Kobe Bryant has an obstacle in front of him, and that is when he is at his best. That is when he is most driven.
Kobe at age 35 is working on a comeback from a ruptured Achilles that might have ended the career of lesser players. But Kobe was not going to let the image of him limping off the court be the last one of his career. He is fighting to get back in the game. He is fighting for that sixth right.
And former teammate Antawn Jamison said count him out at your own risk during a radio interview with ESPN Los Angeles (as transcribed by Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com).
“I would never count Kobe Bryant out of anything,” Jamison said Friday in a radio interview on ESPN 710 in Los Angeles. “I’ve played with some special players. Gilbert Arenas when he was [in Washington D.C], at the top of his game, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal [in Cleveland]. I’ve played with a lot but never played with an individual player who had the type of mindset, the drive that he has. If [Bryant] says he’s going to win a sixth ring, believe me, he’s going to do everything possible to get that ring”
One of the things standing between Bryant and that ring is Jamison’s new team — the Los Angeles Clippers.
A lot of pundits (this one included, once we get to prediction season) are picking the Clippers to win the Pacific Division again and be a real threat in the West. There are questions to be answered, no doubt (starting with defense), but with some younger players maturing (Blake Griffin, D’Andre Jordan) and some quality additions (J.J Redick and Jared Dudley) plus a coaching upgrade the Clippers should be dangerous.
Jamison says the team is talking title.
“You have probably two of the best players in the NBA [in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin] and you have a collection of guys where money is not an issue. Nobody is playing for contracts. The only thing we are here for is to win a championship,” Jamison said. “I think before Doc [Rivers] got here you might have thought they were thinking, ‘OK, we might be one year or two years away, but with Doc being the coach, that mindset is not even in existence. It’s about winning now. We believe we can win this year.”
Having a veteran like Jamison off the bench and in the locker room can help with that. And look for Rivers to use Jamison more wisely than Mike D’Antoni did last season.
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul didn’t play in Game 6 on Saturday night. The Rockets failed to eliminate the Golden State Warriors, who forced a Game 7 with a 115-86 win in Oakland.
Paul’s status for Game 7 is still unclear, although things aren’t looking good. Paul’s hamstring injury will be hard to heal in such a short amount of time, even with round the clock treatment and the power of will the veteran point guard brings to the table.
The Point God has a tendency to get hurt at just the wrong time. Paul famously broke his hand in April of 2016, and along with Blake Griffin‘s quad injury, allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to get the better of the Los Angeles Clippers in the playoffs that year. Paul also missed two games against the Rockets in the playoffs with a sore hamstring in 2015, a series the Clippers and Paul lost in seven games.
The NBA is not blind to Paul’s bad luck, either. Opposing head coach Steve Kerr commented on it to reporters, outlining not only what he thought they might do rotationally but his feelings about Paul’s injury history.
“More than anything, I feel bad for Chris,” Kerr said before the Warriors’ 115-86 rout of the Rockets at Oracle Arena. “The guy’s a phenomenal player and competitor and pretty much willed his team the last two games. He’s just been haunted by these types of injuries in his career, and it’s a shame. I hate when anybody gets hurt.”
Kerr mentioned that he knew the reality of the situation is that by the end of the season, not everyone is going to be healthy. No doubt it’s a good thing for Kerr and the Warriors that Paul will likely miss Game 7. It’s unfortunate for a veteran like Paul, whose stellar career is dogged by unfair narratives of playoff failures.
Maybe Houston can try again next year when they have LeBron James?
Officially, Chris Paul is questionable for Monday’s Game 7 against Golden State.
Mike D’Antoni said the call on whether he can play will be made by team doctors on Sunday.
“The team doctors will check him out tomorrow morning and see how far he’s got (in his rehab) and what the possibilities are,” the Rockets’ coach said, adding that the doctors will make the call, not him.
Sources suggest there is pessimism about if Paul can play around the team, but with his competitive nature nobody wants to rule it out. Nobody is quite sure where things stand.
“I don’t think he’s tested it at all, so he’s just getting treatment and trying to make sure it calms down and everything,” D’Antoni said. “And I would think our doctors and trainers are working on him 24 hours a day almost, and they will tomorrow morning re-evaluate it again.
“If I get a nod from Chris and the doctors he’s good to go. Probably if any of those disagree he’s probably not going. I think it’s a game-time decision.”
The Rockets got off to a fast start without Paul in Game 6, led by Eric Gordon raining threes. However, the Rockets missed Paul’s defense and steadying influence when he has the ball as things started to go sideways in the second half — the tempo got up, the Rockets missed shots and turned the ball over, and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson got hot. Paul may well have not been able to stop this run, but the Rockets would have had a better chance with him.
Without him, even with the Rockets at home, Vegas opened the Warriors as five-point favorites.
The name Bo Churney might sound familiar to you if you’re a member of NBA Twitter. A leading online voice around the Atlanta Hawks and a former writer for various outlets — including ESPN, Turner Sports, and Hardwood Paroxysm — Churney sadly took his own life last week.
The outpouring around Churney’s untimely passing has been significant. After his death, friends of Churney quickly decided to organize a fundraiser in his name, and in less than a week had $20,000 in donations from the online community.
The fundraiser will donate the money to Lost N Found Youth, an organization that helps at-risk LGBTQ youth in the Atlanta area. Churney had come out of the closet a few years before his death.
A lot of people have reached out asking if there’s anything they can do or help with after the death of our dear friend Bo Churney. We wanted to do something in memory of Bo in the Atlanta community that he loved and helped make a better, more fun place. Lost N Found Youth is an organization that provides outreach, crisis support, services, clothes, food, and safe shelter for homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth between 13-25 in the Atlanta area. Anything you can give would be tremendous or even sharing and spreading the word. Thank you.
As of writing there have been 473 donations in Churney’s memory, with people leaving messages and sums large and small. Churney’s impact was vast, and the fundraiser has been mentioned everywhere around NBA media including TV, newsletters, and articles like this one.
You can click the links above to donate to the Bo Churney Memorial Fund or directly to Lost N Found Youth.
If you need to speak to someone, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.
The Dallas Mavericks were at the center of a Sports Illustrated investigation into their alleged corporate culture of that included an “Animal House” atmosphere, including sexual harassment.
The blowback from the report and subsequent investigations was severe, with former Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery and former Mavs.com reporter Earl K. Sneed at the center of the story in Dallas.
Now a report from the Dallas Morning News says another employee was known for creating a hostile work environment in the ticketing office. That employee, Chris Hyde, was a senior account executive in charge of selling tickets for the team. According to the report from the Morning News, Hyde continually showed explicit photos to co-workers, rubbed himself while at work, and did so even after being warned to stop by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Via Dallas Morning News:
His co-workers called him “Pants DJ.” He would sit at his desk in the Dallas Mavericks ticket sales office, stare at pornographic images on his cellphone or computer and rub himself below his belt line.
He’d often call co-workers over to show them pictures on his phone that he’d taken of women in lingerie, topless or naked. He once dropped a used condom onto the office floor.
This pattern of behavior, described by seven current and former Mavericks employees who spoke to The Dallas Morning News on the condition of anonymity, continued for six years despite a warning from owner Mark Cuban that he stop viewing pornography on his office computer.
Hyde worked for the Mavericks for 15 years, leaving the team in 2014. According to the Morning News sources, Hyde was not let go for his workplace behavior, and apparently was one the team’s top salesmen.
Read the full report in detail, as it gives even more insight into what has allegedly been going on inside the Mavericks organization for some time.
Cuban has said that he is open to any kind of cooperation he and the team need to have as an investigation into their corporate culture is ongoing. Meanwhile, Dallas has hired several HR executives as a means to turn things around in the front office.