Amare Stoudemire thinks you're retarded, it's not about the money

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Thumbnail image for nba_stoudemire1_250.jpgIt’s not about the money. It’s never about the money in the NBA. It’s about the love of the game, the quest for self-improvement, it’s about team.

Right Amare Stoudemire? You’re not suddenly All-World since the All-Star break because you see a new contract this summer. What would you say to people who are so cynical as to think that?

“I would say they are simply retarded and they haven’t been watching my career at all since I’ve been in the league.  Ever since I’ve been in the league, I’ve been improving every single summer.  Getting myself in total top shape, focusing on winning a championship, getting through those playoffs runs, and coming back with force and reckless abandon.  I’ve been improving every single year, after the All Star break I’ve been improving, so if they think I’m just playing for a contract, they’re out of their minds.”

That’s what Amare said in an interview on KTAR on Phoenix.

To be slightly less cynical for a second — and that’s not easy for me — Stoudemire is having success right now because the team is having success. He is getting better opportunities in transition because of their improved defense (credit to Alvin Gentry). He has more room to operate as the floor is spread out. Steve Nash is playing well and when that happens everyone around him gets the ball in spots they like. There are other factors than a contract in play here.

But I stand by my rule number one about the NBA: It is always about the money. We’ve all seen the Sasha Vujacic’s of he world rise up and look good for a contract year, only to revert to form the following season. For Stoudemire reverting to form is still pretty damn amazing. He is a top player who deserves to be paid. But the contract is always a motivator. Money and impending free agency matters.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.