Month: August 2020

Kobe Bryant dreamed of having jersey retired; Lakers set to give him two

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersHis career was a celebration of excess. He scored 81 points in 2006 and attempted 50 shots in his final game little more than a year ago. So, of course, he won’t just become the 10th Laker to have his number retired, but the first to have two numbers retired. The festivities will include a street fair the Lakers are calling “Kobeland.”“I’m glad he’s getting both jerseys retired,” Lakers star rookie Lonzo Ball said. “I think that’s fitting for him.”A number is an identity. Bryant had two of each. As No. 8, he was the fun-loving sidekick to the greatest center of a generation.Ten years into his career, Shaquille O’Neal had been shipped off to Miami and Bryant was rehabbing his image after charges were dropped in a headline-grabbing sexual assault case. That’s when he became No. 24.He won three titles as No. 8, two as No. 24. As 8, he scored 16,866 points; 24 poured in 16,777 (in 145 fewer games). Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Soon, both identities will hang alongside the legends he previously knew only through the grainy VHS tapes his grandparents sent when he was growing up in Italy. When he was traded to the Lakers on draft night in 1996, he knew there was a chance.“OK,” the 17-year-old told himself, “if I do my job, if I work, then one day my name will be up there.”Fast forward a generation or so, and Bryant has mostly kept a distance from the franchise with which he spent 20 years, operating only in the shadows, if at all.He talks regularly to Rob Pelinka, his former agent who now serves as the team’s general manager. Starting Monday, he will quite literally have a presence that hangs over the Lakers, rather than just a metaphorical one.He will be feted in a 21-minute halftime ceremony that is expected to feature former teammates, including Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom.“It’s going to be really emotional, I’m sure,” Bryant said, “going back and seeing a bunch of fans and people who I’ve seen since my rookie season, courtside and all throughout the arena.“And having come full circle to now going back and watching. And it will be a pretty emotional experience I would think.”Bryant has not returned to Staples Center for a Lakers game since April 13, 2016, the night he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz in the last of his 1,566 games, including playoff appearances.“Been a little busy,” Bryant said. “Been a little busy.”The launch of Kobe, Inc., a company that specializes in telling stories that inspire, occupies his days, while he also coaches the basketball teams his daughters, Natalia and Giannia, play for. He and his wife, Vanessa, had a third daughter, Bianka Bella Bryant, last December.“My kids keep me really, really busy,” Bryant said, “especially around this time of the year where there’s school, there’s after-school activities, there’s sports, not to mention the company that we’re building and the things we’re trying to create. It’s non-stop, man.”The retirement letter Bryant wrote to fans in November of 2015, “Dear Basketball,” has been adapted into a short film animated by Glen Keane (the Disney illustrator behind “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast”) and scored by John Williams (of “Star Wars” fame).The short film was short-listed for an Academy Award.“I never imagined I’d be doing this, you know what I mean?” Bryant said. “But you kind of learn, you follow your passion to what it is that you truly, truly love. And do that process and start trimming the fat, simply focus on the things that are most important.”The fact that he could add an Oscar to a trophy case that includes one NBA Most Valuable Player trophy, two NBA Finals MVPs and five championship rings blows Bryant’s mind.“Just you saying that sounds ridiculous,” he said.It’s possible that Bryant will eventually be recognized as much for his achievements with Kobe, Inc., as for anything he accomplished as No. 8 or No. 24. For the members of the current Lakers roster, there are fewer memories of the earliest days of Bryant’s career while they hold on to first-hand experiences with No. 24.Jordan Clarkson was a teammate with Bryant for the final two seasons of the future Hall of Famer’s career and remembers him as “kind of almost being like a godfather to us, (giving) the blueprint on how to do stuff.”Brandon Ingram, who was born the summer after Bryant’s rookie season, said he has “one or two memories from No. 8.”“But,” he said, “it was really No. 24 for me. Even watching some of the highlights before he changed his number, it’s easy to type something on YouTube. Either number, he was still a killer.”When the Lakers drafted Ingram No. 2 overall in 2016, Bryant’s career had been over for little more than two months. His lockers at the team’s practice facility and Staples Center were cleaned out and prepared for their next occupant, Ingram.It was a strong message from the organization that it believed it had found Bryant’s successor. Ingram was fully aware of the symbolism.“I have to say it’s an honor,” Ingram said. “It’s an honor to try to be there, fill some shoes and just try to come out here and work every day.”That pressure has been there since Inrgram arrived. When, like Bryant two decades earlier, he studied the jerseys hanging above the Lakers’ court and dreamed of one day seeing his name alongside them.“I think to have my number retired one day,” Ingram said, “or be one of the best players who came through here one day is my goal.”Bryant knows that feeling. It drove him.“It’s something,” he said, “that I dreamed of happening.”center_img At 17, Kobe Bryant arrived for the first time at The Forum in Inglewood and looked up, up, up.His eyes moved past the 10-foot rim he would assault night after night in his quest to become a star; past the orange and gold seats that would be occupied by people who would wear his jerseys and name pets and children after him.His gaze settled on the row of retired numbers hanging from the ceiling, stars in the sky.“I had seen it on video so many times because I was such a big Laker fan,” Bryant told the Southern California News Group last week, “but to actually step on the hardwood floor at The Forum and see them for the first time, it gave me goosebumps.”last_img read more

Why isn’t Becky Hammon included in Lakers coaching conversations?

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersNow, as the Lakers go scouring the landscape for suitable candidates, why not consider this disciple of Pop’s (the others of whom include the likes of Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown)?Contemplating that question, NBA Twitter had concerns: “ya lebron does not wanna be coached by anyone and i’m pretty sure he’s not gonna listen to a woman.”Except, last year, LeBron James told reporters he embraced the notion of working with a female coach: “If you know the game, then everybody is accepting of that. It’s the same thing with players. You have different walks and shapes and lives of players, but if you can play, you can play. You always accept it. … It shouldn’t matter if you’re a male or a female.“If you know the game, you know the game. I love talking the game, so I don’t think of it being a problem at all.” Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Having reportedly reached an impasse in negotiations with Tyronn Lue on Wednesday, the Lakers were said to have broadened their head coaching search to include Lionel Hollins, Frank Vogel and Mike Woodson. Between them, they have 26 seasons of NBA head coaching experience, a combined .487 regular-season winning percentage and no NBA Finals appearances.Inspiring, right?So when does Becky Hammon start being included in these sorts of discussions?A fifth-year assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff, the NBA’s first full-time female assistant has so far reportedly interviewed for openings last year in Milwaukee with the Bucks and with the Colorado State University men’s basketball program. The Twitterverse also took issue with Hammon’s coaching background: “Why would she get considered? She has no head coaching experience.”That’s true … of Juwan Howard, too.Reported to be one of the Lakers’ early targets, Howard just completed his sixth year as an assistant with the Miami Heat.Like Hammon, he had a long professional playing career. He competed for 19 seasons, won two NBA titles and made an All-Star team before joining the Heat’s coaching staff, including serving as the head coach of Miami’s 2016 NBA Summer League teams.Hammon played 16 seasons in the WNBA, several more abroad during the league’s offseason, and was a six-time WNBA All-Star before joining the Spurs’ coaching staff in 2014. She served as coach of San Antonio’s Summer League team in 2015 and ’16, including leading the 2015 team to the Summer League championship.So Twitter suggested that she hasn’t toiled long enough as an assistant to be owed a look: “I don’t know if Becky Hammon is ready for (head coach) job or not but look at others. (James) Borrego: 15 years as an asst before getting his own gig. Igor Kokoskov: 18 yrs as asst. Budenholzer: did about 20! Hammon has 5. I’m all for her getting her shot but can’t act like it’s about gender yet.”Fair enough. But the amount of time she’s spent as an assistant doesn’t disqualify her. Lue served three years as an assistant and one as an associate head coach before taking on the head coaching role with the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the NBA title. And Luke Walton spent just two years as a Golden State assistant before taking over in L.A.In print last year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Gary D’Amato expressed another worry when Hammon became the first woman to interview for an NBA head coaching job: “Heaven forbid the Bucks lose a couple close games at the buzzer. The vocal segment of fans who believe a woman can’t or shouldn’t coach an NBA team would be relentless and cruel in their criticism.”Alas, anyone who’s been on Twitter knows male coaches also are treated to relentless and cruel criticism.Underestimate Hammon at your own peril. She was lightly recruited out of Rapid City, South Dakota, before becoming a three-time NCAA All-American at Colorado State. And though undrafted by WNBA teams, she was recognized as one of the league’s top 15 players after its first 15 years of existence.Some discouraged Lakers fans believe in Hammon, but they’d rather not burden her with their team’s current issues: “She’s too smart to come to this inept organization.”And Spurs fans don’t want to let her go: “Sorry, she’s the next Spurs head coach. No poaching allowed!”That sounds like a vote of confidence from those who’ve witnessed her at work – folks such as Pau Gasol, the former Laker and Spur, who penned a Players Tribune article last year assuring doubters that Hammon has what it takes to coach the world’s best.“I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich,” Gasol wrote. “And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”Related Articles Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions last_img read more

Lakers, fans salute Kobe Bryant in emotional return to Staples Center

first_imgPreviousLeBron James speaks to the crowd during a Kobe Bryant tribute before the Lakers/Trailblazers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Shirts with Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers cover all of the seats ahead of the tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Members of Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Academy sit on the Lakers bench and watch pre-game warm ups at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsKobe Bryant’s retired jerseys hang from the rafters at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Gianna Bryant’s photo as well as the names of the other victims are displayed on the scoreboard at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Bassist Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers conducts a pre-game interview before the Lakers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Fans begin arriving for the Lakers/Trailblazers game and Kobe Bryant tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)The two front row seats will remain empty during the game to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Kobe and Gianni sat in theses seats the last time they watched a game at Staples Center. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Lakers forward Anthony Davis warms up before the game wearing Koby Bryant’s numbers on his shirt at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The shirt had both of Bryant’s retired jerseys, #8 on the front and #24 on the back. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)People sign memory walls as they have also left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Mauricio Gonzalez of Oxnard poses for a photo as thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)A young boy clings to his mother as thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)People sign a memory wall as people have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes memory boards just some of the items outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes memory boards just some of the items outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Thousands have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes and signed memory boards outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)David Kelly of Redlands looks over a memory wall as people have left flowers, hats, t-shirts, shoes written notes outside of LA Live across from Staples center where the Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant and those who died in a helicopter crash prior to a NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Singer Usher takes a moment in the seats covered with Laker jerseys with Kobe Bryant’s number 24 at the Staples Center before the Laker game on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Singer Usher takes a moment in the seats covered with Laker jerseys with Kobe Bryant’s number 24 at the Staples Center before the Laker game on Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Staples Center is ready for the first Lakers game since the death of Kobe Bryant. All seats have #24 or #8 jerseys in them for the fans. (Scott Varley/SCNG)LeBron James speaks to the crowd during a Kobe Bryant tribute before the Lakers/Trailblazers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Boys II Men sing the National Anthem before the Lakers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Boys II Men sing the National Anthem before the Lakers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)LeBron James honors Kobe Bryant before the Lakers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Fans turn on their cell phone lights as they fill the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Staples Center takes a 24.2 second moment of silence before the Lakers Game in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Fans watch the pre-game tribute to Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)LeBron James wears a Kobe Bryant jersey during warmups at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)The Lakers wear Kobe Bryant jerseys as they warm up before the game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)The Lakers take the court at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Singer Usher performs “Amazing Grace” during a Kobe Bryant tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Singer Usher performs “Amazing Grace” during a Kobe Bryant tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)LeBron James, center, and his Lakers teammates are overcome with emotion during the pre-game tribute to Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Mayor Eric Garcetti presents the game ball to the referees at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Singer Usher performs “Amazing Grace” during a Kobe Bryant tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)LeBron James speaks to the crowd during a Kobe Bryant tribute before the Lakers/Trailblazers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)The Lakers perform a fadeaway jumper as a team to honor Kobe Bryant before the game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)LeBron James speaks to the crowd during a Kobe Bryant tribute before the Lakers/Trailblazers game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Shirts with Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers cover all of the seats ahead of the tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 51Shirts with Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers cover all of the seats ahead of the tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)ExpandLOS ANGELES — The L.A. Lakers put some basketball on their city’s gaping wound Friday.With thousands of people stationed across the street at a massive memorial, and with thousands more having made their way inside Staples Center, wiping their eyes and cheering in support of their team, the Lakers tipped off for the first time since Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.“Just trying to get through it,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Feeling the same way the rest of the world is, but probably heavier.”The city of Los Angeles mourned its adopted son all week, Bryant’s name on the lips of Angelenos everywhere – and graffitied on walls and displayed on Metro’s buses and trains. “Thank you, Kobe, for the LOVE OF BASKETBALL.”Bryant was an 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during his 20-year career, all of it spent with the Lakers.He nicknamed himself the Black Mamba and inspired devotion – or at least respect, from his adversaries – with his relentless, hard-edged work ethic.“It feels like a family member passed away,” said Carlos Villasenor, who visited the site Friday in a replica of Bryant’s maroon Lower Merion No. 33 high school jersey.“It’s one of those things, we didn’t really know him or meet him, but he touched a lot of people’s hearts. Just with his hustle on the court, too. That spilled out to everybody else and influences everybody else to just hustle and play. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing in life, whatever job that you have, you have to have that energy that you put into it, that focus, whatever you’re doing.”Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Luke Walton visited L.A. Live around 2 a.m. on Thursday, in town as coach of the Sacramento Kings, who played the Clippers that night. He was taken by hearing fans chanting “Koooh-bee!” in the middle of the night.Those chants made their way inside Staples Center – where many of Bryant’s most storied moments occurred, including his 81-point game on Jan. 22, 2006 – before the Lakers’ game Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers, where roses were left on two courtside seats, chairs draped with jerseys representing Kobe and Gianna, who was an emerging basketball sensation.A yellow T-shirt with either a purple and white No. 8 or No. 24 was placed on every other seat in the arena.Inside, “Ko-be” chants were interspersed with “M-V-P” and “Gigi” chants during a pregame tribute that included a 24.2-second moment of silence and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” from Usher.Lakers players are show their emotions during a pregame tribute to Laker great Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Friday, January 31, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Boyz II Men, the soul group from Bryant’s native Philadelphia sang the national anthem that ended with several of the Lakers players in tears.And then LeBron James, the Lakers’ current superstar leader, delivered a message – not from a script, which he ditched, but from his heart.“As I look around this area, we’re all grieving, we’re all hurt, we are all heartbroken,” James said. “And when we’re going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family.“Now, I heard about Lakers Nation before I got here last year,” he continued, “about how much of a family it is. And that is absolutely what I’ve seen this whole week, not only from the players, not only from the coaching staff, not only from the organization, but from everybody. Everybody that’s here, this is really, truly, truly a family.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersHis two decades of on-court artistry were reflected in murals that sprung up around the city. Bryant’s jersey Nos. 8 and 24, which many NBA players chose voluntarily to retire this past week, were put on by legions of regular folk, men and women, many of whom also laced up their Kobe sneakers.Downtown, where flags outside of the arena hung at half-mast and candles flickered when the sun went down, grieving fans have remained a constant presence at L.A. Live. They’ve paid their respects by leaving jerseys, basketballs, shoes, flowers and artwork – all of which will be boxed up after Sunday and sent to the Bryant family, at their request, according to Staples Center president Lee Zeidman. He said the flowers would be converted to compost and then spread in planters and garden areas around L.A. Live and Staples Center.Since Sunday, people have been filling and re-filling every square inch of several garage-door sized boards with testimonials, illustrations and notes of appreciation. Those canvases weren’t enough, as sentiments spilled out onto the sidewalk too.“You were an inspiration. I named my son after you, Kobe.”“I tore my Achilles last year. Thank U for helping me find my stride. I walked here,” wrote one fan, alluding to Bryant’s late-career injury, from which he returned to retire as the third-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 pointslast_img read more

Astros to call up minor league home run leader Yordan Alvarez, report says

first_imgHouston has failed to score more than four runs in 11 of their last 18 games, but the Astros fortunately continue to win games thanks to its pitching staff. They are 12-6 through that stretch games.Alvarez has spent time at both first base and left field, but he is likely to get time at both spots and designated hitter in his time in MLB. The Astros are calling up Yordan Alvarez from Triple A ahead of tomorrow’s game, sources tell The Athletic.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) June 9, 2019Alvarez, 21, has 23 home runs in 56 games this season, that is two more than any other player in MILB and three more than he has ever hit in a season.The former Cuban National Series player was acquired in a trade from the Dodgers for reliever Josh Fielder before he ever had an at-bat on U.S. soil. Related News Astros fans are going to be thrilled.According to The Athletic, Houston will call up minor league home-run leader Yordan Alvarez in the coming days. MLB wrap: Astros win second extra-inning game in two days on Orioles blunder He subsequently rose up the prospect ranks and is now rated as the No. 23 player in all of minor league baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.The Astros need the bat in their lineup right now as George Springer, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are all on the 10-day injured list.last_img read more

Lakers trade rumors: Los Angeles’ talks to clear cap space ‘have gone nowhere’

first_img Lakers free agency rumors: Los Angeles is Carmelo Anthony’s ‘most likely destination,’ executives believe “There will be a lot of changes,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week. “Lakers fans, be patient. We’re going to get there. We’re not going to stop until we’re all proud.”The Lakers reportedly have interest in Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris, Al Horford, Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan, as well. They also are the “most likely” destination for Carmelo Anthony. Those three players, who combined to average 10.2 points per game last season in limited playing time, are set to earn around $5 million in 2019-20.The Lakers completed one of the biggest trades in NBA history earlier this month when they acquired Anthony Davis from the Pelicans in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round picks. Related News Los Angeles will pursue a third star this summer to pair with Davis and LeBron James and it has been linked to Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell. But, if the team makes no more moves, it’s only expected to have around $23 million available this offseason and will not be able to offer a max contract. NBA free agency rumors: Lakers rooting for Kyrie Irving to sign with Nets The Lakers continue to look to clear salary space.Los Angeles has reportedly been shopping the contracts of reserves Mo Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga to other teams. Those talks, however, have gone “nowhere” as the team has “limited ability to sweeten a deal with draft picks,” according to a report from Sports Illustrated, which cites unidentified league sources. Lonzo Ball reacts to being traded from Lakers to Pelicanslast_img read more

Jonathan Lucroy injury update: Angels catcher suffers concussion, broken nose in scary collision

first_img Todd Frazier: Jake Arrieta went ‘a little overboard’ with dented skull threat Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy suffered a concussion and a broken nose in a scary collision at home plate Sunday with the Astros’ Jake Marisnick.Lucroy confirmed his injuries to ESPN via a text message Monday in which he said otherwise was doing well and expected to be released from the hospital sometime later Monday. Marisnick himself called it “a bad play for me.””First and foremost I hope he’s OK,” Marisnick said. “That was a bad play for me. … It’s terrible. I wish him the best. I hope he’s OK.”Jake Marisnick (@JSMarisnick) very concerned about @Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy (@JLucroy20) who had to go to the hospital after their collision: “First and foremost I hope he’s okay. That was a bad play for me..It’s terrible. I wish him the best. I hope he’s okay.” pic.twitter.com/YsT1jPBmXa— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 7, 2019The 33-year-old Lucroy, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Angels, is slashing .233/.304/.349 with seven home runs this season. Marisnick was trying to score on a fly ball in the eighth inning, and the throw to home plate took Lucroy up the third-base line, where he collided head-to-head with Marisnick.Lucroy went down on his back and was motionless as Marisnick immediately went to check on him. Related Newscenter_img Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli done with catching after latest concussion: ‘I can’t live like this’ Geez Jonathan Lucroy got lit up. Runner called out at the plate, Lucroy taken off on a cart.#LA #angels #laangels pic.twitter.com/ckKu4NrN41— Markus Ingram (@MTIngram) July 7, 2019Lucroy left the game on a cart. The Angels released an update about an hour later saying he was en route to the hospital for a CT scan.MEDICAL UPDATE: Jonathan Lucroy was removed from today’s game after a collision at home plate. He is on his way to a local hospital for a CT scan and will be evaluated for a possible concussion and nose fracture.— Angels PR (@LAAngelsPR) July 7, 2019Marisnick was called out, which was upheld upon review. The Astros went on to win in 10 innings, 11-10.After the game, Angels manager Brad Ausmus said he wants MLB to consider suspending Marisnick for the head-on collision, which was outlawed by MLB in 2014.”It certainly didn’t look like a clean play,” Ausmus told reporters (via the Southern California News Group). “It looked like Marisnick took a step to the left and bowled him with his arm up. … MLB should probably take a look at it and consider some type of suspension, quite frankly.”last_img read more

Charles Barkley thinks Warriors will struggle to make NBA playoffs

first_img“I think they’re gonna struggle to make the playoffs without Klay,” Barkley said (via NBC Sports). “I think that’s the one thing they’re gonna miss the most, even more than KD.” Barkley believes the Western Conference has changed enough to keep the six-time NBA champions out of the playoffs next season. After a busy offseason, the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis through a trade with the Pelicans, and the Clippers landed Kawhi Leonard in free agency.  Related News Lonzo Ball on being traded from Lakers to Pelicans: ‘I was excited’ “The West, there’s no bad teams in the West,” Barkley added. “There are no bad teams. Obviously, everybody’s talking about the Lakers and the Clippers, I haven’t even mentioned Denver, the Spurs, Dallas got a lot better, New Orleans got a lot better.”This is unbelievable how hard the West is.” Barkley did give Stephen Curry credit for leading the Warriors, but he doesn’t believe it’ll be enough to keep the Golden State in the playoff race.”Steph’s gonna be Steph. He’s one of the best basketball players in the world,” Barkley said. “I just don’t think they have enough without Klay.” The Warriors finished last season first in the West with a 57-25 record. They made it to the NBA Finals, but were eliminated by the Raptors as Toronto won its first title in franchise history. Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on roster changes around the NBA: ‘It’s insane’ Anthony Davis sidesteps question on long-term future with Lakers Charles Barkley isn’t confident about the Warriors’ playoff chances next season. The Warriors undoubtedly will look different after losing Kevin Durant in free agency to the Nets, and star Klay Thompson likely will be sidelined next season after tearing his ACL. last_img read more

Browns to honor former linebacker Clay Matthews Jr.

first_img Falcons rookie Kaleb McGary to have heart procedure Baker Mayfield addresses blowing up at offense: ‘We need to be on the same page’ “I was honored,” Matthews said. “I mean, the Browns have a pretty good legacy of players in that group. We lived through that generation of players mostly in the ’60s who were so successful, and to be included in that group is just an honor.“It seems like they’re doing a pretty good job of picking talent around there, so I’m going to ride that wave. The Browns, even though they had a little hiccup for a while when the team went away and came back, that’s what you think of when you think of the NFL. At least for myself growing up, the Browns, Packers, Bears, those type of teams that were there from long ago. To be included at this level is just a huge honor.”Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, racked up 1,561 tackles in 278 games, which ranks 21st most in NFL history. Khalil Mack: Bears ‘running out of time’ to win a Super Bowl Related News “With that platform, gosh,” Matthews said. “To honor me at the platform and with that going on and having him here, I’m just honored. I’m honored by the Haslam family and the folks who think I’m worthy of doing it.This year we’re set to honor a #Browns Legend …Clay Matthews will be inducted into our Ring of Honor Sept. 22 at @FEStadiumDetails » https://t.co/IN7KJfQGTo pic.twitter.com/n48vDoDi9G— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 31, 2019Matthews, 63, spent the first 16 seasons of his 19-year career with the Browns and his final three with the Falcons. He will make history by becoming the first player inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor who has not yet been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Sept. 22 will be a day to remember for former Browns linebacker Clay Matthews Jr.The Browns on Wednesday announced Matthews will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Browns’ Week 3 matchup against the Rams. His son, Clay Matthews III, signed with Los Angeles in March after spending the first 10 years of his career in Green Bay.last_img read more

Fantasy Football Updates: Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon holdouts continue; Damien Williams injury a worry

first_imgMost fantasy football owners wouldn’t mind starting their drafts by picking a top running back. The only problem in 2019 is how messy the top of the RB rankings are. Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon look no closer to returning from their holdouts (and Gordon could get traded and throw a wrench into multiple teams’ plans). Then in Kansas City, the relatively unknown Damien Williams has been missing time at camp because of injury, allowing newly signed handcuff Carlos Hyde to stand out. Everyone would like some clarity on their cheat sheets, but it doesn’t seem to be coming yet.Be sure to check out our top 200 rankings throughout the preseason, as we’ll be frequently updating them as injuries, signings, and starter announcements occur. Damien Williams injury updateAndy Reid praised Carlos Hyde on Sunday for “taking advantage” of the reps he’s gotten with Williams injured, according to NFL.com. Williams wasn’t expected to be out this long with his hamstring injury, and his missed week of camp has allowed both free-agent signee Hyde and rookie Darwin Thompson to get more plays. Reid singled out Hyde, for whatever that’s worth.DRAFT STRATEGY AND RANKINGS TIERS:  Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/STWilliams is being selected as an RB2 in standard leagues. There’s a month until the season starts, so his Week 1 status shouldn’t be in doubt. The handcuff to Williams could be crucial, though, especially in an offense as high-powered as Kansas City’s. It’s worth keeping tabs on this situation. If Hyde has stuff left in the tank or if Thompson can wedge his way into the conversation, Williams’s value would take a notable hit. DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT:  Ultimate 2019 Fantasy Cheat SheetMelvin Gordon holdout updateAfter Gordon requested a trade last week, there’s been much speculation as to where he might end up. Houston and Tampa Bay seem like the two most obvious destinations, but the Houston Chronicle reported Monday morning that the Texans won’t be pursuing a trade for Gordon.  There have been no reports on whether the Buccaneers are pursuing a specific Gordon trade. Adam Caplan has reported that while Gordon is out, Justin Jackson is ahead of Austin Ekeler for early-down work in L.A.If Gordon were to be traded, it would shake up the rankings entirely. He’d presumably be a surefire first-round pick no matter where he ended up, while it would also boost Jackson and Ekeler’s value with the Chargers. A Gordon trade would also knock someone else out of a top backfield job with another team. The most fantasy-friendly outcome, in terms of least chaos, would be Gordon remaining with the Chargers and just playing football.2019 STANDARD RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200When will Ezekiel Elliott end holdout?Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t see a deadline on Elliott’s holdout, he told USA Today. He went on to say that he won’t “see a point” in months, either. Basically, Jones was saying that as the current collective bargaining agreement exists, he doesn’t see a reason to give in and pay Elliott what he’s requesting. Jones has already said it takes more than a RB to win a Super Bowl. If anything, this throws more doubt into ‘Zeke’s availability to start the season.Dallas brought in veteran Alfred Morris last week to serve as Elliott insurance alongside youngsters Tony Pollard and Darius Jackson. Elliott is universally ranked as a top-four player in fantasy football for 2019, so he’s as big (or bigger) a risk as Le’Veon Bell was in 2018. If you draft Elliott in the first round, it would behoove you to grab Morris late to provide insurance on your top pick. 2019 PPR RANKINGS:Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Top 200last_img read more

ATP: Šetkić and Bašić improved their ranking

first_imgBiH tennis players Aldin Šetkić and Mirza Bašić have improved their ranking at the ATP list, and by doing so they made the best ranking of their career, reports Fena.Šetkić improved for 6 positions, and he’s now 219th player of the world, and Bašić improved for one position, and he’s now 236th player of the World.There were no changes in the top of ATP list. The best player of the world is still Novak Đoković, followed by British player Andy Murray and Swiss player Roger Federer.last_img read more