The Mamba Effect

Sports have this power in our society that allows them to bring people together like nothing else. Whether you’re watching, playing, or even reminiscing, there is a sense of unity that cannot be explained, only experienced, and we must never let this feeling slip away from us.

As fans and supporters, we get lost in the love for our favorite teams and athletes at times, supporting them to the fullest, while also shutting down their rivals and opponents. This is something that comes with the competitive nature sports were born with, there will always be a ranking, there will always be winners and losers. These aspects of sports will, and should, never go away, as they’re what make sports as great as they are. The issue, which many of us forget, is that these athletes are people too. Once they step off their field, court, pitch, or whatever it may be, the athletes go home and live their lives as we do, as people do, so we must always remember to treat them as such.

On January 26th, 2020, Kobe Bryant passed away. I don’t need to get into who Kobe was, what he did on the court, or what he planned on doing, if you know you know, he was a legend in all aspects. I’m here to talk about the legacy Kobe left behind.

Kobe Bryant, in my eyes, is the greatest basketball player to ever step on the court. His will to win and his work ethic were not only unmatched, but they were something to admire. Anyone who had the opportunity to watch him play knew that at any given moment in time, Kobe Bryant had the capacity to singlehandedly win the game for his team. It did not matter who he was playing with or against, if he was on the court, his team had a chance to win. I grew up watching Kobe, and supported him to the fullest throughout his career, and what I came to learn was that Kobe Bryant instilled so much fear into his opponents and his opponents fanbase, that people really didn’t like him. Kobe was the type of athlete you either loved, or you hated, there was no in between, but he was always respected. Growing up, I found myself in countless debates about why Kobe is the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time), and countless times I found myself losing those debates, especially to those who give more weight to stats and counting numbers than what actually transpires on the court, and let me tell you, when Kobe Bryant was on the court, he was a sight to see.

What Kobe Bryant did, not only for myself, but for an entire generation of people and kids growing up is something we can only dream of doing. The impact he left on not only basketball, but all sports, is unmatched. From yelling, “KOBE,” while throwing something away, to looking up to him and trying to match his unmatchable work ethic, Kobe Bryant inspired people around the world. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you do, or even what you have done, becoming a little bit better everyday is something everyone should strive for. From becoming a better person, to becoming better at your craft, or even just being better at brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, bettering yourself everyday is essential to our personal growth. Kobe Bryant epitomized this. He was the definition of hard work. I could get into the endless stories people have shared about his strive for greatness, but Kobe never did it for the publicity or for the recognition, he simply wanted to be great.

Kobe’s nickname was, “The Black Mamba,” cool as hell, I know, but what made his nickname stick was what came out of his persona along with this nickname. I’m talking about the ,”Mamba Mentality.” The mamba mentality is a phrase Kobe himself termed to describe the approach, focus, and work ethic he applied to his lifestyle. It can be interpreted in different ways by different people, but at its core, mamba mentality is a relentless will to be great and better yourself.

Kobe Bryant inspired people all over the globe to follow his mamba mentality and to be the best version of themselves they can be. It’s not something that is easy to do, it’s not supposed to be. Kobe himself knew that there was no end goal, there was no stopping point he could reach where he could eventually relax, Kobe Bryant knew that every day he was alive was another opportunity for himself to become better.

When Kobe passed and news broke, it was devastating. People all over mourned and remembered him, and what I saw was unity. It didn’t matter if you loved him, if you hated him, if you didn’t even watch basketball, the news hit everyone in some way. People came together, people saw what Kobe Bryant meant to the world, and we may never see a person like him again. In remembrance for Kobe, we must never let his legacy die. Keep yelling “KOBE” whenever you shoot anything, but more importantly, with anything you try to do in life, apply the mamba mentality, go into mamba mode, because that’s what Kobe Bryant would’ve wanted.

Kobe Bryant was not only my favorite athlete of all time, he was a role model. He was someone who we watched grow up in front of our eyes, while we were doing the same. He was someone I looked up too, and will keep looking up to no matter where I go and what I do. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Kobe, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kobe, and I will never forget what Kobe did for me, without him even knowing me.

Thank you Kobe, your legacy and impact will live through us forever. #MambaOut

NBA ROUNDUP 11/24/19

By Adolfo Lopez
(Game of the Night)

Brooklyn Nets survive New York Knicks 103-101

The Knicks came out slow and have no one to blame, but themselves. If they played with the same energy they showed AFTER the first quarter, they would have won this one easily To the Nets credit, they were without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert and still found a way to win their third straight game. Spencer Dinwiddie led the way, finishing with 30pts/4asts/4rbs. He sliced and diced the Knicks all night, driving at will every chance he got. Jarrett Allen finished with an 18pt/10rb double-double and Taurean Prince added 14pts/5asts/11rbs.

The Knicks rallied after their slow start. This seems to be a theme for this team. Get into a deficit early, then play hard-nosed and inspire hope at the end before falling short. A flurry of threes helped keep them alive at the end of the game, with the final minutes being some of the most entertaining in the game. Marcus Morris led the way, finishing with 26pts/4rbs, including seven three-pointers. Julius Randle added 15pts/4asts/8rbs and Wayne Ellington came off the bench to the tune of 12pts/3rbs.

Dallas Mavericks beat Houston Rockets 137-123

Defense? Who plays defense nowadays? The Mavericks scored an improbable 45pts in the first quarter. Luka Doncic was masterful once again, continuing to show he’s on the fast track to being one of the best players in the league. He dominated his way to the tune of 41pts/10asts/6rbs. Tim Hardaway Jr had his best game of the season, finishing with 31pts/5asts/4rbs. Kristaps Porzingis chipped in 23pts/3asts/13rbs.

For the Rockets, James Harden finished with 32pts/11asts/9rbs. He was effective, despite only being 2/15 from three. Russell Westbrook added 27pts/6asts/5rbs and Clint Capela had another monster double-double, finishing with 21pts/22rbs.

Sacramento Kings beat Washington Wizards 113-106

Harrison Barnes led the way for the Kings, finishing with 26pts/4rbs. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 21pts/4asts/4rbs off the bench and Richaun Holmes chipped in a 16pt/10rb double-double.

Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards, finishing with 20pts/8asts/3rbs. Isaiah Thomas added 17pts and Moritz Wagner came off the bench to the tune of 12pts/4asts/11rbs.

Denver Nuggets beat Phoenix Suns 116-104

The Nuggets are on a roll, winning their fifth straight game. Meanwhile, the up and coming Suns now fall to .500 on the season. An all around effort carried the Nuggets. Millsap led the way with 23pts/5rbs. Jamal Murray added 22pts/3asts/7rbs and Will Barton chipped in 22pts/4asts/8rbs.

In the Suns defense, they were just too tired. In a rare scheduling instance, they played two back-to-backs in one week. Sunday night was the end of their second back-to-back. The Nuggets continuously harassed Devin Booker all night, holding him to a mere 12pts. Cheick Diallo led the way off the bench, finishing with 22pts/6rbs. Dario Saric added an 18pt/17rb double-double. The Suns surely missed Aron Baynes who has been out with a hip injury.

Los Angeles Clippers beat New Orleans Pelicans 134-109

Montrezl Harrell got it going for the Clips last night. He came off the bench with a monster 34pt/12rb double-double. Kawhi Leonard added 26pts/6asts/4rbs and Paul George finished with 18pts/5rbs.

For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram finished with 25pts/5asts/8rbs. Jrue Holiday chipped in 18pts/4asts/7rbs and E-Twuan Moore came off the bench to the tune of 17pts/3rbs.

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NBA ROUNDUP 11/25/19

(Game of the Night)

Portland Trailblazers squash Chicago Bulls 117-94

What did the Blazers possibly do to get GOTN?? To channel my inner Stephen A Smith, “Haha…what do you think?” C’mon this is entirely about Carmelo Anthony. Everything else in basketball Monday night was cool (glad Ja is okay, Dinwiddie killin), but Melo wasn’t even playing ball a year ago. He was relegated to couch duty for reasons we may never truly know or understand. Monday night however, he was leading a Blazers team that also has Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He led the team in scoring and was third in +/- (shout out analytics Twitter that always had something bad to say about him). Anthony finished the game with 25pts/8rbs. CJ McCollum added 21pts and Damian Lillard chipped in a 13pt/12rb double-double.

For the Bulls, Zach LaVine led the way with 18pts/5asts.

Brooklyn Nets beat Cleveland Cavaliers 108-106

Spencer Dinwiddie nailed a jumper with one second left on the clock to lead the Nets to their fourth straight victory. Dinwiddie led the way for the Nets with 23pts/9asts. Jarrett Allen had a monster contribution, finishing with 22pts/21rbs. Joe Harris chipped in 19pts/6rbs.

For the Cavs, Jordan Clarkson led the way off the bench, finishing with 23pts/3asts. Larry Nance Jr added a 20pt/13rb double-double and Collin Sexton chipped in 18pts/3rbs.

Detroit Pistons beat Orlando Magic 103-88

This was a close game at halftime, with the Magic leading 55-53. Detroit turned their defense up in the second half and shut down everything the Magic were doing successfully in the first half. With this loss, the Magic fall to 0-7 on road games this season, which is startling for a team that was expected to take another leap this season. Luke Kennard led the way for the Pistons, finishing with 20pts/7asts/4rbs. Blake Griffin added 17pts/5rbs and Bruce Brown chipped in 13pts/8rbs.

The Magic were without All-Star Center Nikola Vucevic again. Terrance Ross led the way off the bench with 19pts.

Indiana Pacers beat Memphis Grizzlies 126-114

TJ Warren led the way for the Pacers, finishing with 26pts/4rbs. Jeremy Lamb added 19pts/4ast/4rbs and Aaron Holiday came off the bench to provide a spark with 16pts/3rbs.

For the Grizzlies, Jaren Jackson Jr led the way with 28pts/5rbs. Ja Morant added a 19pt/10ast double-double and Jonas Valanciunas chipped in a 14pt/11rb double-double.

Miami Heat smash Charlotte Hornets 117-100

The Heat are undefeated in Miami, getting contributions all around. Bam Adebayo was the man on Monday night, finishing with 21pts/5asts/13rbs. Jimmy Butler added 21pts/7asts/3rbs and Kendrick Nunn added 19pts/4asts.

For the Hornets, Terry Rozier led the way, finishing with 19pts/5asts/9rbs. Devontae Graham added 16pts/8asts/3rbs.

Boston Celtics beat Sacramento Kings 103-102

Marcus Smart got the friendly roll and lifted the Celtics over the Kings, without star point guard Kemba Walker. Jaylen Brown led the way for the Celtics with 24pts/4rbs. Jayson Tatum added 20pts/3asts/6rbs and Marcus Smart added 17pts/7asts/3rbs. Interesting tidbit, four of the five Celtics starters were drafted by the team (Ojeleye, Smart, Brown, and Tatum). In fact, the only players that played for the Celtics last night that weren’t drafted by the team were Enes Kanter and Brad Wanamaker. I know, they’re dealing with multiple injuries, but credit to the scouting staff and decision makers for consistently finding guys who are ready to play and win games in the NBA.

Buddy Hield tried to do everything he could to get the Kings the win. He led the way, pouring in 41pts/5rbs. Harrison Barnes chipped in 20pts/3rbs and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 13pts/8asts off the bench.

Minnesota Timberwolves beat Atlanta Hawks 125-113

Point Guard Wiggins?? Who knew it would come to this after his first few years, but here we are and the offense is running smoothly through his hands. Jeff Teague was moved to the bench to allow Wiggins to keep running the offense, he responded with 25pts/6rbs. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with a monstrous 28pts/8asts/13rbs. Jarrett Culver got the start and added 14pts/3asts/5rbs. Don’t look now, but Ryan Saunders is rounding out to be a pretty good coach.

For the Hawks, Trae Young was a wizard once again. The second year point guard led the way with 37pts/9asts/6rbs. Jabari Parker added 22pts/7rbs.

Toronto Raptors beat Philadelphia Sixers 101-96

Yikes. Joel Embiid was held scoreless for the first time in his career. The Raptors imprisoned Embiid en route to victory. Pascal Siakam led the way with 25pts/3asts/7rbs. Fred VanVleet chipped in 24pts/8asts/3rbs and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came off the bench to the tune of 16pts/3asts/10rbs.

For the Sixers, Josh Richardson led the way with 25pts/6rbs. Ben Simmons added 10pts/14asts/9rbs and Tobias Harris chipped in 18pts/5rbs.

Milwaukee Bucks beat Utah Jazz 122-118

Giannis was in MVP form on Monday night. The reigning Most Valuable Player poured in 50pts/6asts/14rbs. Wesley Matthews added 19pts/4rbs and Eric Bledsoe chipped in 13pts/5asts/3rbs.

For the Jazz, Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 24pts/4asts/3rbs. Donovan Mitchell added 20pts/3asts and Joe Ingles came off the bench to the tune of 15pts/4asts/5rbs.

Los Angeles Lakers beat San Antonio Spurs 114-104

LeBron led the way and rolled the Spurs. LeBron finished the game with 33pts/14asts/3rbs. Anthony Davis added 19pts/6asts/12rbs and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in 14pts.

For the Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 30pts/5rbs and DeMar DeRozan added 24pts/5asts/4rbs.

Oklahoma City Thunder beat Golden State Warriors 100-97

The Thunder got their first road win of the season against the lowly Golden State Warriors (felt weird typing that one out). Dennis Schroder came off the bench to the tune of 22pts/5asts. Chris Paul added 20pts/5asts/7rbs including a go-ahead with 36seconds left in the game. Danilo Gallinari chipped in 15pts/6asts/7rbs.

For the Warriors, Glenn Robinson III led the way with 25pts/5asts. Ky Bowman added 24pts/5asts/3rbs and Eric Paschall chipped in a 13pt/10rb double-double.

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How The Lakers Have Gotten Off To A Fast Start

Image via: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

It has been a terrific start to the Lakers season so far going 14-2! Since that first loss to the Clippers on opening night the Lakers have gone 14-1 with their only loss coming to the hands of the Raptors. This terrific start isn’t out of nowhere, there are many reasons that his has happened.

The LeBron and AD Duo

With LeBron and Anthony Davis trying to lead the Lakers to the playoffs for the first time in 6 years they’ve done a good job so far. LeBron is averaging 25.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 10.8 APG along with AD averaging 25.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG they’ve handled themselves pretty well and have found the chemistry to work together.

Defense, Defense, and more Defense

The Lakers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. They are ranked 2nd in defensive rating and 1st in the league in blocks per game. Leading the way for us is AD with 3.0 BPG. Then Dwight Howard with 1.6 and Javale McGee with 1.3. Out of all their games the Lakers have held their opponents to under 100 points total in the game.  Lastly the Lakers allow the 4th least OPPG with it being 103.1.

Frank Vogel

Don’t say Frank Vogel hasn’t had anything to do with this run. The rotations he’s put in to give us momentum, keeping guys in when they’re hot (unlike Luke Walton), and the plays he runs. For example if we are trying to go fast or we need three pointers he will put in the small line up with AD at the 5. Or if we need help rebounding put Dwight or Javale at the 5, AD at the 4, Kuz at the 3, and LeBron at the 1.