Sunday, 14 May 2017
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Our new series feature #RoleReversal flips the switched up script and gives it up for the unsung role players of this great game. After all you don't have to be a superstar to become a champion.
Before Brooklyn the Nets were found sleeping in the Meadowland of New Jersey. That was until a Jason Kidd trade with the blazing Phoenix Suns for the freewheelin' Stephon Marbury released them from a freehold night and made them the beast of a once weak East in the new milleniuum early 2000's. As the 'bring your team back' Kidd (one of the greatest prototype points of all-time, now coaching the 6 foot 11 position and game changer, Greek freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo out in Milwaukee for the Bucks), changed the guard. Passing first to his twin wing, dunking forwards current Cavalier champion Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin/Vince Carter and even the revolving pivot of centres in Todd Maculloch and then Georgetown Hoyas in Net grey Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.
Unlike going up against a Zeke block, these red, white and blue fast neck-break Nets where unstoppable in the United State Of America's National Basketball Association. But that was until they met the brooms of the Shaq and Kobe era in the Lakerland's new dynasty of the new milleniuum lead by the Zen of Phil Jackson. Shaq treated the Nets revolving door of 7 footers and whichever fouled out, Power Forward body they could throw at him like garbage bags over your gate late at night. Whilst a young Kobe, Air apparant glided through like a comb through his afro to complete the sweep. And if that wasn't enough L.A's champion role playing big-three of Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and big shot Robert Horry dusted it all off.
But even if Hollywood's Los Angeles Lakers had Jack Nicholson shining courtside, New Jersey is the bootcut jean home of 'The Boss', Bruce Springsteen. And these blue-collar N.J. Nets had their own "star" role players in the post-Petrovic era too. And they were both 6 foot 5 Shooting Guards, subbing in for each other and weighing under a buck 90 and starring in the back to back NBA Finals of 2002 and 03 for the two-time Eastern Conference Champions. Both now in their forties their playing days don't seem like around a decade and a half ago. But either way these super-subs belong in Nets history like the good Doctor J or Jay-Z.
28th picks in the NBA Draft are usually sleepers...or at least long lasting veterans of value. Just Google it. Or check out these predictions this July. Lucious Harris was no exception to this rule of NBA family. We aint lyin' like 'Empire'. Harris was drafted out of Long Island by the Dallas Mavericks in 1993. And even though between stints with Iverson's Sixers and King James first reign in the Cavalier land he was somewhat of a journeyman (albeit one that travels light), Harris really made his mark in New Jersey like Devin. Making the most of the double-team outlets on Kidd when the rest of the opposition were trying to play catch-up with V.C., R.J. and K-Mart, Lucious could lick the open three or mid-range J all day. But get in his face and it was a different story. Because following a facial fracture, Harris strapped on the Kobe, LeBron and Russ Westbrook Opera face-mask and became a Rip Hamilton focussed Phantom Menace.
Meanwhile after making moves at Villanova, college superstar Kerry Kittles was expected to cut down Nets in the pre-era of Jason and his Agronauts, until knee injuries riddled his career and cut it down to substitution size. You may remember the 8th pick in the legendary '96 draft was featured on that fold-out, now duplicated iconic, SLAM rookie brick-wall magazine cover alongside greats like Kobe Bryant. But thanks (no thanks) to injury his career was more like one of John Wallace or Samaki Walker than Ray Allen and Steve Nash. Yet still before becoming a head-banded Clipper in Los Angeles NJN-2K was with the Nets through dry erase pen thick and slight of frame thin. The now Ivy League Princeton Tigers assistant was an animal when coach put him in. When Kittles burst back into the game, off the bench and on to the floor it was like rip-opening a packet of Skittles on your kitchen counter. Just numbers everywhere like colour you couldn't catch or handle in time. Kidd's backcourt partner was also a court crime assassin with the rock dealing the pill and putting it up to the glass shattering, box-score defying stats. Remember this guy once went for 40. That's something your average player just doesn't do. Forget the 14.1 ppg, 2.6 apg and 1.6 steals career pers. Or even his peers. What K did on the floor when had the ball was more than A-OK.
When it came to these two Jersey boys, Kerry Kittles and Lucious Harris were bombers before B.K. You can't talk about the Nets without two who used to go right through them. As our last President would say...WAP!
Friday, 5 May 2017
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Real talk. One of this generations greats and one of the NBA's most storied Boston Celtics franchises greatest and most famous legends Paul Pierce has called it a career after his last game with his hometown Los Angeles Clippers in their First Round exit in this years Playoffs. But now that 'The Truth' has been set free, before we hang his number 34 let's seperate the real from the fake and fact from fiction when it comes to one of the most genuine talents to ever play this game. 34 times to be exact.
TRUTH-Paul Pierce was born on October 13th, 1977 in Oakland, California and went to high school in Ingelwood, Los Angeles.
FALSE-He was a Laker for life.
TRUTH-A long way from the Golden State, Paul Pierce went to college in Kansas.
FALSE-The university did not retire his iconic number 34 jersey.
TRUTH-The 6 foot 7 inch, 235 pound Small Forward was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 10th pick in the 1998 draft.
FALSE-He was a bust!
TRUTH-He will always be known as one of the greatest Celtic players of all-time.
FALSE-He spent the rest of his career in Beantown.
TRUTH-In a way he may aswell have.
FALSE-He won championships with the shimmy of partner Antoine Walker.
TRUTH-The pair where one of the leading dynamic duos in the Shaq and Kobe era.
FALSE-P-Double gave Shaquille O'Neal his "Diesel" nickname.
TRUTH-Shaq gave Paul Pierce the nickname 'The Truth'.
FALSE-Paul never lived up to the monkier.
TRUTH-Paul Pierce survived being stabbed 11 times on a night out in Boston after bravely trying to break up a fight in a club. He came back to play for the C's the same season after. THE TRUTH.
FALSE-He came back the same player...he was even better.
TRUTH-In his early days he could dunk like you could never believe to remember.
FALSE-But he was James Harden on D.
TRUTH-Before Rajon Rondo with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen he started the big-three revolution. Yas King!
FALSE-Pierce, Larry Bird and John Havlicek aren't the only Celtic legends to amass 20,000 career points with the Irish green alone.
TRUTH-An injured Paul Pierce needed to be carried off court during the 2008 Finals series with legendary Los Angeles rivals the Lakers before dramatically returning to the game and winning big.
FALSE-An injured Paul Pierce didn't need to be carried off court during the 2008 Finals series with legendary Los Angeles rivals the Lakers before dramatically returning to the game and winning big. (According to Laker fans).
TRUTH-The 10 time All-Star 10th pick became a champion in said 2008 Finals series.
FALSE-But he wasn't the Finals Most Valuable Player.
TRUTH-He hit an incredible, now iconic clutch three against the Atlantic rival Knicks at New York's Madison Square Garden.
FALSE-That was the last time he'd ever hit a shot of that magnitude.
TRUTH-Upon leaving the Boston Celtics, Pierce headed to Brooklyn for the Nets.
FALSE-Teammate Kevin Garnett did not join him.
TRUTH-After the B.K. number 34 had a significant spell with the Wizards in Washington.
FALSE-He called it a career after that.
TRUTH-He returned home to L.A. for some times with the Clippers.
FALSE-But his home is really in Boston.
THE TRUTH-Or is it?
FALSE-Nothing else. And that's 'The Truth'.
Monday, 10 April 2017
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Hare Jordan. I believe a rabbit can fly like an eagle! And if you see it, then you can be it...there's nothing to it. Believe it! And like a kiss from the rose of Seal, Chicago's greatest like R. Kelly is about to take him there.
The year is 1996 and it's time to warn a brother. Because this ones for all the carrots. Little green men have invaded, or maybe it's just Danny DeVito? But these aliens haven't come to get our landmarks like Jeff Goldblum's 'Independence Day' that year. But more like the special set of skills from the golden era NBA's best and brightest. New York Knick legend Patrick Ewing. The mound round of rebound, Chuck, Charles Barkley, Charlotte Hornet Grandmama Larry Johnson, the biggest little man to ever step up to this game Tyrone 'Muggsey' Bogues. And...erm Shawn Bradley. Well he is 7 foot 6 afterall.
All so these little spacemen can grow and bulk like Blake Griffin to become the 'Monstars' (the worst team since the Sixers before The Process when they ran out of answers), and challenge the Looney Tunes of Daffy Duck, Tweetie Pie and Porky the Pig to a game of basketball like Prince and his revolution of pancakes to Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy. Hitting them em' up high like B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Coolio and LL Cool J. The forefit? A life of slavery in the name of entertainment on Moron Mountain for our favourite cartoon rabbit hole characters that only Walt Disney would love to see.
So what's a Marvin the Martian to do? How can they beat these hustlers at their own game. They need to get themselves a real player like Kobe Bryant in 'Hang Time', no matter how good Lola Bunny's handle is. Who else they got? Wayne Nedry?! You see what happened to him in 'Jurassic Park'? Bill Murray lost in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' like animated translation? They need to crown a player fit for King. But LeBron's just a baby. How about the greatest? Six time champ Michael Jordan. The best sportsman of all-time next to the greatest Muhammed Ali. Besides he's just retired from the Chicago Bulls to play minor league baseball in the name of his father. Inbetween hitting the links of the retirement rounds with Boston Celtic legend Larry Bird who legend has it once thought M.J. was God in disguise. And boy was he right on the dollar with Money.
So here's the plan. Wait until they're playing a round of golf. Give it some time. Maybe wait 'till around the back nine. Wait for the greatest competitor of all-time to hit a hole in one and pose for a picture as he retrieves his ball from the cup and GRAB him!
What the hell was in that camera flash?! Pure entertainment as Mike is whisked to another dimension and you gotta like that. All so he can join a team a couple of blue chips away from running the picket fence like Hoosiers. But never fear M.J. is here. To run alongside his new Pippen, Bugs Bunny and win the game and the day. Saving all our childhood heroes and giving all the NBA legends their powers back. Let Shawn have his too ball...please! Hey, even Barkley promised he'd never date Madonna again.
So all those with a Basketball Jones like Chris Rock and Barry White get ready for the most out of this world game you've ever seen. From the time the most dominant of all-time Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single contest, to last night when Jordan Brand's own Russell Westbrook broke legend Oscar Robertson's half century record for triple-doubles in a season. If you didn't get a ticket for this ESPN Classic. Don't worry there's always the '30 For 30' documentary. And a Tune Squad throwback for your number 23 collection to go between all your red, white and Nike Air black Chicago Bulls jerseys book-ended by your North Carolina and Washington Wizards one. And who knows a rematch may even fly with Griffin like a 'White Men (Still) Can't Jump' sequel. But until number 32, let's flip it back to the time the G.O.A.T. won the game on a buzzer beating dunk that strong arm stretched further than his classic free-throw line Slam Dunck contest one.
Welcome back to the Space Jam.
Yabidda-Yabidda! That's all folks!
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
With all over the rim, above due respect to the following. The Air of Aaron Gordon, who should take the chip he was robbed of off his shoulder in last years Slam Dunk Contest. Although we love what two time winner Zach LaVine did and wish him and his ACL could dunk again this time for his chance of a trilogy (get well soon young Wolf). In-game in the paint, rim ripper, Clipper-even over Blake Griffin in Lob City-DeAndre (Airbus) Jordan. The son of Milwaukee's Big Dog, the Pacers Glenn Robinson III. And Derrick Jones Jr who has risen from the D-League's North Arizona Suns to their NBA affiliate like a...well you know the rest. There's a few more names we'd like to see take flight this year like Mike from the free throw line 29 years to the day yesterday, in this All-Star weekends Slam Dunk Contest in New Orleans. No matter if they said N.O. it'd be a court carnival with these names. Just like it would if the King went for the crown...hey LeBron did promise a season or two back. Come on James! Apart from the man who takes the throne in The Land how about these names to mount the Rushmore line-up...
LARRY NANCE JR.: Like father, like dunk. No contest. Well not this year again anyway. Larry Springer still has one in his step but injury is keeping him jumping off the couch like Tom Cruise or anyone watching him at home on T.V. would be like Jerry security. Still when Flight 7 is cleared for take off and Lob City is claimed by the gold part of Los Angeles that's trying to bring Showtime back, it's like an in-game contest for the first dunk champ Larry Nance's boy. And the winner is...junior. Here's looking at you next year kid.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: This dynamo is like dynamite in the open court. Give him the whole open floor...C4. BOOM! The fact that we haven't seen Russell Westbrook in a Dunk Contest yet is as unreal as his hops. When he runs the fast break he leaves even LeBron's basketball quarterbacking skills a little deflated. This MVP machine, triple-double averaging superstar of Jordan airs and co-signs isn't even a starter in this years All-Star game. Controversial? No! Plain and simply contradictory to his play. Just wrong. He wasn't snubbed...he was robbed. Think he's going to take it out on someone? What do you think he's been doing all season? Now there will plenty of drama on the pine as he battles with the Warriors three and his former brother in arms Kevin Durant of Golden State. But we don't want that like no love lost. We want some real entertainment.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Don't worry about spelling his name right...all you gotta do is hold up 10's. This deer strikes fear into the heart of his hunted opponent as he runs the floor like a gazelle. But have you seen how this Milwaukee Bucks 'em down? If he raises his antlers no one will be able to handle his charge as this Point Guard who moves about the floor and the defenders spacing like a rabbit when he's at it jacks it up. Above the rim he can move his body like a contortionist to find his air space. Forget behind the back! How about leg behind the head? That should mean he has an showstopping array of dunks in his magic box. Wait for the next game to believe. But this showman was built for another stage. It doesn't use all the letters of the alphabet. But you can't spell Slam Dunk without some of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
VINCE CARTER: Can we get some Air for Canada? This should have happened last year in the 2016 All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Ontario. By this year with the bourbon off the shelf in New Orleans it may be too late. The Vinsanity is about to retire. But call us crazy this half man/half amazing, all the works of the basketball Gods could still win. The 40 year old has still got it. At the weekend you saw those blocks. All year you've seen those hops. Just like his entire career he Nike aired. The Memphis Grizzlies vet was only in one contest in his prime as a Toronto Raptor. But that was all he needed as he rendered the competition extinct since. The tomahawk. The free-throw line. The honey-dip. The through the legs. We just want to see it again. From him. No imitation. The real thing. On his final flight around the basketball world. His maiden voyage. Air Carter. We salute! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 15 December 2016
1000 words. They say that's how much a picture is worth. Definitly more than 30 characters. Look at the one above. Look at these two. Look at them last season. Look at them now!
We and our timelines all know last season D'Angelo Russell leaked a video he filmed of an unaware Nick Young admitting he had cheated on then fiancee rapper Iggy Azalea all over social media. And as that and this story went viral two key cogs in the purple and gold Lakers machine looked like they were about to fall out. Lakers 'Sixth Man' Nick Young looked like he was ready to jump down sophomore star D'Angelo Russell's throat like when Woody Harrelson found out that Matthew McConaughey broke the partners rule on 'True Detective'. Whilst everyone was calling and labelling the young twentysomething a snitch like this was jail with little regard for the fact that his teammate over 30 had done the nasty on his blushing-ly embarrassed bride to be. But alas this is nobodies business but the individuals concerned. Cue Kermit and some Lipton.
Either way fans and rivals, not to mention player peers believed the then rookie Russell had broken the locker room code and honour. Showing a bad example as a teammate. But now D'Angelo couldn't look like a better one. Leading the post-Kobe (another great guarded guard...no stranger to things of controversy) Lakers back to the promised land Hollywood couldn't even script. Not just playing on the same team as a Laker that almost didn't make the cut, before a matured and grown Young (don't call him Swaggy anymore) waved goodbye to the waivers with the resurgent play of the player he should have always been. But on court, in the same starting line-up, as just in the nick of time Young has solved the Lou Will 6 man debate by breaking into the first five.
So D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young are running together. Side-by-side, for better or worse. In injury sickness and clutch game health. And these two are acting like nothing has happened or theres a job for them between Manhattan and Brooklyn across the Hudson after the NBA for all the bridges they've been building. Because these guys have been passing and shooting together as the most consistent players in a youth in revolt, but raw Lakers unit. Remember Young joking with Russell that he had ice (or swag) in his veins too after stealing a game-winner from Lou Williams, before joining him on the bed sore spreading injury list of the Lakers which surely resulted in more familiar territory bonding? And now they're both back together, just look at that picture. Point Guard D. Loading picking and pulling up his veteran Uncle P off the floor. Not only are they both back...they've got each others too.
Laker fans have got to love this even if you wonder how they're handling an 8 game losing streak. That this game in question increased in Brooklyn against a bad team who seemingly haven't seen any real nets since they were in New Jersey. Even in these purple bruised times the Lakers are seeing some gold shines in this repaired relationship. Showing anything is possible and everything can be brought back. Even if young, great former player/coach Luke Walton is $15K lighter for finally breaking that family trademark, nice-guy cool and dropping some almost threatening, tirading F bombs at referees after they called DeMarcus Cousin man-handling of former Kentucky alumni Julius Randle in favour of the more established superstar. Say what you will about Luke's un-Walton's like outburst but it just showed how down he was for his team and players no matter the odds. He wouldn't stand for his guys being disrespected. Sounds like a real coach. Sounds like 15 thousand dollars well spent.
That's how loyal these new passed over Lakers are 1 through 15. With a base so talented the club couldn't bring Ant Brown or Yi Jialian with them into this new season. Still it's all family. Like Larry Nance Jr. showing how he can get up like dad, like father, like dunk of the year with his latest zero G slam taking flight on a runway to the All-Star contest. From the rock Randle to the fluid Jordan Clarkson. All-Star Luol Deng and champion Timofey Mozgov. The two international guards Calderon and Huertas. The two Sixth Men who could have their year. And of course the rookie...Brandon Ingram.
Write them off now and they'll underline your name later because this really does look like a young team for the coming of the ages. But from the dime to the clutch they are going to need both a grown up Young and matured Russell to lead the way in different ones. But the only way number one and zero can do this before the buzzer counts down and rings out is together.
You got a phone? You won't need it. Soon the whole worlds going to see all these two do. Go tell somehody!
Brodies?! Nah...brothers. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Yeah no problem...they're right here. And don't worry about the keys and electronics they're all here too ready to go like I am. Right with my belt and boots for this metal detector. Oh wait this isn't a flight?! Pardon me just let me pull up my pants. My mum always told me I was a size 28 not M.C. Hammer.
Can't touch this!
Program?! Sure I'll take one! How much? TEN DOLLARS!? I guess that's me done for the evening. You know how much this cost me on Stub Hub!? Before the transaction fees which are like a nosebleed ticket in itself?! Nah I'm ok for a jersey and t-shirt. I got mine right here. 24 all day. Bleed purple, live gold like LSU.
Of course I'll stand and remove my hat, but maybe we should link arms or something, because let's respect everyone's beliefs. Remember how Abdul-Rauf's looked? You can take a knee if you please. Sure I'll hold your hot dog for you. Looks nice! What is that chipotle?! Nah I'm ok I was going to get one but I want to live in my apartment next month.
OK let's get it started. Here's the tip! That's what sh...never mind, Let's go Lakers/Cavs/Warriors/Bulls/Raptors etc. Delete were appropriate. What?! A timeout already!? What the hells a media timeout!? 30 seconds!? Again!? Just enough time to kill the mood but not enough time to take a leak. I know there's HD screens, but if I wanted to watch the game on the tube whilst beer was spilt on me I would have stayed at home with the boys! What another whistle!? It's not even the referee. Nah I'm not going to reach for that t-shirt. I'm not Inspector Gadget and I don't want to start a fight with that fan whose never heard Fat Joe's 'Lean Back' or danced with a girl at prom. But he sure knows how to "dab". Get that Gatling away from me Chris. This isn't Civil War Captain America and I think you just took that old man in row four out whilst everyone scratched and clawed at him like 'The Walking Dead' before Lucille. Taking the actual shirt off his back and not the one you fired with reckless abandon. One that wouldn't even fit King Kong after a week of Zumba with Godzilla.
I mean this is all fun and I love hearing that European dance tune from the 90's on repeat and taken to 11 but what about the game we came to see? We know the teams logo. We're wearing it SnapBack head to sneaker toe. We don't need it shoved in our face at 90 miles per hour even if it is free to the last fan standing. We prefer the giveaways at the door. We appreciate the million dollar marketing but we prefer the millionaires you pay to take it to the floor. LeBron, Steph. The dude from section 302 about to hit it from half court.
Just let 'em play!
Oh...wait! Cheerleaders! Is that a Kiss Cam?
Friday, 18 November 2016
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
In his NBA lifetime the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan wore the number 23. The closest player to him and his greatness Kobe Bryant, 24. Kobe won five titles with his Los Angeles Lakers. Mike won six as a Chicago Bull. As a matter of fact there's little much else between the two retired, legendary 6'6, two hundred and something in the tens pound guards. Both have a legendary line of Nike sneakers that keep stepping out even after they've hung them up. Both men were coached by Phil Jackson and have played with legends like Dennis Rodman and Ron Harper. Both men have won Slam Dunk Contests but also knew how to step back and hit the iconic fadeaway. Both men have a magazine cover pin-up smile but a hero killing villain death stare when everything is flipped. Both men speak in tongues, shrugs and shooting for the heart. One-on-one you've never seen two players as competitive. And now Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have both got biography bestsellers on the bookshelves thanks to basketball writer Roland Lazenby. The legend who was once most famous for his book on the NBA logo Jerry West, rewrote what was considered his definitive and most iconic read when he gave us 'The Life' of Michael Jordan in 2014. And now he looks to go better once again with number 24 as his book on Kobe Bryant 'Showboat' is sailing through Kindles and coffee tables as we turn. We caught up with Lazenby once again inbetween reads and what seems like a life that will always write to talk about his latest muse Kobe Bryant and the book about him that has come just a year removed from his last one and some months after the player himself retired. Because after all the show must go on...
Q. Hey Roland! Great to catch up with you again. Congratulations on all your success with your last book 'The Life'. After writing about Michael Jordan was Kobe Bryant always the next logical progression for you?
No, I looked at an array of options, as I always do. Ultimately, the decision is made by what the publisher will buy.
Q. How did the reception and success of writing about Mike inspire and motivate you to write about Kobe?
Well, confidence is big in any endeavour. You would think at my age that confidence is never an issue. But I’ve discovered that being in my 60s is much like being an adolescent. I love doing biography, and if you’re going to do that much work, it sure helps to have success.
Q. What was the starting point for your account of the life of Kobe Bryant mere months after he retired?
I always try to go for what I consider the revelatory moments. Showboat, the book on Kobe, actually began in three different places. An overview beginning after his first basket. An emotional moment following his second championship. A pivotal moment in the career of his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant.
Q. Can you tell our readers more about the name of your Bryant book 'Showboat'? It was an old nickname that Shaq gave him right?
Yes, and it was a lineage he shared with his father, a great showboat player off the playgrounds of Philadelphia. The showboat elements of the game have always been at odds with the purists. But the dunk and other fancy elements have always thrilled fans, i.e. the Globetrotters. Sports stories are often a father/son romance, and this one is about that thing they shared, the love of showboating.
Q. You begin this book beautifully with looking at the career of Kobe's father Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant and his sons upbringing in Italy. How important are these themes in setting the tone of the text?
They define, in many ways, everything about how Kobe approached the game. Ultimately, he grew to become very much his own man. He defined that by making up a nickname and an identity for himself, Mamba, the killer snake.
Q. And with Kobe's purple and gold glory days with the Lakers how much did researching and writing about this take you back to your times sideline reporting with the Lakers?
So much of it did take me back. The Lakers are an amazing story as Hollywood’s franchise. I’ve spent much of my life exploring all of the elements of the Lakers story, and that began years before Kobe arrived there. Every book I do allows me to learn more and more about the Lakers. It’s not a simple story, as you might assume.
Q. How difficult but important was it to ask and talk about not only the accomplishments but the controversies of Kobe's life and career?
That’s always the difficult part of these books, the family and personal stories are always immensely complicated. And that raises questions about what should be reported. Some of it should be reported, because invariably I find that it raises my estimation and understanding of the person and his family. At the same time, I always look for limits. For example, as I rule I don’t write about a person’s sex life, unless it becomes a controversy and part of the public record. Even then, I don’t get into detail, because one’s love life is a private, private matter. I also think of my own family as I write biography. My parents were quiet, everyday people, but our ancestors were quite the rowdy bunch. Every family has its difficulties and conflicts and disagreements. I write about those to some degree because it often reveals the character or personality of the figure I’m writing about.
Q. Just like your book on M.J. this story is rooted in family how do the two books and players compare and contrast in this and how as a writer do you get to the core feeling of this?
Well, MJ is such a global iconic figure, the long story of his family is essential to understanding him. I don’t go into quite the depth of background with Kobe, because the big issue with him was his father as a pro player, the experiences for the family that created, etc.
Q. Which journalists and player peers were the most helpful and insightful in your look into the life of the Laker legend?
Gosh, quite an array of people offered different insights, journalists such as Shelley Smith of ESPN who covered him during the rape charges, or well-known basketball writer Howard Beck, who got to know Kobe as a young guy and had a great affinity for him. Rudy Garciduenas, the Lakers longtime equipment manager, was close to both Shaq and Kobe and offered tremendous understanding of both men, of the dynamic in the Lakers locker room over the years, and the personality of the franchise itself, from Jerry West to Jeanie Buss to Phil Jackson.
Q. You really draw us in to particular moments vividly. One being the preface standout of a championship cap wearing Kobe sitting in the Philadelphia visitors locker room alone and forlorn after winning his second NBA title. What can you tell us about this moment?
On the eve of the playoffs he had thrown his family out of his life in a dramatic move. Once he won the championship, the emotion of his actions and the conflict came flooding in all at once.
Q. Can you tell us how 'Showboat' differs to your other books on Kobe Bryant including 'Mad Game' now his career is said and done?
I wrote Mad Game in 1999. It was about Kobe’s adjustment to the NBA. Showboat is his full life and a full effort at understanding all the factors that have gone in to making Bryant the competitor and person that he is. Showboat reflects much greater understanding on my part because of how much I’ve learned in writing biography.
Q. In completing this story how has Kobe's farewell season and final game drawn a line under his basketball story and career arc?
His final game emphasized the title of the book. It was utterly a Showboat moment.
Q. Before Jordan you where known for writing the book on the logo Jerry West. A legend instrumental in bringing Kobe to L.A. How do the two books and players compare and which icon in your opinion is the greatest Laker?
Well, West teamed with the great Elgin Baylor to popularize the Lakers, a new team in LA in 1960, and over the next 14 years made them legendary. West then went on as GM to define the franchise in terms of his fanatical leadership and personality. He cared deeply, and the franchise benefited from his insane pursuit of perfection. Kobe’s story is about Kobe. He now has an opportunity to make it about more than himself. And he may just do that. West himself was quite self-focused as a player, too.
Q. After your biography 'The Life and Legend Of A Basketball Icon', Jerry West wrote his own autobiography. Are you hoping the same happens for number 23 and 24's memoirs?
Yes, that would be great. Biography has tremendous importance, I believe, as an independent look at sports/cultural figures. It’s important that it be independent because these wealthy figures long to control their own narratives. However, their own books are immensely important because they offer different levels of information and sometimes truth.
Q. Two classic books in the last couple of years you sure deserve a rest, but what's next? Maybe an appointment with the King?
I’m taking a long break. My wife just retired and we’re going to enjoy life a bit. Then I’ll start thinking about the next project.
Roland we thank you for your time. We really appreciate it. We wish you all the best for the future. Thanks again.