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Saying goodbye to Kobe

This week the NBA lost a legend.

When Kobe Bryant’s helicopter went down Sunday, killing Kobe and nine others, it sent shock waves around the entire world.

Five championships, 81-points, an MVP, record amounts of All-NBA and All-Star selections, Kobe did it all in his twenty years in the NBA. You will be hard pressed to find a player who accomplished more than what he did in his time as a professional basketball player.

But you see, Kobe was so much more than just an NBA player.

He is arguably the most popular player outside of North America in the history of the NBA. It is not a coincidence that he was the ambassador of this past summer’s world cup, as Kobe is far and away the most popular non-Chinese NBA player in China, where the tournament was held.

His mark on international ball will be remembered forever but his life extended far beyond even that as well.

An Academy Award winner, best-selling author and countless other outstanding creative ventures, Kobe was just getting started in his second life as all of these achievements came since 2016 when he last played a game.

What’s saddest about the helicopter going down though, was the fact his daughter as also on it. Gianna, 13-years old, had become a fan favourite of NBA twitter. She was supposed to be the person, who much like her Dad, brought new eyes and fans to a league because of her.

Kobe had found a new challenge in his life, the fun Dad who coached his kids and it was beautiful to watch.

Kobe and everyone on that helicopter were all taken far too soon, and I think it’s important we honour all of them. They died doing what so many of us have done, car-pooling to a youth sporting event.  

So far, the league and its teams have done a commendable job and I look forward to seeing the rest because everyone on that helicopter deserves it.

In honour of Kobe, let’s look at my five favourite Kobe Bryant gifs because I think we all need a smile in moments like this.

5. Matt Barnes, need I say more.

4. Kobe letting Dwight know what’s up.

3. An iconic reply.

2. Hey Kobe, how many rings do you have?

1. Mamba out

A rant about All-Stars

There is nothing that annoys me more than when people start saying guys were snubbed but then don’t say who to take out. Like everybody, there’s 12 spots a conference. I know you love Zach Lavine or Devin Booker or whoever but unless you’re giving me receipts on who you want out, SHUT UP.

Also, to everyone who says expand it to 15 a conference, that’s stupid. Making the game should truly mean something and right now it does. Once we start expanding, it loses its historical weight.

If guys like Booker, Lavine or Beal want to make it, they should win some games. Each conference had one spot each to guys on garbage teams and those went to Trae Young and Brandon Ingram.

We’ve seen approximately 8 million good stats bad team guys and so frankly I don’t want to hear it anymore about the guy averaging 25 who plays no defence on a bad team. I’m sorry but if you play no defence (Booker and Lavine) you’re part of the problem. Herm Edwards put it best:

NBA twitter refuses to accept that players being bad defenders is a negative. Guys like Towns, Booker and Lavine have been great all year offensively but their terrible defence is a huge reason why their teams aren’t good.

Coaches pick these teams; they know who impacts games the most.

If those guys were so dominant on offence, then they’d make it. It sounds simple but the guys who know the game best are the one’s picking. They’re in this every day, watching film, preparing and breaking down guy’s games, if anyone knows who an All-Star is, it’s them.

So next time you go complain about the All-Star team pause and think two things:

  1. Who that made it didn’t deserve it?
  2. Why don’t coaches think my guy deserves it?

When you answer those questions, you can probably

Grind City is back

Last May when the Memphis Grizzlies got the second overall pick at the 2019 NBA Draft lottery, their fans were rightfully excited. Although the second overall pick has produced some major busts over the years, the idea they could select a player such as Ja Morant was exciting for a team who had been through a lot in the past year.

The organization had fired David Fizdale, the coach who was supposed to continue the grind city ways. Instead, with Fizdale gone, stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley suffered injuries and overall it was clear the team was going nowhere and it was time for a fresh start.

From there, the Grizzlies sent Gasol to Toronto at the deadline and the rebuild around the 2018 top 5 pick Jaren Jackson Jr. was officially on. Little did their fans know, they were about to strike gold.

Morant had a dominant season at Murray State in his sophomore year and had shot up the draft boards. Originally overlooked out of high school, no one was looking past the walking highlight Morant anymore.

He was the unanimous choice at second overall, gaining comparisons to Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose and was by all accounts a future superstar.

With his selection though, it made Conley expendable as they play the same position and so once the greatest player in franchise history was shipped to Utah, if the rebuild hadn’t officially started already, now it was on.

Fans and NBA people expected a rough year, I mean when four of your five best players are under the age of 23 it’s hard to expect more. Yet, we were all owe so wrong.

The Grizzlies have been on a tear since Morant missed a few games with an injury with the runaway rookie of the year leading the way. They’ve been so good in fact, that they now sit in eighth place in the western conference.

Young teams like this aren’t supposed to be good.

That is, unless they have something special happening and that is unquestionably the case. First year head coach Taylor Jenkins came from the Bucks and his impact in Memphis has been obvious.

The system Jenkins brought in has put an emphasis on space and pacing which has allowed young players Morant, Jackson, Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke to excel. Brooks has taken a huge step this season, going from just 7.5 points per game last year to this year’s 16.5. His competitiveness has had an obvious impact on the team.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch them yet, make some time. Morant is a future super star and Jackson may be as well. They’re one shot creating piece away from being a legitimate problem.

What’s scary for the league though, is that the shot creator may be Dillon Brooks and even if it isn’t, they have beautifully stacked the deck in assets so they can go out and trade for one.

A trade like that though isn’t important right now. What is, is the Memphis freaking Grizzlies are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the NBA. Yes, you read that right, the MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES.

It’s crazy how a couple ping-pong balls can completely change a franchise.

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