#KobeBryant – End of an era, there will only be one Black Mamba

kobe bryant 5 championship ringsIt is rare that a player actually lives up and fulfill his potential. And it is almost unheard of when a player takes his game to another stratosphere and exceed expectations. But when the Los Angeles Lakers made the bold move and acquired a prom to pro high school phenom named Kobe Bryant, that is exactly what happened. We witnessed the Philly native in his greatest moment and we also saw Bryant reemerge and win more NBA Championships after overcoming his lowest moments.

What makes Bryant so special, is that unlike his idol Michael Jordan, his faults and flaws were no secret. Bryant’s competitiveness was Jordanesque, like his idol no one was immune from his wrath, not Shaquille O’Neal or Coach Phil Jackson. His work ethic was legendary and Bryant’s expectation each yearkobe shaq and phil was to add another Larry O’Brien to his impressive trophy case.

Bryant may not win a sixth ring in his final year, but his will to defy father time and thrive in spite of an ailing body is nothing short of amazing. For years Bryant lived in the shadows of His Airness but he now stands alone because there certainly will never be another Kobe Bryant, slam dunk giant.

When we think of Bryant’s greatest moments several come to mind – his monstrous series sealing alley-oop to O’Neal; his NBA All-Star debut going against his idol; and who can forget his 81 point game which will go down in history as one of the kobe bryat and michael jordangreatest offensive displays in the modern era. While stars of today are consumed with their image, Bryant was driven by winning and nothing else mattered.

After Jordan retired many wondered who would follow His Airness and we were blessed with a kid from Lower Marion who became the Black Mamba. And when Bryant laces up his shoes for the last and final time, the same question will re-emerge, who’s next? Stay tuned… I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Hoops Hardwood & Gridiron Dilemmas 03/13 by eat drink sleep sportz | Sports Podcasts

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Kobe Bryant quest for 6 – Eric Bledsoe, not Melo is the answer

Kobe Bryant NBA Title dreamsKobe Bryant‘s highly anticipated return was met with both uncertainty and excitement. Although no one expected Bryant to go off for 81 points again against the Toronto Raptors, eight turnovers certainly was not expected.

At the ripe age of 35 years old the Black Mamba has continued to defy the odds, using pundits who doubt him as fuel to push even harder toward that elusive sixth NBA Championship.

However, unlike in seasons’ his first week back put us all on notice that the days of the kobe mike and carmeloBlack Mamba taking over games and defending the opposing teams best player is long gone.

Bryant may be a viable first option for short stretches but if the Lakers are to be serious title threats additional assets must be added. Since making the playoffs this season would be considered a tremendous accomplishment, the blueprint for the Lakers winning the title starts now.

Too those projecting Carmelo Anthony bolting to Lakerland I kindly remind you that the D’Antoni-Melo experiment has already failed once before, so there is no need for a sequel.

eric bledsoeIn my opinion the Lakers would be best served targeting Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Bledsoe is a dynamic athlete who has only scraped the surface of his potential and lure of playing with Bryant on the big stage may be just enough to make him a Staple Center favorite for a second time.

Bryant’s quest for six will begin or end with finding a partner who can score, defend, and leave their ego at the door. The Lakers 2014 free agent class will serve as the  building blocks for life after Bryant. Could Bledsoe’s pave the way for the Lakers revival? Stay tuned…I know I will?

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Golden State Warrior: The New Kings of California

kobe bryant and stephen currySince the inception of the NBA the Los Angeles Lakers has been the premiere organization that took a back seat to no sports franchise, especially not any in California. The dominance of the Lakers is well documented but it appears that their days of glory have come to an end. Many pundits believe that since the Clippers have added a doctor and signed Chris Paul to an $118 million dollar extension that their days of living in the shadows known as the other team that plays in the Staple Center were over.

Although adding a championship coach in Doc Rivers will certainly lead to some improvements but the Clippers front-court of Blake i’m soft Griffin and DeAndre airball Jordan still remain huge liabilities that many will be reminded of comedeandre jordan blake griffin and chris paul playoff time. However, the forgotten team is not that team in Sacramento but that team who calls the Zoo its home, the Golden State Warrior.  Led by master motivator Coach Mark Jackson the future of the Warriors looks golden and their place as the next king of California appears inevitable.

The Warriors young nucleus gained invaluable experience last season making it to the golden state warriorssecond round of the playoffs. Stephen Curry is a superstar in the making and Klay Thompson is also a promising young star in his own right. Despite losing Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack in free agency rookies Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Kent Bazemore all have committed themselves in the off season to have productive sophomore campaigns and pick up the slack.

The front court is also no slouch led by two-time All-Star David Lee and often injured former top pick Andrew Bogut. Although the back-court garners most of the attention if Lee and Bogut are able to fight off the injury bug and avoid the label that has plagued both of them throughout their career a deep in the playoffs looks likely.

Led by an elite coach, promising shooters, a deep bench and the recent acquisition of Andre Iguodala who is more versatile than a Swiss Army knife the Warriors days inwarriors beat lakers the shadow are over. And as the New Kings of California expectation will rise, and much more will be expected. Will the Warriors rise to the occasion or shrink under pressure? Stay tuned…I know I will.


Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Life after Dwight Howard – Laker fans will hate him now but thank him in 2014

d12 jersey burningAlthough Los Angeles Lakers fans burned their Dwight Howard jersey after news broke of Dwight Howard’s indecision and his stage left exit to Houston. Yes, Howard is the most dominant big man in the game, yes Howard could have been the next great Laker big man. But after an experiment gone horribly wrong would the Lakers have been able to improve on a disappointing 2012 season with Howard at the helm for the first three months of the season.

Laker faithful recall the stress and undue frustration that you experienced when Howard pouted up and down the court, complaining about shots, and struggling on the free throw. For the moment the Houston Rockets are viewed as the winners of the Dwight-sweepstakes but in reality what have they really won? A three-time defensive player of dwight howard hurtthe year with back and ongoing shoulder concerns. A one-dimensional liability with a limited arsenal of offensive moves and unreliable target in the clutch due to poor free throw shooting.

Howard may go on to win a NBA Championship in Houston but his recent history suggest that it may not be a virtual certainty. Howard may have passed on $30 million dollars to sign with the Rockets but the flexibility he provides for the Lakers regarding the future is immeasurable.

lakers future big 3Laker fans may not realize it now but this same time next year when the Lakers are having a press conference welcoming their next big three stars and a possible 2014 lottery pick, the number of Howard thank you letters will be overwhelming because without his indecision a brighter future for Laker-nation would not have been possible.

Blueprint to a NBA Championship – Spurs stability vs Heats star power

miami heat earned not givenAfter the Miami Heat assembled their big three many franchises believed that the way to win a NBA title is by signing big name free agents and teetering on the verge of luxury tax disaster in order to be crowned as NBA Champions.

Several teams foolishly followed suit assembling their own versions of the big three but none of those teams are in the conference championship fighting for an opportunity to dethrone the reigning NBA Champion Heat.

Big market teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Los Angeles Lakers $100 Million RosterLakers led by their billionaire owners foolishly thought that they would simply write a blank check and the 2013 NBA Championship would be theirs for the taking.

As these owners get a strong dose of humility while in luxury tax purgatory small market franchises continue to thrive despite building a title contender on a budget. The San Antonio Spurs continue to be the standard for small market franchises who refuse to overpay players and rely on superb scouting and player development programs.

Although small market teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Memphis Grizzles will never win a popularity contest or ever attract big name free agents one thing is certain, these teams will likely find themselves in the conference finals for decades too come.

Since the San Antonio Spurs will be returning to the NBA Finals for the first time sincesan antonio spurs dynasty 2007 the table it set for a clash for the ages. If the Heat duplicate their  impressive performance in Game 3 its very likely that the Heat will clinch the east.

If the Heat and Spurs clash the game as well as how to construct a NBA Championship will be on the line. Both formulas have resulted in NBA Championship but which style will win in the end.

nba big three eraThe Heat big three which was assembled via the free agency and the decision. And the Spurs wise three which was constructed through the NBA Draft. Which big three take its place as one of the best of all-time? Coach Pop, the Big Fundamental and his crew or The King and his court? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark


Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 3 PM EST. Subscribe to podcast

Dwight Howard – Why sign with the Lakers? Houston is the better option

dwight howard indecisionHas there ever been a team who had a more disappointing season than the Los Angeles Lakers, at the start of the season fans envisioned the return of the showtime Lakers all they got was a fistful of misfortune and injuries while Coach Mike Dantoni refused to budge or change his philosophy. The Lakers are at a crossroad and every roster spot on their bench is filled with uncertainty. Bogged down with aging players, huge salaries, and a disgruntled front office the future does not look too bright.

Although Dwight Howard can sign an extension with the Lakers, the questions pundits have failed to ask is why should he? Howard left the Orlando Magic in pursuit of a NBA Championship, and honestly, the Lakers do notfortunes of the Los Angeles Lakers have the coach, the financial flexibility or the talent to surround Howard with the pieces he needs to win a title. The Lakers core may be recognizable by name but the games of Steve Nash, Paul Gasol and Metta World Peace is completely unrecognizable.

Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players of all time is recovering from a devastating injury and despite his efforts he will not be able to defeat father time. If Bryant is able to return and be his dominant self, he only intends to play for two more years.

These factors alone are reasons why Howard would be wise to ignore the lore and lights of Hollywood and think long term about the state of the Lakers franchise. Signing an extension with the Lakers would certainly earn hims loyalty and favor with the Lakernation but it may cost him a Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol Los Angeles Lakerschance at winning a NBA Championship.

Last season Howard was victimized by his desire to want to be loved, has Howard finally grown up? And will he decide to do what’s best for him? Because their is a team in Houston with lots of money to spend, a young super star, and all they need is an intimidator down low. Will Howard answer the call, or succumb to the pressure of Laker-nation? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST