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

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.

NBA Power Rankings Week 1

By: Justin Girshon

(Written before the start of games played on Monday, October 28th).

1. Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers have started the season off hot! After a big offseason acquiring Josh Richardson and Al Horford, the 76ers have so far lived up to the hype. The Sixers started the year off strong by defeating the Celtics and Pistons en route to a 2-0 record. So far, Tobias Harris is the teams leading scorer at 22 points per game, Ben Simmons is the teams top passer at 9.5 assists per game, and Joel Embiid 13 rebounds per game (only played one game due to ankle injury).

2. Denver Nuggets

After being eliminated in the Western Conference Semi-Finals in the 2019 playoffs, the Nuggets retained their main core of players for the 2019-2020 NBA season. So far, the Nuggets have started off strong by defeating the Trail Blazers and Suns leading them to a 2-0 record. To start off the season, Nikola Jokic has looked like an MVP. Jokic is the Nuggets leading scorer with 21.5 points per game, top passer at 7 assists per game and top rebounder at 13.5 rebounds per game.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

After a HUGE offseason acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers immediately became Finals contenders. Although Paul George is currently out until at least some point until November, the Clippers are still very well built around Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers started the year strong with a statement win against LeBron and the Lakers. The Clippers then proceeded to beat the reigning Western Conference Champion, Golden State Warriors. Although the Clippers started off the year strong, the team unexpectedly lost to the Suns who are nowhere near as good as them. Kawhi leonard hasn’t skipped a beat since winning NBA Finals MVP starting the 2019-2020 NBA season at an MVP level. So far, Kawhi Leonard leads the team in scoring at 26 points per game, Kawhi Leonard is the teams top passer at 8 assists per game, and Patrick Beaverly is the teams top rebounder at 7 rebounds per game.

4. Milwaukee Bucks

After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2019 Playoffs, the Bucks resigned Khris Middelton and Brook Lopez. The Bucks defeated the Rockets in their first game of the season but then blew a 21 point lead in a loss to the Heat. Although the Bucks are only 1-1, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has been playing at an MVP level. Giannis is so far averaging a triple double with 29.5 points per game, 10 assists per game, and 15 rebounds per game. Giannis leads the team in scoring, assists, and rebounding.

5. Los Angeles Lakers

After a blockbuster offseason trade to acquire Anthony Davis and LeBron James returning to full health, the Lakers are primed to make an NBA Finals run. Although the Lakers dropped their first game of the season to the Clippers, they responded with wins against the Jazz and Hornets. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have played well together averaging a combined 48.8 points per game, 13.3 assists per game, and 17.7 rebounds per game. Anthony Davis leads all scorers at 25 points per game and rebounders at 10 rebounds per game. LeBron James is the team leader in assists at 10 assists per game.

6. Utah Jazz

After acquiring Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Jazz made it clear that they will be NBA Finals contenders. The Jazz have started the season 2-1 defeating the Thunder and Kings and losing to the Lakers (Bogdanovic didn’t play due to injury). The Jazz currently have the best defense in the NBA and will certainly take pride in their defense all season long. To start the season, Donovan Mitchell is the leading scorer at 23.7 points per game, Mike Conley is the assist leader at 5.3 assists per game, and Rudy Gobert leads the team in rebounding at 9.7 rebounds per game.

7. Portland Trail Blazers

After being swept in the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 playoffs, the Trail Blazers have a chip on their shoulder. The Trail Blazers acquired tenacious rebounder Hassan Whiteside this past offseason while retaining their main core of players. After an opening night loss, the Trail Blazers have responded well with two straight wins. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have proved themselves as a dynamic backcourt by averaging 53.7 points per game. Lillard leads the team in scoring and assists with 31.7 points and 6 assists per game. Hassan Whiteside leads the team in rebounding at 14 rebounds per game

8. Boston Celtics

In a crazy offseason, the Celtics have still put together a good enough roster to contend in the Eastern Conference. Although Kyrie Irving and Al Horford walked in free agency, the Celtics were able to retain their young core while adding Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. The Celtics started the season off on the wrong foot by getting destroyed by the 76ers but have responded well with two straight wins. Kemba Walker has led the team in scoring with 22 points per game. Marcus Smart leads the team with 5 assists per game. Jayson Tatum leads the team in rebounds with 9.3 rebounds per game.

9. Toronto Raptors

After winning the 2019 NBA Finals, the Raptors will look to defend their title during the 2019-2020 season. Although Kawhi Leonard departed during free agency, the Raptors still have a solid core built around Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet and company. The Raptors are 2-1 with a close loss to the Celtics. Fred VanVleet is continuing to stay hot from the Finals as he’s averaging 19.3 points per game. Pascal Siakam currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 28.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Kyle Lowry leads the team in assists with 7 assists per game.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have started the year an unexpected 3-0. The Timberwolves are playing extremely well thanks to franchise player, Karl-Anthony Towns. In their first three games, the Timberwolves have defeated the Nets, Hornets, and Heat. The team is so far being led by Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and their defense. Towns and Wiggins are averaging a combined 52.7 points and 19.3 rebounds per game. Towns is leading the team in scoring and rebounding with 32 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. Shabazz Napier currently leads the team with 6 assists per game.

The Best of the Rest

https://www.inquirer.com/sixers/philadelphia-sixers-atlanta-hawks-trae-young-ben-simmons-20191027.html

11. Houston Rockets

12. San Antonio Spurs

13. Miami Heat

14. Atlanta Hawks

15. Dallas Mavericks

16. Phoenix Suns

17. Brooklyn Nets

18. Orlando Magic

19. Golden State Warriors

20. Oklahoma City Thunder

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/bulls/ct-chicago-bulls-memphis-grizzlies-20191026-ljhzvbafrrgspgnmqdwaqdkk4e-story.html

21. Memphis Grizzlies

22. New Orleans Pelicans

23. Detroit Pistons

24. Chicago Bulls

25. Washington Wizards

26. Sacramento Kings

27. Indiana Pacers

28. Cleveland Cavaliers

29. Charlotte Hornets

30. New York Knicks

Check back next week for NBA Power Rankings Week 2!

https://www.skysports.com/nba/news/36244/11836028/luka-doncic-and-kristaps-porzingis-fire-as-dallas-mavericks-thrash-oklahoma-city-thunder

Potential Starting Lineups For The Lakers This Season

Image via Instagram BleacherReport

Here are some potential lineups that I think the Lakers could use for the upcoming season:

PG: LeBron James

SG: Danny Green

SF: Kyle Kuzma

PF: Anthony Davis

C: DeMarcus Cousins

There were many reports saying the Lakers were going to move LeBron to point guard this season. Most likely, they will want Kyle Kuzma to start and not come off the bench for them.

PG: LeBron James

SG: Danny Green

SF: Kyle Kuzma

PF: Anthony Davis

C: Javale McGee

This is the same lineup as the last one but with Javale starting instead of Cousins. There are still some question marks on DeMarcus Cousins all around health with thew achilles and the quad which he says he is 100 percent recovered from.

PG: Rajon Rondo

SG: Danny Green

SF: LeBron James

PF: Anthony Davis

C: DeMarcus Cousins

This is a lineup that could be a very good idea. You can have Kuzma come off the bench to give them some firepower. The biggest question with this lineup is will this hurt Kuzma’s potential.

PG: Rajon Rondo

SG: Danny Green

SF: LeBron James

PF: Kyle Kuzma

C: Anthony Davis

This would be the small ball lineup. Obviously we really wouldn’t be at a disadvantage with AD at center as he is one of the best shot blocker and all around defender in the league. We might use this lineup against another small team or if we are really trying to push the pace against the other team.

Lakers Jersey Numbers Are Finally Set

Image via Darrell Ann-Lakersnation.com

After lots of weird stuff going on with jersey numbers, they have finally been confirmed! Here is the list:

0-Kyle Kuzma

1-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

2-Quinn Cook

3-Anthony Davis

4-Alex Caruso

5-Talen Horton-Tucker

7-Javale McGee

9-Rajon Rondo

10-Jared Dudley

11-Avery Bradley

14-Danny Green

15-DeMarcus Cousins

23-LeBron James

30-Troy Daniels

First thing that happened is Nike saying they weren’t allowing LeBron James to switch numbers and give 23 to Anthony Davis. AD then had to settle with number 3 that he wore back when he first started playing. Nikes reasoning for not allowing the number switch is a potential production and financial issue and they had to wait till next season to switch numbers.

Next there was controversy with what number Jared Dudley was going to wear. It looked like Jared Dudley was set on wearing number 2 by tweeting “Best picture of me in a number 2 gets two tickets to our 1st home pre season game!” Then the same day Quinn Cook replied to the tweet with “Thatโ€™s the number I was gonna choose big homie… RiP DAD!” Lastly Dudley gave him the number by saying “You can have it just say the word brotha” Dudley ended up with number 10

Lakers work out Jarrett Culver

The Lakers hosted their first prospect Jarrett Culver on June 1st for an individual workout with the team. The 6’6 195-pound shooting guard showed off his skill set at the Lakers training facility where they hold all their pre-draft workouts. Culver led Texas Tech to their first-ever National Championship but ended up losing to Virginia. Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists last year at Texas Tech.

Jarrett Culver’s full interview after the workout

Culver said in the interview that both Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel were there. Also there was Lebron James which came as a big surprise to him. He said “I know LeBron plays here, but I didn’t expect him to be here,” Culver said “You’re kinda shocked at first, like that’s Lebron James.” The biggest question mark in Culver game is his 3pt shot which dropped 7.8 percent from freshman to sophomore season. The strengths of his game are His defense and his mid range. They say that Culver is a Two-Way defender which means he can guard most positions.

Lakers Preseason Schedule Announced!

Image via Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers

Laker fans, this is our first taste of the 2019-2020 season! The NBA announced on May 30th that the Lakers will be playing the Warriors 4 times (2 in LA and 2 in San Fransisco). They also play the Nets 2 times in China. This is the first time since the 2013-2014 season the Lakers will travel to China for the preseason.

These 2 games against the Nets are gonna be really interesting. First of all, it’s being played in China. Second its against D’Angelo Russell former Laker. Lastly, both the Lakers and the Nets are top destinations for free agent Kyrie Irving. It was reported that Kyrie is deciding between the Lakers and the Nets as of now.

Lakers beat the odds, Land the 4th Pick!

Image via Getty Images

Crazy night for Lakers fans as we land the 4TH pick for the 2019 draft. The Lakers were projected the number 11 pick with only an 9.4 percent chance at a top 4 pick. To follow up the top 4 the Knicks got 3rd, Grizzlies 2nd, and Pelicans 1st. This is a weird situation for the Lakers because people are wondering “are they gonna use the pick?” “Will they trade it?” Some initial thoughts from me are they are going to trade for Anthony Davis. Then after I thought about it I was like “AD is gonna stay in New Orleans with Zion Williamson most likely going there.” BUT then a report came out by Shams saying that Anthony Davis stance on being traded hasn’t changed!

Another trade possibility that the Lakers could do is for Bradley Beal. We have been thin at the SG position lately. With Kentavious Caldwell Pope expiring contract and only Josh Hartย in that position right now, he would be a good piece to have along Lebron James. Beal averaged 25.6 points with 5.5 assist as he was the main player for the Wizards with John Wall out most of the season.

Lakers Hire Vogel and Kidd as New Coaches

Reported on May 11th, 2019, the Lakers have hired former Pacers and Magic head coach Frank Vogel. Out of the 6 seasons, he coached the Pacers he went to the playoffs 5 times including back to back Eastern Conference Finals. With the Orlando Magic, he went a disappointing 54-110 and got fired after his second season. To be fair though he was not given the best team. Vogel’s contract is 3 only 3 years but the amount of money is unknown right now.

Next which came as a bit of a surprise to me is Jason Kidd former NBA player and former Nets andย Bucks Head coach agreed to become the Lakers, new assistant coach. He was one of the backup options for the Lakers if also Frank Vogel decided not to coach the Lakers, but obviously, Vogel signed so he became the assistant coach which I’m happy with. He will help build the young guys talent up as he did with Kris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Malcolm Brogdon. Reports came out right after he signed saying he did help Lonzo Ball the previous summer with his game. As the Bucks and Nets head coach, he went a total 183-190 which isn’t that bad. How do you feel about the new coaching staff?

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