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Bryant Gumbel: David Stern Is Eager to be Viewed as a ‘Plantation Overseer’

Bryant Gumbel received attention five years ago when he suggested NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue had players association leader Gene Upshaw on a leash. Now he’s going after another leader in a sports labor debate: NBA commissioner David Stern.

In his closing monologue on HBO Real Sports Tuesday, Gumbel charged Stern with holding up progress in NBA labor talks. He also said Stern views himself as a plantation owner who presides over the players like they’re hired help.

Here is his entire monologue, as transcribed by Ben Golliver at Eye on Basketball (with video below).

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Shaq Responds to Kobe: I Don’t Need to Work Out

Last month, Kobe Bryant reportedly told an Italian radio station that he didn’t like Shaq’s poor practice habits when they were teammates on the Lakers. “I like players who workout. I use to do that 6/7 hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes,” Kobe reportedly said of Shaq.

In a recent interview with Off the Dribble, Shaq responded to Kobe’s comments.

“No. I don’t need to work out. My numbers speak for itself. My three finals M.V.P.’s speaks for itself.”

With that response, Shaq shows us two of his major character flaws. One, he didn’t see the importance of practicing and constantly improving. Two, he can’t take constructive criticism.

Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the top players in the league, worked with Hakeem Olajuwon to improve his game. So did LeBron. Shaq would have told you how much better he was than Hakeem, instead of realizing that maybe he could learn a few things from the former Rockets great.

It’s sad that Shaq is so stubborn and that he has to get so defensive. Of course, that’s nothing new.

Chest bump to I am a GM

The Whore of Akron Author Wanted LeBron James to Suffer Career-Ending Injury

Just because the NBA players are locked out by the owners and the season has been delayed does not mean we won’t be subjected to LeBron James hate. I thought it was bad when 99 cent stores were mocking LeBron and when the Cavs put LeBron dolls into urinals. But this? This is even worse.

Esquire writer Scott Raab, who has been denied credentials to cover NBA games because of his LeBron hatred, is at it again. He’s written a book called The Whore of Akron, and an excerpt was published at Esquire. Eye on Basketball isolated one of the more disturbing paragraphs, where Raab says he wished for LeBron to suffer a career-ending injury. The setting is Raab attending the Heat’s 96-70 October win over the Magic in Miami.

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LeBron James Tells Twitter Follower He Misses His Fans in Ohio

LeBron James wants to be liked.  It is never easy to do and say all the right things when you’re under constant scrutiny like LeBron, but he has made more public relations mistakes than your average superstar.  He may not do it on purpose, but more often than not it seems like King James just doesn’t know the right things to say.  Lately it would appear he has grown tired of people hating him.

Over the course of the summer, James put his ego in check and made fun of himself on two separate occasions.  On Saturday, he decided to reach out to his fans by answering a bunch of questions on Twitter.  While answering questions for fans is a solid PR move in itself, LeBron also gave a very wise answer to one question in particular.

A response like that could not really have come from the same guy who made fun of the Cavs for losing by 55 points, could it?  We would expect the old LeBron to answer that question by saying something like “I collect Rolls Royces in the offseason.”  He may need to work harder to figure out how to come up big in the NBA Finals, but as of now it appears King James could be figuring out the art of not looking like a jackass.

Dwight Howard Frustrated with Magic, Stan Van Gundy’s Coaching

While it has been understandably overshadowed by the NBA lockout, the name Dwight Howard is currently floating around on the NBA free agent list.  Howard has been with the Magic for seven years and could still return to the team, but his latest comments make it appear more likely that he has played his last game in Orlando.

In an interview with Esquire Magazine that Fox Sports Florida shared with us, Howard spoke candidly about how difficult his decision is going to be and also about how life has been playing for the Magic.

“There’s more you can do in a bigger place,” Howard explained. “I’m stuck in a tough position because I feel like right now, where I’m at, I’ve done so much. And I just don’t know what else I can do.

“I can’t live for everybody else. I don’t know what decision I’m gonna make as of right now. It’s been crazy. Everybody wants me to come here, come play here, come to our team, do this. It’s a great feeling, though, to be wanted.”

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Italian Team Owner Asks Barack Obama to Help Recruit Kobe Bryant

Never could we have imagined that Kobe Bryant would mean more to a team than he does to the Los Angeles Lakers, but now one has to wonder.  If Claudio Sabatini is any indication, Kobe is more important to Italian club team Virtus Bologna than he is to Jack Nicholson.

There have already been insane rumors floating around that Sabatini is willing to offer Bryant $2 million to play a single game in Italy.  Imagine if the Lakers paid him $2 million per game?  For those of you who hate math, that would be a yearly salary of around $160 million, which would put Tiger Woods and Money Mayweather to shame. Considering Kobe might be giving players loans during the lockout, money is obviously not an issue for him.  If you thought a $2 million, one-game offer spelled desperation, check out this letter Sabatini wrote to Barack Obama on his team’s website.

Dear Mr. President,

We have a dream: to see Kobe Bryant playing for our Team Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna, the Italian town well known in the world as basket City.

According to your wishes we hope that the NBA lockout will shortly stop but in the meanwhile let us have the chance to see at least for one game the great Kobe Bryant playing with our black and white jersey and be part of our history.

Obama may be able to get inside an NBA player’s head with a wise crack here and there, but I doubt there is much he could do to convince Kobe to play a game in Italy.  Not to mention, basketball in America is pretty good for America.  If Obama had any influence at all, it would be in his best interest to use it toward ending the lockout.  But…he doesn’t.

Pete Carroll Makes LeBron James Seahawks Jersey (Picture)

There’s been a bunch of kooky talk this week about LeBron James playing professional football. It all seemed to be in jest, and a reference to the NBA lockout. He’s also not the first basketball player to talk about flirting with the NFL; Ron Artest and Nate Robinson have too. Pete Carroll, being a master networker, encouraged Robinson to try out. Now he’s flirting with LeBron.

After reminding the Heat forward what the NFL minimum is, Carroll tweeted a picture of a custom-made Seahawks jersey with LeBron’s name on it.

LeBron still hasn’t won a championship in the NBA, so his chances of leaving for the NFL in a Michael Jordan moment are slim. That won’t keep Carroll from capitalizing on a moment for good publicity.

Like we said when Pete asked fans to coordinate the Seahawks’ offense, the man knows how to work the public.