Saturday, 24 August 2013
These cool new jerseys aren't the only designs for a team that really stepped up it's apparel game as they moved from the Forum and classic Mitchell & Ness vests to the new STAPLES Centre, hardwood classic, modern v-necks to start the new milleniuum of Kobe and championship rings. Remember those cool limited edition black jersey's from back in the day that never saw the light of the wood floor? Well now with a new court campaign, the classic black look will join the Sunday white and the storied, traditional purple and gold in the Lakers locker-room. What more could the fans want? Apart from a free handout of them before games and maybe a few more Taco nights. That means more than 100 points and a few W's please. These black dubbed 'Hollywood Nights' are set to drive Snoop Dogg and the rest of the Hollywood to the hills fanbase crazy. These Hollywood Nights feel like some 80's nostalgia that will be welcome in Malibu unlike that 'Baywatch Nights' spin-off (sorry Hoff, but life-guard by day, cop by night...even you can't do that).
Like 'Lights Out', this new move by a Lakers team reading less than great on paper looks perfect. As does the future of hoops-wear in the new Adidas, adizero technology, 26% lighter uniforms with sleeves. Still as good as this team appears suited and sneaked, what really needs to look good in hindsight is their vision on court. Last year was tight, this one needs to be refreshed. It's time to truly shift a gear. There needs to be more silver linings amongst the purple and gold trim. Sure these special mufti days haven't looked this great since throwback night but this Laker team needs to play like the franchise of old, and bring it back to the real reason Hollywood descenced on the take no prisoners streets of downtown Los Angeles...'showtime'! The name on these new jerseys reads 'Lakers' and it's a proud, storied tradition of legend. As Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash (who believes in freedom of wear and wants to switch up the alternate jerseys all the more by different players wearing different unis on court stating "I don't see why we all need the same tailor, as long as it's pretty uniform,") and Pau Gasol lead the way, the legacy needs to be set in the seams of banners, not just jerseys...unless they are being raised to the rafters. This is the Avenger season...suit up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
It's as clear as Summer water that over the last few offseasons and all that's transpired the NBA's balance of power has shifted from the former best West, to the one time least East's domain. Thanks to the back-to-back NBA champions the Miami Heat that is championship certified, still if you think it doesn't get much hotter than this then just look at the core of the Big Apple, where the 'NBA Jam: Fight For N.Y.' and the Basketball association looks to happen a few miles away from THE Mecca of basketball. Who knew that Jason Kidd would be leading the Nets to the promised land yet again? But this time not in New Jersey but Brooklyn and as a coach not a player? Mikhail Prokhorov has fufilled his promise. Not only has he brought the former Jersey boys to the suburbs of New York...but he's also made them into one hell of a team. With no sleep to late June...everyone's singing 'Hello Brooklyn' like Jay-Z.
Deron Williams has a lot to play with on the dry erase now...and now one of the best Point Guard's in the league today has one of the greatest P.G'.s ever in his ear, expect guys like the all-underrated, all-dependable, all-star Joe Johnson and last, remaining big Brook Lopez to get even...even better. Especially now Prokhorov has pulled off a Boston in 2007 and signed a big three...from Boston. They got everything but the shamrock adding the veteran greats of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce who are still in their best years and their own new sixth man Jason Terry on the jet from Boston too. On paper this team could win big...NOW! Even if there is a best before end date on this package. Did we forget to mention this team has Andrei Kirilenko, Reggie Evans and Shaun Livingtson highlighting an impressive bench too? Who knows Jerry Stackhouse may even re-up.
We just feel sorry for Boston...who now has only the Green Lantern of Rajon Rondo to show the light on his own...and the new Celtic green of Jeff if he can stay healthy. We all thought Pierce would be a Celtic rafter lifer...with Garnett's jersey hanging next to his. Still this storied team is one that overcame the tragic heartbreak of Reggie Lewis and Len Bias. The talent this team can pick up is unbelievable. This team will be ok. You can't count out Celtic pride. Boston is strong. Let's not forget about the 'other' New York team however who still play in Madison Sqaure Garden, where it all started, ready to sing 'The City Is Mine' like Jay-Z and Blackstreet back in the day. The blue and orange New York Knickerbockers haven't been this good since the 70's and with Carmelo Anthony leading the way like the LeBron rival he was always supposed to be the pieces puzzled around him are all coming together. Stoudemire, sixth man J.R., Chandler (Tyson...not Bing!), Shumpert and more of the Knicks tape highlight reels are still playing. Still the addition of a Toronto star in Andrea Bargnani and Tim Hardaways son look as good on paper as Kenyon Martin. Still it's the return of Queenbridge's finest son and the new Mecca World Peace which might truly make this team complete and elite.
As these two powerhouses fight for the Empire State, we can't count out the rest of the conference or the league (as the veteran San Antonio, Los Angeles Laker, let's now not forget Houston and the next great team in Oklahoma still have a fighting chance). Deeeetroit Baaaasketball is back as Brandon Jennings looks to give this team it's future with Josh Smith and Charlie V. All Pistons are firing again, it's almost looking like the Chauncey Billups days...oh and he's back too. Even Cleveland is having a Cavalier offseason looking to tempt their frenemy back next Summer. Next great Kyrie Irving has more firepower with guys like Jarret Jack and Earl Clark, but it's another former Laker that's plugging the holes. The centre the Lakers wish they now never gave away looks to reclaim his throne in Ohio. With Andrew Bynum the wine and gold aren't as far away from the champagne and silverware as many joked.
Sorry Toronto, Philly, Atlanta, Milwaukee (steer clear), Charlotte (the Hornets rebranding is a great, better than pelican move though (just get those pinstripes back you know what they say about the Yankees), Orlando and Washington your time will come soon with a few more players and drafts. Obviously you can't count out Rose and the Bulls or that young Indiana team keeping pace, but we all know whose beating that all and keeping his talents in South Beach. LeBron James is the one and with his own big three of Wade, Bosh and Allen to go along with Battier guarding the house it doesn't look to get much better than that. That was until the Heat burnt the league with it's new wild-card. Signing top pick and league sick note Greg Oden. Now free from the unlucky streak of Portland, one of the few great remaining big-men could have a trail-blazing season. He comes with his own asterix but if he's healthy it'll be the rest of the league left truly sick. He's at the very least the centre this team was looking for to put everyone in their more natural positions truly creating match-up nightmares from the hardwood to the pine. If Oden's even half the great player he was projected to be in a healthy season (he hasn't logged time since 2009), he and the hottest Heat team ever will reduce all the other igniting flames of this league to embers. For next season it doesn't get much hotter than this. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 4 August 2013
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"Spins a defensive web any size, catches defenders just like flies"
Along came a Spider...his name...John. There are some role players in NBA history that have a legend all to themselves even if they weren't amongst the elite players of their generation. Whether backing up or backing down the leagues best at the time they made their mark and the name sewn on the back of their jerseys known. John Salley was such a household name. From being the Spider man to backing up the man of steel, Shaquille O'Neal and from the Detroit Bad Boys to the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence ones. From the movie cameos to the 'Best Damn Sports Show...Period', ever. This man was as hard-working as he was entertaining. One of the funniest men the league has ever seen was also one of the best.
John Salley was nicknamed the spider and on D, he was like a sticky web, trapping defenders with his network of flailing arms and legs. Frustrating and beating opponents he found his home and mentor (in legend, "the teacher", Adrian Dantley) in the big Bad Boy frontline of the Detroit Pistons. Part of a well-oiled, muscle car, mean machine with the tough likes of Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman this guy was a key cog in Detroits piston fuelled defence. The meat and potatoes of this mans game was hard-nosed and worked. This vegan awareness spreading retired player took down the leagues biggest carnivores and made them look like dinosaurs. Let's extinct the notion that the golden era of the 80's and 90's National Basketball Association was all about the glitz and glamour stars...because it would have been nothing without guys like Salley too. No wonder the Georgia Tech (who also played in Miami, Toronto and Greece) blocked shots recorder holder has his jersey up in the rafters with the cobwebs.
People often forget about the defensive side...but it wins championships and when you sleep, the best defensive teams will kill you. That's what Detroit basketball has told people for decades and decades, motoring on to becoming one of the associations most storied franchise. Just like Salley may be one of its players. More than a glue guy like Robert Horry who has won rings with many franchises because of his clutch plays...John's being dear to the defensive side. He may not have been able to hit the big three, but blocking one, stealing the game away or boxing out and muscling opponents off the ball was the unnoticed, intangible pain and gain play that made this man as worthy as a champion as any other player to meet Larry O'Brien. He brought the changes that brought the rings.
His early days game kept Motown playing like Marvin, and his championship pedigree and dog-fight play earned him a spot on Phil Jackson's 90's classic, Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls dream of the best damn sports team...period. His backup, back down play made him a real how bench warmer who gave opponents splinters and split the side of his teammates laughing. A post and locker-room presence that unified his teammates while dividing his opponents. A veteran of the amazing eighties like teammates Robert Parish or A.C. Green, one who was so dependable, Jackson picked him up again for his second three-peat Jordanesque best damn team in L.A. As the amazing Salley man backed up Superman this new heroic team of the next age was really something to marvel at and yet again Salley's O'Brien engaged fingers proved it. The Spider Man did whatever he could, rising just in time for the block. There was no escape from Salley's web.
Hollywood must have made it's mark on John Salley because in his retirement he arguably became even more of a famous household name. Broadcasting live to peoples homes and evenings, John made the 'Best Damn Sports Show...Period' true to it's name. More of a comfortable, sat down talk show, Salley brought insight and laughs, proving to be even funnier than TNT's explosive combo of Charles Barkley and Kenny 'The Jet' Smith combined. From former teammates to stars gracing the show Salley brought it all together with presenter Charlie Rose. Just like in his playing days, his deep knowledge of the game and his comedian skills gave this show it's balance between analysis and relief. Now like some teams wish they could have a guy like John today we just wish they brought that show back...period.
John Salley's 'Bad Boys' (along with his 'Confessions Of A Shopaholic' one and an appearance in the late legend Luther Vandross' 'Take You Out' and much more) cameos where legendary...and we aren't just talking about his time in Auburn Hills. His appearances alongside Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Michael Bay's classic series where hilarious. From being a prisoner to working for the police department his chemistry and bantering scenes with comedian Lawrence where something straight off the playground. No wonder this guy got some raw comedy gig with Eddie Murphy back in the day. Whether it was mocking the 7 footers height or his Horace Grant like glasses, Salley still had the last laugh like he did on defence. If they do make a third part of this promised trilogy then let's hope they bring back Salley...besides he knows a thing or two (or three) about three-peats.
The wellness advocate who has adopted a vegan lifestyle has had quite the healthy career on the NBA and television screens. From having the backs and helping guard the most dominant ever from Jordan to Shaq and being a hot feature or the main presentation to some of the funniest and best entertainment around. This is one spider we do want in the house. From weaving an incredible defensive career to spinning a hilarious jokes on you post career that's anything but offensive, this man has always been fundamentally right whether it be in regards to the purity of sport or the essence of good natured fun. This is one John who isn't just like everyone else. The man who won "four championship rings, with three different teams, in three different decades and two different millenniums". From basketball spidey sense to a Peter Parker mouth, Salley was and still is the man.
Saturday, 3 August 2013
One of the best guards of all-time, Mitch 'The Rock' Richmond had a concrete career with the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards. The All-Star even won a ring with the Los Angeles Lakers, however we are not here today to talk about those great feats...that's for another article. Today we are here to talk about the amazing things he's doing off-the court in his retirement making moves with his charity 'M-Rock Life' to help raise awareness on bullying and stop it. The All-Star hopes to bring more light to his charity and the problem with his own All-Star Celebrity game coming Saturday September 7th. The basketball friends and celebrity friends of Mitch who will play include former Golden State Warriors and Run TMC, Hall of Fame teammate Chris Mullin and former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas. As well as current pros Juaquin Hawkins and Luc Richard Mbah of the Sacramento Kings amongst many more. R&B superstar Ray-J and 'Grown Ups's star Nadji Jeter are expected to be in attendance alongside a fellow former Laker Tracy Murray who is currently laying big groundwork in the streetball leagues. Now that's a roster! Plus with a list of All-Star teammates and opponents and a Rolodex of the best fans and friends in the entertainment business you can expect more and this event to be a star-studded affair of talent.
Still, the nature of this event in itself is worth more of your time and admission as The Rock is looking to show bullying a hard place. Dedicated to banning bullying in Calabasas, California and beyond (let's work something out for the U.K.). This groundbreaking movement states that it is "dedicated to bringing awareness to the seriousness of bullying and related issues like depression, eating disorders, obesity, self-mutilation and suicide." Richmond's charity uses something called 'Entertainment Therapy' and multimedia to help build self-esteem, healthy relationships and more for it's users, hoping to bring them "courage and confidence". M Rock Life states that their goal is to help young people "feel more self-assured, supported, connected and empowered to celebrate their lives"...now that's one great mission statement.
The NBA is all about stats so how about these? Figures from the Journal of the American Medical Association tell us that 30% of American students where involved with bullying in some way in school. While the American Academy off Child and Adolescent Psychiatry tells us that there is a big rise in the number of teens who suffer from anxiety or un-managed stress. This is terrible. As are the shocking figure that 1 in 8 teens are depressed, or that suicide is the third largest cause of death for 15-24 year olds and the second largest cause of death of college students (according to the Centres For Disease Control). Something needs to change...now! Rock Life looks to address these problems and how they affect young people and their parents. Teaching adults warning signs and how to deal with problems before they reach the point of no return. It's time this program and the problem their battling was helped more in this fight.
'Redefine Strong' is the motto and anyone looking more into this rock built foundation is about to hear it loud and proud. Some may have thought Mitch Richmond would have made a great basketball coach after his playing career but it turns out he's making an even better life coach. If you live in the California are now is the time to get tickets (they've been on sale since mid July) or contact Anne Marie of the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center on 818-880-2993 or via e-mail at Annemarie@Ahccc.org for more information. Through this method tickets are only $20 (or $25 on the door), with VIP Power Brunch package tickets at $100 a slice. With more performers set to be announced this sounds like an entertaining day all for a worthy cause. So if you like basketball or simply want to come and help out please get yourself on court for something more than just the game itself. Mitch Richmond is one of the NBA's all-time underrated greats and bulling is one of the oft-ignored, most critical issue in mental illness and/or personal well beings. Believe me...this is worth it. Thank you for your time. TIM DAVID HARVEY.