Kobe’s high school gym to be named after him

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NBA fans around the league know of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia because of this announcement:

“At guard, 6’6”, out of Lower Merion High School… Kobe Bryant.”

Next week Kobe Bryant will be a permanent part of the school as its gym gets named after him. Well, to be fair that happened after Bryant wrote a massive check to have the building redone, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (via CBS Facts & Rumors).

This year, Bryant, the perennial all-star and face of the Los Angeles Lakers, donated $411,000 to the Lower Merion School District. The gift, the largest ever to the district, is to help fund “a series of inspirational, interactive, and educational displays” at the newly completed, $100 million high school.

The school board voted to name the gym after Bryant, citing not just his donation but a history of support for the school, whose Aces basketball team he led to a state championship in 1996.

Kobe told ESPNLosAngeles he was pretty excited by all this.

“It’s cool for me,” Bryant said. “That’s obviously where playing in the NBA kind of became a realistic goal. I put a lot of work in, a lot of hours in that gym, with a lot of people that support me and still support me to this day. It will be cool to go back there.”

The dedication ceremony is next week because Kobe and he Lakers will be in Philly to take on the Sixers then. The event is almost sold out — both the $25 regular seats and the $250 VIP seats with reception.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.