Kobe Bryant sounds like a professional poker player here — even guys sitting around wearing World Series of Poker bracelets will remember and talk about their bad beats more eagerly than their tournament wins.
Kobe has spent his career playing with Shaquille O’Neal, Glenn Rice, Robert Horry, Pau Gasol, and now Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. His list of teammates could form an All-Star team.
But what he remembers often is the bad years. And he talked about that 2005-06 Lakers team before Wednesday’s exhibition (which Kobe skipped). Via the Orange County Register:
“I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,” Bryant said before Wednesday’s 93-75 exhibition loss to Portland. “I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown…”
Bryant continued, taking aim at his favorite whipping boy, Parker, calling him “the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.”
Parker doesn’t like Kobe either. Problem for Smush is that in America the winners get to write the history, and Parker can’t win this fight.
First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.
Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.
The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.
Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”
“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”
The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.
It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.
I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.
Somebody is in midseason form.
Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.
Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.