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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Kobe Bryant

Gilbert Arenas tells incredible Kobe Bryant-Michael Jordan revenge story

Kobe Bryant

Did Kobe Bryant drop 55 points on Michael Jordan all to get revenge on MJ over a comment the six-time champion made during a prior game between their teams? That’s what one player says happened.

Gilbert Arenas shared a great Kobe story on “The No Chill Podcast” about what led to Kobe’s huge game against His Airness in 2003. According to Arenas, during a prior game between MJ’s Washington Wizards and Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in DC, Jordan’s Wizards got the win. After the victory, Jordan supposedly told Bryant that the youngster could wear MJ’s shoes on the court but he would never be able to “fill these shoes.” This was in 2003 when a 24-year-old Kobe was wearing Jordan model shoes.

Arenas says Kobe went silent and didn’t talk to his team for two weeks as he got mentally prepared for the rematch between the teams, which took place on March 28 at Staples Center.

The Lakers won the rematch 108-94, getting 55 from Kobe on 15/29 shooting including 9/13 on threes. MJ, who had turned 40 by that point, scored 27 points in the loss. Bryant sure showed up his role model.

It’s a great story, though we must note Arenas’ timeline seems a little off. The first game between the Wizards and Lakers that season took place on Nov. 8, very early in the season. Washington won the game 100-99, getting 25 from Jordan on 9/14 shooting. Bryant shot 8/21 in the loss.

The main point is still the same: Bryant was motivated to show up his idol and did.

Bryant modeled his game after Jordan as this video shows. There is no doubt he would have wanted to be at his best against Jordan, who retired after that season.

Below is the video of Arenas sharing the story:

Kobe Bryant explains why he hates analytics in NBA

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is not a fan of the statistically-driven movement in the current NBA known as “analytics.”

Bryant joined ESPN’s TV crew from the US Open on Thursday night to talk about tennis, which he began playing after retiring from the NBA. He is putting out a tennis book through his production company called “Legacy and the Queen” that he was promoting.

During his appearance, Bryant was asked by John McEnroe what he thinks of analytics.

“I hate it,” Kobe said. “It’s ridiculous. What numbers don’t tell you is they don’t tell you the emotion. I don’t like analytics.

“You see the numbers, but the numbers don’t tell you how or why they are the way they are. You have to be able to feel that, to sense that. Tendencies.”

Bryant then gave an example to illustrate his point. He said a stat could tell you that a player goes to his left 60 percent of the time, but the stat won’t tell you the player isn’t really comfortable going to his left and would prefer to go to his right. He says that’s the sort of thing you find out by scouting and watching video.

Bryant’s stance on analytics shouldn’t be too surprising. Analytics have shown that an optimal strategy for scoring points (and ultimately winning) is to take 3-point shots because they’re 50 percent more valuable than two-point shots, and to take high-percentage twos, which tend to be close to the basket. Kobe’s game was based very much on long two-point shots, which don’t fit in as well with the analytically-driven strategy.

He’s right in a sense. Analytics can help with strategy, such as showing why going 2-for-1 on possessions late in quarters is beneficial, or in telling players which shots they tend to make more than others. But analytics don’t give you the whole picture, and they should not be taken as an absolute. If people declined to deviate from the advised analytics strategy, you wouldn’t have had CJ McCollum beating the Nuggets in the playoffs by taking mid-range jumpers.

Bryant isn’t alone in this anti-analytics view. A current star gave his explanation for why he doesn’t like them either.

Shaq takes hilarious shot at Dwight Howard while squashing beef with Kobe

Shaq TNT

There appear to be no hard feelings between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in the wake of their most recent war of words, but Dwight Howard has somehow ended up in the line of fire.

Kobe said during an interview with Patrick Bet-David at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas this week that he could have won 12 championships if Shaq wasn’t so lazy. Shaq didn’t seem amused and responded by firing some shots back at Bryant on social media, but Kobe later tweeted that there is no renewed beef between him and his former Lakers teammate no matter how much the media wants it.

That’s where Howard came in. Shaq took to Twitter to tell Kobe that everything is “all good” between the two, and he couldn’t resist zinging Howard.

Kobe’s response was just as good:

Howard, of course, spent one disappointing season with the Lakers and infamously butted heads with Kobe. Shaq and Kobe clashed as well, but they won three championships together.

Howard recently signed with the Lakers again and has an opportunity to make good on an old promise, but he’s apparently not going to get support from two of the team’s biggest legends — at least not on Twitter.

Kobe Bryant says there is ‘no beef’ with Shaq after latest trash talk

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Shaq have once again been trading barbs this week after Kobe took a swipe at his former teammate during a public appearance, but Bryant insists this is not the start of a new feud between the two.

After his latest criticism of Shaq’s work ethic went viral, Bryant took to Twitter to assure fans there is “no beef.”

Kobe said during an interview with Patrick Bet-David at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas this week that he could have won 12 championships if Shaq wasn’t so lazy, but he claimed he has told Shaq that to his face on numerous occasions. Even if he has, Shaq didn’t seem amused and responded by firing some shots back at Bryant on social media.

From Kobe’s perspective, he was just repeating something that he has made reference to many times in the past. Shaq probably wasn’t surprised, but he’s never been one to sit there and let someone insult him. We’ve learned that with some of the heated feuds he has had on the air with Charles Barkley, who is a close friend. Shaq may not have the same relationship with Kobe, but all indications are they have worked out some of their differences over the past several years.

Shaq fires back at Kobe Bryant over latest work ethic criticism

Shaq TNT

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal seem to have smoothed things over a bit since their falling out with the Los Angeles Lakers, but that has not stopped them from pointing the finger at one another.

In an interview with Patrick Bet-David at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas this week, Bryant said he believes he could have won a dozen championships if Shaq worked harder when the two were with the Lakers. You can see the remarks at the beginning of the video below:

Kobe also paid Shaq a backhanded compliment by saying he would have been the greatest player of all time if he spent more time in the gym. When Bet-David said he did not want to start more drama between the two former teammates, Kobe said he has told Shaq to his face many times.

“He’d be the greatest of all time. He’d be the first to tell you that,” Bryant said. “Me and Shaq sit down all the time and I say, ‘Dude if your lazy a– was in shape…”

Even if Kobe has said it to Shaq’s face, the big man doesn’t seem to appreciate it. When Shaq caught wind of Kobe’s latest criticism of his work ethic, he took to Instagram to say Bryant would have more championships if he “passed the ball more especially in the Finals against the Pistons.” He also reminded Kobe that the Lakers created a statue in his honor.

Of course, this feud has been ongoing for many years. Kobe spoke when he was still playing about how it infuriated him that Shaq was so lazy, and Phil Jackson has even indicated he agrees with Bryant. Winning 12 rings wasn’t going to happen, but Shaq did injure his toe after the Lakers won their third consecutive title and chose to wait until training camp to have surgery rather than doing it after the season ended. You have to wonder if things would have gone a bit differently if he wasn’t so adamant about having the procedure on company time.

The Kobe-Shaq pairing is one of the most intriguing in NBA history, and these are the reasons why. Even to this day, they clearly don’t see eye to eye.

Kobe Bryant fans furious over NBA All-Decade teams

Kobe Bryant

NBA TV released its three All-Decade teams this week, and you knew fans would have plenty to say about which players were chosen. But if you were wondering which ones would be the loudest, we now have our answer.

The idea of the All-Decade team was to pick a First, Second and Third Team based on play from 2010 to 2019, so those clearly were not Kobe Bryant’s best years. That didn’t stop his fans from flipping out about Kobe being on the Third Team.

Kobe didn’t even play the entire decade from 2010 through the present day, and he was essentially a shell of himself after he blew out his Achilles. He played in just six games the following season, 35 in 2014-15 and 66 in his final year. While he accomplished plenty in the early part of the decade, the guys ahead of him played at a higher level throughout that 10-year period — not during their careers as a whole.

Even Bryant seems to know his diehard fans can be unreasonable sometimes, and this appears to be another example of that.

Trae Young planning to work with Kobe Bryant this summer

Trae Young

Trae Young is hoping to become a different animal yet the same beast.

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the Atlanta Hawks guard plans to work on his midrange game with retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant in August. The sessions are scheduled to take place in Newport Beach, Calif. after Young completes his Team USA training camp obligations.

The 20-year-old Young was runner-up to the Rookie of the Year Award last season after averaging 19.1 points and 8.1 assists per game. However, he relied primarily on pulling up from the three-point line or trying to get all the way to the rim, which was reflected in his 41.8 percent shooting from the field and 32.4 percent from deep.

Bryant, a cold killer from the midpost area during his career with some of the best footwork the game had ever seen, would obviously be an ideal sensei for Young to learn the art of the midrange from. That said though, there was some controversy with the last youngster that the Black Mamba tutored.