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Kobe Wants to Win, Wants Out of LA

He made it about as official as it can get — writing on his website Sunday. In a post titled “The Truth: A New Road Ahead,” Kobe explains that he and the Lakers have a different vision, resulting in Kobe’s wish to play elsewhere.

But, the ONE THING I will never sacrifice when it comes to basketball is WINNING. That is plain and simply what it’s all about. It’s in my DNA. It’s what pushes me to work as hard as I do. It’s my daily passion and pursuit.

The more I thought about the future, the more I became convinced that the Lakers and me just have two different visions for the future. The Lakers are pursuing a longer-term plan that is different from what Dr. Buss shared with me at the time I re-signed as a free agent. I have seen that plan unfold for the last three years and watched great trade opportunities come and go, and have seen free agents passed on. That has led to the Lakers not winning a playoff series. All of that was frustrating in itself, but then, this week to have someone “inside” the Laker organization try to blame me in the media for us not being a contender right now — that is what brought me to my current position today.

I can respect a player who wants to win, and a player who wants to win now. I can also believe that Kobe was somewhat duped by Buss (the Lakers would’ve dealt with insufferable backlash if they had let Kobe go). But I still maintain that Kobe ruined a good situation. He is responsible for the Lakers’ rebuilding movement. There is one other issue with Kobe that truly irritates me.

How does Kobe get off distancing himself from the recent failures of the Lakers? Kobe wrote:

That has led to the Lakers not winning a playoff series.

Kobe is the leader of the team, the franchise player. The one who takes the most shots and scores the most points. Yet he disgustingly assumes no responsibility for the team’s performance over the last couple years.

What does he think he is, an innocent bystander here? If I’m writing the story, it’s proper for me to say what Kobe wrote. But it’s not a third party writing it — it’s a first person account of someone who directly impacted the Lakers performance. And to not include himself in the failure further proves my point that the guy is just not a leader. How does he come off not taking any responsibility for those recent failures? What a loser.

Maybe Gil Isn’t Coming to the Clippers

I don’t know how strongly I should take the post Gil authored on his blog addressing his plan to opt out of his deal. Isn’t it natural for someone to try and put out a fire rather than let it keep burning? Of course. Anywhoo, here’s what Gil has to say about his plan to opt out of his current contract:

When I signed my original deal, I believed that I would become a max player so I had a player’s option. So, I make 11 and 12 million the next two years and then the extension would put me at 12.5, 13, 14 in the three years of the extension. The part that I got frustrated about the extension was that I have to play next year at that figure no matter what and then if I extend, all I’m getting is four years guaranteed. But, if I opt out after next year, I’ll have six years guaranteed because I’ll sign a whole new six year contract.

This has nothing to do with me leaving or trying to look for other teams. I have to do it:

1. To get more years and
2. To increase my pay.

True, that’s exactly what he has to do in order to get a fatter deal. But while he’s opting out, it doesn’t mean he can’t go somewhere else while he’s unsigned, right? Only problem is the Wizards would be able to give him the most amount of money, and the greatest amount of years in a max deal, unfortunately. Keep in mind, if Gil is dissatisfied with the Wizards organization, he could forgo a nicer deal to play for a better team. So there is hope. Just probably not for the Clippers.

(via Ballhype)

Kevin Durant Wants to go Cheap with His Shoes Like Starbury

Thanks to Ballhype for putting me onto Nate Jones’ story at FanHouse about Texas star Kevin Durant wanting a shoe deal that will market his sneakers for cheap. The news is truly pleasing. Taking it from Jones:

Today on his Oregon Live blog, John Canzano reported that one of the sticking points for Durant in his negotiations with Nike and Adidas is a commitment to make a shoe that is at a price point that most individuals could afford. That price point is rumored to be between $39 and $69.

Whether or not big companies like Nike or Adidas would actually go for something like this is debatable — it would go against most of their business policies. Just perusing the Adidas website for instance, shows that high top basketball shoes range from $80-$200, with most pairs in the hundred dollar range. Going through Nike’s shop online, it was a stretch to find a basketball sneaker in the double-digits price range. The other element at play is whether or not Kevin Durant will remain steadfast in his desire to have a company sell his shoe for cheap. Would his desire to sign with a big company override his wish of selling an affordable shoe? I think it’s possible.

We’ll wait to see what happens with Durant, but I’m happy to hear he’s even considering the idea. The reasonably-priced sneaker is an excellent concept by Marbury, and I’ll always applaud this off-court effort regardless of what his on-court reputation may be.

(image courtesy You Been Blinded)

Byron Houston Really Likes Jacking it

This has to be one of the best stories I’ve come across in quite some time. Inspired by Eddie Griffin, former Oklahoma State basketball star and four-year NBA veteran, Byron Houston, decided the middle of the intersection would be the perfect place to fulfill his manly needs.

A woman called police around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday to report that a man was masturbating at an intersection in northwestern Oklahoma City, police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said. Officers found Houston in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with his underwear on the floorboard, and the woman positively identified him, Knight said.

Houston was arrested on counts of indecent exposure, engaging in a lewd act and driving with a canceled license. He was held at the Oklahoma County Jail on $4,000 bond. The district attorney’s office had not filed charges Thursday.

Worst part of the story possibly, is that Houston has a history of indecent exposure. Apparently he pleaded guilty to three counts of it in 2003, and he’s also a registered petter-asser. Nicely done Byron, nicely done.

Kobe Bryant’s Alleged Ex-Bodyguard Patrick Graber, Tell-All Book About the Rape

Upset over what he says was a frame job by Kobe’s legal team to serve as a media diversion during Bryant’s trial, alleged former bodyguard Patrick Graber is striking back. He is releasing a book called Dead Women Tell No Tales: the truth about the Kobe Bryant Rape Case. Judging by the online book, Graber does not hold back one bit. Here are some of the notable aspects of what the book touches on.

Graber says Bryant had several other mistresses and that Kobe wanted to put the hit on the witness:

Graber and Bryant meet in July 2003 in Kobe’s luxury apartment in Westwood where the player is being entertained by two of his mistresses. Bryant proposes to his bodyguard to eliminate the witness in the Colorado rape case.

Graber says Kobe was a player with the ladies:

The bodyguard observes firsthand the superstar’s bizarre infidelities with several women at the same time.

Graber says Kobe fit right in with the NBA image:

Exposure of Bryant’s true character away from the basketball court and how he fits into the disturbing NBA culture where social norms seem to be inexistent and violence against women commonplace.

Graber says he was framed:

Graber and Bryant’s head of security meet. Kobe changes his plan and Revilla orchestrates Graber’s entrapment and arrest to divert the media attention away from the Colorado rape case thus improving Bryant’s damaged public image.

There is also a testimonial on the about page from a man named Jondell R. Montgomery of Long Beach, brace yourself:

The account of Kobe participating in orgies and the description of the surroundings is accurate. A attended a few of those parties myself…

Wow, does Graber sure have an axe to grind here. The truth behind the contents of the book are debatable. But as is the case with most things, there has to be some correctness to it. And from the descriptions by Graber, Kobe seems just as like the crook he was made out to be in Colorado. The question then becomes whether or not people will take this book seriously. If so, how much will this damage Kobe’s reputation which seems to have been patched up? Secondly, does he stand to lose fans and endorsement dollars because of the book? Only time will tell. But giving my opinion, I’ve always though Kobe was a punk, and everything that is coming out in this book supports that sentiment.

Thanks to Young, Black, and Fabulous for bringing the book to my attention.

NBAStore.com: Authentic NBA Gear

Robert Horry: Spurs Would Beat Larry’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers

Has Robert Horry done lost his mind as my buddy Jorge Sedano put it? Would this Spurs team really take it to the 80s Celtics and 80s Lakers? Is it entirely possible? Robert Horry will be double-fisting rings after this series is over. He’ll have more brass than Michael Jordan. If anyone knows something about championships, it’s him. But has he gone crazy in telling Yahoo! Sports that the Spurs could beat Larry Legend’s Celtics and Magic’s Showtime Lakers?

“We would beat them,” he boasted.

“No disrespect to the guys back in the 80’s and the 70’s, but the guys now are so much better than those guys,” Horry said. “I don’t care what they say. If you look at old films, guys only went right. They turned and kept it in their right hand. Look at the things LeBron (James) can do, Tim (Duncan) can do, Tony (Parker) can do, Manu (Ginobili) can do. Little (Daniel) Gibson over there. There’s no way you can compare those guys. We watched what they did and expanded on that.”

Gotta love Big Shot Rob stirring the pot here. I know Horry’s playing with some special athletes, and LeBron might be one of a kind, but you telling me what these guys are doing now wasn’t seen in the 80s? Maybe way back in the day, sure. 20 years ago they weren’t windmill dunking, but it was still a good, athletic game. And forget what Bob says, there isn’t anything Daniel Gibson is doing that someone else didn’t do in the 80s. Please Horry, that was a terrible example. So that’s some great finals fodder to take us away from the dynasty discussion. Are the Spurs a better team than those 80s squads like he says?

Who Cares About the Low NBA Finals TV Ratings

They don’t bother me one bit. Of course I’m not the one selling advertising on my multi-million dollar finals TV deal, but still. I’m really just sick and tired of hearing about how the NBA finals ratings are down. That doesn’t seem to be news to me. It’s seems so commonplace. Not just for the NBA, but for MLB, the NHL, and most televised sports except the NFL. Heck, even TV show ratings are down. So why do people constantly bring up the dropping ratings as if it’s a big deal?

This is just the increasing trend in television these days. There are so many options out there for people to watch on the tube (and internet), that shrinking ratings don’t make me bat an eyelash. And I don’t think David Stern is blowing smoke when he says he’s not concerned about the low ratings. He shouldn’t be. Compared to the competition, they’re doing fine. What do people expect, 15 shares for the NBA finals? That’s just not in the cards these days.

Just because the NBA finals have low ratings does that mean basketball isn’t popular? Does that mean people aren’t watching? Does that mean nobody likes the NBA? No, no, and no. The ratings are bullcrap. Good fodder for us to poke fun. But I won’t fall for that trap.

If the NBA were struggling for viewers, then why did they set their all-time record for highest regular season and post-season attendance with 23.4 million fans? Why is the game broadcast to 205 countries in 46 different languages? If the NBA is doing so poorly, and can’t draw, then how do you explain that type of proliferation? You can’t. And that’s my point exactly. If it ain’t the Yankees, or the Knicks, or the Celtics, or the Red Sox, the ratings are going to be low. Get used to it. Just don’t let it fool you into thinking that the sports aren’t thriving, because they are.

(both statistical notes in above paragraph via The Sports Professor, Rick Horrow)