YouTube Clip of the Day: Kobe Bryant Live Rap Performance with Tyra Banks

 

Obviously listening to his own beats.

Because he has evolved into quite a refined gentleman, most people forget that in his younger years Kobe Bryant was, well, just a kid. He was young, cocky, and not afraid to showcase all of his talents. And I mean all of them…

Kobe’s 2001 single “K.O.B.E.” featuring none other than Miss Tyra Banks (who has a few YouTube gems herself) took the country by storm. And of course the country I’m referring to is Tajikistan, where it went platinum…last year.

Needless to say Kobe retired rather abruptly from the rap game. That is one area where I’m afraid Shaq will always have the edge. Although, I’m pretty sure Shaq was never introduced by Ahmad Rashad and the Ying Yang Twins. So he’s got that going for him…

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Baseball and Basketball Home-Grown Talent

A not-so-scientific experiment on whether teams have more success with players from the area.

Baseball:

  • San Francisco Giants: 5 players from California – Most notable is infielder Freddy Sanchez from Hollywood. A key player, but won a batting title in Pittsburgh so it’s not like he played better in the comforts of sunny California.
  • Texas Rangers: 5 players from Texas – Most notable is Jorge Cantu, who despite playing for the Mexican team in the WBC was actually born in McAllen, TX. The fact that he was the biggest contributor doesn’t say much for the theory.
  • Philadelphia Phillies: 1 player from Pennsylvania – Jamie Moyer, a reliable member of the staff but certainly not having the best years of his career in Philly.
  • New York Yankees: 4 players from the tri-state area – Most notable, of course, is Mr. Yankee Derek Jeter who was born in Pequannock, NJ. He certainly has thrived in his home surroundings. Little known fact…Alex Rodriguez was actually born in New York before re-locating to Florida. I know he’s not New York’s favorite son, but he did win his only championship with them so it’s got to count for something.

Basketball (last season’s rosters):

  • Los Angeles Lakers: 2 players from California – Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton (noted BFF’s) both grew up in Southern California and helped the Lakers win back-to-back championships. With Farmar now in New Jersey we’ll have a better gauge on whether the hometown crowd gave him an extra boost.
  • Boston Celtics: 0 players from Massachusetts – Ouch! Take that Boston!
  • Phoenix Suns: 1 player from Arizona – Channing Frye, a major contributor and probably having his best years in the NBA while in Phoenix.
  • Orlando Magic: 1 player from Florida – Vince Carter…not much to say about that one.

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Newest Laker Steve Blake LOOOOOOOVES Johnny Rockets

Steve Blake is a scholar.

While Steve Blake may fit in perfectly with his new Los Angeles Lakers teammates on the court, off the court he may have some problems. You see, it seems as if Steve is beyond the video games and meaningless banter associated with the young folks of today’s NBA. Steve Blake is an intellectual.

I was lucky enough to come across one of Blake’s essay’s from the University of Maryland. While Blake is known for leading the Terps to a national championship in 2002, it seems we haven’t given him enough praise for his accomplishments in the classroom.

Take for example this essay, that Deadspin was kind enough to publish for our enjoyment. Click the link to see the whole essay, but essentially it is an edgy critique of one of our nation’s most prized establishments, Johnny Rockets.

Blake wisely begins his essay, entitled “Happy days at Johnny’s” as fiction, in an effort to draw the reader into a personal story about two young lovers going through a difficult time in their relationship. During an argument, the young lady wanders into a Johnny Rockets restaurant and her boyfriend follows her inside:

A young couple was walking down Main Street arguing with each other. The young lady got frustrated with her boyfriend and just walked away from him and went into a restaurant. He wanted to make up with her so he went in there after her…As they were sitting, they heard a song by Elvis being played throughout the whole restaurant. The couple looked at each other and smiled because they both really liked that song. The restaurant that this couple went to is in Florida and is called Johnny Rockets, a restaurant that brings people happiness.”

Quickly and unexpectedly, however, Blake abandons the two characters and begins his appraisal of the Johnny Rockets franchise, noting such things as:

  • The colors of the restaurant are red, white, and yellow.
  • There is also a straw holder that the waiter or waitress opens for you to get a straw as if you were a five-old kid.
  • By looking at Johnny Rockets you can tell it is resembling the 40s and 50s by the juke boxes.
  • With the friendly service of the waiters and waitresses and the singing and dancing they sometimes do makes this place just as fun as hanging out with your friends.
  • By having a restaurant like this, I think it shows how we haven’t forgotten about what has happened back in the 40’s and 50’s.

So far the essay may seem like a puff piece, like he was paid off by Johnny Rockets to write a positive review. But Blake is sure to show the drawbacks of the restaurant as well:

The only downfall of the restaurant is that you don’t get much food.

He even goes as far as to compare Johnny Rockets to its competitors:

The burgers are about the size of McDonalds but the taste of Johnny Rockets is much better. One thing I do like is that you get a good amount of a chocolate shake if you order one. The prices at Johnny Rockets are a little high compared to a McDonalds or Burger King but are average compared to a Fridays or Applebee’s.”

Finally, Blake concludes with the main argument of his essay. He tries to show why Johnny Rockets is just so special to him:

When I was younger, my mother would listen to oldies while I was in the car and I enjoyed listening to them then. So the only time I really get to hear oldies now is when I go to Johnny Rockets.”

Remember, this essay was written in the early 2000’s, before music downloading was rampant. So it is actually quite telling that visiting Johnny Rockets is the only way that Blake could listen to oldies and be reminded of his childhood and his mother.

It says on the Maryland website that Blake was a criminology and criminal justice major at Maryland. Well he needs to put his training to work because he has clearly been robbed of a Nobel Prize for Literature.

So if in the upcoming season Steve Blake hits a game winning shot and you’re hoping to find him out that night to congratulate him, look no further than the red, white, and chrome of Johnny Rockets. It will certainly bring you, your family, and Steve Blake happiness.

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Podcast #3 – Colin talks to The Life

After a big Laker win in game two, I called my high school point guard and current Los Angeles Clippers employee David Gale to get some insight.

Oh yeah, he worked out with Blake Griffin on Saturday…how’s that for credibility?

As always you can download here or find me on iTunes by typing Ward-Henninger, You’ve Got to be kidding me, or some combination of my name and the title…you’ll figure it out.

Podcast #3 – Colin talks to The Life

Which Laker would make the best president?

With the election just one day away, I thought I’d take a look at some OTHER possible candidates for the president of the United States. Sure, Obama and McCain are good candidates, but can they run the triangle?

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past year — actually forget that, even the caves got word of this– you will be tuning in Tuesday to watch one of the greatest contests in our nation’s history. 

No, I’m not talking about Phoenix at New Jersey. I’m talking, of course, about the presidential election. Now while Barack Obama and John McCain are both solid candidates, I thought I’d see how some of our very own Lakers might fare as America’s next president.

Kobe Bryant

Pros: A natural competitor, Kobe has always been known for his tireless work ethic and refusal to accept mediocrity. In the past couple of years, Kobe has also proven that he can put his personal agenda aside and do what is best for the team.

Cons: His competitive fire often causes him to make rash and ill-advised decisions. Also, questionable choices in his personal life leave Kobe open for attacks on his “moral character.”

Electability: 3/10 – Always a polarizing figure, Kobe would easily win California but would lose each of the other 49 states.

Lamar Odom

Pros: Versatile and unselfish, Odom has always been willing to sacrifice personal glory to put the team first. He has also learned to deal with criticism after being chastised mercilessly for the better portion of his career.

Read the rest of the story at Examiner.com…while you’re there subscribe to get email alerts every time there’s a new post!

Wizards of Los Angeles

I just wrote an enthralling allegory comparing the Lakers upcoming season to the classic Wizard of Oz on my Examiner page.  Here’s a clip, but please click on the link so I get paid for it! Thanks!

 

Kobe and the Lakers aren’t in Kansas anymore. Last year they were able to surprise just about everyone by finishing with the best record in the Western Conference. Not a chance this year, as most analysts are picking the Lakers to come out of the West and win the title. They need to realize they have a target on their backs and know that they’re going to get every opponent’s best game.

The Lakers need to get Vladi Radmanovic a brain, Pau Gasol a heart, and Lamar Odom some courage. If the Lakers are going to return to Championship form, they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders. That includesgetting “space cadet” Radmanovic to figure things out. It also means Pau Gasol needs to show some fire and not allow himself to get consistently pushed 15 feet from the basket in the playoffs. Perhaps most importantly, however, they need Lamar Odom to finally realize how good he is. Every Laker fan has been frustrated seeing Odom’s inconsistencies, and a nice bout of confidence (and perhaps a move to the bench), may allow him to finally flourish.

 

See the full story here.

ABC Forgets The Big Three

the big three somehow turned into the big ticket

 

First off, congratulations to the Celtics. You don’t know how hard it is for me to say that, being a Lakers fan, but after a night to let the fumes die down I realize that Boston was the better team and how much they deserve their 17th NBA Championship. I have a bone to pick, however, with the post-game coverage by ABC.

I DVR’d the game because my class didn’t get out until 9:45 p.m. (thanks Professor Sumby), and when I got to halftime, the Lakers were down 58-35. Since I’m not a masochist, I decided to FF through the third quarter and I would stop if and when the Lakers made their comeback.

Instead I saw Boston’s score going up faster than the National Debt while the Lakers score moved slower than an eight-year-old’s clock on Christmas Eve.

By the time I caught up to live action, the Celtics were up by 30 and the championship was well in hand. After Doc Rivers was showered in Gatorade (not sure if that’s appropriate at a basketball game, but we’ll get into that later), it was time for one of my favorite portions of any Championship coverage, the post game on-court celebration.

I couldn’t wait to see a dramatic three-way interview with the “Boston Three Party,” watching them interact and laugh and cry with each other under the final realization that they had achieved their life long dreams.

Instead I saw Kevin Garnett. By himself. With his hat pulled over his eyes. Crying and ranting and raving like a madman.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Kevin Garnett. I wanted to BE Kevin Garnett for a better portion of my adolescence. Of course everyone knows how passionate he is and how much he “changed the culture in Boston”, but he DID NOT WIN IT BY HIMSELF! Garnett was just as passionate in Minnesota, but it wasn’t until he was playing alongside two future Hall of Famers that he won a title.

Imagine how Paul Pierce was feeling when he was glossed over in favor of the Big Ticket for the postgame interview. Pierce has stuck with the Celtics for 10 seasons, most of them miserable. Often considered a selfish player with no heart, he took his game to the next level in the playoffs by averaging nearly 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while guarding Joe Johnson, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as well as they’ve ever been guarded. He dominated the Finals and took home MVP honors, finally cementing himself as one of the greatest players in Celtics history.

And who do they interview? Someone who has been a Celtic for less than a year.

That’s like if you’d been working on a project for a month, tweaking it and finally perfecting it. Then you hand it to your friend to turn in for you and he gets the promotion.

We finally got to hear from Pierce in the Finals MVP presentation. Oh, and a post-celebration interview with the sterlingly eloquent Stephen A. Smith after everyone outside of Boston had gone to sleep or moved onto whatever they had TiVo’d while watching the game.

The interview should have been with all three of them. If there was a space issue or word from the top that there could only be one of them, it should have been Pierce. The Finals was his coming out party.

Kevin Garnett, just like Adam Sandler in Big Daddy, they wasted the good surprise on you.

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