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PODCAST!!! Rajon Rondo, LeBron v. Riles, Late Night TV, Tebow, and Pop loves BK

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in Jeanie Buss, Jeremy Lin, Jerry Buss, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kevin Ollie, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Mitch Kupchak, Podcast, San Antonio Spurs | 1 comment

It’s been a while, but we’re back! The Lakers’ season is mercifully over and a (thus far) very fun playoffs are NBA underway. For the time being, ain’t much to talk about in Laker Land, but that won’t stop us from talking. The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a list of talking points can be found below. Among the highlights:

  • Our top story: Rajon Rondo’s disastrous stint in Dallas has now culminated in a “back injury” that’s all but officially ended his time as a Maverick. This fiasco comes on the heels of a steady decline in health, production and reputation. But in the eyes of some Lakers fans, that just makes the point guard a cost-effective free agent and inevitable redemption story ripe for the plucking. We explain why this is a terrible idea.
  • We take a stroll through the biggest NBA headlines. Does the Clippers’ Game 2 collapse reflect a doomed playoff run, even if they manage to take out the Spurs? Pat Riley throws shade at LeBron. Scott Brooks is out in OKC.
  • Our Not Sports Story: We examine the state of late night TV with David Letterman and Jon Stewart on the verge of exiting, and industry folks criticizing the medium’s new Fallon-ized direction.
  • Our Person of Interest: Tim Tebow is back, baby! What’s in store for the polarizing quarterback should he stick with the Eagles, and why does such a seemingly nice guy divide people so much in the first place?
  • AAK!!! What movie are we most looking forward to seeing the sequel? Can Gregg Popovich’s compliment to BK possibly be topped? What is each K Bros’ go-to lunch of choice?
  • Recommended Listening: Radiolab’s fascinating and highly entertaining look at the modern day relevance of the novel Don Quixote.

 

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PODCAST! Kobe’s done (what’s next?), Ghostbusters reboot, Super Bowl and the mature J.R. Smith

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Byron Scott, free agency, Jeanie Buss, Jeremy Lin, Jerry Buss, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Opinion, Podcast |

Kobe Bryant is on the shelf for the rest of the year and his availability and effectiveness for next season are in question… again.  After steadfastly projecting what I refer to as “faux competitiveness,” the Lakers front office is staring down another season without a postseason and and a summer of critical importance… again. And these crossroads feature a coach who’s yet to reveal himself as right choice moving forward… again.

The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a list of talking points can be found below. Among the talking points:

  • Kobe Bryant underwent successful surgery for a torn rotator cuff, meaning he’s done for the season. This being his third consecutive season ending injury, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll call it an early retirement. But if Kobe does return, what can be realistically expected from the superstar guard next season? And either way, how should the Lakers move forward as an organization?
  • We take a look at the latest headlines. With Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker injured, is Jeremy Lin suddenly a more valuable trade commodity? J.R. Smith is partying less in Cleveland than in New York. The Warriors reveals Chinese New Years jerseys that are either very classy, totally insulting, or both. The lineups for the All-Star Game’s three-point shooting and dunk contest are pretty damn awesome.
  • We react to the casting news for the all-female Ghostbusters reboot.
  • If Lance Armstrong could do it all over again, he’d do it exactly the same. And by “it,” he means “take PED.” What should we make of this rather candid admission?
  • It’s time for a Super Bowl-themed AAK!!! Who is the ideal halftime performer? Would we rather watch the game at the 50 yard line in person or on a 60-inch screen at a party? Do the K Bros root “Bud” or “Bud Light” in the Bud Bowl?

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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PODCAST! The new Kobe, CLE-OKC-NYK Trade, aging action heroes, Stuart Scott and more

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Byron Scott, ESPN, free agency, Jeanie Buss, Jeremy Lin, Jim Buss, Jordan Hill, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Podcast | 3 comments

2015 is in full swing and while the Lakers don’t seem any closer to adding a sixth ring to Kobe’s finger (or even making the playoffs to create such an opportunity), the last several games have been nothing if not compelling. Is a legit sea change underway for The Mamba’s final days?

The show can be heard by clicking on the module, and a list of talking points can be found below. Among the high points:

  • OUR TOP STORY: What a difference three games off, sensibly reduced PT, and a change of deployment can make. After being driven nearly to the verge of collapse, Kobe Bryant is now playing fewer minutes, is functioning as the team’s primary facilitator, and is succeeding brilliantly in the new role. Will this change stick and if so, what are the potentially positive implications for the Lakers moving forward? What would have happened had he continued down the road traveled at the start of the season? (Here’s a  link to the piece I wrote a few years ago expressing concern Kobe could end his career like, as Chris Rock put it, “the old guy at the club.)
  • AROUND THE LEAGUE: We take a look at two recent big headlines. The second round of returns on All-Star voting reflects fans largely paying attention to the season… and that Chinese hoops fans enjoy voting, period. Bucks center Larry Sanders reportedly has lost interest in playing basketball, which is either great or horrible news for Milwaukee, depending on how you look at it.
  • “ALMOST TOP” STORY: Monday saw a huge three-way deal between the Cavaliers, Thunder and Knicks. Cleveland receives J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. OKC receives Dion Waiters. The Knicks receive a bunch of dudes subsequently cut for cap space, cap space and more cap space. How did each squad fare? And how does this blockbuster impact the Lakers?
  • NON-SPORTS STORY: There are reports of another “Rambo” movie in the works for Sylvester Stallone. At the risk of sounding like ageists, Sly seems a bit long in the tooth at 68 to be killing folks in the jungle. Then again, Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington have successfully aged into sexagenarian ass-kickers. Is there a difference? (Also, this is a link to the “Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period” podcast referenced during the show. Very funny and entertaining.)
  • PERSON OF INTEREST: We take a look at the life and legacy of ESPN anchor and personality Stuart Scott, who died Sunday after a long battle with cancer.
  • RECOMMENDED VIEWING: With award seasons in full swing, we each recommend a movie in the mix for Oscar nominations.
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How media makes playing with Kobe Bryant hard

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis | 9 comments

Everyone knows playing with Kobe Bryant is difficult, but people tend to focus on those things related to his personality and playing style. Kobe demands hard work and total commitment, doesn’t trust easily, has the ball in his hands a lot, and so on.

Noted far less frequently are the ways in which Bryant’s presence over nearly two decades has Kobe-fied the city and media, and how that influences his teammates, both present and potential. Take this exchange with Jeremy Lin, following Tuesday’s loss at home to Phoenix:

The Lakers are a bad team off to a terrible start, and Lin hasn’t looked good (his mini-bounceback Tuesday notwithstanding). They’re all frustrated. But after the game, in which Kobe scored 39 points on 37 shots over 44 minutes – voluminous usage likely annoying teammates on one level or another, even if we all understand why Bryant might feel compelled to take this much on himself – the focus isn’t simply on Kobe. That’s to be expected. It’s about how much Kobe poured into the game. How hard Kobe worked. How Kobe gave it his all.

I wasn’t there, but have heard this done enough to know how common questions like these are, and more importantly, how they sound to the athlete. Allow me to translate:

What is asked: “Jeremy, Kobe played 44 minutes and scored 39 points. He’s 36 years old. What’s it like to see a guy like him give it his all and post big numbers, 19 years into his career?”

What he hears: “Jeremy, Kobe played 44 minutes and scored 39 points. He’s 36 years old. What’s it like to see a guy like him give it his all and post big numbers 19 years into his career because you guys around him are such untalented shitbox slack-asses he has no alternative?”

Nobody outworks Kobe, but Kobe isn’t the only player who works hard. Kobe has a remarkable tolerance for pain, but he’s not the only guy who plays hurt. The implication of questions like the one asked Lin isn’t simply that the other Lakers are failing themselves, their teammates, or the organization, but that they’re failing Kobe. And it’s insulting.

Five games in, the Lakers don’t have a problem with effort, but talent. Guys are doing what they can, they just can’t do enough. Most of the time, someone asks the question and Kobe’s teammate delivers the “right” answer, marveling at Kobe’s work ethic and effort, and the quote is there to fill whatever need. Occasionally, you get a less filtered answer like Lin’s.

This is part of the landscape for potential free agents coming to Los Angeles. Our collective perception of Lakers basketball and how players are supposed to be successful now reflects Kobe’s unique makeup, his accomplishments, and the mythology surrounding him. The annoyances might be minor individually (how I’d classify Tuesday’s postgame exchange) but they do add up, and make playing here less appealing. And for stars, constant comparisons to Kobe can be draining (and they won’t end just because he retires).

At this point, Bryant is a master of media, knowing exactly how to convey any message he feels necessary, whether publicly through Twitter, for example, or behind the scenes. He’s unafraid to play those cards. But the phenomenon I’m noting here isn’t really something he controls or instigates. It’s an evolution. Having someone like him in a city like L.A. on a franchise like the Lakers for so long with so much success can’t help but influence the culture.

But it’s real, and it matters.

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