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Tag: Kobe Bryant

Jonathan Abrams Discusses New Book, “Boys Among Men,” on the Lasting Impact of the Prep-to-Pro Players

Abrams' first book showcases the good, the bad and the ugly of the Prep-to-Pro Generation and hints at where the NBA may be headed with regard to draft eligibility rules.

Abrams’ first book, which debuted March 15, 2016, showcases the good, the bad and the ugly of the prep-to-pro generation and hints at where the NBA may be headed with regard to draft eligibility rules.

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The wait is over. Jonathan Abrams’ highly anticipated book, “Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution,”  is finally out! In it, he expertly chronicles the impact of the players who came to the NBA directly from high school before the rule was changed after the 2005 draft. Aaron spoke with the author in detail about the book and some of its most fascinating takeaways. To get you in the mood, we’ve transcribed some sexy clips:

9:37-10:07; Abrams on how he set out to humanize larger-than-life NBA players: “I don’t think there’s that much of a challenge if you just look at these people as human beings, which they are. They all have stories and origin tales of where they began. And I try to look at each story almost like, ‘OK, how did this guy become who he is today? What influenced him and what made him become that person?’ You just start from there and try to unravel the tape and figure it all out.”

13:55-14:48 on the challenge of structuring the narrative: “It was difficult. That was one of the things that I struggled with for a little while. The first thing I did was try to do as much as reporting on the subject as I could. Try to talk to as many coaches and players and agents as possible. And then I tried to construct how the book was gonna flow. And yeah, it was difficult at first. I didn’t want the same story over and over again in different chapters, and I didn’t want the chapters to seem all disconnected. And I think the one thing that did make sense was to try to connect it through kind of how the NBA grew up and matured, because back when Kobe and KG were entering the league, Michael Jordan was still king and NBA salaries weren’t anywhere near where it is today. So you can almost say that the NBA grew up during this time with these players as well.” Continue reading

Rondo’s Mishandling of Bill Kennedy Incident, Combating Homophobia in the NBA

(Rajon Rondo/Instagram)

Rajon Rondo’s bounce-back season with the Kings has sadly been  obscured by the enigmatic point guard’s poor handling of the unfortunate Bill Kennedy ordeal (Sacramento Kings’ Instagram).

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Last week, longtime NBA referee Bill Kennedy publicly announced that he was gay three days after Rajon Rondo was suspended for twice directing a homophobic slur at Kennedy. Before closing out with some Wizards discussion, this episode primarily focuses on how the Kings point guard badly mishandled the Kennedy incident. The hosts contend that, although the incident was ugly and regrettable, once Rondo used the derogatory term, he had a chance to make things right but instead took on a series of disappointing missteps: 1.) On at least a few occasions, the 29-year-old veteran denied to investigators that he even used the term, which was later confirmed by independent audiologists hired by the NBA. 2.) One day before releasing an apology statement on Dec. 16, Rondo fired off two ill-conceived tweets that were effectively non-apologies 3.) According to reports, as of press time, Rondo has yet to personally apologize to Kennedy outside of the statement he released.

Articles on Rondo-Kennedy referenced in the discussion:
Sam Amick’s column for USA Today
Ben Golliver’s Sports Illustrated piece
Dave Zirin’s column for The Nation

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod

Kobe and Garnett: Passing the Torch to Russell, Towns in Different Ways

Kevin Garnett's veteran leadership has helped the Timberwolves to a surprising start this season. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)

Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves are off to a surprising start this season. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)

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On the heels of the Lakers-focused interview with Rey Moralde, the guys delve further into how Los Angeles can best develop its highly touted young players and how important it will be for the Lakers to re-sign Jordan Clarkson. In the final segment, the A-A-Ron Block, the Minnesota Timberwolves are used as a prime example of a team that has fairly seamlessly integrated young talent, an area where Byron Scott has struggled thus far. Aging veterans, such as Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince, have taken on a diminished but important role both on the off the court, whereas Kobe Bryant’s shot-happy ways appear to be stunting the growth of promising players like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. In recent games, Scott has started to give Russell more freedom to make mistakes and grow…and your hosts certainly hope that continues.

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod

Rey Moralde: Kobe Will “Retire Firing” in a “Chuckers’ Heaven”

Rey Moralde (bottom left) interviewing Lakers' rookie DeAngelo Russell

Rey Moralde (bottom left) interviewing Lakers rookie DeAngelo Russell (Credit: Lakers.com)

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This season’s Los Angeles Lakers are being talked about for mostly unfortunate reasons. One of the best players of all time, Kobe Bean Bryant, will retire upon season’s end and is undoubtedly playing the worst individual basketball of his career. The team is just as bad, beginning with a 3-18 record that includes a loss to the now 1-21 76ers in Bryant’s underwhelming homecoming. But while there’s certainly ample room for doom and gloom on the episode, Rey-Rey is Fundamental‘s Rey Moralde talks about some of the more positive aspects of the current Lakers, such as their exciting young core, led by Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and potentially D’Angelo Russell. Rey speaks glowingly about those guys, as well as less glowingly on the disappointing close to Bryant’s career and how poor of a job he believes Byron Scott is doing with this unit. Here are some highlights:

5:20-5:30: “It’s hard to watch, but for Kobe, he’ll just retire firing basically, like he’s just done his entire career.”

13:50-14:20: On the framework already in place and projecting the franchise’s future: “As much as there’s doom and gloom with the Lakers, they do have a few players that have potential in Russell, Randle and possibly Clarkson, if he stays, because I don’t know if someone else will scoop him up. But if they have those three, they add another one from the draft and they can Byron…if they get a young coach…and have him grow along with those four potential players, I think they could have something there.”

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Best Rookies, Portland’s Surprise Start and the Enigmatic Derrick Rose

Andre Drummond's improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

Andre Drummond’s improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

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On today’s episode, the A-A-Ron Block is devoted to continued discussion of the Chicago Bulls. This intriguing-yet-perplexing team has defeated the Cavaliers and Thunder, while also surrendering 130 points to the Hornets. Its starting point guard is an enigma, too, going three straight games with single-digit scoring before erupting for 29 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against the Thunder Thursday. Following Derrick Rose’s strong individual performance, the guys debate the validity of the latest trade rumors swirling around him. They also touch on frontcourt rotations, the pros and cons of starting Doug McDermott and more.

Later, LLC Incorporated breaks down the best rookies so far — Karl-Anthony Towns is the twins’ consensus pick — and the league’s most pleasant surprises and early disappointments. While the Blazers and Pistons have impressed Aaron so far, Joshua is particularly irked by the Grizzlies’ sluggish start. Finally, who’s currently the worst team in the league? The guys disagree.

Music: “Who Likes To Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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