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 Gameday Preview: 10/31/19

Image via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

MIA @ ATL

Following Tuesday’s 97-112 loss in Miami, the Hawks will face off with the Heat again without star point guard Trae Young due to an ankle injury. Stopping Jimmy Butler will be the main focus for Atlanta, given he dropped a smooth 21 in Tuesday’s matchup.

Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn has been by far the biggest surprise this season, scoring a total of 84 points in his first four games, the most in Heat history. Expect to see Nunn try to put on a show with the game being broadcast nationally on TNT!

Game Time: 7:00 pm EST on TNT

DEN @ NO

The Denver Nuggets will travel to New Orleans to face off with the young Pelicans. The Pelicans are still winless by starting out the season 0-4, while the Nuggets are 3-1.

After a dominant defensive start to the season giving up only 100.3 points in their first 3 games, the Nuggets fell to the Dallas Mavericks 109-106 on Tuesday’s matchup at home. They’re hoping to bounce back strong against the struggling Pelicans in New Orleans.

Game Time: 9:30 EST on TNT

SA @ LAC

Arguably the game of the night, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers will go against the undefeated San Antonio Spurs in LA.

Following sitting out Wednesday nights loss against the Jazz, Kawhi is looking to take down his former team. Although many would say the Clippers are still the favorites out of the West, their record may say otherwise(3-2). Yes, it’s very early and way too hard to tell but as of right now, their main focus will be to take down DeMar Derozan and the Spurs.

Game Time: 10:30 EST

Comment your score predictions for a chance to win $100!

Why The New York Knicks Are Better Than You Think

Who’s gone?

  • Mario Hezonja
  • DeAndre Jordan
  • Luke Kornet
  • Emmanuel Mudiay
  • Lance Thomas
  • Noah Vonleh

Who’s new?

  • RJ Barrett
  • Ignas Brazdeikis
  • Reggie Bullock
  • Wayne Ellington
  • Taj Gibson
  • Marcus Morris
  • Elfrid Payton
  • Bobby Portis
  • Julius Randle

Scoring

Last season, the Knicks leading scorer was Emmanuel Mudiay at 14.8 points per game. Mudiay won’t have the opportunity to repeat as the Knicks leading scorer because he is now a member of the Utah Jazz. The Knicks signed forward/center Julius Randle to a three year $63 million who outscored Mudiay by 6.6 points. Also, the Knicks added Bobby Portis and Marcus Morris who averaged 14.2 and 13.9 points per game. Last but not least, the Knicks drafted RJ Barrett. While at Duke, Barrett averaged 22.6 points per game and will certainly try to sustain a high scoring average with the Knicks.

Veteran Production and Leadership

Last season, the Knicks heavily relied on their younger players. The Knicks youth didn’t play well leading the team to a 17-65 record. Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson Bobby Portis, and Wayne Ellington have all played on playoff teams and are certainly hungry to make the playoffs again and help the Knicks make the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Last season, the Knicks only had six players play at least 750 minutes who had at least four NBA seasons under their belt. Of these six players, only two have ever played in the playoffs. This coming season, the younger Knicks players will have more veterans to look up to. All seven of the veterans that the Knicks signed scored over 10 points per game. This is significant because the younger players won’t be forced into shooting and will get better looks because the opposing teams will now need to look out for the veterans to score.

Youth Development

Third Year Players

Third year point guards, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina will both hope to improve from the past season. After being dealt to the Knicks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, DSJ averaged 14.7 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2.8 rpg, while shooting 41.3% from the field and only 28.9% from three. Although, DSJ’s numbers on paper look good, he must put in the work to shoot a much higher percentage from three to try and be a threat for the Knicks. Two years removed from being a lottery pick, Frank Ntilikina has been deemed a bust. While Ntilikina has been a solid defender, he hasn’t done much of anything else. For Ntilikina to get more playing time, he must prove that he can score. The Knicks will also hope to see improvement from third year shooting guard Damyean Dotson. Dotson saw an increased spike in all categories from his rookie season to his second season. Dotson’s minutes per game increase by nearly 17 which saw positive results for him and the team. Dotson is a solid three point shooter and if he can take another step forward in that category, he will be a major threat for the Knicks. If all three of these players can take a step forward from last season, they will make the Knicks a much deeper team.

Second Year Players

Although Kevin Knox had a solid rookie season, he wasn’t consistent. Knox averaged 12.8 points per game but only shot 37% from the field, 34% from three, and 72% from the line. Now that the Knicks have more scoring options, look for Knox to shoot much higher percentages. Knox will shoot higher percentages because he won’t always be drawing attention. Second year center Mitchell Robinson is already one of the best rim protectors in the game. Robinson averaged 7.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and a whopping 2.4 rpg in only 20 minutes per contest. Robinson was named to the All Rookie Second Team last season and will look to add an all defensive team this season. Second year shooting guard Allonzo Trier will look to improve from his rookie season. Although Trier was an undrafted free agent, he impressed the Knicks enough to make the 15 man roster. Trier didn’t disappoint averaging 10.9 ppg while shooting 45% from the field and 39% from three. Trier will hopefully receive more than 22 minutes per game (rookie season average) so he can further develop. All three of these players have potential and the sooner their potential is reached, the better it is for them and the team.

Although the Knicks didn’t have the “big” free agency and draft they were supposed to have, they made very solid moves. The veterans that were signed, the development of young players, and the rookies drafted should all help the Knicks become a better team and potentially try and sneak into the playoffs.

Top 10 NBA Prospects Entering 2019 Draft

Image via ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

As the NBA Draft Lottery comes to a close, and teams prepare for the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, here is our list of the top ten prospects entering the big day. Note, this is not a mock draft, instead, a ranking of the prospects. 

Image via ABC11

1. Zion Williamson: Possibly the most hyped prospect to ever come out of the college scene, Zion Williamson is an absolute physical freak of nature. Standing at 6’7, 285lb, Williamson brings a mix of athleticism and size that we may have never seen before him. In his solo year at Duke, Zion lit up the court every night, making highlight-reel plays game after game, and ending the year averaging 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Zion is leaving college with 24 total awards, including Player of the Year, and is unanimously the projected number one overall pick and possesses potentially franchise-altering talent. 

Image via CBS Sports

2. Ja Morant: The first player to average 20 and 10 since the NCAA started recording assists, Ja Morant carried Murray State to the NCAA tournament and in any other year, would and should, be in the conversation for the first overall pick. At 6’3, 175lb, Morant plays a solid overall game as a point guard, the type of game and IQ that a coach should feel comfortable turning the team over too. Ja also possesses elite athleticism, garnering comparisons to Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, but he doesn’t rely on it, making him a great player to build a team around for years to come. 

Image via Fox Sports Asia

3. RJ Barret: Arguably the most NBA ready prospect in the draft, RJ Barret was the number one high school prospect in the 2018 class, and as he chose Duke as his college of choice, he, at times, wasn’t able to showcase his potential as he played on the same team as two other players on this list. Barret is 6’7, 202lb, and an elite scorer, averaging 23 points on 45 percent shooting. Barret has the mentality every coach wants their players to have and he is not afraid of showing it. With the talent and size to play three positions in today’s NBA, Barret is projected to go top five in this year’s draft. 

Image via LakeShowLife

4. De’Andre Hunter: Coming off a national championship, elite two-way player De’Andre Hunter stands 6’8, 225lb, and has the physical tools to be that same player in the NBA. Often tasked with guarding the best player on opposing teams, Hunter still managed to average 15 points and 5 rebounds. Age is a concern but with the experience, he gained winning the national championship, along with a skill set that will allow him to succeed on at least one side of the floor, De’Andre Hunter is a no-doubt top ten pick.

Image via Stephen Spillman/USA TODAY Sports

5. Jaxson Hayes: In an NBA where the big man is often overlooked, Jaxson Hayes has the physical and athletic tools to be a major force on both ends of the floor. At 7’0, 220lb, Hayes is an elite shot-blocker and rim protector who can also dunk anything you throw his way on the offensive end. He will need to put on some weight to bang down low with NBA big men, but Hayes has the potential to become a franchise cornerstone.

Image via Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports

6. Bol Bol: Maybe the most intriguing prospect on this list, at 7’3, 220lb, Bol Bol is extremely skilled for his size and length. Barely needing to jump to dunk, his fluidity and wingspan can allow him to be elite in multiple areas in today’s NBA from rim-protecting, defending, shooting, and working the post too much more. There are questions regarding his strength and balance, but with the right work ethic, Bol Bol has a chance to be something the NBA has never seen before. 

Image via Cassy Athena/Getty Images

7. Darius Garland: You may have never heard of Darius Garland, but the 6’3 guard out of Vanderbilt can ball. The projected fourth overall pick in many mock drafts can shoot it with the best of them and possesses speed and quickness to get his shot off on anyone from anywhere, a skill that will allow him to excel in the NBA today. He’s not the biggest or strongest player and there are questions about his ability to finish in traffic, but if he can continue to shoot the way he can, opposing defenses will have to account for him on the perimeter, opening the floor for his team. 

Image via Duke Chronicle 

8. Cam Reddish: With the sweetest stroke in college basketball, Cam Reddish is a hooper. At 6’8, 210lb, Reddish has the potential to become one of the best shooters in the NBA. Often deferring to Barret and Zion at Duke this year, we were robbed of what Cam Reddish can do on the basketball court, but with his size and versatility, expect to see Reddish make an impact the moment he steps on the floor with his new team. 

Image via USA Today Sports

9. Jarrett Culver: At 6’7, 210lb, Culver is a prototypical NBA wing who can play his game in more ways than one. A strong and elite finisher at the rim, Culver has the potential to make an impact on both ends of the floor in the NBA, just as he did leading Texas Tech to the national championship game. A potential top-five pick, look for Culver to take his talent to the next level. 

Image via Robert Crawford/Go Heels 

10. Coby White: Coby White is all hustle, all game, all talent. He is the type of player a coach would want leading his team. At 6’5, 190lb, White is above average size for a point guard and has the heart of a champion. He does become reckless at times but it’s all in the name of winning and is something he can work on very easily. Look for White to go in the lottery and be, at the minimum, a solid spark plug off the bench for his new team. 

Next Five

These players have the talent to be top ten prospects, but either shortened or disappointing seasons, along with competition questions, have them just outside the list. Nonetheless, they all can ball. 

1. Sekou Doumbouya 

2. Romeo Langford 

3. Kevin Porter Jr. 

4. Nassir Little

5. PJ Washington 

 

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 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 and 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?

https://twitter.com/LosAngelesTTSM

Ty Lue out as Lakers Possible Head Coach, Frank Vogel new Frontrunner.

Image via Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Reported by Woj on May 8th is that Ty Lue and the Lakers have reached an impasse without a deal to male him the next head coach. Now reported by LA Times on May 9th the very next day is that Frank Vogel former Magic coach that he lead to an all time record of 54-110. Before that though he was the head coach for the Pacers which he lead to 5 playoff trips in 6 years including back to back Eastern Conference Finals.

The reported reason that Ty Lue didn’t agree to the Lakers proposed contract is because he wanted a 5 year contract and said he wanted it because of his championship resumé. The Lakers at most offered him 3 years 18 million dollars but obviously he declined. They reportedly don’t want to keep a coach for long term. The final thing reported about this head coaching situation is by Shams. He said after Ty Lue backed out that the 3 coaches on the Lakers list are Lionel Hollins, Frank Vogel, and Mike Woodson, but to me it looks like they want Frank Vogel.

Lebron and Lonzo on “The Shop”

This was the 4th episode of LeBron James show “The Shop.” This show had a really good lineup in Lonzo Ball, Travis Scott, DeAndre Hopkins, Seth Rogan, Don Cheadle, Jimmy Lovine, Pharell, and Obviously Lebron. But I’m just gonna focus on what Lebron and Lonzo talked about and their thoughts on the Lakers. If you want to watch the whole show and other episodes go to HBO.

 

The first thing I want to talk about is when Zo and Lebron talked about Magic Johnson leaving. Zo started off by saying “I found out through him (Lebron)” Lebron then said “I found out through Randy, Between my stretching session my right hand come to me and said Magic just stepped down. the I said man get the f*** out my face your bull****ing. I go check my phone, I look at it, that s** happened. Personally, I came here to be part of the Lakers organization and having a conversation with Magic, so it was just weird for him. to just be like I’m out of here, and not even have no like hey bro kiss my a** I’m gone not even that.” After he said that Zo says “Yea but it was different for me. I was like damn that s*** crazy and I took a minute and I was like yo Kuz what we doing tonight!”

if you don’t want to read that just watch this!
 

Next Lonzo talks about the whole Alan Foster and BBB situation. They asked him if that whole thing hurt him and he said “yea I mean I’ve known him since I was 12…he was like my second dad…he was way more than that. When I bought my mom and dad a house he had a room in there. The way I see it why I covered up the BBB on my arm when I saw that (BBB tattoo) I saw him that s*** made me so like I was tight. We looked at the transactions and the s** didn’t start happening until my mom got sick (she had a stroke) because she took care of all the money so that’s what really hurt me… I don’t even know what I would do right now if I see him.”

https://twitter.com/2Cool2Bl0g/status/1125065749935140866

 

Lastly, Lebron talks about Zion Williamson. he said “I’ve watched him a lot over the last year. Obviously, I was with everybody him coming out of high school I was like ok the competition he’s playing against these little short a** white kids he’s dunking over every single time…can he play ball. The one thing I noticed at his one year at Duke that his energy was effective like every possession it seems like he could make a difference on the outcome of the game… he is the most talked about guy in a long time.”