UPDATE 5:37 pm: Kobe Bryant will make his return on Sunday night — he made the announcement in a Facebook video. Apparently he owns some FB stock.
3:22 pm: The Lakers are in Sacramento tonight. Kobe Bryant will be at his home in Newport Beach, trying to get his daughters to turn off the “Muppets Christmas Carroll” so he can watch the game.
But Sunday night he could be back in the game.
The Lakers play the Raptors Sunday at Staples Center. The call is Kobe’s — he was scheduled to go through another workout at the Lakers practice facility Friday — but at shootaround up in Sacramento Mike D’Antoni said this, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night’s games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Kobe is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon — the Lakers need his offense but it will be interesting to see what Kobe they get. Nobody is quite the same after an Achilles injury, Chauncey Billups talked about not getting the same explosiveness back, but once he adjusts Kobe certainly brings an attacking mentality to a lagging offense.
We may see what it looks like Sunday night.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.