Tag: Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James Named Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year

LeBron James (photo via usatoday.com)

by Kia Morgan-Smith via thegrio.com

Although he’s been sidelined for the next several games with a groin injury, it hasn’t overshadowed the moves LeBron James has made on and off the court

So for the third time the LA Lakers forward has been named the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year, the Associated Press reports.

“I would describe it as a success because I was able to inspire so many people throughout the year,” James said. “I got to go back to China, to Paris, to Berlin, I opened up a school. And all these kids I was able to see, all over the world and in my hometown, I was able to inspire, to make them think they can be so much more than what they think they’re capable of being. That was my outlook for 2018.”

“So yes, it’s been a pretty good year.”

James received 78 points in the ballots given to U.S. editors and news directors, the AP reports. The Boston Red Sox Mookie Betts was second with 46 points. The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin placed third, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes came in fourth and Triple Crown winner Justify was fifth, according to the outlet.

In his 16th season, James still reigns on the court. He’s continued to be a force helping to usher his teams to the NBA Finals for eight consecutive years. He left Cleveland to make magic happen with the LA Lakers. And in the midst of aligning his career goals with his life goals and dreams he opened a school called “I Promise” in his hometown of Akron, Ohio for at-risk kids.

James is also an involved father who takes time out to be his kids’ biggest cheerleader from the sidelines during their basketball games. And he’s been an advocate off the court, using his voice and influence to speak out on social justice causes.

Read more: https://thegrio.com/2018/12/28/lebron-james-ap-male-athlete-of-the-year/

Shaquille O’Neal Honored by Los Angeles Lakers with Statue in Front of Staples Center in Los Angeles

Shaquille O’Neal and his Statute (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

article by Chelsea Edwards and Rob Fukuzaki via abc7.com

A 9-foot, 1,200-pound bronze statue of Laker great Shaquille O’Neal was unveiled in the front of Staples Center in  Friday. The statue, which is connected to Staples Center and suspended 10 feet off the ground, was brought to downtown Los Angeles on Thursday prior to the unveiling ceremony.

The ceremony at Star Plaza outside Staples Center included live music, a Ferris wheel, interactive games as well as speeches from O’Neal himself and his teammates, colleagues and friends. Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Jerry West, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke at the event.

“I just want to say thank you. I’ve learned so much from you as a player. Everything you’ve done for this city, everything you’ve done for this franchise,” Bryant said. “Kids, your kids, you guys should know your dad was a bad man. Congratulations and much love to you, my brother.”

A few of O’Neal’s six children also spoke during the ceremony and helped him unveil the massive statue hanging above the ground. O’Neal thanked Jerry West, his former teammates and, of course, the fans for believing in him throughout his career. “This moment is very unexpected because I see two Lakers ahead of me that definitely deserve this statue,” he said. “To the fans, you know I love you, and I just wanted you to know that I heard you in the games when I was missing free throws.”

At the end of his speech, he chanted, “Can you dig it?” to a cheerful crowd. O’Neal played for the Lakers from 1996 to 2004, leading the team to three consecutive NBA championships and winning the NBA finals MVP award each time.

Source: Shaquille O’Neal honored with statue in front of Staples Center | abc7.com

Magic Johnson Named President of Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers President Magic Johnson (photo via Variety.com)

article by  via Variety.com

NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been named the Los Angeles Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations in an overhaul of the struggling team’s front office. The team announced on Tuesday that general manager Mitch Kupchak has been let go and that Jim Buss will no longer serve as executive VP of basketball operations.

Buss is the son of the deceased Lakers owner Jerry Buss and brother of Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss. The team is currently 19-39 and in 14th place (of the 15 teams) in the NBA’s Western Conference.

Johnson was hired as an adviser to the Lakers earlier this month and subsequently said he would like to “call the shots” for the team. The announcement did not specify whether Johnson will handle day-to-day operations. “It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as president of basketball operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family,” Johnson said in a statement. “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

Johnson played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons, leading the team to five NBA championships in what was widely known as the team’s “Showtime” era. He won three Most Valuable Player awards Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ president, governor, and co-owner said that the team is actively searching for a new general manager.

To read more, go to: Magic Johnson Named Lakers President | Variety

L.A. Lakers Legend Magic Johnson Takes Consulting Position with Former Team to Advise Ownership

NBA and Lakers Legend Magic Johnson (photo via latimes.com)

article by Tania Ganguli via latimes.com

In his first public comments since being hired as an advisor to Lakers governor and co-owner Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson tread softly about the Lakers executive of whom he has been most critical through the years.  His role, he said, was simply to help in any way he could.

“Jim [Buss] is calling the shots,” Johnson said during an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, the station that holds the rights to Laker broadcasts. “I want him to understand I’m just here to lend advice.”The Lakers hired Johnson on Thursday, two weeks after Johnson and Jeanie Buss were seen having dinner before watching a Lakers game together. Johnson’s duties will include “collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs, and helping ownership to determine the best path for growth and success,” according to a release on the team website.

Johnson, who was not available to other media outlets, described a versatile role, where he will advise team executives and employees on everything from business to basketball should they want it.He also indicated he did not want to force his way into any situation. He said he was open to helping Lakers Coach Luke Walton in working with players, but also open to being uninvolved in the players’ day-to-day development if Walton was comfortable with that.  “What I want to do is try to just, little by little build the Lakers back up to where they should be,” Johnson said.

Johnson spent 13 seasons playing for the Lakers, winning five championships and three MVP awards. During that time, he grew especially close with late Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Jeanie and Jim’s father. The elder Buss sold an ownership stake in the organization to Johnson after he retired from playing. Johnson, who also has an ownership stake in the Dodgers and Sparks, sold his share of the Lakers in 2010.

To read full article, go to: Lakers hire Magic Johnson to advise ownership – LA Times

NBA: Miami Heat to Retire Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 Jersey

Shaquille O'Neal (in his No. 32 to be retired by the Heat) celebrates the Heat's championship in 2006 alongside current Heat guard Dwyane Wade. (Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE/Getty Images)
Shaquille O’Neal (in his No. 32 to be retired by the Heat) celebrates the Heat’s championship in 2006 alongside current Heat guard Dwyane Wade. (Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE/Getty Images)

article by Ira Winderman via chicagotribune.com

Shaquille O’Neal will become the third Miami Heat player to have his number retired, with the team announcing today that O’Neal’s No. 32 will join the No. 33 of Alonzo Mourning and No. 10 of Tim Hardaway already raised to the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“Shaquille O’Neal is one of the truly elite players in the history of the game and one of the greatest players to ever wear a Heat uniform,” Heat President Pat Riley said in a statement. “He took us to another level as a basketball franchise while leading us to our first NBA championship.

“Retiring his number in the rafters, along with Heat greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, is something we are very proud of.”

O’Neal’s jersey will be raised early next season, with the 2016-17 schedule not to be released until mid-summer.

With O’Neal honored for his relatively brief Heat tenure and single championship with the franchise, it makes it all but inevitable the Heat eventually will retire LeBron James‘ No. 6, with James spending more time with the franchise and winning two titles in his four seasons with the team.

Former NBA Champion Devean George Developing Affordable Housing in North Minneapolis (VIDEO)

deveangeorge
Former NBA Star Devean George (YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)

Former Los Angeles Laker Devean George is no longer worried about free throws and the hardwood, but is now focusing on giving back to the North Minneapolis community where he grew up.

George, whose career started with the Lakers but ended in 2010 with the Golden State Warriors, has teamed up with a former classmate, architect Jamil Fordto build an affordable-housing building in his hometown.

The 47-unit building will be located on Penn Avenue and Golden Valley Road, and George hopes the building will be a positive change for an area known for crime and violence.  “Housing, I believe, is the foundation to doing whatever you want to do,” George said.

“If you don’t have stable housing, you’re not worried about education, you’re not worried about eating healthy, you’re not worried about anything else,” George said.

George is also making it easy for residents who’ll live in the building. Instead of having to travel miles to a grocery store, residents will be able to take advantage of a grocery co-op that George is also developing in the building.

“That’s what people look for when they go live in a neighborhood,” George said. “Where’s my grocery store? Where is my movie theater? Where can we go eat? Where can our kids go play at a park? And this was just a place where there is just housing.”

And this is just the beginning for George and Ford. After this initial building is finished, they plan to build another one.

“This is just the start,” George said. “This is just the catalyst of everything that’s going to go on.”

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlin 1st Player to be Commemorated on U.S. Postage Stamp

NBA Great Wilt Chamberlin Stamp (Credit: United States Postal Service)

Wilt Chamberlain captured America’s imagination for two decades. With his 7-foot-1 frame, his commanding presence on the basketball court, his ability to rebound and score and his astounding athleticism, he became one of the most memorable players in NBA history.

Now, Chamberlain, the only man to score 100 points in an NBA game, will become the first player from the league to be honored with a postage stamp in his image. And fittingly enough, the two versions being issued by the Postal Service are nearly two inches long, or about a third longer than the usual stamp.

It would not be right any other way for the player known as Wilt the Stilt and alternately as the Big Dipper. Chamberlain died in 1999 at 63, but his name still resonates in the sport. And even at its atypical size, the new stamp could barely contain Chamberlain’s dimensions.  “We still had trouble fitting him into those proportions,” said Kadir Nelson, the artist who painted the images.

Nelson created two versions of the stamp. One shows Chamberlain in the act of shooting with his first NBA team, the Philadelphia Warriors, for whom he started playing in 1959. The other depicts him rebounding for the Los Angeles Lakers, his final club, for whom he played from 1968 to 1973.

Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain shot over the San Diego Rockets’ Bud Acton in 1968 in Boston. (Associated Press)

The stamps will be dedicated Friday, in Philadelphia, his hometown, at halftime of the 76ers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The ceremony comes at a frustrating time: The 76ers avoided tying the record for the worst start to a season in NBA history Wednesday night when they ended their 0-17 run with a victory at Minnesota.

But for a few minutes Friday night, Philadelphia fans old enough to remember can think back to the days when Chamberlain — first as a Warrior and later as a 76er — engaged in epic battles with the Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell. In 1967, Chamberlain led Philadelphia to an NBA title, the first of two in his career.

But just how did Chamberlain end up on a stamp?

The creation of a postage stamp is a process that takes years and begins with the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, a volunteer group appointed by the postmaster general. The committee evaluates roughly 40,000 proposals annually before recommending about 30 people or subjects for the postmaster general’s review.

A Chamberlain stamp was originally envisioned as part of a set of four basketball players who made history, said William J. Gicker, the creative director for the stamp program. A campaign engineered by Donald Hunt, a sportswriter for The Philadelphia Tribune, in support of Chamberlain led to thousands of letters and petition signatures being delivered to the committee. Continue reading “NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlin 1st Player to be Commemorated on U.S. Postage Stamp”

Los Angeles Lakers Hire Byron Scott as New Head Coach

lat-scott-wre0004544396-20050209
Former New Orleans Hornets Coach Byron Scott, left, shares a laugh with referee Pat Fraher during a game against the Seattle SuperSonics in 2005. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

The Lakers have officially hired former Laker Byron Scott as their next coach, ending a search of almost three months by choosing a familiar name to Lakers followers.  Scott comes with a built-in advantage over the last two Lakers coaches because he didn’t replace Phil Jackson in 2011 and wasn’t chosen instead of Jackson in 2012.

He also has a solid relationship with Kobe Bryant and the Buss family, not to mention familiarity with Lakers fans who remember his role on three championship teams in the 1980s.

Scott, 53, has a four-year deal for $17 million, with a team option for the fourth year. The Lakers will formally introduce him as their coach at a news conference scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.

“I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside [Lakers General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak] and the Buss family,” Scott said in a statement released by the Lakers. “I know firsthand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in L.A. and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves.”

Continue reading “Los Angeles Lakers Hire Byron Scott as New Head Coach”

Jason Collins’ Brooklyn Nets Jersey Now the Top Seller on NBA.com

Jason-Collins-jersey

Jason Collins made history Sunday when he became the NBA’s first openly gay player. On Tuesday, his jersey was the league’s top seller online.  Collins’ No. 98 jersey for the Brooklyn Nets outsold NBA powerhouses like LeBron James and Kevin Durant.  Monday, a league official told the New York Times the demand for merchandise that bore Collins’ name was “unprecedented.” Tuesday’s sales proved it.

Collins plays in his second game Wednesday night after signing a 10-day contract with the Nets. The team beat the Lakers 108-102 in his debut. Collins tallied 10 minutes and, more importantly, 5 personal fouls in the victory. In addition to solid interior defense, giving “hard fouls” has become Collins trademark since entering the league in 2001.  He’s not an All-Star and the Nets don’t need him to be. Ten minutes and five fouls could come again Wednesday night against the Blazers.

The Nets are in the midst of a 6-game road trip.

article via thegrio.com

Jason Collins, 1st Openly Gay NBA Player, Signs With Nets and Appears in Game

Jason Collins defending Lakers guard MarShon Brooks. Until Sunday night, no NBA game had taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports, via Reuters)

LOS ANGELES — Jason Collins, a 35-year-old center, signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon and played against the Lakers hours later, appearing in an NBA uniform for the first time since last spring, when he announced that he was gay.  The signing represents a significant step toward transforming North American professional sports into a more welcoming environment for gay athletes. Until Sunday night, no NBA game had taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. The NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL — the continent’s other three traditional major sports leagues — have never had a publicly gay participant.

The very act of Collins’s suiting up and stepping onto the court — he entered the game to warm applause in the second quarter — represented a milestone in the effort to change a sports culture that some feel has lagged far behind society at large in acceptance of gay people. Collins played 11 minutes in the Nets’ 108-102 victory, finishing with no points, two rebounds, a steal and five fouls.

Collins said he had little time to process it all. He awoke Sunday morning to text messages from his agent and Nets Coach Jason Kidd alerting him to the move, and hours later he was signing his contract. A few hours after that, he was taking his physical and preparing to play his first game since April 17.  “Right now, I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, the game plan assignment,” Collins, sitting at a lectern, said less than an hour before the game Sunday night. “I don’t have time to really think about history right now.”

Continue reading “Jason Collins, 1st Openly Gay NBA Player, Signs With Nets and Appears in Game”