Good game, good weekend, good stories
Told you I’d eventually figure out the time zones. Sorry I’m late and figure things will be messed up the East for a day or two, too.
Heckuva game, no?
As expected, it was an exhibition for about three quarters – although there was a bit of an edge to it at times a lot earlier than usual – before it got down to real competition.
And I tell you, watching Kobe and LeBron go at each other down the stretch was something to see. James was in full-on attack mode and there’s nothing quite like seeing him go full throttle and Kobe was Kobe, trying (successfully) to dominate the game and he was like an alpha dog all game, clearly intent on making sure everyone knew where they were (his house), who he was (the defending NBA champ) and what he wanted (his fourth MVP).
And as he sat in the media room after the game doing his interviews, the overwhelming sense that one got was that he’d sent a message to the fans and the league and the other players:
“I’m me, I’m not done yet and I’m still better than all of you.”
He’s right, too.
What was the weekend like?
Very good, as a matter of fact. Good crowds, not bad events, very good game and the requisite celebs everywhere you looked. There were about a billion of them at the game and at every timeout they’d flash them on the screen. Me? I knew a lot of them but someone has to answer the following:
Who, or what, are Neyo and Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte?
I swear, when they put them on the screen, my mind was blank.
A guy runs into Rick Fox in the corridors of the Staples Centre before the game – I think he’d just come off the Magenta Carpet (guess that’s red, only better) and after the niceties of “how you doing, how’s the family, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” the conversation goes like this:
He: “You think your guy got robbed in the dunk contest?”
Me: “Oh yeah.”
He: “Me, too. He had the best two dunks. Should have at least made the finals.”
Guess it’s not just us who think that.
The nights always end with hospitality suite visits at things like this, the league puts on at the media hotel; it’s a pretty good time to catch up with old friends, sip a drink, eat a deep fried brown thing (a wing, a hunk of cheese, other unknown things) and decompress.
Best story of it last night’s an old one, but a good one.
The rooms, back in the day, used to stay open pretty late, or at least a lot later than they do now and there was a fellow who was, um, a regular there.
He gets back to his room, finally, after the game and he’s got a relative early flight and has to wake up.
The call goes, according to legend, like this:
He: “Hello, operator? I need a wakeup call.”
She: “Of course, sir. And what time would you like to get up?”
He: “I need a call for 6 a.m.”
She: “You just missed it.”
I sure hope so.
But, to recap:
Through most of this weekend, we’ve been inundated with blatant lies about meetings, or no meetings, or who’s pulling what strings while one of the NBA’s top players is conducting de facto job interviews in the middle of the league’s showcase event.
Yeah, that’s got to help the profile of the league with the general public an awful lot.
Okay, sometimes we, as the media don’t cover ourselves in glory trying to search out good stories with interesting angles. In fact, there are those among us who don’t mind putting words in people’s mouths and taking stuff out of context.
Happened last night and gave Kobe a chance to break up the media room.
He’d gone on early in his media session about how playing with the young kids like Durant and Westbrook had given him a boost of energy. It was entirely about praising the kids and dealing with the specific aspects of Sunday’s game.
Well, that didn’t stop one local from wondering if Kobe was sending a subliminal message to Lakers management about wanting to get some younger guys on his team, as if Kobe wouldn’t just go and tell them anyway.
Well, it sets Bryant off, in a good way.
“Wow. That’s a stretch. You know what? That’s a bikram yoga stretch … Good job. I’m not even going to answer that. That’s just silly.”
Of course, I’d say about 75 per cent of the media room crowd immediately Googled “bikram yoga.”
Oh yeah, one more on Anthony.
If, as reports suggest a Knicks deal is being held up by the inclusion or exclusion of Timofey Mozgov, someone ought to get fired.
Last I saw, Mozgov was/is a backup centre best known for being dunked on by Blake Griffin and if you shake a tree, six Mozgov’s fall out.
Speaking of trades, the deadline’s Thursday, I’ll have to spend the rest of today trying to find out what’s going on with the HOTH and here’s one from the mail:
Q: A rainy day question. What becomes of Reggie? Do they showcase him for the rest of the year (get a couple wins) and wish him well. Or do they limit his minutes and let him mentor (I'm not sure who) some players and hope he resigns for the next season.
John P, Vernon Hills
A: Actually, it seems to be a pretty nice day out here in L.A. but I know what you mean.
My thoughts, and the indications I get from people I’ve talked to, is that if they can’t get a draft pick (and the less protection on it, the better) in some deal for Reggie, he’s going to be here for the rest of the year.
And I don’t think any team is going to really offer anything for a guy who hasn’t played in two months so I think moving him for some kind of asset would be virtually impossible.
Next year? Well, barring any other transactions, he’d be the fourth man in a rotation of four bigs and it might be a question of whether he wants to come back more than if they want him back.
Oh yeah. A full mailbag tomorrow but it’s really empty over there right now so while I’m either on the Air Canada flight or waiting out the inevitable delay, I need some good questions about stuff so please, click here and send them along.
See you back home.