I know, it’s late again but, what the heck, it’s Saturday and everyone wants to sleep in anyway, right? Not a whole lot going on out here, it was a very boring off-day, to likely be followed by an equally boring off-day today. Memo to self: Find interesting angle.
But before I search, there’s these tidbits:
Way back in the day, when he was losing NBA finals and when he was winning them, too, Kobe Bryant was a pretty good guy in the interview room.
He’d be engaging and entertaining and gave a good, insightful quote.
That was then.
This is now and, man, is he ever boring.
It’s all part of his “locked-in” Grumpy self. Short answers to good questions, no expression, no “engaging.” Boring. And, seemingly, quite miserable.
Which makes me wonder, if he didn’t win the last two times being expressive and he doesn’t win this one being a grump, what’s left? Silence?
You know how story lines develop at these things, where some off-beat or odd thing becomes the topic du jour.
Here, it’s becoming Kobe’s face.
Maybe you’ve seen the look – although I would wager there hasn’t been a whole lot of NBA video on the news in between the zillion pucks reports – where he bares his teeth and gets all crazy looking after some particularly spectacular play?
We’re all trying to figure out what the best way to describe it is.
In fact, one guy went as far to suggest to Derek Fisher that Bryant’s visage bore a bit of resemblance to the maniacal look Jack Nicholson had in The Shining.
“That's all time No. 1. I don't know if anything can compare to that one. Even for me as a kid that was pretty scary moment, seeing him in that film.”
I’m not sure how much play the story got back in Toronto but news of Randy Smith’s passing was a big topic around here.
As it should have been.
To people of a certain age who used to travel to the Aud to see the Buffalo Braves – that’d be people like me – the sight of Smith with the wild Afro wearing those crazy baby blue jersey and racing past every player on the court.
“The best athlete I ever coached,” was what Dr. Jack Ramsay told my buddy Tom Withers of the AP yesterday.
I don’t think Smith got nearly the credit he should have for his game. He was an ironman – played 906 straight games, a record that last 14 years, until A.C. Green went past him in 1997 – and is the all-time franchise leader (including Buffalo and L.A. Clippers they eventually became) in points, games played, steals, and assists.
He was one of the great under-rated players of all time.
He was 60 and in apparent good health when he died suddenly.
And if you want a really good read on Smith, check this out thanks to Henry Abbott and his excellent TrueHoop blog.
Did any other group come forward to put another NHL team in Toronto today?
Seems like a daily occurrence, no?
The things you see …
There may be no more recognizable a basketball icon than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, right? Bald fellow, a shade over 7-feet, was a pretty good player that a lot of people would know, right.
Found it odd, then, to see him at the Staples Centre yesterday wearing a t-shirt that said, simply:
Speaking of fashion (and we do a lot of fashion here, don’t we?), there’s Dwight Howard.
That sleeve he had on his arm the other night? The one that’s there for, oh, I dunno, support or to soothe muscles or provide some protection from getting hit?
Um, not so much.
“Man, I just wear the sleeve because I like how it looks. It has nothing to do with performance or making shots or anything. I started wearing it in practice, it felt good one day, and I thought, man, I should wear this in the game, it might make my shot look better. But there's nothing.”
Finally, one from the mail:
Q: Hey Doug, I meant to submit this question last night but life interrupted me. If they don't reseed (is that a word) the teams during the playoffs, shouldn't the Magic have the 4 games a home. They after all beat the team with the most wins this year. Also do you think Bosh is being a little too honest about saying he wants to wait and get the most money possible and that was his master plan along.
Bob C, Hamilton
A: Hope life’s interruption was worth it.
In the final, it’s the team with the best regular season record that gets the homecourt advantage, just like it is for every other round of the playoffs. The Lakers won more games than the Magic did
Too honest? You can’t be too honest, can you? I think three years ago, Bosh decided he’d like to have some options after the 2009-10 season and nothing’s happened to make him change his mind.
Okay, gotta run.
ESPN’s putting on some breakfast here in the hotel to discuss the series with some of their talent. Usually, that’s the kind of thing that I avoid like the plague but when the e-mailed said the talent was going to be Jalen Rose and Mark Jackson, how could I resist?
Breakfast With Jalen.
Sounds likes a TV show.
I’ll you know how it turned out tomorrow.