Points in the Paint

» June 15, 2009 8:13 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Ken Berger says it’s time to put the Kobe-LeBron debate to rest:  “It is mindboggling, really, that as Bryant closed to within two titles of Jordan, the man he’s always measured himself against, the player he is most often compared to hasn’t won any. Zero. When in Cabo, Bryant might need to have the TVs removed from his hotel room and all the tiki bars, unless he wants to experience weeks of Kobe-LeBron puppet commercials. Or maybe he’ll want to watch them. Fuel for next year. Bryant’s teammates have, at various times, weighed in on the Kobe-LeBron debate. Lamar Odom diplomatically explained it to me this way during the conference finals: ‘Bruce Springsteen or Frank Sinatra? Wine or beer?’ Why there is such a debate is beyond me. The man for whom the Finals MVP trophy is named should have proven that greatness is measured in championships. To have a Russell-Chamberlain debate today would be laughable. There is only one quality that matters. During these playoffs, Bryant passed Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Havlicek, and Larry Bird on the NBA’s career postseason scoring list. He has scored 4,381 playoff points, and next on the list is his mentor and idol, Jerry West (4,457). LeBron James is at 1,761 and counting. There is no debate to be had. Move along, because there’s nothing to see here.”
  • Matt Egan of FOXBusiness:  “It’s clear the Cavs won’t be rolling over to the whims of the Knicks, who will likely face intense competition from a number of teams, including the rival Nets, who are moving to Brooklyn. It may ultimately come down to what kind of brand James wants to build as he looks to create his own unique identity from Jordan, who he is endless compared to. Darbouze said Nike’s marketing strategy for James has too closely followed its successful playbook for Jordan. ‘The LeBron customer isn’t the Jordan customer. It’s a completely different group of kids who consume media in a different way,’ said Darbouze, who believes James would benefit from the cutting-edge strategies employed by New York firms like his. ‘If he made [New York] his headquarters, he could do 10 times what Tiger has done and 100 times what Michael has done, just because of what he has at his fingertips. Not more money, but better money.’”
  • Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald:  “Bryant’s career is headed into unstable, or at least unfamiliar, territory. Including Sunday’s game, Bryant has 1,123 games, including playoffs, buried under his title belts. Michael Jordan, whom Bryant is most compared to, played 1,241, the final 142 of those coming with the Washington Wizards. Granted, Bryant hasn’t had the retirement gaps that Jordan had in his career, but it’s not age as much as deterioration that eventually will slow Bryant.”
  • Dwight Howard:  “I really expected us to win last night and take this series back to L.A. where we’d have a chance to win the championship. Losing the way we did to the Lakers last night was hard because it’s difficult to see your dreams fade like that. Of course, we wish a couple of things had gone differently in this series. If we had finished in Game 2 and Game 4, may be it would have been us trying to close out a fourth win last night win that ‘ship on our home court. It was hard to do, but I stayed out there and watched the Lakers celebrate. Nobody wants to see another team celebrate on their homecourt, but me and ‘Meer stayed out there because we wanted to see it to make us hungrier the next time around. And yes, there will be another time in the Finals for us. The NBA ain’t heard the last of the Magic in the Finals. I know nobody ever expected us to get this far at all this season, but maybe now people will see that we’re for real and we’re going to be good for several years to come.”
  • J.A. Adande talked to Phil Jackson’s agent about the Zenmaster’s future with the Lakers:  “As Jackson went to the stage for the trophy presentation I asked his agent, Todd Musburger, if this would be the last time we’d see Jackson on an NBA court. Jackson, 63, has a year and $12 million left on his contract, but a variety of physical ailments have made the job more difficult. And at this point what’s left to accomplish? So is this it? ‘No,’ Musburger said. ‘We’ve had a number of discussions about what he’d do, win or lose. He didn’t want to leave under either scenario.’”
  • A Kevin Ding column on Kobe’s leadership, that includes this passage:  “Trevor Ariza tried to explain the other day, and he wound up stopping mid-sentence to convey what he was truly feeling. ‘I used it like it was …’ he began. Then he tilted his head back, turned his palms up and stretched those noodle arms out to his sides. And he looked to the heavens. ‘I used it like it was the Bible,’ Ariza said. What we were talking about was the shooting-practice program given to Ariza entering the summer before this season by one Kobe Bryant. The meaning of the gesture to Ariza – and its net effect in transforming his jump shot and thus this Lakers championship team – make it the quintessence of the latter-day Bryant as a teammate.”

One Response to “Points in the Paint”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    Who is asmj posting on Neil’s blog?

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