  Ut  ..................
Lakers' coach Phil Jackson speaks to the members of the media at a news conference at the team's training facility in El Segundo , California. The team now embarks on the defense of their 2008-09 NBA title. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nick Ut ..................

And the NBA Finals 2003-04 truly set the Lakers apart from other teams that’ve made the NBA Finals. Point blank favorites they would succumb to the Pistons in a rout unprecedented in its execution and precision. The Lakers’ players were made to look languid and very much like a group of aged geriatrics who knowingly looked out of place. And at the end of it all the Pistons would triumph with an emphatic 4-1 series win and with Chauncey Billups being named Finals’ Series MVP.

Kobe  Bryant  speaks to  members  of  the  media   at the  team's   media  day  at  the   opening  of  their  training   camp  at  the  Toyota  Center   ,  the  team's training   facililty  in  El  Segundo  ,  California.     The   Finals  MVP  of  last  year  is   relishing  the  challenge  of   opening   up  the   2009-10  season  as  the   defending   NBA  champions  and   is  looking  to   successfully   defend  that  title.       picture  appears  courtesy  of   nbae/getty  images/  Evan  Gole   ................
Kobe Bryant speaks to members of the media at the team's media day at the opening of their training camp at the Toyota Center , the team's training facililty in El Segundo , California. The Finals MVP of last year is relishing the challenge of opening up the 2009-10 season as the defending NBA champions and is looking to successfully defend that title. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Evan Gole ................

Courtesy of nbcsports.com and The Orange County Register

Kobe, Lakers must be even hungrier to repeat

‘Our focus is on getting better. It’s not really on replicating what we did’

By Kevin Ding Orange County Register

You might’ve forgotten, and Kobe Bryant almost has by now, but the Lakers broke through for a championship not too long ago … and had some trouble when they reconvened for the first time to defend it.

It was the 2000-01 season, and it was the first time Bryant’s feud with Shaquille O’Neal spread to the public consciousness.

O’Neal had a traditional plan that they could just replay the previous season; Bryant came back with new muscles to flex. Two-and-a-half months into the schedule, they were sniping through the media about Bryant overdoing his offense and O’Neal dogging it on defense.

The issue, as described back then by one Phil Jackson, was this about Bryant: “Some nights he’s in balance. Some nights it’s over the edge with trying to find how he can do a little bit better.”

In the end, Bryant hiked his scoring average from 22.5 points to 28.5 (more than he averaged in either of the past two seasons, by the way) and infused the Lakers with a fire they needed to become a far better team.

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In order to read Kevin Ding’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided
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Ron  Artest   of the  Los  Angeles  Lakers   poses   for  his  official  team  photograph  at  the  team's  training  facility   in  El  Segundo,  California.    Artest   brings along  a  great  deal  of  veteran   experience  and  it's   hoped   leadership   that'll   prove  invaluable  alongside  that   of    his  teammate  Kobe  Bryant.      picture  appears courtesy  of  nbae/getty  images/   Juan Ocampo    ......................
Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for his official team photograph at the team's training facility in El Segundo, California. Artest brings along a great deal of veteran experience and it's hoped leadership that'll prove invaluable alongside that of his teammate Kobe Bryant. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Juan Ocampo ......................

Now come full circle, after the Lakers’ overwhelming triumph over the outmaneuvered and overwhelmed Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals of the 2008-09 season. Whereby, the Lakers secured their fifteenth NBA title and their coach Phil Jackson , his tenth . All it’s said had to be right in “Lakerland”. However , the tremors were there for all to witness, as the negotiations started in earnest for the renewal of contracts for players who were part of the team’s triumph. Lamar Odom it was suggested , that he was no longer a valid part of the team. And for Trevor Ariza , he felt that he deserved not only more playing time but also more money. For the Lakers’ hierarchy, a decision had to be made . And that laid in the hands of not only the owner , Dr. Jerry Buss . But also that of Phil Jackson and the team’s GM, Mitch Kupchak.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak speaks about what he feels that Ron Artest can provide for the Lakers as a player. The GM also speaks about the loss of Trevor Ariza , who signed with the Houston Rockets as a free agent.

Much to everyone’s surprise Ariza was allowed to flee and he signed with the Houston Rockets . Odom was re-signed by the team. But low and behold , within their midst came Ron Artest , hoping to pursue his goal of winning an NBA championship. And that comes with baggage included no doubt ? The question might now have to ask, is whether or not Artest can acclimatize himself amongst his new-found teammates and not become a disruptive distraction. We all found it somewhat surprising that during the playoffs with the Rockets , that he alongside Aaron Brooks ,showed leadership and played with a great deal of aplomb and zeal. And though the team’s heroic effort came up short , it showed Ron Artest in a light not previously seen before. That was with a Rockets team that didn’t have the services of either Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming for the playoffs. Yao Ming was lost prior to start of those playoffs. And McGrady as we know , well he’s about as soft as they come and then some !

The Los Angeles Lakers are most certainly looking to repeat as NBA champions. And if anything, they will be looked upon as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference of the NBA. Though it has to be said that the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks , New Orleans > Hornets, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns would all like to think of themselves as noteworthy candidates to assume that mantel as favorites. But in all honesty, it is the Lakers who definitely have the most well rounded roster and the ability to win it all, of the favored representatives in the conference. That’s got to be the case with the addition of Ron Artest. He gives the team an additional offensive option beyond Bryant , Odom and Pau Gasol . And at the same time his defensive play cannot be questioned , as he’s amongst the very best in the game.

Lamar  Odom   of  the  Lakers   seen  here  at  the   team's   training   faclity    the  Toyota  Center   doing   some   pre-game   warmup  exercises.     The   player  was   re-signed   by  the  team    in  the   hopes  of   boosting  their  chances  of   repeating  as   NBA  champions.         picture  appears  courtesy  of   nbae/getty images/  Andrew   D.  Bernstein  .....................
Lamar Odom of the Lakers seen here at the team's training faclity the Toyota Center doing some pre-game warmup exercises. The player was re-signed by the team in the hopes of boosting their chances of repeating as NBA champions. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Andrew D. Bernstein .....................

And while there’s no doubt that in many people’s eyes the Los Angeles Lakers are the team to beat. In the Eastern Conference the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic would like to feel that they’ll be able to negate those thoughts. If nothing else they’ll do their utmost to prove that the supremacy of the NBA just doesn’t reside in the West but like a pendulum it tends to swing both ways.

As to what now lies ahead for Artest and his new teammates. The whole NBA world awaits as to what may well materialize. None more so than the fans of the Lakers , who now feel that even with the loss of Ariza . They are now in much better shape than before . As to what this’ll also mean for Kobe Bryant. One can surmise that the player is no doubt happy with outcome. Let’s just hope that two won’t at all be pursuing a joint recording and rap career . God knows we’ve had to suffer the indignity of listening to Bryant rap , much less the indecipherable mono-toned absurdities of Artest. It’ll be better for all of us , if they just let their ballin’ on the court speak for itself , wouldn’t you say ?