Kobe Bryant enters Staples Center before he played his final game as a Los Angeles Laker during home game against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Southern California News Group)
For a player who devoted countless hours on the hardwood, it did not take long for Kobe Bryant to find his other calling.
After sharing during his 20th and final NBA season that he loves storytelling, Bryant made a significant leap toward tackling that craft. Bryant’s production company, “Kobe Studios,” partnered with Sports Illustrated Group & Believe Entertainment Group to produce various multi-platform video projects.
That will include the premier of “Dear Basketball,” an animated short film on SI.com for a fall release that expands upon Bryant’s retirement poem he published for “The Players Tribune” website on Nov. 29, 2015. SI Films will also release mini documentaries that shows behind-the-scenes footage of the animation process.
Bryant will narrate the short film that Glen Keane will animate and John Williams will compose with a musical score. Keane worked on various Disney films, such as Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan and Tangled. Williams has won five Academy Awards for his film scores for Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. and Schindler’s List. Williams is also well know for his music compositions for Superman, the Indiana Jones series, Jurassic Park and the Harry Potter films.
“Dear Basketball is the perfect tribute to something I’ve loved for so long,” Bryant said in a statement released through Sports Illustrated. “Glen and John are two legends in their industries, so to partner with them on the creative process is a dream come true. Working with Sports Illustrated on this special project is an amazing opportunity to hopefully inspire fans all over the world.” Continue reading →
Another loss added to Byron Scott’s resume nearly any time he coached a game.
So much that the Lakers finished with their worst record in franchise history for two consecutive years. So much that Scott’s combined 38-126 record finished just above George Mikan for the franchise’s worst all-time winning percentage among its 20 coaches. So much that the newly hired Luke Walton compiled more wins as Golden State’s interim head coach (39-4) this season than Scott collected through two years.
Yet, Scott hardly could rely on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to splash opponents with three-pointers. Nor could he plug in Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala to fill any needed role. Hence, Scott appeared on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Monday and reported feeling “a little blindsided” when the Lakers fired him last week even if he described the last two years as “very rough.”
“That’s what I expected. When I took the job, when we sat down, Mitch [Kupchak] and I and Jim [Buss], that was the whole premise of the conversation,” Scott said, referring to his job interviews he had with the Lakers’ general manager and executive vice president of players personnel. “These next two or three years are going to be pretty tough. Can I handle the situation. I said, I can handle it. I’ll get the team to come to work every single day with a smile on my face and be very positive. It’s my nature to keep working. That’s what I continued to do.”
That sentiment changed last week after Scott went to the Lakers’ practice facility on last Sunday evening.
“Mitch Kupchak called me to come to the office and told me they weren’t going to extend my contract,” said Scott, who had team options for his third and fourth seasons. “That’s basically how it played out.”
Scott stressed, “I don’t have any ill will feelings toward the organization.” After spending 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Lakers and winning three league championships during the beloved “Showtime Era.” Hence, Scott maintained, “I still love the Lakers organization. I wish them all the best.” Continue reading →
Golden State Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton instructs his team during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
After once helping the Lakers to back-to-back NBA championships with his superior passing, Luke Walton will try to hand out an assist to his former team in another way.
Walton and the Lakers agreed to a multi-year deal to become their head coach. The 36-year-old Walton replaced Byron Scott, who was not retained after finishing with a combined 38-126 record in the past two seasons. Walton will still serve as one of the Golden State Warriors’ assistant coaches until their playoff run ends.
“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He’s one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game and we feel fortunate that he’ll be leading the on-court future of our team.” Continue reading →
The memories still seem vivid in Metta World Peace’s mind as he recalled toiling in physical matchups with Chamique Holdsclaw on the playground hardwood around the projects in Queensbridge, N.Y. It would not mark the first time World Peace felt like he could relate to his childhood friend.
Both World Peace and Holdsclaw became living examples on how mental health issues can both take a toll on their lives, while also becoming outspoken on the topic to inspire others.
After once becoming infamous for his role with the Palace Brawl in 2004, World Peace dealt with issues stemmed from alcohol abuse and anger issues. World Peace created a new reputation for his help with mental health charities that won him the 2010-11 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.
As she rose and fell as a WNBA star, Holdsclaw struggled with having a bipolar disorder that led to depression, a near overdose and an arrest in 2013 for assaulting her girlfriend, Jennifer Lacy. Holdsclaw has since spoken at college campuses, written a book and has participated in a documentary that will air on May 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the LOGO network titled “Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw.”
Both Holdsclaw and World Peace plan to speak at UCLA on May 18 about the documentary, with hope that their stories could inspire others that also deal with mental health issues. World Peace also spoke those topics with Southern California News Group in a Q&A below.
The lure of Luke Walton coaching the Lakers seems poetic given his close connection to the franchise. So does remaining part of the Golden State Warriors’ coaching staff as they aim to defend their NBA championship after setting a record for most regular-season wins in league history.
Before Walton likely interviews for the Lakers’ head-coaching vacancy soon, his father provided honest commentary that for once does not follow with a laugh track.
“Stay where he is. Head-coaching jobs are open for a reason,” Walton told Tim Ring, the sports director of KTVK, in a recent interview. “What he has right now, it doesn’t get any better than that. Money cannot buy what they have on the Warriors right now.”
Kobe Bryant became an open book in recent years. But who knew that would entail sharing one of his most private and embarrassing secrets?
The former Lakers’ star became known as the Black Mamba for punishing his prey with a high lethal dosage of buckets. But who knew Bryan’s teammates also called him, “Sweat Midler?”
In a moment that became even more uncomfortable than having to guard him, Bryant told an esthetician that he sweats profusely. It happens when he plays. It happens when he stands up and jumps. It happens so much that his teammates constantly made fun of him.
Through nearly six minutes of awkwardness, Bryant then revealed another secret of his. This all served as a prank for the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” All of which revealed that Bryant does not have a sweating problem. He is just really really good in acting.
Kobe Bryant waves to fans after scoring 60 points in the final game of his career against the against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.Ê (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)
Well after he finished his final game and delivered a masterpiece to cap off a 20-year NBA career, Kobe Bryant stood at center court. The Lakers’ star knelt down and signed his name on the hardwood panels that formed his jersey numbers, “8” and “24.”
It marked Bryant’s final gesture toward saying goodbye to both a game and organization he loved. Nearly two weeks later, that moment also turned into an opportunity for the Lakers to hold an auction and raffle to benefit the Lakers Youth Foundation.
The Lakers will auction off three panels of hardwood to create the No. 8 at a $10,000 starting price. MeiGray, the NBA’s official game used memorabilia authenticator, will sell the three panels as a single item in an online auction.
The Lakers will also hold a raffle for memorabilia from Bryant’s final game, with tickets starting at $10 through NetRaffle.org. Fans can purchase raffle tickets for the change to win of the 24 autographed tickets of Bryant’s last game. That will also run through May 13.
“Conducting a raffle with a low price point gives all of our fans an opportunity to own a keepsake from that memorable night in Lakers history,” Kiesha Nix, Executive Director of the Lakers Youth Foundation said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Lakers will display the panels creating the No. 24 at their new practice facility in El Segundo.
The Lakers’ continual struggles has brought more reminders of the self-imposed timeline Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss outlined regarding his expectations on how long it would take for the team to become Western Conference contenders.
In 2014, Jim Buss told his five siblings, including Lakers president Jeanie Buss, he would step down in three years if the team did not reach that benchmark. That expiration date apparently is set for after the 2016-17 season.
“He’s the one who made it public,” Jeanie Buss said an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s radio show on Tuesday. “I have no reason to think he cannot be successful in terms of putting together a winning team.”
There are plenty of reasons to wonder, though, if it is realistic to achieve that goal in one year.
For all the glory surrounding the Lakers’ 16 NBA championships. they have only set recent trends in losing and instability.
They have set franchise records for worst losses in a season for two consecutive years. They have struck out both in playoff appearances and landing an elite free agent for three consecutive years. They have gone through a coaching search for the fourth time in five years.
“What I made clear to our front office is we’re going to be judged by wins and losses,” Jeanie Buss said. “It isn’t about having a marquee star player and coming in last place. That’s not what Lakers basketball is. Lakers basketball is winning basketball.” Continue reading →
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak plans to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina soon. (Robert Casillas – Staff Photographer)
The man has seemingly accomplished everything in basketball. Ettore Messina has coached countless championship teams. Plenty consider him to have one of the most intelligent minds in the sport.
Yet, Messina still has not become an NBA head coach perhaps until now. The Lakers recently received permission from the San Antonio Spurs to interview Messina for their vacant head-coaching position, Southern California News Group confirmed.
It is not immediately clear when the Lakers will speak with Messina. With the Spurs beginning the Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, Messina has some time to shift focus between preparing for the Thunder and preparing to interview with the Lakers.