Posts Tagged ‘Kareem Abdul Jabbar’

Melanin Mount Rushmore

Thursday, February 12th, 2015



I’ll be honest, I’ve never participated in the “Kobe v. LeBron” or “Kobe v. MJ” debates and I’ve refrained for a simple reason. None of the aforementioned names come anywhere close to being the “greatest” in basketball. I love Floyd Mayweather and he has a success story which is filled with hard work and dedication, yet in still he can never be the “greatest”. I just watched the Super Bowl and was rooting for the Patriots, though after the victory I refused to engage in the “is Tom Brady the greatest?” discussion. Why? Because the greatest is named Jim Brown! The greatest in basketball are named Bill Russell & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar! The greatest boxer is named Muhammad Ali!

How do I define greatness, or the “greatest”? I define it by one’s performance on and off the field. To be the “greatest” means that you persevered through far more than anyone else, emerged victorious and uncompromised. How can Michael Jordan, or LeBron James, or Kobe Bryant be the “greatest”? I’ve never heard of MJ speaking up for the inner city youth that die for his shoes, much less the Chinese youth that make them. I appreciate LeBron’s speaking up on issues and his philanthropic efforts, but how does any of that exist without Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? If we are to talk hardware, Bill Russell won 11 NBA championships and did so as both a player and coach in one of the most racially hostile cities in America (Boston). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (aka Mr. Never White America’s Negro) won 6 NBA championships. If we are to talk about more than championships, Bill and Kareem have been avid advocates and spokespersons for Melanin/Hebrew/African-American people! They stood with boxing’s “greatest” Muhammad Ali, as he took on the racist and biased institution.

Jim Brown? Well he only won 1 NFL Championship, yet his fight of racism and injustice, his youth work and his constant advocacy have more diamonds in them than any ring!!!!

Thats how I define greatness……so sorry….MJ never has a chance, Kobe not even close, LeBron (I guess we can wait and see) can be 3rd at best! Brady, no way, Montana, never heard of him. Marshawn………heeeeyyyyy……..ask Jim about that one!

Zachariah Ysaye Oluwa Bankole “OGICIC”, for War Room Sports

Who is Running the Lakers?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

by Brandon McConnell

Brandon Mac Blog






Lakers Logo


Through the years we have watched the Lakers win NBA Championships led by different Hall of Fame players from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant.  One common denominator in each of the past ten Lakers championships was late owner Dr. Jerry Buss.  He turned the Lakers into the New York Yankees of basketball.

Since the Great Dr. Jerry Buss passed, we have seen some very questionable moves by the Lakers organization.  The first move would be putting all their balls in one hoop by bringing in Dwight Howard with no long-term deal and not trading him at the trade deadline when all of America knew he was not signing back with the Lakers.  Second questionable move was signing a 38-year old point guard with health issues when you know the NBA is full of top-notch point guards that will run circles around Nash.  Next, you sign a coach that has not proven anything but he can create a team that can average over 100 points, which would be good if they didn’t give up 100+ points per game.  Finally you sign a 35 year-old shooting guard at 48.5 million dollars, who is coming off an Achilles injury, without seeing if he will ever be healthy again.

So I analyzed the Lakers today and asked myself this question; “How is Mitch Kupchak going to turn this one around?”   The Lakers have a plan to clear the cap for summer of 2014 in the chance of getting multiple free agents to bring them back into a championship contender.  Part of this plan was totally blown when they signed Kobe Bryant.  There was no negotiation done when signing him; they just gave him the money.  Kobe is just like anyone else in the world, he is “not turning nothing down but his collars”.    So 48.5 million dollars for the next two years is already taken off the cap, leaving room to pay only one more max player.  While researching the list of available free agent players for 2014 that are considered max deal players, these are my top 5.

LeBron James:  He is not coming to LA to help Kobe Bryant win a 6th ring.  LeBron is legacy chasing.  It probably already pisses him off that D-Wade keeps getting one more than him, but no one thinks Wade is an all-time great.

Dwayne Wade:  He is the mayor of Miami.  He is not leaving Miami, ever!  Plus you don’t need D-Wade if you already have Kobe.  Both are playing on their last leg, literally.

Chris Bosh: He could probably help the Lakers but they would need the old Toronto, dread-wearing Bosh who averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game.  But why leave Miami when you’re winning championships and getting undeserved max money.

Dirk Nowitzki:  He is not going anywhere.  He enjoys being Mark Cuban’s #1 prostitute.  Loyal to a fault.  I call it the Kevin Garnett Minnesota syndrome.

Carmelo Anthony:  The most likely out of the bunch to leave and come to LA.  NY sucks and will continue to suck as long as they are paying Stoudemire.

There were rumors at the beginning of the season that LeBron wanted to play with Carmelo in the future.  If this rumor were to be true,  the Lakers had the money to pay both of them and put the correct pieces around them in order to contend.  By signing Kobe Bryant, who looks like he will never be himself again, they eliminated all chances of that happening in LA.  It just doesn’t make sense to give him that amount of money without knowing he will be 100% healthy.

So the sell for Mitch will be, getting an all-star to want to come in and play with Kobe, not knowing if he will even last the next two years.  So good luck Lakers fans, of which I am one.  There is no Pau Gasol to steal from any franchises.   But we do have one thing working for us; THE BEST BENCH IN THE NBA BABY!  Only because we have the worst starting five in the NBA.

Best Current Laker
"Swaggy P"

“Swaggy P”

Brandon McConnell of Respect Da Game, for War Room Sports

How LeBron James Stacks Up to the Greats (Part 2)

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Chris Price


Dream Matchup

(Editor’s note – If you haven’t read part one of this series, please read it HERE prior to reading this article)


So here is the other side of the story.  Ongoing discussion about LeBron James’ place in history has lead me to explore the other side of the argument.  Bear with me as I take a look at three of the biggest arguments for LeBron James being the best to ever do it.


#1 – Today’s NBA is the best that it’s ever been, and LeBron James stands head and shoulders above the rest of the players in this generation.
I’ll concede the second part of this argument without hesitation.  At this point, LeBron James has established himself as being CLEARLY better than the rest the guys in his generation; guys that include Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, and even the slightly younger guys like Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook.  I think most basketball fans would agree.  Let’s explore the second part of the assertion though.

The argument for today’s NBA being better than past decades stems from the growth of AAU basketball, advancements in training and nutrition, a global talent pool, and the notion that a lot more of our talented U.S. athletes are choosing to play basketball.

Well, after just a little bit of pondering, I’m gonna call the “era argument” a wash. Since 1988 the NBA has added 6 more expansion teams.  That’s 90 roster spots.  At the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season, there were 84 international players on rosters.  No less jobs for American players.  And let’s look at those American players. We are seeing some phenomenal athletes, but how many great basketball players are we seeing?  With less time today learning the game on the college level than players 20-30 years ago, are our top basketball prospects really becoming great basketball players?  In many cases, yes. “One and done” guys like Durant, Love, and Kyrie are excellent, but lets look at some of our top big men.  Would Dwight Howard, arguably today’s best center, be as standout a center 20 years ago playing in an era of great centers?  Would Blake Griffin, a 2nd Team All NBA performer this season, be able to do what he does against more skilled, more PHYSICAL power forwards from the 1980s, under rules that allowed more physicality?  That’s something to think about.  I feel pretty confident in saying that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Tony Parker would have been great playing in any era, but I also feel confident that what Michael Jordan and Karl Malone showed us a decade ago as 40-year olds was indicative of great command of the game.  If you’re gonna give Shaq and Kobe credit for their 3-peat at the turn of the century, you gotta give Mike and Karl credit for having legitimate All-Star seasons at the same time, all while playing at or around 40 years of age.  Now I truly respect the great players of today, but nothing I see or have seen is telling me that guys of yesteryear didn’t have serious game.  Let’s call it a wash on the era argument, and therefore taking nothing from and adding nothing to LeBron James’ accomplishments in today’s NBA.


#2 – Don’t Compare Careers; Compare Peaks!
Now this is something pretty interesting that I’ve heard.  It’s actually intriguing to me. Instead of trying to compare LeBron James’ career to the lofty standards of efficient legendary careers like….
Michael Jordan: 6 championships in 13 Chicago seasons, 6/6 in NBA Finals, 6 NBA Finals MVPs
Magic Johnson: 5 championships in 13 seasons, 5/9 in NBA Finals, 3 NBA Finals MVPs

…compare their peaks instead.  (By the way, Larry Bird won 3 championships in 13 seasons, and went 3/5 in NBA Finals.  LeBron might be knocking on that door here soon)

So the argument is this: Is LeBron today better than Mike as his best?  Is LeBron today better than Magic at his best?  Is he better than Larry at his best?  Some LeBron supporters will say that he can do what those guys can do but he’s bigger. I would disagree.  I would say each of those guys did something better than LeBron.  But I DO notice that LeBron may be the second best in a lot of categories compared to these guys.

Out of MJ, Magic, Larry, and LeBron, here’s who has the edge in each category by the stats and by the eye test.

Scoring: Michael

Passing: Magic

Rebounding: Larry

Defense: LeBron or Michael

Offensive Efficiency: Magic/Michael (LeBron?)

LeBron may be the second best scorer of the group.  He is certainly second by career and peak scoring average.  LeBron may be the second best passer of the group.  He has the edge in assist average as well over Mike and Larry.  Larry is clearly the best rebounder of the group, and Magic actually may be second.  But LeBron has an argument for that too. On defense, we know Michael at one point was as good as they come on the perimeter. However LeBron has been noted as a more versatile defender because of his size.  I’m not here to debate whether he is or isn’t a better defender than Michael, but either way he’s up there as one of the best defenders we have seen that didn’t play the center position. He’s either first or second in defense out of the group of 4.  And finally, LeBron posted an incredible 56.5% FG percentage this year; something only Magic has matched in his career. Magic owns the higher peak assist to turnover ratio, and Michael owns the higher career Player Efficiency Rating (PER).  Michael actually owns the highest PER in NBA history.  But you know who is number 2 all time in PER? LeBron.

A lot of pundits will credit the older guys with high intangibles; leadership, competitiveness, toughness, basketball IQ, “clutch” factor, etc.  As somebody who doesn’t consider himself a “Witness”, but rather just a basketball fan, I can acknowledge that LeBron is truly putting it all together and most, if not all, of his mental/emotional hang-ups are in the past.  He’s improving in every significant intangible category in my eyes and in the eyes of many.

So maybe a guy who isn’t known for one specific skill but who can do everything very well has a good peak argument.  If nothing else Lebron’s attributes and statistical achievements (as well as the fact that he is now a champion) leave the door open for debate for those who want to go there.


#3 – There has been no other player like LeBron James in history.  His combination of talent, size, athleticism, and skill has never been seen before.
Now this one is one I’ve heard a lot.  You probably have too.  Is it true?  Well, yes…it is true.  But isn’t that true for all the GOAT candidates?

Kareem was a 7’2″ player with an unstoppable shot, the skyhook.  Had we seen something like the skyhook before, and have we since?

Wilt Chamberlain, Shaq, Magic, Duncan, Olajuwon, Robertson are all pretty unique players to me.  You can say that LeBron is bigger than all of the perimeter guys, and more athletic, but is he truly a bigger version?  Meaning, the same skills but just bigger, stronger, quicker, etc?  I say nah.  He’s not gonna have the footwork or smooth post game of MJ or Kobe, or the quick change of direction of…you know what, it doesn’t even matter.  If LeBron can continue to do LeBron and continue to create his own lane, he won’t have to worry about comparisons with anyone.

Peep this.  The cool thing about LeBron coming into the league at 18, and being the exact opposite of an injury-prone player, and being very-very good, is that he has a chance to break a looooot of records.  He already has 4 MVPs at age 28. Kareem has the record with 6 MVPs.  Can he snag 2 or 3 or more MVPs in his career?  He has a good shot at it.  LeBron also has just over 21,000 points for his career.  Kareem has that record also at  38, 387.  If LeBron keeps up his current rate of 27.6 PPG and stays healthy, he can catch Kareem at age 36.  And even if he doesn’t do that he can catch Jordan’s career number at age 33, at his current pace.  Pretty wild.

Now granted, when a lot of people think about Magic, Michael or Larry, they might be thinking about championships or the special way they played the game.  The big shots. The big games.  Some people don’t think LeBron will ever match what those guys brought to the table.  Even if that is your stance, what if you are looking at a guy who has a chance to rewrite greatness in terms of records upon records, plus high-level defense, plus mind-blowing stats, plus a few rings…

With all of the things LeBron has already accomplished in his short career, and all the potential of what is to come, at the end of the day when you sit back and look at the body of work, could it be enough?


Chris Price, for War Room Sports

Who is Bernard King?: The NBA’s Invisible Genius

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

by Chuck Modiano

G – Magic 
G – Isiah
F – Larry
F – Bernard
C – Kareem/Moses

No last names are necessary.

These men make up the 1st team All-NBA stars in Bernard King’s last two Knick seasons before he blew out his knee in March 1985 – the same year he led the NBA in scoring. This is the company King kept.

In 1984, King would produce a half-season scoring tear never duplicated in NBA history; upset the Pistons in the greatest playoff series performance in NBA history, and almost single-handedly upend the 1984 Celtics — one of greatest teams in NBA history.  In 1984, Bernard could be found in dated Converse commercials, rap songs, and Sports Illustrated covers which bowed to “His Royal Highness”.

With an unstoppable Carmelo Anthony balling like its 1984, and reports of Bernard’s induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame, The Invisible King will receive another bow this week.

While starving King fans will naturally celebrate, something just isn’t right. King’s 15 minutes of crumbs come too little, too late – 15 years to be exact.

We could only hope this week will help jump-start the only real NBA debate. Bernard’s rightful place in the Hall of Legends.

Where did The King stand amongst the greats? Let’s ask them

“Bernard King was the toughest matchup of my career. And I say that from the heart.” – Julius Erving [HOF 1993]

“Bernard King… is the best forward in the league, hands down”.  – Larry Bird [HOF 1998]

“We are just in awe of Bernard” — Isiah Thomas [HOF 2000].

Now consider that Larry and Isiah’s praise came before the 1984 playoffs and epic Showdown in Motown where


No other player in NBA history has ever averaged over 40 playoff points on 60% shooting in the playoffs – not Wilt in ‘62, not Jerry in ‘65, and not Michael in ‘88.  Not Kareem, Shaq, Kobe, or Lebron.

Only Bernard King.

King also did it while battling Isiah, the flu, and mangled hands.

Afterwards, King was asked about his “hot streak”. Bernard asked back:

“At what point is it no longer considered just a roll?”

Answer: The rest of your life Bernard. The rest of your life.

King’s perceived eruption on a national stage was no hot streak.

What happened right before it was even more historic, but never documented until now:


Lebron and Carmelo, please read that again.

No other player in NBA history has likely ever matched this half-season stretch [2].

In the playoffs, the unstoppable King simply took more shots. That’s all.

For the few mesmerized souls who watched those games on WWOR Channel 9, King’s “30@60for40” validates that we aren’t suffering from nostalgia gone wild.

Bernard King was who we thought he was.

Unlike Knick legends Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, and Willis Reed, no one more than Bernard transforms grown Knick fans into babbling children, gets stuffy 50 year old accountants to jump around like Spike Lee, and elicits reactions of: “I swear I saw Jesus in shorts”. No, not “Black Jesus” ala Earl Monroe’s other nickname — just “Jesus”.

Truth be told, here is what many Knick fans in bars swear to this very day: at his pre-injury peak Bernard King was a better small forward than Larry Bird and a greater scorer than Michael Jordan.

If that sounds crazy to you, please consult his peers again:

“I have never feared anybody that I’ve played against – Bird, Magic, Doctor, Michael – and I respect and love all of those guys… Bernard King is the only guy that ever scared the hell out of me.”  – Dominique Wilkins [HOF 2006]:

Listen to Dominique. Few in media will publically utter such words for fear of ridicule or straight-jacket. But we are not the crazy ones.

It is the rest of the sports universe that has gone insane.

Unless long dead, there is no other athlete in any sport whose gap between greatness and recognition is larger — even after this week.

The humiliations are endless.

Will Bernard make the Hall of Fame this year? Should King have made the NBA’s 50 greatest players list? Will the Knicks finally retire his iconic #30 jersey?

The questions themselves demean NBA history. What about media?

In February, Lebron had six straight games of 30 points on 60% shooting, and lost their efficient minds, but no mention of King. Last year ESPN issued its 25 greatest playoff performances since 1978, and no King again. Sorry B, your 42 @60% and legendary Game 5 just weren’t dominant enough.

In 1984, The New York Times closely chronicled King’s nuanced brilliance in “Mysterious Moves” and “Never a Knick Like Him””, but on the 25th anniversary of that magical season, another small forward stole the show with a 10,000 word profile: Shane Battier:  “The No-Stats All-Star”.

What about the greatest player in Tennessee history, half of the famed Bernie and Ernie Show, and legendary Kentucky killer? When Kentucky coach John Calipari told his 2010 team that Bernard was talking pre-game trash in Tennessee’s locker room, the youngsters responded:

“Who is Bernard King?”, ”What number is Bernard King?”, and  “I’m guarding him?”


How did we get here?

Is there some vast hide-King conspiracy? Not quite, but corporate interests have reduced the NBA’s Golden Era to “Magic vs. Bird”, and lesser victims include Kareem, Julius, Moses, Isiah, and the great small forward of the 1980’s.

Bernard’s knee injury alone doesn’t explain it either. No one adds up career stats for Sandy Koufax, Gale Sayers, Earl Campbell, or Bill Walton. We know what happened to them.

Reasons for King’s vanishing includes playoff-lore hijackings by Isiah, Larry, and Michael [see II: Genius Unchained]; his unspectacular style, his early-career substance abuse, his forgotten Warrior years, his teammates, and his plodding coach Hubie Brown [see III. Genius Contained].

It also involves a dysfunctional Hall of Fame and sports media largely incapable of recognizing historic greatness without historic teammates. Despite being voted Most Valuable Player by their peers, King (1984), young Michael (1989), and Lebron (2006) were all denied those awards by media, and had their status as “winners” questioned. Where players see lack of support, media perceives lack of maturity, but only a lack of imagination could deny King as champion beside Patrick Ewing [see V: The King of Peers].

King’s past has been forgotten, a healthy future rarely imagined, but most of all, his present genius was never fully realized too far beyond his own peers, local fans, and a few journalists [3].

Bernard’s game was historically unique, but he often gets lumped into a sea of history’s high-volume scoring forwards. While The Tennessee Terror stormed on the NCAA scene with 42 points in his very first game as a freshman, his truer legacy can be found in his nation-leading 62% shooting.

Lebron James is receiving great credit for shooting 56% this year, but King shot 56% over a 5-year pre-injury prime (1980-85) and did it without any all-star teammates. The playoffs are where shooting percentages go to die (see Karl Malone), but King shot a stunning 58% in 18 Knick playoff games. Only the greatest ones maintain accuracy against playoff defense — our very best test for “unstoppability” across eras.

King also defied every selfish scorer stereotype. He was not a one on one player, never needed isolations, never took bad shots, and did it all within the game’s flow. He was a scoring scientist whose quick release, midrange mastery, and disciplined shot selection have gone the way of Kareem’s skyhook [see IV: Genius Explained].

King also suffered from a pre-Jordan era where it was thought impossible to score like Mike, but win like Magic. If Jordan is any indication, Bernard was too unselfish. Jordan had more athleticism, style, and shot attempts, but not accuracy [see VI: The Jordan Rules].

Today, Bernard is mostly remembered for his 60 points on Christmas Day, and scoring 50 points on back-to back nights in 1984. Mr. Hot Streak has now become Mr. Hot Game, and The King of Efficiency has been largely reduced to Jamal Crawford – a career 41% chucker.

Before Lebron’s February outburst, the last great scoring streak came from Kobe Bryant in 2004. Back then, Scoop Jackson tried to educate the youth when he asked the obvious:

“What’s up with the love? [Bernard] had scoring stretches that lasted seasons, not just games.”

Jackson continued:

“He was a genius interrupted… The universal love that evaded his career was found scrolled inside a book penned by his peers.”

Jackson’s question was ignored, so a decade later the kids want to know:

“Who is Bernard King?”

Have a seat son and move over Mr. Battier, King’s invisible genius must be explained.

II.   Genius Unchained: Bernard King vs. Isiah and Larry (coming Tuesday)
III.  Genius Contained: Bernard King vs. Hubie (coming Wednesday)
IV.   Genius Explained: Bernard King vs. Youtube (coming Thursday)
V.     The King of Peers: Bernard King vs. Media (coming next Monday)
VI.   The Jordan Rules: Bernard King vs. Michael (coming next Tuesday)

Or you can always just ask his peers:

Man, Bernard King, he was the truth.”  — Bob McAdoo [HOF 2003]


Chuck Modiano od, for War Room Sports

[1] Beginning on January 14, King scored 1219 points (482-808) over the next three months spanning 40 regular season games (ending right before regular season’s final meaningless game before the playoffs)

[2] It is highly unlikely that King’s 40 games of 30 points on 60% shooting has been duplicated – even when factoring eFG. The highest FG% for a 30 PPG season is Kareem Abdul Jabbar who scored 32 points on .577 shooting in 70-71 and an incredible 35 points on .574 shooting in ’71-’72. Adrian Dantley also scored 30.3 points on 57% shooting in ’81-’82.

[3] Many journalists have helped keep King’s memory alive. Special thanks to Ira BerkowDennis D’Agostino, Bobbito Garcia and Ali, Alan Hahn, John Hareas, Scoop Jackson, Bruce JenkinsBill Simmons, Dave Zirin, and others.

Kobe Bryant vs Father Time and Mother Nature

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

By Bradley Anderson

Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the most polarizing figures in sports history.  He is also without much argument the second best shooting guard to ever live, and to some a top 5 player of all time.  We’ve witnessed an amazing 15-year career which has given us rings, scoring titles, an 81-point BIG-BANG EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT, we’ve seen him cheat on his Vanessa, we’ve seen him snitch on Shaq, we’ve seen him shoot, dunk, finger roll, dunk…and shoot again.  Some say “he doesn’t trust his teammates”, “he’s too selfish”, “he’s a pistol/gun/uzi/bazooka/scud/ball-stopping hog who refuses to pass” (but would you pass to Kwame, Smush, and Derek?).  “He isn’t Mike” (this is my favorite because I used to use that both in my own mind and to others).  At 33, most professional basketball players are winding down from their prime years if not preparing for that exit stage left in 2 to 4 years.  Production dips, 25 ppg scorers become 16 ppg scorers, 2 steals a game becomes 0.8 steals per game…and ultimately…those guaranteed 22 shots per game becomes 10 or 11.  This isn’t basketball, this is the human experience.  You cannot box with God, Father Time, or Mother Nature…you will lose.  Michael Jordan didn’t listen and Kobe Bryant isn’t listening.  With 15 years of service in, it’s not without reason that the whispers of fading athleticism and diminishing skills have become an audible undertone.  It’s reasonable.  The average player Kobe’s age is suffering “the slow down”.  But with 15 years already in, Kobe should be stopping.  He’s not.

Just some Facts:

First NBA player this season to score over 40 points, with a 48-point outburst against the Phoenix Suns on 1/10/2012.  He followed that up the very next night with a 40-point performance in Utah, making him one of only THREE players in NBA HISTORY (Shaq and Kareem) to post back-to-back 40 point nights in their 16th NBA season.
He’s averaging more points (on less shots), more assists, and more rebounds per game than in any of his three previous seasons.

-1st in ppg, 1st in total points scored.

-Every other player in the top 10 is 26 years old or younger

-Has 364 points through his first 12 games this season. That is the third most since 1985 among players who are at least 33 years old. (Kobe [who has done this while being in the league
 16 seasons], Bernard King [my favorite 3-man of all time], and Michael Jeffery Jordan [who had the benefit of fewer miles…Kobe has 14 playoff appearances]).

-In NBA history, only 2 other players have scored 48 points in a single game and have been in their 16th season.  The other two are HOF’ers, multiple Finals MVP winners, and NBA MVP winners.

-109 games with 40 points or more. Most by active player.

-17 in the 1st quarter vs the Suns – most in a quarter by a player 33 or older since MJ.

Comments from Kobe’s mouth courtesy of Tuesday night’s post game interview:

“Not bad for the seventh-best player in the league”… [referring to an online ranking of the NBA’s top 500 players].

“If I play bad or have one bad game like I did in Denver, everybody cries for a change or cries for the fact that I’m too old.  It’s just a bad game with a bad wrist” [referring to his 16 points in a loss against the Nuggets on New Year’s Day].  “You got to figure out a way to get it done.”

From his teammate, Derek Fisher: 

“He’s always going to be aggressive and assertive to score, but he’s picking his spots and he’s doing it in a very efficient manner”…
“That [the 48 vs the Suns] ranks it right up there with the best of them because it doesn’t look like he’s trying to do it.  He’s just doing it within the flow of the game. That’s been very effective for him and for us.”

From 2-time NBA MVP Steve Nash: 

“He’s the best player in the game, so you come to expect that type of performance from him, if not regularly, then throughout the season at different times…He was phenomenal.”

Suns’ leading scorer from Lakers-Suns game Channing Frye:

“If he don’t care about his wrist, I don’t care about his wrist…Everybody makes a big deal about it, but he’s been scoring 28, 30 a game.  So let’s just call it what it is.  He’s a great player, he’s the best individual player in basketball, and every night he comes to work.  For us, we don’t like losing to the Lakers.  But they came out and played a good game, and he played an amazing game.”

The thing that puts Kobe in that rare air…we are witnessing COMPETITIVE GREATNESS…willing himself to win rounds in a fight against Father Time and Mother Nature.

Bradley Anderson of The War Room, for War Room Sports                               


Is Michael Jordan Really a Sellout?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

By Devin McMillan

Charlotte Bobcats majority owner Michael Jordan walking into a labor meeting last week.


Last week, before the news of child sexual abuse at Penn State University rocked the sports world, the newswire was abuzz with another story.  It had been rumored that certain circumstances in the NBA labor negotiations were causing current NBA players to see their childhood idol and proverbial hero, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, in an entirely different and negative light.  Much of the subsequent conversation surrounding  this topic was sparked by a column written by Jason Whitlock for Fox Sports, labeling “His Airness” as a “sellout” for being the “hard-line front man” for NBA ownership’s eagerness to roll back the amount of revenue shared with the players on a yearly basis. 

Jason Whitlock calls “MJ’s” stance the “ultimate betrayal” due to the fact that the league is now filled with young, Black players who grew up worshipping Jordan and purchasing his overpriced shoes and apparel, ultimately helping to make him and his brand the financial titans they are today.  He thinks Michael Jordan is betraying the same players’ union that went to bat for him and forced the Bulls to pay him $30 million per, in his final two seasons in Chicago.

Though all the aforementioned information is indeed fact, there is one huge flaw in this overall line of thinking.  Michael Jordan is no longer an NBA player.  He is the owner of an NBA franchise.  On behalf of that franchise, Jordan has recently been engaged in negotiations where he’s sat on the other side of the table from the players.  Michael Jordan is no longer obligated, nor would it be intelligent for him to think along the lines of, or fight for the wants/needs of NBA players.  He is majority owner of the small-market Charlotte Bobcats; a team that has struggled in the standings as well as in the stands.  The team’s average attendance last season was 15,846, leaving 16.9% of Time Warner Cable Arena’s seats empty on a nightly basis.  The team does not have a transcendent superstar, nor could they afford to keep one succeeding the years of a rookie contract, if they were lucky enough to acquire one in the draft in the first place.  His team also resides in a city that has once already failed as an NBA market, losing its first NBA franchise to New Orleans.  The franchise has been losing money since the moment Jordan purchased it from BET founder Bob Johnson in February of 2010.

So why is it again that Jason Whitlock, NBA players, or anyone else with interest in this story, thinks that Michael Jordan should go out of his way to be the voice of the NBA player in these negotiations, to the detriment of his business?  I don’t think anyone should be labeled a sellout for giving a damn about their bottom-line as a business owner.  The current economic landscape of the NBA is not beneficial for many owners of small market franchises.  So why shouldn’t they fight to change it?  Why is there a growing sentiment that Michael Jordan owes the current crop of NBA players anything?

This isn’t the first time Michael Jordan’s name has been synonymous with the term “sellout”.  Jordan has never been of similar pedigree of socially-conscious superstar athletes of the past, such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, etc.  He has always garnered criticism for never lending his name or using his power, influence, or iconic status to get on the front lines of any pressing social issues.  So, if social activism is what you look for in your influential, superstar athletes, call him a sellout for that.  You’d still probably be toeing that fine line of ignorance, but at least the sentiment would be somewhat understandable to at least a certain rational portion of the population.  But to imply…or to flat out say that a business owner is a sellout for looking out for the best interest of his business, is absolutely ridiculous, in my opinion.

I attribute this line of thinking to the overwhelming “employee mentality” prevalent in our society.  Everyone wants to walk around calling themselves “bosses” but think in a manner opposing everything a boss stands for.  I often hear fans sing cries of empathy for athletes while lauding the position of ownership in sports.  No one (obviously Jason Whitlock included) puts themselves into the shoes of the men who invest hundreds of millions of dollars into sports franchises.  People who live lives content with working for comfortable pay while making the next man rich do not seem to understand the risks involved with investments on this level…or any other level for that matter.  They’ve been brainwashed to believe that the person who could potentially get injured on the next play takes all the risks in a labor relationship.  But none of the “employee-minded” realize the risk of leveraging a fortune to run a sports franchise.  When your biggest work-related investment is a full gas tank or a functional bus pass, I expect you to think this way. 

For Jason Whitlock or anyone else to hold these types of expectations of Michael Jordan just because he was once a player is reminiscent of how struggling Black people expected their struggles to be eradicated because Barack Obama got elected president.  Michael Jordan is a team owner now and Barack Obama is president of America, not Black America.  He would have had to have been elected the president of Zamunda to remotely have a shot at fulfilling those silly expectations. 

In actuality, I wish this story wasn’t even about Michael Jordan.  I say this because I’m certain that many people will agree with my sentiments, albeit for the wrong reasons.  People will agree, not due to any profound business-related points I may have think I’ve made regarding this topic; but simply because negative-speak about “MJ” has been deemed as blasphemy in many circles.  Well, this isn’t one of those circles.  Michael Jordan has personality flaws, just like the next man.  If you’ve ever met your hero in person, outside of a camera-filled setting, then you probably know exactly what I mean.  It is also trendy in many circles (especially Black ones) to vehemently oppose anything written by Jason Whitlock.  I don’t subscribe to that methodology either.  As with any sportswriter or writer in general, each piece is met with the same high level of objectivity and my opinion of that particular piece will be formed as I read it.  I don’t allow myself to form an overall opinion of the man based on each of his individual writings.  Whitlock has written plenty of material that I have absolutely agreed with, but he has also written plenty that I’ve thought to be utter malarkey (to borrow a term from my sports media colleague, Brandon Pemberton).

So yes, Michael Jordan has made a fortune selling overpriced shoes, sugarless juice, and horsemeat burgers to idol-worshipping, Black, inner city youth.  Feel what you will about that fact, but keep in mind that we all had a choice.  Yes, Michael could have been more active in the plight of “his people”, but I guess that just wasn’t his thing.  Yes, MJ’s “brand” has always been more important to the man than anything that you and I have tried to deem important for him.  However, Michael Jordan’s example taught today’s players how to be “brands” in the first place.  Without the path that he laid, the Lebrons, the Kobes, the Wades, and the Durants of the world would have never even begun to realize their full earning potential in this league.  “MJ” has done more than enough for these players.  He doesn’t owe them anything more.

Devin McMillan of The War Room, for War Room Sports

3 Reasons for LeBron’s Dysfunctional Performance(s)

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

By Bradley Anderson

Ryan Jones' book on LeBron James

(The reasons lie with us as much as they do with him)

1) Throughout his amateur and professional career, I have not seen enough emphasis put on developing all aspects of LeBron’s basketball skills.  AAU, High School, and now NBA coaches are so enamored with his talent and athleticism, and the fact that they have a center’s size and power (ok a PF), a PG’s speed and quickness, a wing players athleticism, body control, and grace, they lose sight of preaching and teaching.  Be it the big things, such as footwork, positioning, back to the basket skill, or intangibles such as never quitting, always giving maximum effort, good sportsmanship, etc. I understand that you can’t instill “the killer”….”the mass murderer”….”the genocidal cool, calm, and collected megalomaniac” that existed within Michael, Larry, Earvin, Isiah, Reggie, Kobe, or even A.I.  I get that you can’t MAKE someone into a clutch player; however, there are so many little chinks in our gladiator’s armor that we all are bearing “witness” too now.  Flaws that have been pointed to, but the roar of the coliseum drown out any reasonable ear and the lust for the worlds “next”, combined with the “knee-jerking” “Sportscenter highlight”-thirsty audience that left no room for constructive criticism.  And much like a child left to be raised by the television set he/she sits in front of, so was LeBron coached by the people of the coliseum of his Rome: “stanleys”, lemmings, fans, and the media as much as he was placed in a disciplined, nurturing, ethics-building, skill developing, integrity-fostering environment.  We celebrated him so much and so fast, anointing him to be the “heir apparent” to a throne once sat on by a man who put the countless hours into honing his craft and developing his skill.  A man whose body was dashed upon the rocks of Detroit’s arena…a man so consumed with greatness and even further consumed by winning, that his sheer will could get him wins, when his 48-inch vertical and cat quickness exited stage left.

To the masses, fans, “stanleys”, lemmings, yes-men, enablers, scouts, handlers, managers, and coaches; I ask: “What now?”…and “is this all LeBron?…or do you have some level of responsibility and accountability in this?”

2) Fatherless Boys:  I don’t know much about LeBron’s father or his “father-figures”, who raised him, or what their value systems look like.  I do know as an intelligent young man, he often understands what to say, when to say it, and to whom to say it, in terms of the media and how it will resonate with the “fans”.  He is very conscious of his image, sensitive to his brand’s direction, and cognizant of the need to “say the right things”.  He has (up until recent times) been very politically correct.  I attribute this to his “handlers” (shout-out to Maverick Carter, you may want to change your first name right now or go by your middle name though), but also LeBron is pretty savvy in knowing who to have guide him.  All this being said, there have been a number of moments where his character development comes into question.  There are those times when he walks off the court without shaking hands with the opposing team.  There is the dancing and shucking and jiving in other peoples’ arenas.  There are the moments when his Momma goes “HAM” and “acts a fool”.  Who is there to guide him?  Who is there as a confidant to listen and offer sound, non-“yes-man” advice?  Who is there to be the opposite of coach Mike “Stanley Fan” Brown?  Who counsels him?  Who yells at LeBron? Who tells him to get his big ass in the post and get mean, and get aggressive against point guards and shooting guards? Who does he look up to and respect?  Has he had to grow, groom, and learn on his own for the most part?  Has he had to figure this out on his own as we all look on, heckling, laughing, supporting, hating, and lambasting him?  I don’t know the answer to these questions, but if he has, I actually think he’s done a damn good job of raising himself.  However, without that influence, he will never get to that “next level”.  I use one of my favorite players of all time: Allen Iverson.  Prior to Allen submitting to Coach Larry Brown’s tutoring, mentoring, scolding, and chiding, Iverson was running amuck.  But the brief, stern, fatherly, guiding direction of Larry got him focused enough at 5’10” and 155 lbs to take a team consisting of invalids, failures, intramural players, and trash-truck drivers to the NBA Finals.  I attribute this to the “father-figure” influence…that wise and guiding voice that tells you what you NEED to hear, not what you want to hear.

3)  Global Icon & Brand versus Greatest Of All Time (Winner):  We’ve reached a point in society where everything…EVERYTHING (and I’m speaking both in the world of sports and beyond) is about what will generate revenues, profit margins, and drive sales.  From 5th grade on (yes they nationally rank basketball players from 5th grade on…WHO THE F%#K cares who is the top ranked 5th or 6th grader?), the engine of the great marketing machines are trolling for that one stand-out player they can latch their claws into and create “The Player”…”THE HEIR APPARENT”.  The shoe companies are the first level, the dirtiest, and with the least amount of shame.  They begin by pushing athletic wear and sneakers on the kids’ amateur teams (AAU and the like).  These scoundrels are to amateur athletics what tobacco is to us all.  Well okay…perhaps a little strong, perhaps a little harsh, but you catch my drift.  It then expands to include food and beverage companies, apparel companies, and the list of things to sell, brands, and companies grow exponentially on the backs of these young athletes.  And what suffers?  The purity of the game? Definitely the soul of basketball?  Absolutely!  Is Dr. Naismith turning over in his grave, thinking of how it got from a peach basket to this?  Of course he is.  Beyond that though, the sport which was crafted to be for fun, joy, growth and development, good health, entertainment, and camaraderie, becomes about endorsements.  No longer are we concerned with the purity of the game, or even winning (let alone the other more noble concepts).  Much like Congress is subject to the whims of special interest (lobbyists own the Hill, you ain’t know?).  The sport is subject to the whims of big money corporations and his brother commercial mass appeal. And where does LeBron James fit into all of this?  He is just the latest, and quite possibly the greatest example of that nest, “The Player”.  He IS the personification of the machine. Where Michael Jordan and his generation were merely concerned with getting to the marquee colleges and playing for the best coaches, giving them the shot at a National Title and perhaps an NBA look, LeBron and his generation are courted for AAU “contracts” as freshman and sophomores in high school.  Where Mike was signing endorsement deals 2 and 3 years into his tenure, LeBron was in a Hummer his senior year and signed a $100 million endorsement deal with Nike before he graduated high school.  And can you blame him?  Growing up in a single-parent home, low-to-moderate income, and your talent is assessed a value before you can drive, vote, or drink.  I credit LeBron for being an intelligent person in knowing that his talent and abilities were his ticket.  While basketball is great, what it brings the global marketplace and the ability to be the salesman for ANY product may be paramount to being the Greatest Basketball Player to ever live.  As long as he’s in the top 50 (top 10 currently playing), he is worth billions and will reap that reward and success.  And so, his value system and priorities may include advancing his net worth into the billionaire category, and is that his fault or the world/marketplace he grew up in?  Michael Jordan, Wilt, Kareem, Magic, Isiah, Dr. J, Bird, Dominique, etc…they got their just due financially from being the greatest, arguably the greatest, or on the list somewhere near the top.  The opportunity to be the wealthiest sports icon ever never really crossed their minds, or at least it didn’t inhibit their play.  They wanted to win worse than they wanted that check and the “lights, glamour, glitters, and gold”.  When the scroll unfolded, it was the beast that rose and conquered the courts (shout out to Nasir Olu Bin Dara Jones), not the endorsers.  But who can fault James for the times he has grown up in?  We are a product of our environment.  What is more valuable, the riches and rewards of being very good, even great…or the triumph of reaching full potential and striving with all ones might for “GREATEST OF ALL TIME” status?  It is a conversation only LeBron can have with himself, and perhaps a select few wise men.  But think about the time and place and you will understand the man.

Bradley “B. Austin” Anderson of The War Room, for War Room Sports

How Soon They Forget: An Open Letter to Scottie Pippen

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Wilt "The Stilt"

Dear Scottie,

I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time.  Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh by the way in 1967 and 68. Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams. Every team had the opportunity to amass a solid nucleus.  Only the cream of the basketball world got to play then. So MJ has to be appraised in perspective. His incredible athletic ability, charisma and leadership on the court helped to make basketball popular around the world — no question about that. But in terms of greatness MJ has to take a backseat to The Stilt.

In terms of winning, Michael excelled as both an emotional and scoring leader but Bill Russell’s Celtics won 8 consecutive NBA Championships. Bills rebounding average per game is over 22.5 lifetime, MJs best rebounding years was 8 per game (1989). But we will never know exactly how many shots Bill Russell blocked because again, they never kept that statistic while he played. However, if you ask anybody that played against Russell they will just roll their eyes and say he blocked all the shots he wanted to block in the crucial moments of a game.

Bill played on a total of 11 Championship teams and as you very well know, Scottie, the ring is the thing, and everything else is just statistics. So I would advise you to do a little homework before crowning Michael or Lebron with the title of best ever. As dominant as he is, Lebron has yet to win a championship. I must say that it looks like Miami has finally put the team together that will change that circumstance. Its my hope that today’s players get a better perspective on exactly what has been done in this league in the days of yore.

The change in style to the game is not any indication as to how many really talented players there are in the game. So the fact that skilled players come from all over the world does not change the quantity of outstanding talent. Simply put the number of players that could have stopped Wilt Chamberlain in his prime has not increased.

Affectionately, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer

p.s. If you want to see some real legends arguing about the greats of the game check out my new documentary, On the Shoulders  of Giants, the story of the greatest basketball team you never heard of.  It’s available to watch instantly on Netflix.

Taken directly from Kareem, the official website of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem vs. Jordan (The Brand)

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Anyone who listens to the greatest Marshall Faulkin sports talk show on internet radio Thursdays @ 6pm est (shameless plug) knows unlike the masses I do not consider Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever. I am not a Jordan hater and I do recognize his greatness but I do not consider him the “G.O.A.T.” Before you comment on this post with your subjective conclusions please read the entire post and don’t respond with the lame ass argument of “He changed the game”, “He saved the NBA.” That’s all bullshit! Step your game up and study your history before commenting with that nonsense.

As I recently stated Jordan “The Brand” is powerful and is the most recognizable brand in NBA history. The great marketing efforts of Nike and the NBA made Jordan a household name. What people have to understand is that before Michael Jordan, there were not many athletes that received the marketing he did and many people grew up hearing he was the greatest player of all time.

I stated that the greatest player of all time was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and I honestly believe that. I am not saying that for the sake of argument. I can give you stats if you want, but instead I will give you my opinion on why I believe people consider Mike as the greatest and why I disagree without using statistics.

Kareem’s last six seasons were the most seen out of his entire career. There wasn’t a chance to market him even if the NBA wanted to. Kareem wasn’t marketable anyway. He was dominant but predictable. Everyone knew the hook shot was coming but no one could stop it. It wasn’t exciting and fans love excitement. Fans could not connect to him. He angered many Americans when he skipped the 68 Olympics in protest of Americas’ racial climate. He never wanted to be loved like many of today’s’ players. Kareem was an intellectual who didn’t care what people felt about him.

Jordan was drafted in 84 but there was something that was more important to the NBA around that time than MJ being drafted. David Stern became commissioner. David Stern is the greatest sports commissioner in the history of sports. He transformed the league by realizing the potential in marketing individual players as opposed to teams and he found a partner in Nike who at the time was not the dominant brand it is today. In sports timing is everything. Jordan was a great player who came around at the right time. If it was Kobe that came in the league in 84 and received that same marketing people would be screaming Kobe is the greatest.

I honestly believe that Kareem converting to Islam had a major impact on his legacy. I believe that if he would have remained Lew Alcindor he would be mentioned more often than he is for being the “G.O.A.T” MJ on the other hand is a capitalist who has made a lot of money but never spoke on social issues. Have you ever heard MJ speak on poverty, homelessness, racism, or politics although he had and continues to have a huge platform to make a difference? He doesn’t want to hurt his brand.  Former Charlotte, N.C., mayor Harvey Gantt, an African-American, twice ran and lost U.S. Senate challenges to unseat Jesse Helms. When approached by Gantt’s campaign for an endorsement, Jordan replied dismissively, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” Kareem on the other hand has authored several books and speaks at universities on all of these topics. Because of this he has hurt his brand but unlike the rest of the world who watches sports through SportsCenter highlights I appreciate his impact not only on the game but society in general. I know many of you are saying well that has nothing to do with what happens on the court but in my opinion part of the reason Jordan is widely considered the greatest has nothing to do with what happened on the court but how he was sold to us. Many people just take what they hear as gospel without giving it thought. To quote Kareem “I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.”

Last but not least Kareem gave Bruce Lee a fair one and Mike cannot say that. Lol

Jimmy Williams