On Saturday night March 30, 2013 Kobe Bryant moved up on the all time scoring list. Kobe Bryant surpassed NBA Hall Of Famer Wilt Chamberlain to become 4th on the list of the basketball greatest scorers. Bryant scored 19 points in the Lakers victory over the Kings in Sacramento, CA. Bryant now stands at 31,434 points for his career.
He now is behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. Jordan is holding the 3rd spot on the list with 32,292. There are only 858 points separating Jordan and Kobe now. Bryant has already scored 1931 points this season. He has scored 2,000 points per season through his career. It is highly likely he will pass Jordan next season and take the 3rd position on the all time scoring list. When he passes Jordan he will elevate his legacy to the highest degree. Jordan is the Babe Ruth of basketball and this feat will cause many to rethink who was greater.
Kobe Bryant (Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant has been a very talented, entertaining and accomplished player during his career. He has had some off court issues and even some locker room drama. However when his career is over, his off court issues will pail in comparison to what he accomplished in the game. Kobe Bryant is a legendary player and we are lucky to be able to see the greatness he produces every night. This will be an exciting year coming up.
The basketball competition at the 2012 London Olympics began today. The US team came into this Olympics with high expectations. This years Team USA has been compared to the great 1992 “Dream Team”. Team USA took to the court against Tony Parker and the French team. The game tipped off at 2:30pm local time in London, England.
(David Becker/Getty Images)
The 1st quarter began with the US getting the first points on the board. Both teams were missing nearly all of their 3 point attempts. There were reports that the Olympic basketballs were sometimes slick and even over inflated, it would make sense given all of the missed 3 pointers. Neither team had very flashy play other than when Lebron James threw a long pass to Kevin Durant for a dunk on the French side of the court. The 1st quarter came to an end with France’s Yannick Bokolo hitting the games first 3 point shot. The score when the quarter ended was 22-21 in favor of team USA. Tony Parker led the French team in the 1st quarter with 6 points, while the USA’s leading scorer was Kevin Durant with 7 points.
Lebron James started off the 2nd quarter with a 3 pointer. The US team played the French team well on defense in the early part of the quarter. Kevin Durant had an inedible blocked shot on a Nicolas Batum shot in the paint. The US team committed a lot of fouls in the 1st half of the game, the french team did well at the free throw line when the fouls were made. Durant continued his excellent play in the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 3 point shot with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the half. Team USA moved the ball around very well and started racking up points. The half ended with the Team USA leading the French team by a score of 52-36. The leading scorer for the US in the 1st half was Kevin Durant with 14 points. The leading scorer for the French was Florent Pietrus with 8 points, he also was 4 for 4 at the free throw line.
The US continued the excellent defending against the French in the 3rd quarter. Lebron received a great pass from Deron Williams for the layup at the rim with 5 minutes left to go in the quarter. The passing of the US team was perfect and counted for a lot of the scoring by the team. Kevin Love played really well in the game with his signature shooting and aggressiveness. The US ended the quarter leading 78-51. The US really played more fluid and started clicking better in this quarter.
Tony Parker began the final quarter on the bench. Parker had been out of playing shape heading into the Olympics due to the eye injury he sustained a couple of months ago. The game was all but over, all that was left to do for Team USA was pull away even more in the score. The NBA’s #1 draft pick Anthony Davis got into the game in the final quarter and put his 1st ever Olympic points on the board. James Hardin made a nice break away dunk with 4 minutes left to go in the game. The bench was on the court for Team USA most of the 4th quarter, they are all top level players and showed it by holding the lead. The game ended like most thought it would with Team USA taking the game by a score of 98-71. Kevin Durant was the lead scorer in the game with 22 points, Ali Traore was France’s leading scorer with 12 points.
Team USA looked really good today. They proved that they can play well together as a team and are likely to win the gold medals this year. Kevin Durant came out of this game as the teams best player and lead the team very well today. Many will say it’s Lebron’s team but after today I would say it’s Durant’s. Tunisia will be their next opponent on Tuesday night. That game like this one should not be a difficult one for a squad with this many great players.
Ex Orland Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Stan Van Gundy era came to an end in Orlando on Monday when the Orlando Magic fired their coach. The firing has to be both a blessing and a curse for Van Gundy. He doesn’t have a job but at the same time he no longer has to deal with Dwight Howard drama. Van Gundy and the Magic’s star center Dwight Howard have been feuding all year both behind the scenes and in front of the media. Their were rumors that Howard was calling for Van Gundy’s firing by the middle of this past season. Even though Magic front office staff had confirmed those rumors, Howard has repeatedly denied such allegations. Well Monday it came to pass and Van Gundy was gone, whether it was due to the pressure Howard put on the Magic is hard to say.
Stan Van Gundy came to the Magic in 2007. He was essentially a back up plan when the Florida Gators head coach signed with the Orlando Magic and then 5 days later quit and went back to the Gators. There have been a lot of ups and downs for the team during Van Gundy’s tenure. Van Gundy leaves the Magic with a 259-135 record and a 31-28 record in the playoffs. He was with the team for a total of 5 seasons. The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009, only to fall victim quickly to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic also made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2010 losing the series 4-2 to the Boston Celtics.
The timing is very strange to me though, with the NBA Draft is coming up next month. The Magic need to find their new head coach and they need to find him soon. It is imperative to have a new coach in time to have him on board for the draft and helping the team set for in a new and hopefully successful direction.
This next season will be a very interesting and probably very stressful on for the Orland Magic. Dwight Howard’s contract is up at the end of the season. The Magic will definitely want to either sign Howard or trade him away. The Magic almost traded Howard this past season when it was unclear whether he would accept his team option for another season to close out his contract. The Magic have never forgotten the situation Shaq put them in after the 1996 season. Shaq left the team for The Lakers and the Magic got nothing in return due to the fact Shaq was a free agent.
Howard is a fantastic player and has potential to be an NBA Finals MVP. Howard will however need to tone down the drama that plagued last season in order for that to be possible. He would need to make a decision and resign or have the team deal him away way before the trade deadline if he wants to contend for the NBA Championship this season. One has to hope that with Van Gundy gone Howard can focus more on the court and lead the Magic the way he has shown himself capable of doing.
So will we see Dwight Howards final game with the Magic this year or the continuation of the good career he has had with the Magic. Is a championship in the Magic’s future? I think Dwight Howard’s season and decision has a lot to do with the answer to that question.