Kobe Bryant is Reportedly Cleared For All Basketball Activities

Kobe Bryant

Big news for Los Angeles Lakers fans. Great news for any NBA fans, too. One of the most legendary players to ever pass from the courts of the NBA, superstar Kobe Bryant, is reportedly now cleared to participate in any basketball activities. The Mamba has been sidelined since April 12, 2013 due to a torn Achilles injury, one of the big nightmare-injuries of professional athletes.

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Kobe Bryant to live tweet re-air of 81 point game

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Tuesday, January 22 starting at 4 p.m. ET, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) will live tweet during NBA TV’s re-air of his infamous 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors.   During the game, Bryant will tweet about his performance during that night, chat with fans and more. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #COUNTONKOBE.

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Kobe Bryant joins Twitter, first follow is Alex Morgan

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L.A. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, one of the most polarizing popular players in the NBA joined Twitter and made his first tweet Friday. With in the first hour, he had 72,000+ followers and on Sunday he finally picked his first follow- soccer star Alex Morgan

He also made his first tweet. See it and find his account after the jump.

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L.A. Lakers make NBA television history with Spanish broadcast

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Time Warner Cable Deportes launched on October 1 as the first Spanish-language regional sports network in the country and the first ever, to broadcast the Los Angeles Lakers in Spanish.  This is also the first time in the history of the NBA that a team will be followed this closely by an American-based sports network that will speak to the Latino community.

There has been some movement towards this in the league.  The Chicago Bulls recently extended their Univision radio agreement and the Orlando Magic will now be broadcasting their games in Spanish via their website.

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NBA Social Media: LA Lakers are champs, Memphis Grizzlies the biggest losers

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Social media interaction heats up during the NBA playoffs as fans look to track the success and failures of their team as they push toward the championship. Unmetric, the leading social benchmarking company, today releases its NBA Playoffs report, detailing the social media efforts of the top 16 NBA teams participating in the 2012 playoffs to better understand the interaction between the top performing teams and their fans.

With this NBA Playoffs report, Unmetric identifies which teams are doing the best job at gaining new fans, keeping them updated, and carrying on conversations via social media.
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Lakers trade Luke Walton and draft pick to Cavaliers

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We’ve got another NBA trade to report breaking at this hour. The Cleveland Cavaliers have sent Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga to the Los Angeles Lakers for Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and the Lakers 2012 first round draft pick.

The Lake show also gets the right to swap 2013 1st round picks with the Miami Heat. This pick is top 14 protected (Hoops World.com)

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L.A. Lakers Games Have New Sideline Reporter: Heidi Watney

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Reason 3,498, 490 it sucks that there’s no NBA season: sideline reporter Heidi Watney is taking her talents back to her home state. Los Angeles Lakers telecasts on Time Warner will have a new sideline reporter in Watney (once the games actually happen); previously known for her extensive Boston Red Sox coverage.

If Watney looks too hot to be a reporter, so hot that in fact she distracts you from the actual news (what I call the Lisa Dergan rule), you’re not alone. She literally is a former beauty pageant contest.

We all want to see aesthetically pleasing people on television (yet Chicago Tribune Bears reporter Brad Biggs is on local tv almost every other day, in the third largest market, amazingly, see footnote 1) but there comes a point when the hotness is a story and it distracts you from the news.

From ESPN:

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NBA All-Defensive Team: Orlando’s Dwight Howard Leads the Way

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, winner of the last three Defensive Player of the Year Awards, headlines the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Howard totaled 56 points, including 27 First Team votes.

Also selected to the All-Defensive First Team are guard Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics (39 points), forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat (38 points), forward Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics (33 points), and guard Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (33 points). Garnett and Bryant each earn All-Defensive First Team honors for the ninth time, tying Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Gary Payton for the most in league history.

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Lakers vs. Mavericks: NBA Playoff Series Preview

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The last time these two teams squared off against one another, four players were ejected.

With the Lakers holding a comfortable 90-73 lead in the fourth quarter, Steve Blake drove to the basket, past the cement-shoed Jason Terry, who, being beat, pushed Blake in the back to the hardwood.

Tempers flared, testosterone levels quickly rose, and a chest-bumping match quickly ensued between Blake and Terry.

As Jack Nicholson looked on through purple lenses, the confrontation escalated. Skinny Artest, also known as Matt Barnes, came to Blake’s aid, charging after Terry like a pissed off Spanish bull, nostrils flaring. Brendan Haywood met Barnes, pointing his finger at him as Barnes walked the sidelines of the Mavericks bench when Mavericks assistant coach, Terry Stotts, attempted to calm Barnes, and was slung to the ground. An oval mouthed Mark Cuban cried all the while in the background behind the Mavericks bench.
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Chicago Bulls Major Player in the Eastern Conference Again

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So the Chicago Bulls didn’t get LeBron James. Or Dwyane Wade. Or later, Carmelo Anthony.

It doesn’t seem to matter.

Sitting pretty atop the NBA’s Central division at 12-8 heading into Friday’s huge 8 p.m. match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers at United Center, the Bulls should be right in the thick of things for the Eastern Conference championship despite not landing one of the biggest names in basketball in the off-season or via trade.

Let’s take a look at some things to like about Chicago:

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Should Minnesota Feel Happy for the Lakers?

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By Shaymus McLaughlin
 

It’s now been over a week since the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship, their 15th overall as a franchise, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. As a sports fan, it’s certainly a wonderful story. Kobe was finally able to win without the great Shaq-Fu, Phil Jackson jumped ahead of Red Auerbach for the most NBA titles, Lamar Odom was able to overcome his odious candy addiction and provide great play in the Finals, Pau won his first championship, and Derek Fisher achieved a scientific breakthrough- bringing himself back from the dead after flat-lining for 82 straight regular season games.

 Here’s my problem: I’m a Minnesotan at heart, and I can’t get over the fact that the Lakers used to be ours. That should be 15 championships for the Minneapolis Lakers, not the Los Angeles “We don’t actually have any lakes” Lakers.

 Should I be happy that the team with strong ties to my home state won again? Maybe I should, but I simply can’t. It’s like trying to root for your ex-girlfriend, who hit the dating scene with consistent success right after the break-up and is now married to a ridiculously rich and handsome guy, and the couple have nothing but great memories that nobody will stop talking about. Meanwhile, 30 years later you’re still trying to reclaim what was lost with a girl who can’t do anything right (Really, Timberwolves!?! $48 million for Marko Jaric? Really?!) minn-lakers-team-photo

 To be perfectly honest, I think I would be legitimately happy for the Lakers if it weren’t for one big thing:

  We Minnesotans don’t get any credit here, and frankly, we should. Not even a mention from fans, sports channels, columns, articles…nobody. It’s like the Lakers’ humble Midwest roots have been overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of L.A., and now nobody even knows the beginnings of the Lakers’ rich history.

 Nobody mentions that, of the Lakers’ 15 total championships, five of them came while the Lakers were still in Minneapolis. That’s a third of the Lakers’ rings. And not only that, we managed to get those five championships in just six years! The only other professional basketball team that can match the Minneapolis Lakers’ pace is Bill Russell’s Celtics (who won eight in a row starting in 1959, just a few years after Minneapolis won its last NBA title… and yes, I’m still slamming my head into the desk after writing that).

 We were the first repeat champions (1949 and 1950), had one of the first franchise players in George Mikan, won the first ever NBA Championship after the NBL and BAA merger in 1949, and accomplished three titles in a row from 1952 to 1954. This run established the Minneapolis Lakers as the first NBA dynasty. We have six players and one coach in the Hall of Fame, despite existing for only twelve years. Think about it: We pumped out Hall of Famers like Tyler Perry pumps out underwhelming movies. It’s a nearly unprecedented pace. 

 Yet NOBODY EVER MENTIONS any of this. When Lakers history is discussed, people talk about Magic Johnson, Kobe, Jerry West, Kareem, Wilt Chamberlain, Pat Riley… all from their time in L.A. Never do we hear about Jim Pollard or Vern Mikkelsen. lakers

 The Lakers were conceived, born, and raised by Minnesota. The LA Lakers are essentially Minnesota’s child. In real life, when a child grows up and has success as an adult, people always give some credit to the parents. “You must have been raised well,” they say. The Lakers were raised as well as any child or team could hope for. Minnesotans threw their support behind the team for many years, and the Minneapolis Lakers responded by doing the only thing that fans truly ask for: win championships.

 Now, every time I hear the name LA Lakers, I can’t help but cringe a little bit. The fact that they retained the name Lakers, despite the obvious lack of lakes in the area, just feels like rubbing salt on the wound. Remember that ex-girlfriend from earlier? Imagine if the ridiculously rich and handsome guy she married was a movie star, so her name was constantly coming up in the news. That’s how it feels when I hear someone talk about the LA Lakers.

 I wasn’t even around for those early titles, so it’s not that I’m bitter. Ok, maybe I am a little bit. But I can’t help it, and I don’t blame any other Minnesotan if they feel the same way. It’s a parent’s natural instinct to hope their child succeeds like the Los Angeles Lakers have, but it’s also natural to want them around forever. Especially so when they reach the nearly unprecedented heights that the L.A. Lakers have. But just like in your personal life, you should never forget where the foundation for the future success was initially laid.

Final NBA Off-season Analysis

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By Paul M. Banks, David Kay, Peter Christian

In our final NBA team analysis before the offseason officially begins, we complete the set with the L.A. Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic


LOS ANGELES LAKERS
2. Trevor or Lamar? – Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom were both integral parts in the Lakers title run. However, both are unrestricted free agents and should garner a lot of attention from other teams this off-season. I don’t think the Lakers will be able to afford re-signing both players meaning one is likely to leave. But which player do they pursue because they each bring something different to the table. Odom is a veteran who can handle the ball offensively and play multiple spots on the floor. Ariza is the type of defensive stopper that every championship team needs, is six years younger than Odom, and should come at a cheaper cost. Decisions, decisions…

For the full write-up click here


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

1. Sell your soul to keep LeBron – LeBron will be to the 2010 off-season what Lil Wayne has been to hip-hop the past year; the hottest commodity in the game. The King can’t blink without someone mentioning the possibility of him leaving Cleveland for the bright lights of NYC. The Cavs need to do any and everything in their power to not let LeBron hit the free agency market in 2010 when any team with the cap space will do whatever it takes to sign him. Re-name Cleveland, “LeBronland” or call Quicken Loans Arena, “King James Arena.” Hire Jack Bauer to kidnap LeBron’s family and make him sign a contract before they are safely released. ANYTHING!

2. Sure up the inside game – With Anderson Varajeo likely opting out of his contract and rumors that Ben Wallace will contemplate retirement this off-season, the Cavs need to sure up their depth down low. Zydrunas Ilgauskas also has a player option, but will almost certainly return. Outside of Z, Cleveland is pretty thin up-front and needs to find another scoring option down low since Wallace is pretty worthless on the offensive end. Re-signing Varajeo would be a must since the Cavs don’t have the cap space to find his replacement, unless a player like Rasheed Wallace takes the mid-level exception.

For the full write-up click here

ORLANDO MAGIC

This past season was a magical one in Orlando, as the Magic emerged as one of the elite teams in the league, advancing to the NBA Finals for just the second time in the franchise’s brief history. Despite the fact that Orlando was defeated by the Lakers in five games, the team cannot be disappointed with their ’08-’09 campaign.

The success of the Magic directly correlates with Dwight Howard continuing to develop into one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. What put Orlando over the top though was the effectiveness of the players around Superman. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu came up clutch in late-game situations, providing outside threats to compliment Howard’s presence inside. Even though Jameer Nelson missed the final two-plus months of the regular season, and pretty much the entire playoffs, the Magic didn’t miss much of a beat as the trade deadline acquisition of Rafer Alston helped fill the void. Courtney Lee seems like he will prove to be a steal of a late first round draft pick and should be an important piece of the puzzle for years to come. If Orlando can keep this core together, they should remain in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.

For the full write up, click here