Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Kobe Bryant Winning a 6th Ring Would Mean for Michael Jordan ... - Bleacher Report

With Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol by his side this upcoming season, Kobe Bryant could very well be facing his best shot to win his sixth NBA championship in 2013.

If Bryant manages to climb that mountain for a sixth time, he moves ahead of Magic Johnson as the unquestioned best Los Angeles Laker in franchise history, as Magic only earned five titles in his time as a Laker.

With that sixth championship, Bryant would match the ring total of none other than His Airness, Michael Jordan.

How's that for high stakes heading into a season?

Bryant knows what a sixth ring could mean for his legacy. While there may never be another Jordan, a player like Bryant matching (or even exceeding) M.J.'s championship count puts him at least more soundly in the greatest-of-all-time discussion.

Let's look at the tale of the tape between the two superstars for a moment.

Jordan finished his 15-year NBA career with six championships, six NBA Finals MVP awards, five regular season MVP awards, one Defensive Player of the Year nod and the 1984-85 Rookie of the Year award.

He led the league in points per game a ridiculous 10 of those 15 seasons, including a run of seven straight years from 1986-87 through 1992-93, right before his first retirement.

In the playoffs, he only got better. In all but three of his 13 playoff appearances, Jordan led the NBA in points per game, starting off with an unbelievable 43.7 PPG average over three games in the 1985-86 playoffs.

The top 10 list of Jordan's Finals plays, according to

Bryant, the Black Mamba, can't quite compare to that long list of accolades. His five championship rings come close to measuring up to Jordan, but he's only got two NBA Finals MVPs and one regular season MVP to his name, compared to Jordan's six and five, respectively.

The scoring titles comparison is even more lopsided, with Jordan's 10 to Bryant's two. Bryant did lead the league three times in playoff points per game, but again, can't begin to measure up to Jordan in that regard.

Long story short: Even if Bryant wins a sixth (and seventh?) ring in the next few years, he'll never be able to match Jordan's bevy of NBA awards and scoring titles.

A sixth ring would give Bryant one advantage over M.J., though. Unlike Jordan, who won his six championships all within an eight-year time frame, Bryant would have three rings a piece from two distinctly separate eras.

Jordan was always the alpha dog for the Bulls when he won all six titles, had Scottie Pippen as a sidekick for all six, and had Phil Jackson as a head coach for all six.

Bryant, on the other hand, has Shaquille O'Neal and Jackson to thank for his first three rings, while he'd be splitting credit between Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Jackson and new Lakers coach Mike Brown for his latest three.

Already, Bryant's career longevity is giving him more and more of an advantage over Jordan, who only played 15 seasons in the NBA. Bryant is going on his 17th and finished second in the league in scoring last season.

Even after 16 seasons, the Mamba remains one of the league's most feared scorers.

If Bryant can stay healthy and keep his groove on for the next few seasons, he's going to pass Jordan on the all-time points list. Jordan scored 32,292 points over his 15-year career; Kobe's on 29,484 and counting.

In all likelihood, Bryant will pass that mark sometime during the 2013-14 season. He's 2,808 points shy at the moment, and hasn't scored fewer than 1,500 points in a season since 1999-00.

Passing Jordan in all-time points will only further the Bryant vs. Jordan debates, but there's one noted area where Bryant falls short in comparison: shooting efficiency.

Jordan shot an incredible 49.7 percent from the field over his career, averaging 50 percent for a five-year streak that ended with his second NBA championship. That's unbelievable efficiency for a player taking 20-25 shots per game.

Bryant's overall career shooting average of 45.3 percent isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not Jordan-esque. Bryant's career-high from the field came back in the 2001-02 season, when he shot 46.9 percent overall.

Jordan only finished below that mark five times in 15 years. Three of those seasons occurred after he came out of either his first retirement (1994-95) or his second retirement (2001-03).

Both Jordan and Bryant will be remembered as volume scoring shooting guards, hence all of the constant Kobe vs. Michael comparisons, but Bryant's efficiency doesn't come close to matching Jordan's.

That, more than anything, will always give M.J. the win over Bryant, no matter how many rings Kobe amasses in the next few seasons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kobe Bryant, Ozzie Guillen, John Rocker on sports dishonour roll - Toronto Star

John Rocker

MARK LENNIHAN/The Associated Press file photo Former Braves closer John Rocker was suspended in 2000 for offensive remarks.

Yunel Escobar may have been the first professional athlete to be suspended for a message written on his eye black patches, but he’s just the latest to face disciplinary action for using homophobic slang:

Amare Stoudemire: The NBA fined the Knicks power forward $50,000 this summer after Stoudemire used a gay slur in a direct-message tweet to a basketball fan who had criticized him.

“I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people,” Stoudemire said following the fine. “I am disappointed in myself for my statement to a fan. I should have known better and there is no excuse.”

Colin Clark: Earlier this year, Major League Soccer suspended the Houston Dynamo midfielder for three games with pay, while fining him an undisclosed amount, for uttering a gay slur at a ball boy in Seattle.

“I’m sorry to everyone that I’ve offended,” Clark said in a statement. “I intend to never use those words again in any context. There is no excuse for them.”

Justin Fontaine: Earlier this year the Minnesota Wild suspended the minor-league forward two games after he tweeted a gay slur while watching the Grammys.

“My apologies to everyone, it was wrong,” Fontaine tweeted afterward. “Twitter rookie and it came out totally wrong. It was a roommate battle, nothing more. #sorry.”

Joakim Noah: The Bulls forward was fined $50,000 in May 2011 for shouting a homophobic slur at a fan.

“The fan said something that was disrespectful towards me,” Noah said after the incident. “And I went back at him. Got it on camera. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not like that. I'm an open-minded guy.”

Kobe Bryant: The NBA fined the Lakers superstar twice as much as Noah in April 2011 for uttering a homophobic slur at a referee after receiving a technical foul. The league explained that Bryant’s fine was greater because he directed it at an official.

“The comment that I made, even though it was not meant as it was perceived to be, is nonetheless wrong,” Bryant said.

Roger McDowell: MLB suspended the Atlanta Braves’ pitching coach for two weeks last season after he made lewd and homophobic gestures to fans in San Francisco, and also later threatened another fan with a bat.

“I would like to apologize if anyone was offended by my actions that occurred in San Francisco,” he said upon his return. “My intent was not to hurt anybody or hurt anybody's feelings.”

Ozzie Guillen: In 2006, MLB fined then-White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who used a homophobic slur in a profanity-laced tirade against Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti.

“The commissioner did what he had to do,” Guillen said. “They don’t agree with what I say. Me either. I agree with what I say about Jay. . . . I’m not going to change. One thing I’m going to make clear is I apologize to the community, but to Jay, no chance. This thing is on and on for good.”

Julian Tavarez: The Cubs pitcher was fined $16,000 by MLB and ordered to take sensitivity training in 2001 after using a gay slur to describe San Francisco Giants fans.

“I paid for what I said. It’s something I didn’t mean. Sometimes you say things you don’t mean.”

John Rocker: The brash Braves reliever was suspended in 2000 for a slew of homophobic, racist and sexist remarks made in a Sports Illustrated article in the off-season. MLB commissioner Bud Selig banned Rocker for all of spring training and 28 regular season games, but the suspension was later halved to 14 games by independent arbitrator Shyam Das. Rocker’s fine was also reduced from $20,000 to $500.

Will Kobe Bryant Determine Dwight Howard's Future with the L.A. Lakers? - Bleacher Report

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant knew his team would make a play for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, and according to Kevin Durant, Bryant shared this bit of wisdom in July during practice for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Durant was skeptical of Bryant's words and I would be to under the same circumstances, but not for the same reasons as Durant.

Durant's opinion was likely formed foremost as a competitor, and a Lakers team featuring Howard and Bryant would undoubtedly make his goal of dominating the Western Conference a little more difficult.

However, Durant's assessment of Bryant's claim failed to consider one of the points of potential conflict in a marriage between Howard and the Lakers.

According to Alex Kennedy at HoopsWorld one of the major roadblocks between a deal with the Magic and Lakers was a phone conversation with Bryant and Howard in which Bryant offered his vision of Howard's role with the Lakers.

Howard had thoughts of forming a dominant 1-2 punch for the Lakers, but Bryant wanted Howard to accept a role as the team's 3rd scoring option behind himself and Gasol, and focus most of his energy on defense and rebounding.

And that was before Steve Nash came into the picture.

Needless to say Howard was reportedly not fond of Bryant's opinion and this phone call supposedly dropped the Lakers further down Howard's list of desired destinations.

Well, apparently the decision was taken out of Bryant and Howard's hands, and now that Howard is a Laker is he finally prepared to accept Bryant's words as truth?

Because Howard's role as described by Bryant is the surest way to the 2013 NBA title.

I can understand Howard's reluctance to relegate himself to third wheel status after serving a stint as the heart and soul of an entire franchise, and I can certainly empathize with Howard when it comes to Bryant's casual dismissal of Howard's offensive talent.

Bryant may be callous and indifferent, but in this instance he is right, and the Lakers' Finals hopes may hinge on Howard adopting Bryant's point of view.

Howard's 57 percent shooting from the field last season proves he is an efficient scorer, but how important is that attribute on a team that includes Bryant, Nash and Gasol?

Each of those players have defined their legacies on offense and with Nash and Gasol running the pick and roll and with Kobe on the wing I would venture to say the Lakers offense is in pretty good hands.

That doesn't mean Howard can't help the Lakers with his interior scoring, but he can impact them much more by preventing baskets from opposing teams.

Especially since defense is where Howard's greatness lies.

A player doesn't win the NBA's defensive player of the year three times for nothing, and what makes Howard's feat even more impressive is he has yet to even master the nuances of individual defense.

Imagine what type of player Howard will be when he learns to use his athleticism, strength and quickness to completely lock an opponent down defensively.

When that happens you will know that Howard has truly arrived, but the only way he will reach that point is by heeding the advice of Bryant.

Whatever you may personally feel about Bryant you can't deny his passion for greatness, and any words he may have for Howard will have the ultimate goal of a championship as their motivation.

Maybe Bryant was being a little selfish in asking Howard to check his ego and accept his role, but if any player has the right to make that statement it's Bryant.

Bryant's reputation and legacy has been forged by fire, success and failure and if you can't accept advice from a five-time NBA champion, then who would you rather listen to?

Deron Williams? Mark Cuban?

Neither Cuban nor Williams can provide Howard with the same type of championship-level motivation that Bryant can, and playing for the Mavericks or the Nets is not the same as suiting up for the Lakers.

When it comes to heritage and postseason relevance, Dallas and Brooklyn do not even measure on Los Angeles' scale.

Don't get me wrong. Howard would be a star in Dallas or New Jersey, but in Hollywood he could be a legend, with Bryant's help.

The number of championships the Lakers can win with Howard is only limited by his ability to coexist with Bryant.

If Howard buys into Kobe's way of thinking then Bryant will be a legitimate title contender until he finally hangs up his sneakers, and Howard will be there to claim the mantle of franchise leader for the next decade.

The biggest step in Howard's maturation and evolution as a player may be his ability to understand this dynamic.

Jalen Rose cost Kobe Bryant a Finals game - ESPN (blog)

I remember it like it was yesterday. Indianapolis, 2000, and the Lakers' training staff covered the window to a training room with paper -- no small amount of work, it was a big window -- to keep reporters from seeing where Kobe Bryant was receiving treatment. Bryant was in there with a bad ankle sprain, and nobody knew if he'd play or not. A title hung in the balance.

Bryant did miss a game, but returned to play brilliantly in the series, and the Lakers won rings.

But how did that injury occur? Jalen Rose tells Grantland's David Jacoby it was no accident.

Jalen Rose jovially admits trying to hurt Kobe Bryant during the 2000 NBA ... - Yahoo! Sports (blog)

One of the things that earned Bruce Bowen a reputation as one of the NBA's chippiest (and some, even former teammates, might say flat-out dirtiest) defenders over the course of his 13-year NBA career was his penchant for sticking his foot underneath an opposing jump shooter after contesting a shot so that, when the shooter came back down to the floor, he ran a serious risk of stepping awkwardly on Bowen's foot and turning his ankle (or worse). The practice was at the heart of a November 2006 Sports Illustrated feature on Bowen, in which most executives interviewed said they didn't think the eight-time All-Defensive Team selection was intentionally trying to hurt opponents with dirty pool.

No one questioned whether Bowen had done it in the past, but intent â€" that was the key. If you did it by accident, people could get over it; if you did it on purpose, though ... well, that's the kind of thing that might lead then-New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas to tell his players, "Next time he does that, break his [EXPLETIVE] foot."

And with that, we come to "The Jalen Rose Show," a podcast on's Grantland Network in which the Fab Five member talks shop and spins yarns from his playing days with producer Dave Jacoby. In a clip from the show released Tuesday through Grantland's new YouTube channel (the same outlet that gave us the stellar documentary on Houston Rockets rookie Royce White's draft-day experience), Rose reiterates that not sticking your foot under a shooter is basketball's "No. 1 unwritten rule" ... and then relates a story of when, as a member of the Indiana Pacers, he himself did it on the sport's biggest stage.

"NBA Finals, 2000," Rose says. "Kobe. Bean. Bryant. Goes up for a jump shot on the right wing, I contest the jump shot, Kobe lands on my foot. He hobbles off, and he actually misses the next game."

Rose is talking about Game 2 of the 2000 Finals. After getting drubbed by the Los Angeles Lakers by 17 points in Game 1 thanks to a monster Shaquille O'Neal performance (43 points on 21-for-31 shooting, 19 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 44 minutes), the Pacers were hanging with L.A., playing to a 28-all tie after the first quarter. Then, in the second quarter:

Bryant played just nine minutes in Game 2, which the Lakers went on to win by seven, but as Rose says, he missed Game 3, which Indiana won 100-91 to get back into the series at 2-1.

"Now, if it was up to me? If it was up to me? He should've just missed the whole series," Rose says. "I would've had a championship ring, and it'd be no harm, no foul."

"Did you purposely put your foot underneath him when he landed?" Jacoby asks. "Don't lie to me. Jalen, don't lie to the people."

"... I think I did it on purpose," Rose says.

"You think you did it on purpose? You won't even cop to it?" Jacoby responds. "You won't even say, 'Yes, I did it.' 'I think?'"

"... I can't say that it was an accident," Rose replies.

Rose goes on to note that he got his karmic desserts in the form of Kobe dropping a pepperoni-fueled 81 on Rose and the Toronto Raptors some 5 1/2 years later. He does not note that Kobe also meted out some justice after coming back for Game 4 of the 2000 Finals, scoring 28 points â€" including 22 after halftime and an overtime takeover â€" to push the Lakers to a 3-1 series lead, then came up with 26 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, one steal and just one turnover in 45 minutes to help close the series out in Game 6, winning his first NBA title at the age of 21.

A dozen years later, Bryant's got five more rings and is angling for an M.J.-topping seventh with a heavily reloaded Lakers squad, Rose is a successful media personality who's also done good work founding a charter school in his native Detroit, and everyone's moved on. It's all water under the bridge, or over the dam, or wherever it is you prefer to put water, one would would suspect. Still, though, given the nature of the transgression and the high-stakes situation in which it was committed, it struck Jacoby as curious that Rose and Bryant haven't had beef for years.

"How has that not soured your relationship with him now?" Jacoby asks. "Because I know you guys are cool."

Turns out there's a really simple explanation for that.

"He never knew I did it on purpose," Rose answers. "But now he does."

Luckily for Jalen, Kobe Bryant's not the type to hold a grudge.


Um, actually, Jalen, you might want to watch your back, dude. Maybe call up Dale and Antonio Davis and see if they've still got your back. Or at least Rik Smits. If nothing else, he can spirit you away from the Mamba on one of his custom dirt bikes.

Breaking Down Which L.A. Lakers Newcomer Kobe Bryant Will Thrive with - Bleacher Report

Kobe Bryant is the center of the Lakers' universe. He's not only their marquee player off the court but also the man whose game has been featured within the context of the offense they run on it. 

However, any observer also knows that the Lakers' success hasn't been built on Kobe's back alone. He's been blessed with some fantastic teammates over the years, and one of the main reasons he has five championships to his name is because of his ability to mesh his game with theirs in order to maximize results.

Heading into the 2012-13 season, Kobe has a new duo of superstar teammates to play with. Steve Nash and Dwight Howard offer an array of skills and individual talents that Kobe can play off of. One of the key variables to achieving their ultimate goal will certainly be how well these players blend together.

Playing with a point guard the caliber of Steve Nash will be a new experience for Kobe. Throughout his career, Kobe has rarely had to cede his role of primary perimeter creator, but with Nash he likely will. This, however, shouldn't be an issue for Kobe. In fact, it can actually help him be even more effective.

First off all, Nash is the type of pass first point guard that is sure to look to get Kobe better shots than the ones he's gotten in recent seasons. Nash is a master at manipulating defenses; he's a floor general that moves defenders like chess pieces in order to generate good looks for his teammates. 

As you can see in the clip above, Nash broke down the entire defense, drew multiple defenders and then picked out the open man for a wide open shot. If you look closer, you'll see that Channing Frye wasn't the only open man, either. In the right corner, Jared Dudley was spotting up wide open as well. Can you imagine Kobe getting those types of wide-open looks?

But Nash's ability to make sweet passes isn't the only way he'll help Kobe's game. Besides being a top assist man, Nash is also one of the league's best shooters. His ability to space the floor will give Kobe cleaner looks at the basket simply because he's dealing with fewer help defenders willing to leave their man. Imagine Steve Nash replacing Ramon Sessions in the picture below. Do you think Russell Westbrook cheats over as far to deny Kobe's drive to the middle of the floor?


The Lakers can also run countless two-man game options between Kobe and Nash in order to get Kobe good shots. Last season a staple of the Lakers' offense was a 1/2 pick and roll where Kobe would set a screen for the point guard. This action was designed to force a switch and get Kobe isolated on a smaller defender. The play didn't work as often as the team would have liked because the point guard could rarely threaten the defense off the dribble to force a switch. With Nash replacing last season's PGs, that will no longer be the case.

Nash, though, is only one part of the equation. Kobe will also have a field day playing next to Dwight Howard. Throughout his career, Kobe's developed great chemistry with every high-caliber big man he's been paired with, and I expect the same to be true of Dwight.

First of all, Dwight Howard is a monster in the pick-and-roll game. His ability to dive down the lane, make the catch, and finish at the rim with power is unparalleled in the league:

Plays like these will not only get Kobe easy assist opportunities, but they'll also put the defense in a difficult position every time the action is run. With Kobe coming off the pick and Howard drawing the attention of multiple defenders, Kobe will only have more space to operate with the ball in his hands. This will allow Kobe to get his jumper off with less pressure and open up angles that allow him to drive to the rim.

Second, Dwight Howard is a fantastic screener, both on and off the ball. His wide shoulders allow him to pick his target consistently and open up his teammates to move freely around the floor. Kobe is one of the best off-the-ball movers in the NBA, but even with his ability it's difficult to shake free without the help of a teammate setting a good screen. Howard, more so than Bynum has done for Kobe over the years, will set solid screens that open him up to make clean catches that give him that extra half second to get a good shot off.

Kobe can also benefit from parts of Dwight's game that are clearly flawed. A main criticism of Howard is that he's a poor free throw shooter. This really can't be argued. However, what people rarely mention is that because Howard shoots FTs so poorly, he's fouled at an incredibly high rate.

In the 2011-12 season Howard drew a league leading 8.5 fouls a game, or essentially a shade over two fouls per quarter. Considering teams shoot bonus FTs on the fifth team foul, the Lakers (much like when Shaq was on the team) are set to be one of the league leaders in FTs attempted. This past season, Kobe shot 7.8 foul shots a game (fourth in the NBA) and that was without Howard on the team. With Dwight in the fold it's conceivable that Kobe can take even more FTs a game next season. Those will be easy points for a career 84 percent foul shooter.

Who Kobe better meshes with next season will be up for debate. Both Nash and Howard give Kobe dynamic skill sets that he can use to compliment his own game. That said, the bigger take away isn't who will be better for Kobe but that both players should be able to give a nice boost to Kobe's performance. 

According to Law Offices of Burg & Brock, Bryant Settlement Gives Rare ... - The Herald |

Number one personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles sites number 1 basketball player in Los Angeles as a lesson to all

â€" /PRNewswire/ -- Personal injury lawyer Cameron Brock believes in seeing a case to its conclusion. He and his associates have a 97% success rate, and a no-win, no-pay policy. They've seen every kind of case, from dog bites to product liability, and they're always eager to educate the public about their rights and the ways in which the legal system protects them. A recent case in which Kobe Bryant was charged with assaulting a spectator at a basketball game is an unusual and interesting example.

Celebrity justice is a favorite topic in the American media. Some feel it's because we like to see the rich and famous taken down a peg, while others are just reading to root for their favorite celebrity during a tough time. While Kobe Bryant is no stranger to legal trouble, the dusty old assault case from an incident that occurred in 2005 is a stranger case of celebrity justice than you might think. Nonetheless, the Law Offices of Burg & Brock, Inc. have seen even weirder cases, naturally.

Cameron Brock, the premier personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, says the case highlights how the plaintiff can change in a case, how the appeals process can work for a plaintiff, and how an impending jury selection process affects a defendant's decisions.

The case, which was just settled for an undisclosed amount, took an interesting turn in 2008 when the plaintiff died, leaving his mother to continue the case. "Someone's estate can sometimes carry on a lawsuit. Plaintiffs need to know that. This is an extreme case, but wrongful death isn't the only way a lawsuit can outlive a person," says the personal injury lawyer.

Additionally, the case was dismissed in 2010. The plaintiff then continued with appeals and won a victory: the 6th U.S. Circuit Court told the lower court it had to hear the case after all. Two years later, jury selection was set to begin, and Kobe Bryant settled for unknown reasons. "In some cases a plaintiff just doesn't want to go to court, and will settle the case in order to avoid it," the personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles said.

"I don't expect this plaintiff to be popular around Los Angeles, but it does show the kind of David vs. Goliath effect our legal system allows," he said. No puns about the 6'6" defendant were intended.

For more information about how the legal system and a great personal injury attorney can work for you, go to or call 1 (888) 509-2998 for a free consultation now.

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SOURCE The Law Offices of Burg & Brock, Inc.