Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson featured in NBA 2K14

No one knows for sure how Kobe Bryant will look once he steps on the basketball court.

Sure, we’ve seen his unyielding determination as he’s progressed enough from his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon both to run on a weight-bearing treadmill and to shoot on a “Pop a Shot” arcade game. An informal sampling of outside medical experts familiar expect Bryant will still play effectively, but voice concerns that the seriousness surrounding the injury will take away his athleticism. It’ll be interesting to see to what degree the Lakers allow Bryant to expedite his recovery time versus exercising caution.

But that hardly has stopped NBA2K14 from offering a sneakpeak. The game doesn’t debut until Oct. 1, but Ronnie2K offered a brief video via his Instagram account on how Bryant looks in the video game. In that clip, Bryant’s aggressive. He relies on his crafty footwork to create space off his defender. He relies on his outside shot instead of driving to the basket. And, of course, he scores.
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Pau Gasol to represent Madrid for 2020 Olympic bid

Pau Gasol will sit out of the FIBA EuroBasket Championships in September in hopes of fully rehabbing his knees, but the Lakers forward plans to help his native Spain in a different way.

Madrid’s 2020 Olympic bid committee has appointed Gasol as one of its spokesman and will address International Olympic Committee during Madrid’s final presentation in Buenos Aires next month. Gasol provided an impassioned statement and indirectly suggested how hosting the Summer Games would provide a significant financial boost to Spain, which has battled a recession for most of the past four years and has a 26.3 percent unemployment rate.

“The Olympic Games are more than sport – I know this personally as an Olympian. Spanish sport and the people of Madrid need the boost the Olympic Games would provide, and Madrid is ready to face this challenge,” Gasol said in a statement. “But Madrid will also give something back to the Olympic Movement – we are a city that is prepared with a responsible bid plan that will help develop sport far into the future.”
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Pau Gasol tries to reach Lamar Odom for support

Pau Gasol

As they played together on the court, the chemistry with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom went beyond playing off of each other’s versatility. Their four seasons with the Lakers also entailed the two sharing a common bond in another way. Both Gasol and Odom remained positive locker room forces with their team mindset, willingness to sacrifice and amiable personalities.

So it should hardly be surprising that amid reports that Odom is currently battling drug addiction that Gasol expressed concern.


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Kobe Bryant loses in pop a shot basketball game

Kobe Bryant has progressed enough in his rehab surrounding his left Achilles tendon that he can shoot in a pop a shot arcade game. So well that he drained 89 points recently at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, showing that his prolific scoring hasn’t lost a touch. Yet, that still wasn’t enough to win the game. A fan apparently scored more than Bryant, prompting the Lakers star jokingly to address him with an expletive in the video below.


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NBA rookies vote Kobe Bryant as their favorite player

NBA rookies voted Kobe Bryant as their favorite player as part of a poll for NBA.com. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

NBA rookies voted Kobe Bryant as their favorite player as part of a poll for NBA.com. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Gone are the days where Kobe Bryant remains a toxic figure.

Sure, he still elicits debate on whether he shoots too much and if his fiery demeanor became unbearable for Dwight Howard to stay with the Lakers. But that pales to the never-ending scrutiny he faced as a brash player from high school, when he played with Shaquille O’Neal and when he demanded the Lakers to trade him six years ago out of frustration with the team’s losing.

Beyond Bryant’s superior talent, championship resume and more open personality, a preseason NBA.com survey reveals that the plurality of this year’s rookie class voted Bryant as their favorite player. Bryant won 21.2 percent of the vote, while Miami’s LeBron James (15.2 percent), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (12.1 percent), Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (12.1 percent), Brooklyn’s Kevin Garnett (9.1 percent) and the Clippers’ Chris Paul (9.1 percent) followed suit.
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Antawn Jamison to play for Clippers next season

For the second consecutive season, Antawn Jamison will play one season for the veteran’s minimum in hopes of winning his first NBA championship.

There’s one key difference, though. Jamison won’t do that with the Lakers again, instead choosing their crosstown rivals, the Clippers, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Clippers have said they’re interested in adding both Jamison and retaining Lamar Odom, according to a league source familiar with the situation. But the source added it’s currently unclear to what degree the details surrounding Odom’s alleged drug addiction will affect his future with the team.
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Nick Young shows off his shoe collection

Nick Young has so many shoes that his closet full of them features an array of Kobe’s, Jordan’s and LeBron’s. Nick Young has so many shoes that Nike made him a full model featuring his nickname, “Swaggy P.” Nick Young has so many shoes that he has a friend called “The Shoekeeper,” who organizes, cleans and safeguards the footwear collection.

That’s why it’s hardly surprising Young’s appearance on “Kicks on Court” lasted 12 minutes, 39 seconds. Young has that many pairs of shoes to show off. The Lakers guard has so many stories to share behind his kicks. And he offers a sneak peak on which pairs he’ll wear next season.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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Lamar Odom’s NBA future currently on hold

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages

For someone whose life plays out on reality television, Clippers forward Lamar Odom has caught the attention of gossip magazines on matters that may or may not be true.

TMZ reported that Odom has gone missing for the past 72 hours after having a dispute with his wife, Khloe Kardashian, and struggling with an apparent two-year drug addiction. Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN.com that “Lamar is not missing. His wife knows exactly where he is.” Kardashian also angrily vented in an expletive filled tweet, saying, “Really hard to sit here and listen to people talk [trash] about my family.”

Odom was filmed on camera last month at El Cerrito Place near Franklin Avenue confiscating camera equipment from a photographer shortly after being asked about having an extramarital affair. Odom then put the equipment in the trunk of his white Mercedes coupe before driving away. The Los Angeles County District Attorney declined to file charges against Odom last week, citing insufficient evidence that he had committed a felony.

Regardless of what’s fact or fiction, it’s clear that Odom’s NBA future remains on hold as an unrestricted free agent.
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Video highlight shows Kobe Bryant’s career unfold in slow motion

Things unfold so quickly for Kobe Bryant.

It happened when he jumped from high school to the NBA. Bryant immediately bounced back from three airballs in the final minutes of the Lakers’ first-round loss to the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA playoffs. He quickly established himself as an elite scorer with loads of athleticism and highlight reels. Bryant soon won championship after championship. As indicated by his career-high 81 points seven years ago and his fourth-place ranking on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, Bryant could score quickly and dangerously. As he’s trying to prove with his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, Bryant’s proven he can recover from injuries at a fast rate, too.

But this highlight video takes a different twist, showing how Bryant’s career has evolved in slow motions. We see the usual suspects. Bryant’s game winners. His elation after winning an NBA championship. His signature scowl. His unmatched fundamentals. Slowing it down allows the viewer to fully understand and appreciate the various intricacies surrounding Bryant’s game. But it also provides another reminder on how hard it is to stop Bryant from unleashing these skills when they’re played out in real time.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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Jordan Hill believes the Lakers could be third best team in the Western Conference

It’s not necessarily earth shattering for any player on the Lakers to feel offended by a panel of ESPN writers ranking them in 12th place out of 14 teams in the Western Conference.

Kobe Bryant immediately bristled at it. Nick Young found the evaluation “disrespectful.” Considering the Lakers still boast Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, Lakers forward Jordan Hill also told this newspaper he was “shocked” and “couldn’t believe it” when the ranking released.

What else do you expect a team to say that’s used to winning championships? Well for Hill, that’s proclaiming something that falls short of championship aspirations but still above the general public’s expectations.

“We definitely could be in the top three in the West,” Hill recently said in a phone interview. “I don’t see why not. Kobe is making progress with his rehab [surrounding his left Achilles tendon]. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back at the beginning of the season or in training camp. I don’t know if he will. But I wouldn’t be surprised. I have faith in everything he can do. I believe in the Mamba. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Few believe the Lakers reach that sky for plenty of reasons.

The Lakers lost a slew of defensive talent in Dwight Howard (bolted to Houston) and Metta World Peace (through amnesty provision). Even if Bryant’s provided a proven track record in overcoming injuries, it remains to be seen if he can single-handily carry the Lakers in the same fashion as he did last season. Rehab concerns still overshadow Steve Nash (right hamstring) and Pau Gasol (knee tendonosis). The Lakers have may acquired decent talent in veteran center (Chris Kaman), a speedy backcourt (Nick Young, Jordan Farmar) and a possibly solid perimeter defender (Wesley Johnson). But on paper, it appears the Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors have superior talent, youth and athleticism.

How do the Lakers overcome such variables?

“It’s going to be tough, I’m not sure,” Hill said. “We don’t know when Kobe is going to come back. But I’m confident we can make some noise. We still have so many good pieces with Kobe, Pau, Nash, Kaman, a lot of good bench pieces. We can surprise some people and make some noise.”

RELATED:

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Kobe Bryant’s “True Genius” video captures unyielding drive

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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