Dez Bryant says LeBron would be “beast” in NFL

55 Comments

As NFL training camps open, it’s time for that annual barstool debate:

Could LeBron James play in the NFL?

There are plenty of doubters who love to question LeBron’s toughness (just go check out the flopping comments on this post as they roll in). However, in the “yes he can” column I bring you outspoken Cowboy’s wide receiver Dez Bryant. Here is what he told ESPNDallas.com.

“That dude is just that talented,” said Bryant, who is coming off a breakout season of 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. “I think it would take him probably about a good two weeks to get very acquainted with football, knowing what he’s supposed to do. I think that’s all he’d need with his physical ability.

“I’ve seen a little bit of his highlights from high school. He’s got the hands, he can run the routes, he’s fast enough. He could play in this league if he put it all together.”

At 6’8”, 240 pounds, with good quickness, great hands and the ability to out-jump pretty much any defender, you could see LeBron as a tight end in the NFL. Lob the ball up high in the end zone and he could go get it. I don’t think anyone questions the physical tools. That said, I also imagine some free safeties’ eyes would get as big as dinner plates watching a target that large come across the middle to catch a pass — there would be some thunderous hits.

LeBron loves football (remember he and Kevin Durant had teams for a flag football), but he kind of wisely gave that up to focus on basketball. He’s done pretty well for himself that way.

By the way, Chris Paul was at Dallas camp… he’s not really built for the NFL. But he sounded like a wide-eyed fan.

“I’m like a little kid,” Paul told reporters at the end of practice. “I’ve done a lot of good things in my career, but this is one of the highlights of my life. These guys probably have no clue what it means to me. I used to act like I was Ken Norton in the backyard playing middle linebacker.”

Double number retirement fitting for Kobe Bryant

Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kobe Bryant’s career truly occurred in two acts.

He was Shaquille O’Neal’s super sidekick for three championships. Then, Kobe led the Lakers to another two titles himself after Shaq departed.

He was an athletic, high-flying slam-dunk-contest champion. Then, he became known for his cerebral play and footwork.

He faced trial for rape in Colorado (the case was ultimately dismissed, and he settled civilly), blame for Shaq getting traded and criticism for being too selfish when the Lakers struggled in the aftermath of Shaq’s departure. Then, Kobe – still beloved by his fans – again became a socially acceptable marketing force.

His 2007 trade request serves as the more accurate intermission point, but his 2006 jersey change from No. 8 to No. 24 works well enough. He had a Hall of Fame career in No. 8 then a borderline Hall of Fame career in No. 24. Think Tracy Mcgrady’s career followed by Bernard King’s – but it was just Kobe followed by Kobe and with far more postseason success.

Here are the win-share leaders with a single franchise during Kobe’s career:

image

So much about Kobe is excessive – his accolades, his shot selection, his reputation as clutch. He had an all-time great career, but the myth outpaces reality.

Yet, Kobe becoming the first player with two numbers retired by the same team – which the Lakers will do at halftime tonight – feels incredibly appropriate. In his 20-year career with the Lakers, Kobe had time to succeed then succeed again in an extravagant way only he could manage.

He was dedicated and disciplined, flashy and fastidious, No. 8 and No. 24

Warriors will watch Kobe Bryant’s numbers get retired, Lakers might not

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 at halftime of their game against Warriors tonight.

The road team won’t miss it. The home team might.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, via Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“I want our guys to see it,” Kerr said Saturday. “It’ll be a pretty cool moment.

“Just to experience of one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there? I’m not going to keep them in the locker room watching tape from the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton, via Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation:

“I hadn’t thought much about [watching the ceremony],” Walton said Sunday. “We’re still deciding how we’ll approach halftime.

“Our first priority is still the job that we have. I’m sure there’s going to be some halftime adjustments we need to make against the Warriors. We’re toying with a couple different ideas to let guys at least see part of it.”

Kerr seems like a pretty cool guy, someone who understands what truly matters. This will be a historic moment, and that can take priority over watching video for one night in a long season.

But he also has the luxury of coaching an all-time great team. Even with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston injured, the Warriors are favored.

Walton has a young team that needs every break it can get. But he too should embrace the significance of the ceremony. His franchise is.

After reportedly initially being scheduled for pregame, the ceremony will occur at halftime. The NBA implemented a hard 15-minute limit on halftimes this season. Any team not ready will be assessed a delay-of-game penalty. So, lengthy speeches tonight could hinder the current team on the court. And that’s well worth the cost of doing business.

In the same regard, current Lakers watching Kobe’s ceremony would gain pride in being a Laker. There’s real value in that, probably more than in going over adjustments for a December game during a season very likely to end outside the playoffs regardless.

George Hill nails half-court buzzer-beater with less than a second to shoot (video)

Leave a comment

I bet this made George Hill happier.

The Kings still losing to the Raptors, 108-93, probably didn’t, though.

Phil Jackson to miss Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement Monday

Getty Images
2 Comments

For one last night, Staples Center will belong to Kobe Bryant on Monday.

Sure, the Warriors are in town to take on the Lakers, but Monday night the Lakers are retiring Kobe Bryant’s numbers — both 8 and 24 — in a halftime ceremony. It’s been the hottest ticket in Los Angeles, with celebrities, luminaries, and regular Lakers fans shelling out a lot of cash to see the Laker legend be honored.

Except, Phil Jackson will not be there, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Jackson has been in touch with Bryant in advance of the ceremony to congratulate him, sources said. But he was unable to travel from his Montana home for the ceremony in Los Angeles.

No reason was given (nor does one need to be made public, that’s between Kobe and Jackson).

Jackson coached Kobe to all five of his NBA titles, and while their relationship had its ups and downs — remember Jackson called out Kobe as almost uncoachable in one of his books — they remain close.