Tag: Michael Jackson

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe passes Oscar Robertson on all-time NBA scoring list

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Kobe Bryant has moved into the NBA’s top 10 all-time scoring list,  overtaking Oscar Robertson Friday night as the Lakers beat the Hornets.

Kobe is a student of the game, and Robertson was a guy he said he studied on film, he told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.

“It’s a great honor,” Bryant said. “Obviously, Oscar, I patterned so much of my game after his and Jerry [West] and Michael [Jordan] in particular — those big guards — so, it means a lot.

“Specifically, I took [Robertson’s] baseline jumper. He was known for putting his body on smaller guards and taking them down to the short porch on the baseline and raising over them. That’s something I took from him.”

Kobe will keep climbing the list and — if he continue to score at his current pace — should also pass Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon before the season ends.

Kobe Bryant calls Michael Jackson his mentor

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Kobe Bryant is a complex man.

We like to paint our athletes into easy to define boxes — Kobe learned his drive by watching Michael Jordan — that are not always accurate fit. They often are not with Kobe.

For example, he told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo he learned his drive by his friendship with late pop star Michael Jackson. It was Jackson who reached out to Kobe when he first came to Los Angeles.

“It sounds weird, I guess, but it’s true: I was really mentored by the preparation of Michael Jackson,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports.

“We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts,” Bryant said. “He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did – and how he did it – was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.

“That’s the mentality that I have – it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from [Michael] Jordan. It’s not from other athletes.

“It’s from Michael Jackson.”

This is a must read because Wojnarowski got Kobe to open up in a way he rarely does. Kobe was honest, not there to protect his image. Some other highlights of the article:

• He gets why other players have twitter and work to create a brand for themselves, but says that’s not for him (at least in the new social media model). He just doesn’t identify with it, it’s not him. He just wants the rings.

• That it took him a long time to learn that leading a team was not just setting guys up with assists but pushing them to reach their peaks.

• That he doesn’t want to play forever because he doesn’t want the guys that he can take advantage of now being able to take advantage of him.

• That he talks with Celtics legend Bill Russell about ways to grow and ways to grown and improve a team. That Russell helped him see what leading team really was and really involved.

• That he wears a Lakers varsity letter jacket to dinner that has several trophies stitched onto the back.

• That his favorite places to play are on the East Coast — Boston, New York, Philadelphia — where the fans genuinely “hate your [expletive] guts.”

• That he plans to go to London in 2012 and win another gold medal. LeBron James may think that is his team, his time, but Kobe doesn’t care. He is going to do his thing, to push and prod. To dominate. And James and the rest of them can treat it how they want. Kobe is there to work.

Phil Jackson reminisces about Scottie Pippen (and his defense)

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Thumbnail image for pippen_Ewing.jpgPhil Jackson got put on the radio — ESPN 1000 Radio in Chicago — with Scottie Pippen, and he sounded like a coach.

We fans have our memories of Pippen the player, the dramatic dunks and the big games. The rings. But Jackson thinks of Pippen the defensive leader.

The other thing that I remember probably most about Scottie was a sequence which he had to direct the defense. Scottie was our voice on defense. He had, as you can tell, a tremendous voice. He has a deep resonating voice that could be heard on the court. And he also had the ability to talk to his teammates, and send them and direct them. But we had to trap Stockton when he got over half court, and try to get the ball out of his hands. And he had to come from the farthest place on the court to trap with either Steve Kerr if he was guarding Stockton, or Ronnie Harper if he was guarding Stockton, so we could get the ball out of his hands. And then he had to get back to the other side of the court once Stockton got the ball out of his hands. I can remember him calling and directing the team during those situations. Those are the things that made Scottie not only a great player, but also a great team leader that was so important to our basketball club….

“Well, you know, Scottie was like the utility defender. Whoever we needed between one and three to defend against, we used Scottie. Although we had a variety of guys, Johnny Bach our assistant coach used to call him Doberman. Send the Dobermans out there to get him. He and Michael would go out there and attack a player on the defensive end of the court, which was always such a good asset for a basketball club to be aggressive defensively…

“Well, one of the ways we got competitive action on the court was to put the [Jordan and Pippen] on different teams and let them elevate the game in practice a little bit. We would do that maybe once a month or twice a month just to get the competitive action on the court.

Just like a coach to remember practice. But it tells a lot.

Michael Jackson tribute ends, Ron Artest switching to No. 15 jersey


Thumbnail image for artestwins.jpgMichael Jackson’s “Thriller” was a seven-hit wonder, but Ron Artest’s tribute to the pop star turned out to be a one-year wonder.

Ron Artest will be switching to No. 15 next season, the number he wore at St. John’s in college and his first three seasons in the NBA, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. Artest actually put in the request late last season.

When he came to the Lakers, Artest said he chose No. 37 as a tribute to the late pop star Jackson, whose “Thriller” was atop the Billboard charts for 37 weeks and spawned seven top-10 singles.

Artest has worn six numbers in his NBA career (15, 23, 91, 93, 96 and 37).

This move is actually a little Kobe-like — Bryant switched from 8 to 24 as part of an image makeover, but he also wore 24 in high school. This is a move back to a number from Artest’s roots. How long that lasts is anybody’s guess.