Kobe Bryant hopes fans can do something his teammates couldn’t in the NBA playoffs.
With the Lakers’ star still sidelined from a torn left Achilles’ tendon, Bryant has partnered with the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to promote Olympic Day on June 23 and asked fans in the video above to fill his absence.
“I can’t run, I can’t jump and I can’t swim yet,” Bryant said. “So I need you guys to pick up the slack for me and be doubly active.”
Bryant, who injured his Achilles on April 12 against Golden State, is expected to be sidelined for another four to seven months.
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Below is a conversation I had with Lakers forward Metta World Peace today on his recently released children’s book titled “Metta’s Bedtime Stories.” The book, available online here and on Amazon for $12.95 for soft cover and $14.95 for hard cover, will have a portion of those proceeds benefitting World Peace’s foundation, Xcel University which primarily raises funds and supports various mental health charities and programs. Some of the proceeds will also help the foundation run by World Peace’s father, the Artest foundation, which supports inner city youth geared toward promoting non-violence.
How did the idea come up to write a children’s book?
I just thought I wanted to do some books. I have a book that I did on myself and put a lot of information in there and there’s a lot of stuff people didn’t know about me. But I thought, ‘You know what? If we’re going to write a book, let’s start it off the right way. Let’s be inspirational. Let’s not just make it about Ron Artest and Metta World Peace. This is inspirational. We wanted to do a book where we can start the process of getting people excited about education. That starts with the family. Our whole purpose was to get parents back interested in reading with their children. I don’t think all parents do that enough.
How long did it take to do the book?
It took a while. It looked real simple. But it really wasn’t. It was our first book It took six months to a year. We had so many different people involved and we wanted it to be good. The first design was all black kids, but we wanted it to make it diverse and be able to reach out all children. My team suggested it be a diverse group. That’s true because the world has changed. When I grew up in my neighborhood, I remember only seeing black kids. But when you get outside the neighborhood, there’s all different types of ethnicities. That was important in this book in bringing people together and closer.
Why do you think that was important?
It was important because you don’t want the kid to feel insecure about themselves. If you get a Latino, Asian or white kid reading a book full of black kids, it’s not relatable. We wanted something where everybody could relate to.
What did you like about Dr. Seuss’ books growing up?
I loved Dr. Seuss’ books. I still encourage people to read Dr. Seuss’ books. I think it’s encouraging and interesting. It makes it feel good after you read the book. I think “Green Eggs and Ham” is the best one. I think some people will say they have other books that are their favorite, but “Green Eggs and Ham” was definitely my favorite. It was fun and had a good message about trying something new. Dr. Seuss gave you the confidence to try something new and not be afraid. Continue reading →
Within the middle of next week, Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham will talk with the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats, according to league sources.
Although both prospective moves are to become an assistant coach, league sources anticipate that Ham would have a much stronger role within Steve Clifford’s coaching staff in Charlotte or Mike Budenholzer’s coaching staff in Atlanta than he would under Mike D’Antoni with the Lakers.
Ham spent the past season with a wide-range of responsibilities, including player development, compiling scouting reports and working out with post players. But he wasn’t any of D’Antoni’s lead assistants and he sat behind the team’s bench.
Ham is strongly expected to leave the Lakers, according to league sources, which would leave D’Antoni with only his brother, Dan, as the remaining assistant on his coaching staff. Eddie Jordan took the Rutgers’ head-coaching job before the season ended. Shortly after the Lakres’ first-round exit to San Antonio, D’Antoni informed both Bernie Bickerstaff and Chuck Person they would not be retained. Player development coach Phil Handy joined Mike Brown’s coaching staff in Cleveland to become an assistant. And Clifford accepted the head coaching job in Charlotte.
D’Antoni had kept all of Brown’s assistants after he was fired following a 1-4 start while hiring his brother, Dan, to help oversee his offense after spending time on his staff in Phoenix and New York. It was expected that D’Antoni would trim and alter his coaching staff, though it’s not clear if it was expected the majority of his assistants would leave.
D’Antoni is expected to hire two assistant coaches and two player development coaches and could make hirings as early as next week. One possibility remains Alvin Gentry, who worked as an assistant for D’Antoni in Phoenix. But that hiring would hinge on whether Gentry would land a head-coaching spot, possibly with the Clippers.
Now that he has encouraged anyone who will listen the importance of parents reading to their children, Metta World Peace has narrowed in one particular book that he wants to read cover to cover.
Phil Jackson’s new book titled “Eleven Rings” is a 339-page memoir that touches basically on everything – his 11 NBA championships, comparisons to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and his Zen-like teachings. It also touches on his inner workings with his players, including World Peace.
Jackson reflected on his time coaching the former Ron Artest from 2009-2011 by praising his defense, hustle and likable personality, while expressing concern about how he’d learn the triangle offense, his shaky shot selection and sensitivity to criticism.
“I like his thought process,” World Peace said Tuesday in an interview with this newspaper. “If Phil criticizes me and I didn’t like it, but it was intelligent, I respect it and support it. With Phil Jackson, I think his book is cool. He was direct. He gave people a real book. Some people will argue he talks too much. ”
Does Wold Peace believe that too?
“I would argue that,” he said. “But I love the book because he’s so honest. It’s a fun book. Everybody loves Phil.” Continue reading →
Like everyone else, Metta World Peace conceded the obvious reality surrounding Dwight Howard’s pending free agency.
“I honestly don’t even know what’s going on,” World Peace said Tuesday in a phone interview with this newspaper. “I’m not going to lie. Everytime people ask me a Dwight question, I lie and try to act like I know what’s going on.”
World Peace said he wasn’t just pretending to act oblivious about the Lakers’ most pressing issue this offseason, a tactic the Lakers forward often uses as a defense mechanism and to make reporters laugh.
“I really don’t. I’m in my own little world,” World Peace said. “I say, ‘I think that Dwight is going to come back.’ But I don’t know to tell you the truth. I’m in my own little world.” Continue reading →
Metta World Peace sounded chatty and in a relaxed mood, the product of his surgically repaired left knee healing, promoting a children’s book and feeling refreshed from an otherwise disappointing season.
Even with uncertainty lingering in the air about his Lakers future, World Peace has avoided worrying about it by doing one thing. He has and will continue to defer to his agent, Marc Cornstein, on whether or not he should exercise or opt out of his $7.7 million player option.
“I don’t want to think off emotions. I hired my agent for a reason so I’ll let him and the Lakers do their job to try to keep me a Laker for long term,” World Peace said Tuesday in a phone interview with this newspaper. “Rather than stress myself out and worry about what’s going on for the Lakers, I’ll let them do their job. Then they can get back to me.” Continue reading →
More questions than answers will permeate the Lakers this offseason.
Where will Dwight Howard play? Will he re-sign with the Lakers and become their next franchise player, or jet off somewhere in Texas? How will Kobe Bryant look upon his return? Will he make the necessary adjustments from a torn left Achilles’ tendon, or will Father Time get the best of him?
What does Pau Gasol’s future entail? Will the Lakers trade him, waive him via the amnesty provision or keep him? How will Metta World Peace handle his contract situation? Would opting out prompt the Lakers to let him walk or cause them to give him a long-term deal? Or would World Peace exercising $7.7 million player option just cause the Lakers to waive him through the amnesty clause?
None of these questions will be answered today, let alone in the next few weeks. But in a recent appearance with BBALL BREAKDOWN’s Coach Nick, I provide a framework in some of these issues. Enjoy the video above.
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Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers plays basketball with youngsters at the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club June 3, 2013. Gasol hosted a pep rally at the facility to encourage kids to spend their summer engaging in healthy activities.(Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer)
The moment he stepped onto the court, it appeared Pau Gasol immediately felt right at home.
Randy Newman’s “I love L.A.” blared over the loudspeakers. Fans shouted his name. And three weeks after having a procedure on both of his knees, Gasol moved fluidly.
Gasol wasn’t wearing a Lakers uniform, though he adamantly hopes he continues to do so next season. Instead, Gasol was hosting at the Boys and Girls Club in downtown Los Angeles to mark the beginning of his self-named foundation.
As part of his initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle, Gasol and his brother, Marc, of the Memphis Grizzlies will coach two different teams in what’s called “The Healthy Competition 2013″ running from June 10 through Aug. 2. Using gifted Nike Fuelbands (retailed at $149) to track the teams’ progress, either Pau or Marc will have to shave their beard if their respective team loses.
“It’s something me and Marc wanted to do for a while,” Pau said. “We were looking for a way to use our abilities off the court to do good for the community and we feel this was the best way for us to give back. It’s a good way for us to help kids around the world.” Continue reading →
In one corner, Dwight Howard stands as what the Lakers hope to become their next franchise player. Yet, Howard has maintained he’s going to keep his options open once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, marking the beginning of a series of courtships.
In another corner, Pau Gasol enters this offseason with plenty of uncertainty. He’s reiterated his hope to stay with the Lakers. Yet, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak hasn’t provided any assurances whether they will keep him or try to trade him.
Gasol has said politely within the past two years he’d love to stay with the Lakers, no matter the frustrations he’s met with a reduced role under both Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni. But the Lakers forward said he won’t outwardly plead to Dwight Howard to stay.
“I haven’t talked to him,” Gasol said Monday at the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Los Angeles to promote his newly launched self-named foundation. “I think he has to make the decision. It’s a big decision. We’ll see what he ends up deciding. I understand he’s going to take his time and I’m sure he’s going to continue to do that.” Continue reading →