Category Archives: NBA

Pepsi Max & Uncle Drew

With huge marketing budgets, brands like Pepsi have the ability to spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns. And when you bring in sporting personalities, the ideas can be endless. And when the sporting personalities are NBA stars it makes it even more enjoyable (for me anyway!). I can’t help but love what Pepsi Max have done with the Uncle Drew series (Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavs).  I saw the first one many months ago and they have just released the second chapter (with Kevin Love of the Timberwolves and Legendary Celtic Bill Russell). No doubt there will be more to come.  Now this is content well worth sharing! Here are the 2 vids below:

1) Here’s the first chapter  from earlier on in the year. 15 million views can’t be wrong =)

2) And the latest one just released with Uncle Drew and Wes…


The 2013 Lakers: Locked & Reloaded

What an off season it has been for the Lakers. Plenty of opinions and analysis with Twitter lighting it up. In the final wash, over the past 12 months, the Lakers have basically given up Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and some low first round draft picks and turned it into Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jordan Hill; and added some nice free agents in Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison. Wow. You think Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss don’t know what they are doing now? Expectations abound and opinions are divided about how it will all work; remember the summer of ’03 when Payton and Malone joined Kobe and Shaq – that didn’t work out too well.  Here’s a few articles to make your mouth water:

LA Times – TJ Simers: “Jim Buss gets the last laugh” – With Dwight Howard following Steve Nash to the Lakers, Buss makes his father proud.

ESPN LA – Arash Markazi: “Dwight Howard headed to Lakers” – Dwight Howard is happy to be a Laker, and his arrival punctuates Mitch Kupchak’s summer.

ESPN – Michael Wilbon: “Dwight Howard lucky to be a Laker” – Showtime returns to LA. Above all else, the Lakers know NBA titles are delivered by the men in the middle.

CBS Sports – Ken Berger: “Joining Kobe, Nash, Gasol in L.A., time for Howard to act like a champion” – Is Dwight Howard ready to stop playing around? Is he ready to play? Ready to take the torch from Kareem and, yes, Shaquille O’Neal, and help Kobe win his sixth NBA title? 

Hoopsworld – Eric Pincus: “Kupchak on Howard: We got the best” – The home runs have been hit for the summer.

And check out some of these photo spoofs from Laker fans all around the world!

The Dream Team

20 years on and without doubt the finest collection of basketball players on one team ever. 11 Professionals and 1 College player. All 11 pros in the Basketball Hall of Fame & (apart from Chris Mullin) all in the NBAs Top 50 Greatest basketball players of all time. I still remember as a teenager hearing news about the Dream Team. You serious? Basically an NBA All Star team at the Olympics? In 1992, basketball was just reaching new heights. And this would propel the NBA and basketball into an even bigger spotlight

This great documentary just released by NBA TV takes us on the journey on the establishment and the trials & tribulations of the finest basketball team ever – original Dream Team. A must see for basketball aficionados. The old heads Magic and Bird going for one last hurrah, the torch being passed to Michael Jordan, and Malone & Barkley going at it to be known as the best Power Forward in the game. Yes you won’t miss the cockiness and the arrogance, but there’s no denying they were the best of the best.

Yes people will remember Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. But for you late bloomers to basketball, who were the other guys? Their resumes are pretty impressive:

Karl Malone: The Mailmain considered by many to be one of the top Power Forwards of all time. Played 18 years with the Utah Jazz and 1 with the Lakers. Career averages of 25.0 ppg and 10.1 rpg. Second all time leader in points with 36,928 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 2x League MVP and 14x NBA All Star, he made 3 NBA Finals appearances losing to the Bulls in successive years and to the Pistons (in his final year as a Laker).

John Stockton: Played 19 years with Utah and perfected the pick and roll with the Mailman. A true point guard at 6-1 his court vision was simply amazing. Career averages of 13.1 ppg and 10.5 apg. All time leader in assists with 15,806 assists. A 10x NBA All Star, he made 2 NBA Finals appearances losing to the Bulls in successive years.

Chris Mullin: A sharp shooting south paw, he played 16 years with Golden State & Indiana. Part of the famous Run TMC with Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond (a 90’s rendition of Showtime!). Career averages of 18.2 ppg, 50.9% FG and 86.6% FT. A 5x NBA All Star.

Scottie Pippen: Jordan’s sidekick for 6 NBA championships in the 90’s. Pretty much the prototypical “do-all” small forward who could score, defend and play big or small. Played 17 years mainly with The Bulls, alongside stints with the Rockets & Trailblazers. Career averages of 16.1 ppg and 5.2 apg. A 7x NBA All Star.

Charles Barkley: The “Round Mound of Rebound” – he was never shy with what he had to say and still in’t as an analyst with TNT! Played 16 years with the 76ers, Suns and Rockets. Career averages of 22.1 ppg and 11.7 rpg. 1x League MVP and 11x NBA All Star. Made it to the NBA Finals once with the Suns, losing to the Bulls who embarked on the start of their second 3-peat.

Christian Laettner: The Duke posterboy who won 2x NCAA championships. Played 13 years with 6 NBA teams and had an “average” career. Career averages of 13.3 ppg and 6.9 rpg. 1x NBA All Star.

David Robinson: The Admiral played all 14 years with the San Antonio Spurs teaming with Tim Duncan to form the “Twin Towers” in winning 2 NBA championships. Chiseled physique who had a unique ability to run and floor hard for a big man. Career averages of 21.1 ppg & 10.6 rpg. 1x League MVP and a 10x NBA All Star.

Patrick Ewing: The former Gergetown Hoya played 17 years mainly with the Knicks. Known for his patented “fall away” jumper in the post. Who could forget those tough series between the Knicks and Bulls of the 90s and the match ups between Ewing and Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon. Career averages of 21.0 ppg and 9.8 rpg. 11x NBA All Star who made it to the NBA FInals once where his Knicks lost in 7 games to Hakeem and the Rockets.

Clyde Drexler: Clyde “the Glide” Drexler played 15 years with the Blazers and Rockets capturing a championship with the Rockets alongside Hakeem Olajuwon. Career averages of 20.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg. A 10x NBA All Star.

And this is them today….20 years on. If you’re a true basketball fan, you will appreciate them as a team, but also how it changed the landscape of basketball globally. Names like Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker, Manu Ginoboli – you can chase their beginnings back to 1992 and what happened with the Dream Team.

The 2012 Lakers: Jekyll & Hyde as they head into Game 7

How did it end up being 3-3 after the Lakers looked so strong in taking a 3-1 lead over the Nuggets? Facing an elimination game? To some it’s surprising. To me, it’s really just the DNA of the 2012 Lakers. It’s been a year of highs and lows and the Lakers have never really found their identity.

  • The faltered trade of Gasol/Odom for Chris Paul;
  • Trading Odom (the emotional leader) to Dallas;
  • The constant trade rumours of Gasol;
  • Trading Fisher (the voice of reason) to the Rockets;
  • Bench production;
  • The Metta World Peace elbow and suspension;
and the list goes on …

Apart from Kobe Bryant, the lack of consistency and just effort has been the most frustrating thing for Laker fans. And I have to point out the 2 other All-Stars – Bynum and Gasol. One day the sun is shining with Bynum dominating the Spurs with 30 rebounds. Next thing you know he comes out in Game 3 in Denver and says he’s wasn’t prepared to play or that he was out hustled. You’re on a $16 million dollar salary, the playoffs, and you’re not ready? Hmmm. Add to that the stupid comments he made before Game 5 by saying “Close out games are easy” and you just have to question how much of a leader Bynum can be. Yeah, we are constantly reminded he is just 24 years old.

And what about Pau Gasol? I really don’t know. I’ve got to give him credit for having a strong regular season amidst the trade rumours and speculation. And for really taking somewhat of a back seat in letting Bynum blossom and giving up shots in the offense. But where has he gone in the playoffs? Where has his post game gone? 7 footer shooting jump shots?Averaging 11 points and 8 rebounds whilst shooting 41% against an undersized Nuggets team is hardly considered dominating? For the second post season in a row, he has failed to deliver. I can’t see any other option than for Pau to be traded given his $19 million contract and the impending luxury tax implications.

Game 6 @ Denver, Kobe Bryant is as sick as a dog but comes through. Where were the other players? Probably thinking that Kobe can bail them out at all times. It’s a knife-edge sword. Having arguably the best player in the game (both physically and mentally) is a luxury but also a dangerous asset. Sitting back and hoping Kobe bails them out has been a common sight this year and in these past few games. What happened in those games that Kobe was not playing and the Lakers built up some strong cohesion and identity. It was all set up for when Kobe returned. That’s all disappeared. It will be a sad day when Kobe finally hangs it all up.

Mike Brown? Have to respect his hard work, but it just doesn’t seem he has the smarts to play the chess game needed in the playoffs. Yes, you can get away with it in the regular season, but come playoffs you have to adjust. Not matter how good of a team you are, the playoffs are all about adjustments. What worked in Game 1, the other team will adjust to, so what is your Plan B, C, and D? He’s the coach – why is he matching up Blake with Miller when he’s getting posted up on in the low block play after play..and scoring? And putting Blake on Gallinari? And really, why can’t he play Goudelock for a few spot minutes. Make things unpredictable! Get a shooter on the floor who can hit an outside shot! The Lakers haven’t really addressed their 3-pt shooting this year, much like last year. Through 6 games, the Lakers are shooting 28.6%. Blake 9/24@ 37%, Barnes 3/24@12%, Sessions 4/17@23% and Kobe 13/40@32% (respectable given he’s often dumped with the ball in the last 6 secs and has to hoist).

I hate saying this but I really have no preference for Game 7. Looking at the big picture, it will just delay the inevitable. And the thoughts of planning for next year start. If they advance, can they really beat the Thunder? Unless they go back to being Jekyll, I really doubt it. Right now they are caught in between and look directionless and emotionless. But I guess that’s been the story of the season. Just when things look up, they turn. But just as likely, when things look down, they turn – so I want to believe. Who will come out to play in Game 7? Metta World Peace will be back and maybe he will ignite the fire needed? I know Kobe Bryant will give it his all, but what about the rest of the Laker squad? We will find out soon.

Respect for Derek Fisher

I’ve been meaning to write about D-Fish for a while now but now that the Playoffs have come around and looking more and more like OKC will play the Lakers in the next round, I thought it would be timely. When the Lakers traded Derek Fisher + a 1st round pick to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill, I was as shocked as anyone. Granted the Lakers had just earlier traded for Ramon Sessions from Cleveland, you could sort of understand the logic and the salary cap implications.


However, losing Fisher’s locker room presence was probably the toughest thing to swallow. And seeing him sign with title favourites OKC would have been a bitter pill to swallow. There’s no doubt that D-Fish was the voice of reason, the Laker’s emotional leader, the one bringing calm to the storm when things didn’t seem to work out. A leader not based on his ability but on his mental toughness and his will to go to battle and take those tough shots in all situations.

And no doubt that he’s bringing that to the OKC locker room. And whilst all Laker fans did complain about his ability to do certain things, we all respected what he did bring to the table. He must still be able to do something right if we look at his Game 4 stats V Dallas in closing out the series 4-0: 29 mins, 12 pts, 5/6 shooting (incl 2/2 from 3-pt land), and a +21.

And if you check out the series stats in the 4 games he’s played int he playoffs so far, he’s doing a fine job as a reserve averaging: 8 points and 58% from field (incl 63% from 3pt line). Not bad for a 37 year old. You think the Lakers could use him off the bench? Just hope he doesn’t burn us.

And as the playoffs are here, one can only pay respect and tribute to what DFish did bring to the Lakers. Here’s a few D-Fish clutch highlights from Laker’s folklore:

1. Clutch 3 pointers to send into ovetime and win it in Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals V Magic

2. Coast to coast And-1 to finish off Game 3 of the 2009 NBA Finals V Celtics

3. The famous 0.4 in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference Finals V Spurs

4. Game winning layup in a 2011 regular season game V Clippers

5. Big 3 in Game 3 of the 2010 Western Conference Semi Finals V Jazz

Who is Andrew Goudelock?

Have the Lakers finally found a sniper off the bench? With the bench production being a huge cause for concern for Laker fans, it’s certainly a breath of fresh air. As the Lakers have gone 3-1 in their last 4 games, Andrew Goudelock (@0goudelock) (pronounced GOW-DE-LOCK) has put up some solid numbers whilst averaging 20 mins off the bench:

11.5 Points per Game
50% FG @ 17/34
57% 3FG @ 8/14

Selected No. 46 by the Lakers in the 2011 NBA draft out of the College of Charleston, Goudelock spent 4 years playing 140 games averaging 18.4 points per game. In his Senior year he averaged 23.4 points per game with a 40.7% 3pt FG rate whilst being an honourable mention for All-America by the Associated Press. He also captured the College 3-pt Shooting Championship. This is him:

And the kid has range! I’m talking CRAZY range!

In the games I’ve seen, one thing Goudelock doesn’t lack is confidence and killer instinct. Maybe that’s why Kobe has given him the nickname “Mini-Mamba”. As Dave McMenamin from writes, Goudelock has been embraced by his Laker teammates for just being ready when his number has been called. I think a lot of players that have put on the Laker uniform in the past have just been in awe and just freeze when put into certain situations. Not Goudelock. As a rookie he is making the most of his opportunities. It’s good to see him get some run.

Even though 45 players went ahead of him in the draft, he has clearly used it as motivation.

As Goudelock said: “You try not to think about those types of things but that means 45 teams passed up on me. I think I’m just as good as everybody in that draft”.

Whilst these last 4 games are anything but to base his future on, it sure points in the right direction. One can only hope that Coach Mike Brown continues to give him minutes (even when Steve Blake returns from injury). Yes, he surely will have growing pains but you can’t complain about his attitude and his determination.

So even when the chips are down and people doubt you, keep up the fight and believe in yourself. Whether on the basketball court or not, I think this applies.

State of the Nation. The Lakers Nation that is…


Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Nearly a quarter of the way through the condensed NBA season and where are the Lakers at? From the failed attempts to trade for Chris Paul (twice!!), to the sudden exit of Lamar, and then to Kobe going on a scoring outburst, one thing hasn’t changed….the Lakers never fail to get media scrutiny. With a 10-8 record (as of 24th Jan) many subplots exist as The Lakers try to live up to the lofty expectations we fans place on the team. Winning cures everything and it’s amazing how the Laker community goes from one extreme to another. A Derek Fisher game winner is polarized by a 3 game losing streak. (At least we can still enjoy the sight of this video)

From a “fantastic game by player x” to “Lakers need to trade everyone” it’s amazing how passionate Laker fans are. Just check out the forums at and you will see why!

A few topics to chew the fat on:

New coach, New system
Yes we all hoped it would only take a few games and all would be fine. But realistically, the Lakers are trying to unlearn the triangle and pick up a new system. So it’s not surprising that the Laker offense is sputtering like an old car needing a tune up and oil check! It hasn’t been pretty. No fluidity and whilst Kobe going off for 40 points is great to see, it’s simply not sustainable in the long run. Gasol and Bynum need to learn to play together and the bench players need to work out their roles. Yes the Lakers are still searching for their identity.

Roster balance…the Point Guards
I admire Derek Fisher. What he’s done in the past is amazing. And he still manages to pop up and make the plays in crucial situations. See game v Dallas. His leadership qualities and presence are second to none but Fisher isn’t a penetrator who can get in the lane and create for others, and he has trouble staying in front of quick guards. Steve Blake was doing a better job before he got injured but like Fish he is a spot up shooter and not a creator. I do like rookie Darius Morris and its great he’s getting minutes, but he just needs time to develop. Cant fault his confidence though. Many say if he had stayed in college one more year, he would have been a lottery pick. Here’s hopeing he turns out to be a great Laker!

“I don’t know if he’s prepared, but he’s confident,” said Brown.  “He told my lead assistant John Kuester . . . he looked him in his eye and said ‘Kue, I can play.’  He was almost like, ‘Let me remind you guys, I can play the game.’”

So the issue is apart from Kobe there isn’t anybody else who can break down the opposition and either finish or create for others. Losing Lamar meant losing a creator and someone who can set up the big guys in the post. I do think these are the reasons for the inconsistency with Gasol and Bynum. But realistically who can they get that will help without compromising assets as they pursue Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams?

Trade Rumours
If Chris Paul were a Laker, you can bet your bottom dollar Dwight would be pushing to come. But this is no longer and there’s been endless chatter about what Bynum/Gasol/$8.5 mill trade exception/draft picks can bring the Lakers. It’s a waiting game at the moment, as the first chip in Howard needs to fall before the ripple effect occurs. That’s why, amidst all the trade rumours, Mitch Kupchak has held on to his assets waiting patiently on Howard. Sure he could make some small trades to help plug some holes (OJ Mayo, Devin Harris, Ramon Sessions & Andre Miller come to mind), but getting the next superstar to play alongside Kobe and carry the torch is the objective. It would be heaven if the Lakers could get Howard and Williams but patience is the key.

Amongst all of the issues, Laker fans will just have to be patient.