In the day directly following the six-month anniversary of his Achilles tendon tear, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant did the Kobe Bryant Thing in talking with media before a Lakers exhibition practice in Beijing. Bryant, whose initial recovery time was slated to take six-to-nine months, clearly wants Lakers fans to understand that he is well on his way, and were the schedule to produce a game of actual import, he’d be out there dragging his leg around.
Because these are things that Kobe Bryant usually says. From Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report:
In the land where they worship him for his work ethic, Kobe Bryant said Monday that the long rehabilitation from his Achilles tendon tear has reached the point where “if today was a playoff or NBA Finals [game], could I play? Probably.”
Asked if he thinks about the Achilles during workouts, Bryant said: “I haven't had any pain or any soreness whatsoever. It's kind of a flexibility thing, and getting the range of motion back—feel like you can bend without having to lift the heel up. After months of the tendon being compressed, now you have to work to stretch it out a little bit.”
A lack of pain and soreness combined with an inability to utilize his foot, ankle and heel in the wake of six months of recovery is par for the course for an Achilles tear. This, in spite of Bryant mentioning during the offseason that he “shattered” the initial recovery stages for the injury.
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If you worked on Monday morning, it's likely you weren't up at 2:38 a.m. ET when the clock ran out on the Raiders' win over the Chargers.
You missed a heck of a performance by Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor. But fear not. The way he played, it seems there will be many more opportunities to watch Pryor do his thing.
[Photos: Best action from NFL Week 5]
He was considered incredibly athletic and unpolished as a quarterback when the Raiders took him out of Ohio State in the 2011 supplemental draft. And, for better or worse, he still is both of those things. But his raw skills are spectacular enough to be an effective player while he learns to play the position.
Pryor completed his first 10 passes against the Chargers, finished 18-of-23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns and added 31 rushing yards in the Raiders' 31-21 win.
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First, late Monday evening, came this video from the folks at 2K Sports, as part of the promotional efforts for their new game, "NBA 2K14," which hit store shelves Tuesday and features LeBron James on the cover, Kent Bazemore on the bench, Euroleague teams in the mix and LeBron's future in the balance:
OK, so, maybe not quite so "uncensored." But no need to wait to catch the spot on cable sports news — The Associated Press already got behind those bars and beneath those beeps to get the scoop on which players Michael Jordan would have liked to face one-on-one in his prime, if given the opportunity:
In a video promoting the NBA 2K14 video game that is being released today, Jordan said there's a long list of players he would've liked to have played one-on-one — Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, [Kobe] Bryant and [LeBron] James, who dons the cover of this year's game.
"I don't think I would lose," Jordan said in the video, before smiling and adding, "Other than to Kobe Bryant, because he steals all of my moves."
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According to lore, or at least the Sports Illustrateds that I read in my youth, it was Red Auerbach that convinced David Stern to adhere to a 2-3-2 home/away format for the NBA Finals. Mindful of the potential for a Boston Celtics/Los Angeles Lakers Finals pairing that could appear repeatedly from 1984 until the end of the decade, Stern (in his first full year as commissioner) decided to change the format away from 2-2-1-1-1 for the 1985 Finals in order to save wear and tear on his league’s players, staff, and media.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, as the NBA featured wider mile stretches between typical conference champions than the NHL, and a geography-based conference divider that was unlike Major League Baseball or pro football’s setups. If the Finals were to be held in Boston and Los Angeles every year, why not give everyone a break – instead of shuttling back and forth between Games five through seven?
Well, because that format doesn’t match up with the NBA’s other playoff series’, the 2-3-2 approach has taken on flack over the last two decades. And with Stern set to step down midseason after 30 years on the job, there are reports that the league could go back to what seemed to serve them so well when St. Louis and Minneapolis were the reigning Western Conference champions. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald was the first to report the news, via the Associated Press:
The league's Competition Committee voted unanimously to recommend the change from the current 2-3-2 system and owners will vote on it next month at their meetings.
"The idea was raised at the Competition Committee and was well-received and the committee ultimately unanimously voted to recommend the change in format," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Sunday.
If approved, it hasn't been decided if the change would begin with the 2014 finals.
Because the Super Bowl is in a neutral location, and the World Series’ home field advantage isstupidly strangely decided by MLB’s All-Star Game, the NBA Finals are in a unique position. Nearly three decades after the switch to 2-3-2, it’s still debatable as to whether or not the team with home court advantage is helped or hurt by the format (remember, all it takes is one Game 3 win from the team with the better record to achieve a borderline-insurmountable 3-0 chokehold on the Finals), but the NBA appears to have had enough with the switch.
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Associated Press - The larger-than-life figure that teased and tormented the Sacramento Kings for so long is now the biggest name to join the franchise's new ownership group.
The Kings announced Monday that Shaquille O'Neal has acquired a minority stake in the team under new owner Vivek Ranadive. The Kings will introduce the four-time NBA champion at a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento.
During the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, O'Neal fueled the rivalry with the Kings with his play on the court and his personality off of it.
O'Neal handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals, which is still a sore spot for Kings fans. The 7-foot-1 center even labeled the franchise the "Sacramento Queens" and accused fan favorite Vlade Divac — whom he referred to as "she" at one point — of flopping.
O'Neal was a 15-time All-Star and the 2000 NBA MVP. He played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring after the 2010-11 season with the Boston Celtics.
O'Neal, now 41, has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons.
O'Neal is the latest high-profile former player to join the Kings this summer after the franchise nearly moved to Seattle. Hall of Famer Chris Mullin was hired as a consultant to Ranadive — who bought the franchise from the Maloof family in May — and Mitch Richmond is part of the ownership group.
The group includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, who is friends with O'Neal. The two partnered in the past to build several gyms, especially in South Florida during O'Neal's time with the Heat.