One thing that made Michael Jordan so great was his ability to make his teammates better. Like all superstars, Jordan attracted attention on the court, and that gave the Bulls’ other players room to operate. But unlike, say, Magic Johnson, Jordan didn’t necessarily excel at setting up those open teammates, at least relative to his other elite skills.
Rather, Jordan required his teammates to match his incredibly intense drive.
But demanding so much from his teammates – even punching them in the face when necessary – can be pretty alienating. In his new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” Phil Jackson explains how Jordan got away with it while comparing MJ to Kobe Bryant. Via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
“Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around,” Jackson said in the book, which was obtained in advance by The Times.
“Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.”
Not to harp on a relatively minor flaw – keep in mind, compared to the greatest player of all time – Kobe didn’t bring his teammates to his level with the same success. A fun-loving Shaquille O’Neal never matched Kobe’s seriousness, and we still talk about how Smush Parker brought down Kobe rather than how Kobe elevated Parker.
But that’s part of the reason Jordan is the best and Kobe is merely one of the best.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a wizard when it comes to shots you don’t think can ever reach the iron. Each time he does something like this, he surprises you even though you should be used to it by now.
But I’m not. The Utah Jazz aren’t. Heck, maybe even Steph isn’t used to it by now.
As Curry was driving down the left side of the floor on Thursday, Shelvin Mack got out of position and wound up trailing the Warriors star. With Curry rounding the pick, Mack reached and earned a foul.
Thinking quickly, Curry then hoisted up a rainbow of a shot that gently kissed the net on the way down.
Curry would go on to make the free throw for the 3-point play.
We’re 21 games into Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns‘ sophomore season and it already seems cliche to say that he has guard skills
But, like, he does have guard skills.
There was more evidence of that on Thursday night as the Timberwolves matched up with the Toronto Raptors in Canada.
With the ball near the top of the arc and with the Raptors defense collapsing on the Minnesota guards, Towns saw an opportunity to split the defense and run to the rim with the ball.
Toronto C Jonas Valanciunas slid over to meet Towns at the rim, but there wasn’t much anyone could do.
Pau Gasol spent two seasons at the United Center with the Chicago Bulls, so it made sense that when he returned as a member of the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, he would know his way around. In fact, Gasol knows the bowels of Chicago’s home arena so well that he wound up walking toward the wrong locker room as a force of habit.
During the NBA on TNT’s coverage of the game, reporter Allie LaForce showed cameras following Gasol after he said hello to some folks in the tunnel.
Unfortunately, Gasol walked about 15 feet before realizing he was heading to the wrong side.
Maybe it was something of an indicator for the night, as the first few quarters of play between the Spurs and the Bulls were extremely sloppy.
Damian Lillard had the No. 1 hip-hop album on iTunes. Milwaukee Bucks fans still think he needed to get taken down a peg, so on Wednesday during a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Bucks, fans in Milwaukee had a message for Lillard.
Well, it was more of a cheer:
If you can’t quite make out what Bucks fans are saying, it was pretty simple: “Sound-Cloud rap-per!”
Lillard famously began his rapping career as an NBA player by releasing songs on SoundCloud — a mostly-free online audio hosting site — but he’s now graduated to a big release with professional production and guest spots by industry legends like Lil’ Wayne, Juvenile, and Jamie Foxx. His debut full-length album came out in October and is called “The Letter O”.
The Blazers superstar also started his own label in November.
Still, the Bucks arena experience is pretty great considering the coordinated t-shirts, the Bandwagon Cam, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.