Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Original Source:

NBA: The MVP Will Come out of Los Angeles

Kirk Jackson March 5, 2012

Two MVP candidates Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul

Two MVP candidates Kobe Bryant and Chris PaulHarry How/Getty Images

A little over halfway through the season, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul are two MVP candidates playing at a high level this season.

Paul is averaging 19.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.2 steals while playing just over 36 minutes per game.

Bryant is averaging a league-leading 28.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals while playing 38 minutes per game.

But their MVP play is more than just statistical greatness. They bring the qualities of leadership and determination both guys display on a consistent basis. They possess the intangible elements that enable their teams to elevate and succeed on a higher level.

Paul and Bryant bring a defensive tenacity, a competitive drive, and an iron will to get the job done under any circumstance. Excuses are not valid—everyone is held accountable.

The main focus for MVP attention has been on LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who are outstanding talents and among the best players in the league. But as great as they are, they may not be the most valuable pieces to their respective squads.

James is an all-around threat blessed with outstanding court vision and passing ability. James is an elite re-bounder for the forward position and is an improved defender. The self-proclaimed “King” is basically a stat stuffer—a fantasy owner’s dream who puts up video game numbers. James has an extremely high basketball IQ and generally makes great decisions during the game, (minus a few late game situations).

But if you take James off the roster, you still have a formidable team, especially in the weaker Eastern Conference. With James off the roster, the Miami Heat would not be the favorite to win it all, but they would still finish with one of the better records in the conference and could possibly contend for the title.

The Big Three LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade

The Big Three LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne WadeMarc Serota/Getty Images

Chris Bosh is a top-15 caliber player; Dwayne Wade is a proven closer, champion, and arguably the best player on the Miami Heat. The Heat have a solid bench and good role players, like Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers; the list goes on and on.

Kevin Durant is an effortless scorer who is developing a ‘killer instinct’ like Mr. Bryant and is really coming into his own this season. One of the great things about Durant is his work ethic, as he is always trying to get better each season. His size and length can someday prove to make him a nightmare on the defensive end, just as he is on the offensive end. Durant is the unquestioned leader of this young Oklahoma City Thunder team, which is oozing with youth and talent.

But Russell Westbrook arguably may be more important to the Thunder than Durant. Westbrook is the most explosive and athletically gifted point guard in the league, aside from last year’s MVP, Derrick Rose. Westbrook has the pressure and responsibility of handling the team’s offense. He may not be as efficient as Durant, but he is a well-rounded player, more than capable of getting a triple double on any night. And from a defensive stand point, he is a little bit better than Durant.

What hurts Paul’s chances, surprisingly enough, is Blake Griffin and the surrounding cast of high flying athletes. I believe when people watch SportsCenter highlights, they see all of these athletes and just assume Paul and company should be doing that and it’s not a big deal.

The Clippers have had talent in the past. Remember when they had a young Quentin Richardson, Darius Miles, Corey Maggette, Lamar Odom, Keyon Dooling, etc.?  I know Michael Olowokandi was probably one of the worst draft picks in recent memory, but the Clippers had talent—they just couldn’t manufacture wins.

Dynamic duo Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Dynamic duo Kevin Durant and Russell WestbrookRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Paul brings leadership to manage and help develop the talent that is on this year’s version of the Clippers. As a point guard this season and in seasons past, Paul has maximized the talent and is playing at a high level.

It’s actually quite puzzling Bryant isn’t receiving more buzz or attention for MVP contention. To be leading the NBA in scoring at age 33, playing in your 16th season, is quite a remarkable accomplishment in itself. People may believe he shoots too much, the ball should be spread around more, etc.

Those points are valid to some degree, Bryant does a good job of facilitating the ball, and guys like Pau Gasol and Andruw Bynum would get more touches if they were more demanding and aggressive in the interior paint. They do not actively call for the ball and establish themselves on a consistent basis on the offensive end in the paint.

Bryant is performing at a high level despite his age and coming off a knee surgery. As a matter of fact, injuries will not even deter this guy—it’s like he isn’t human. Even this year, torn finger ligaments on his shooting hand, broken nose, concussion—nothing will stop him. Bryant has some talent to help him, but there are plenty of holes on the team as well.

Derek Fisher is a stand-up guy, a consummate professional and an outstanding leader on and off the court. But Fisher is old, can’t consistently put up offensive numbers, and is a liability on defense. The Lakers’ bench is also an issue, as they are one of the most inconsistent groups in the league from a statistical perspective. The Lakers’ bench averages 21.2 points per game (league worst), and their efficiency rating is also a league worst 25.0.

Take Bryant off the Lakers and they will more than likely miss the playoffs; he is the heart and soul of that team. Take Paul off the Clippers, they will resemble the same team as last year, when they did not make the playoffs.

Take James and Durant off, they still are playoff capable teams. They may not be competing for a title without Durant and James, but they are still formidable.

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Forget Kevin Durant, LeBron James or Derrick Rose, It’s Kobe Bryant for MVP

Kirk Jackson January 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on January 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We’re about 12 games into this condensed NBA season and there has been plenty of great games and moments so far.

The climatic back-and-forth game opening day between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, the overtime thriller between the Los Clippers and the Miami Heat from a few nights ago and some other signature moments from some of the league’s premier superstars.

Although we are still in the infant stages of the season, some teams are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the league and are being led by great players.

And with that, of course, many common names have come to the forefront as far as the MVP discussion goes.

Kevin Durant, a popular choice, is a player who can seemingly score at will. Durant has a great work ethic and attitude that will most certainly guide him to steady improvements, eventual championships and other accolades within the upcoming years.

Durant is leading his team in scoring with 25.7 ppg, and after a 12-game mark, the Oklahoma City Thunder hold the top spot in the Western Conference, standing at 10-2.

The only thing you can argue is Russell Westbrook is just as valuable as Durant. Westbrook may not be as potent of a scorer, but defensively, he is better at his position than Durant is, and he holds a bigger responsibility, serving as the team’s facilitator.

Westbrook’s value will even increase with the recent injury to reserve point guard Eric Maynor, who will be out for the rest of the season.

DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder stand next to each other on the court in the fourth quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Another popular choice is reigning MVP Derrick Rose. The Chicago Bulls are standing atop of the Eastern Conference at 10-2 and are off to their best start since ’96-97.

Even though Rose isn’t putting up the same numbers as last year, with 25.0 ppg and 7.7 assists   compared to 20.7 ppg and 8.6 assists, he is still playing at an extremely high level and has shown to be a difference-maker on his team.

The Bulls are pretty stacked this year, and anytime backup point guard John Lucas can lead the team in scoring in the absence of Rose and the team still pulls out a victory, you’re in good shape.

Many people at ESPN, such as Michael Smith from the show Numbers Never Lie, likes to throw out the name LeBron James for MVP of the league.

From a statistical standpoint, he can make a case because James always puts up spectacular numbers. This year, James is averaging 29.0 ppg, 7.5 assists and 8.5 rebounds.

Are they meaningful numbers? Some players play for stats, I’m not suggesting that’s the case with James, but don’t you feel sometimes at the end of the game that despite his great statistical output, he did not have an impact on the game?

Maybe I’m nitpicking, maybe I’m on to something.

But stats aren’t the entire story when it comes to defining the MVP. MVP stands for most valuable player, the most important player to a respective team. If you subtract James from the Heat, they’ll still have a really good team, a championship-caliber team.

Another thing that goes against James is I don’t think he is the best player on his own team. That distinction belongs to Dwayne Wade.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a break in the action against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 117-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly a

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Wade is a better on-ball defender, a better ball handler, he’s quicker, has a championship-winning pedigree, is a NBA Finals MVP and has the mentality to take over the game, especially in the fourth quarter.

That is not a knock on James, contrary to his struggles in the fourth quarter throughout his career and as of late.

I think he is held to an unfair standard. He has all-time talent, but he does not possess the will of a Michael Jordan, or a Kobe Bryant, or a Larry Bird. But that’s OK.

James doesn’t have to be clutch like those aforementioned greats; he is a great player in his own right. Therefore, he shouldn’t be held to their standards; he is in a lower-tier type of player. He also shouldn’t address himself as the “King,” either.

Speaking of Kobe, if you remove him from the Lakers, they’re DOOMED.

After a 12-game start, the Lakers are an impressive 8-4 and can easily be 10-2.

Most people probably slept on Bryant coming into this season, citing his age, the overall wear and tear on his body, his new coach, personal problems off the court and even the roster surrounding him (minus Chris Paul).

But apparently, the experimental knee procedure, the extended rest from the lockout and the embarrassment of being swept in last year’s playoffs have served as beneficiaries to Bryant. Being rated as the seventh best player in the league, according to espn.com, probably helped as well.

Bryant looks like a rejuvenated man on a mission, unleashing his tyrannical wrath on whoever that stands in his path.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures after making a basket and being fouled in the second half against the New York Knicks at Staples Center on December 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

He does not possess the same athleticism from his No. 8 afro days, and he has been injury prone as of late, but his toughness and competitive nature is second to none.

Bryant is playing with torn wrist ligaments he injured during the preseason, but that has not stopped him from performing at a high level.

With an arsenal of crafty moves ranging from the outside perimeter to the inside post area, over the last three games, Bryant is averaging 36.7 ppg. His last two games were back-to-back 48-point and 40-point efforts, respectively.

Kobe’s stats up to this point are a league-leading 30.3 ppg, 5.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds.

He has scored or assisted on over 42 percent of the team’s offense.

Even though there is an emergence at center with Andruw Bynum, he still does not play great consistently, and the Lakers will have to rely on the greatness of Bryant over the course of the season if they want to be successful.

Bryant does so much more than what the stats will indicate. Bryant brings toughness and a strong mentality to the forefront of this Lakers team. As the leader of this team, Bryant serves as a great coach on the court as well.

And unlike another MVP candidate, Bryant knows how to perform in the clutch. He doesn’t always succeed, but he embraces the challenge and accepts the consequences of failure. He is willing to put it all on the line every night he suits up.

The guy has to get a shot injection before every game (ouch) and his wrist swells up to the size of a circus balloon after every game.

If Kobe continues this pace at the age of 33, and if the Lakers finish a top four team in the Western Conference, he should be the MVP this season.

Original Source:

LeBron James for Dwight Howard Makes Perfect Sense

Kirk Jackson June 28, 2011

Dwight Howard battling LeBron James

Dwight Howard battling LeBron JamesMarc Serota/Getty Images

Leading up to the draft this past week, there has been a swirl of rumors revolving around potential trades in the NBA.

One of the rumors involved the Miami Heat trading LeBron James to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard.

As crazy as the deal may sound initially, it actually makes sense for the Miami Heat.

This trade benefits the Heat because in acquiring Howard, they address their main weaknesses.

Miami has a major weakness in their front line, most noticeably at the center position.

The Heat lack a player who consistently rebounds the ball on the defensive end and they lack a dominant presence in the paint on the offensive end. Howard, an interior threat offensively and defensively, would essentially eliminate those problems.

With the loss of James from a defensive stand point, the Heat lose one of the premier perimeter defenders in the league. But even with the loss of James, the interior defense would be set with Howard and the Heat still have one of the other premier perimeter defenders with Wade.

Simply put, with Howard the Heat would be a better defensive team and if necessary they could sign Shane Battier, or another wing defensive specialist in free agency to help on the perimeter.

The Heat could potentially be a better offensive team without James as well.

Howard is emerging as an offensive force, displaying added versatility each year. In fact, there was only about a three-point differential in scoring averages between Howard and James last year, and Howard does not dominate the ball like James does.

Howard is a player who needs to be doubled teamed, and his presence will allow open shots for shooters like Eddie House, James Jones, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers.

This acquisition also allows Wade to return to his normal role on the team in years past, having more control of the ball, without having to share duties with James.

This would eliminate awkward stretches in the game, where the team offense would look stagnant and perplexed with what they wanted to do.

There were instances where players would constantly pass the ball like a hot potato, not knowing what to do, or they would watch LeBron hold the ball for 18 seconds waiting for him to make a play because everyone grew accustomed to him holding the ball so much.

Bosh would probably benefit the most with Howard by his side.

The acquisition of the three-time defending Defensive Player of the Year allows Bosh to comfortably play his natural position of power forward, without having to worry about grabbing every rebound or battling too much in the trenches.

A duo of Howard and Bosh arguably, can be more formidable than the twin towers in Los Angeles of Pau Gasol and Andruw Bynum.

Howard benefits from this deal because he automatically goes to a championship contending team.

Adjusting to a new environment shouldn’t be too big of a burden for Howard, as Miami isn’t too far from where he has spent his entire NBA career.

By taking his talents to South Beach, Howard steps into a bigger market, a realm with more glitz and glamour, and with that probably more pressure as well.

But his personality suggests he can handle the baggage that comes with the move, he would not only welcome the challenge but thrive under it.

The Orlando Magic benefits from this transaction by subtracting a MVP-caliber super star, with an expiring contract, for a multiple MVP award-winning player, with a longer contract.

So there you have it. The Heat win, Orlando wins, Bosh wins—everyone should be happy right? But what about LeBron?

James seems to be the only party in this equation who does not benefit from this transaction.

James is a good addition to add to the current Orlando Magic roster, as they would contend as a playoff team.

The arrival of James allows point guard Jameer Nelson to be more of a scorer, something he naturally is anyways.

The Magic would lose a lot on defense much to the chagrin of head coach Stan Van Gundy, but that would be expected of any team losing their reigning three time defensive player of the year.

There are some pieces on the Magic that can play with LeBron, such as a Brandon Bass, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick and Jason Richardson.

But the Magic would have to make some big-time deals in order to build a team around James that would allow them to even contend for championship, and who knows if the ’’King’’ would have enough patience for that.

The one positive for James and company is there would be no expectations for this team.

And with less pressure, James will excel.

There has always been pressure on James ever since his high school days. Much was media induced, some was self inflicted.

Looking back specifically at the last three years of his career, there have been high expectations set for James. And each expectation was greeted with failure. Sure James had great statistical years and lead his team to the playoffs, but at the end of the day, he exited each season without a championship.

Not to put a knock on James as a player, because he is one of the best in the business. James has great all around talent, but he is a player who has questionable leadership ability, and has a tendency to come up short in pressure situations.

With less pressure, perhaps James will not over think things and play better down the stretch of games consistently. And with less pressure, it could mean a happy James.

But even if the trade were to go down, Orlando would unlikely be a final destination for the “Chosen One.”

Besides, this is just fantasy talk, there is no way this would actually happen right?

Original Source:

Miami’s Vice: LeBron James and the Heat Must Overcome Their Weaknesses

Kirk Jackson January 18, 2017

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on as Dwyane Wade stands in the background against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

He was what they wanted. One of the most sought-out free agents in NBA history, LeBron James was the answer to all of the questions.

Serving as one of the game’s most dynamic players, he was the key piece to the puzzle.

But like a vice, it can be something you desire, but ultimately wrong for you.

Closing out.

A major issue following James’ career is the inability to finish teams off, consistently rise to the occasion and be a clutch player in the fourth quarter.

Kryptonite to Superman.

Throughout the regular season, the Miami Heat struggled beating the upper-echelon teams and particularly had a hard time closing teams out as well.

Critics placed the blame in many areas, and for the last 12 months, this team has been dissected over and over by NBA analysts and casual fans alike.

Yes, they lack a formidable center. They do not have an effective point guard, and they lack overall depth and bench production.

Even with those flaws, they still have two top ten players with James and Dwyane Wade, and they have a top 15 player in Chris Bosh.

They have a bright, young head coach in Erik Spoelstra, who preaches defense first.

The Heat organization is run by Pat Riley, who by the way put this entire show together. Riley has reached success as a player, coach and general manager.

So honestly, it should be only a matter of time before things fall into place. It’s not guaranteed, but the future may bring many accolades and championships for the Heat organization in the coming years.

But we are in the present.

This may be an overstated point, but the main issue of the Miami Heat is LeBron James.

As good as he is, there are some flaws from the supposed “Chosen One.”

James is one of the most talented players in the NBA today, especially at his position of small forward, possessing the passing ability and speed of a guard, with the strength of a power forward.

Over the years, James has worked on his craft, developing more of a consistent jump shot and becoming a better defender.

Even with the steady improvements of his overall game, James still has a long way to go if he wants to be a complete player mentally and even physically.

From a physical standpoint, James can learn to develop a post game a la Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The post game was beneficial to Jordan and Bryant, especially during the twilight years of their respective careers, as Bryant is still writing the final chapters to his illustrious story.

The post game allowed them to remain effective from the scoring aspect of the game despite losing some speed and athleticism, which happens to fade as you get older.

Remember, athleticism fades, but fundamentals remain.

Although James lacks the dexterity and footwork of Jordan and Bryant, he can still learn some moves and can become a dangerous threat in the post.

James is stronger than most wing players, and if the opposing teams decides to place a power forward or center on James, he is quick enough to take advantage and blow by the mismatch.

Often referred to as the lost art of basketball, an effective mid-range game can work wonders for James.

It would be beneficial for James if he also learned how to play without the ball.

Deemed by many as a “point forward,” James is accustomed to dominating the ball.

The problem is the Heat have another perimeter player with Wade, who is also accustomed to having the ball in his hands.

It’s a problem that has plagued the Heat all year long, as they searched to find some form of chemistry on the offensive end.

They did quite well their first year to reach the NBA Finals, and if they can figure out that problem, there will obviously be more fluidity with the team offense, and in turn a more efficient team.

Learning a mid-range game, learning how to be effective without dominating the ball and developing a post game will go along way for LeBron.

The most crucial aspect is the pending maturity of James. He cannot allow pride to get in the way of working on his weaknesses.

The Miami Heat team displayed arrogance and immaturity throughout the course of this season.

Excessive celebrations, idiotic comments, mocking other players, a lack of accountability, all issues for the Heat this year.

It’s no secret James did not perform well in the Finals. Especially late down the stretch of games, James faded, reminiscent of his performances the last couple years in Cleveland.

Everyone fails at some point in life. In some way or another, we have all faced failure, even at a professional level. But the biggest thing for LeBron is he hasn’t learned to accept responsibility for his failures.

James is not responsible for everything, but he has played a part in his failures of the past, and certainly contributed to his recent failure of falling short in the NBA Finals. It happens, he just needs to take responsibility and be accountable.

He wrongfully used his teammates in Cleveland as scapegoats, and it was the main reason “The Decision” came to fruition.

But playing with two all-stars, it’s hard to make the same argument he made in Cleveland.

Maybe in time, James will mature more as a person, which will in turn help him as a player. I would love to see the transformation, and it will definitely benefit him down the road.

To be fair, other players of similar stature had to go through the same maturation process in order to realize their full potential. Hopefully, that is the case with James, until that happens, it will just be a vice.

Original Source:

Is Mike Brown the right fit?

Kirk Jackson June 9, 2011

 

Of all active coaches, Mike Brown has the fifth highest win percentage in the regular season.

In five years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he lead them to a 272-138 record and was the 2008-2009 Coach of the year.

Brown led the Cavaliers in back-to-back 50-win seasons his first two years as head coach, and posted back to back 60 win seasons his last two years.

Brown has a record 42-29 in the playoffs and coached the Cavaliers all the way to the Finals in 2007.

Coming from a coaching family tree which includes future hall of fame coach Gregg Popavich, Brown emphasizes  a defense first mentality, which is always a pillar of a championship caliber team.

Based on what we have seen from a few interviews featuring the new Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Brown has revealed some of his innovative offensive ideas, defensive principles and overall philosophy on what makes a championship team and organization.

It seems Brown has all of the right credentials and is highly qualified for the job.

But amongst the media, the Los Angeles Laker fans, and more importantly by some of the players themselves, there is a level of skepticism in regards to coach Brown.

Perhaps it is the Lakers culture.

Being accustomed to high-profile coaches, with a polarizing personality or reputation for greatness, like a Pat Riley or most recently Phil Jackson.

Mike Brown certainly does not fit the mold. But with his recent hiring, he unwillingly did bring drama.

It may be an unfair criticism, but that’s how it is in a big market area. The main problem coach Brown is burdened with is the respect factor.

I do not believe the Lakers players, more importantly Kobe Bryant, has a high respect level for Brown.

LeBron James didn’t have a high level of respect for Brown, which was crucial in leading to his departure at the end of last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

At times, James would often run his own offense and freestyle his own plays in spite of what coach Brown was calling.

The Cavaliers were more so considered James’ team instead of coach Brown’s team. That is an issue and an occurrence because of the lack of respect for the coach.

This Lakers team is coming off a six year tenure with arguably the greatest coach in sports, 11 time champion coach Phil Jackson.

Jackson led this Lakers franchise to seven NBA Finals appearances, winning five titles in 11 seasons.

Those are mighty big shoes to fill.

Another important factor in the ‘Mike Brown dilemma’ is Brian Shaw.

Shaw has been a teammate of Lakers leader Kobe Bryant, and served as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson.

Shaw contributed as a back up point guard for the Lakers three peat championship run in the early 2000s and served as an assistant coach helping get two more championships later in the decade.

Shaw has the trust of the team, and would more than likely run a similar system to what Jackson had in place.

But most importantly he has the trust of Bryant.

Kobe and seemingly everyone else on the team wanted Shaw as their coach this upcoming season.

For the Lakers management to select a coach without even speaking to their super star Bryant, was a mistake and undoubtedly caused some friction not only between Bryant and Brown, but with Bryant and upper management.

He has to win over the fans, the Los Angeles media, the players, and more importantly Kobe Bryant.

Coach Brown is not at fault, but unfortunately this may be too big of a burden to carry.

And Bryant’s recent silence in regards to the Brown hiring hasn’t helped his case either.

You can have all the X’s and O’s down and be a strategic genius, but if you do not have the trust of your best player it’s difficult to bring home a championship banner.

Chemistry, trust and other intangibles is crucial to success.

I would of opted for Brian Shaw, for all of the aforementioned reasons listed above.

But Mike Brown is a dedicated worker and a proven winner. Let’s see what he can do.

Original Source:

Bryant VS. West

Basketball fans, I ask you this: Do you know who is on the NBA logo? If you answered Jerry Alan West, then you are correct.

West was generally considered one of the best players of his era because of his consistency and teamwork.  Basketball historians regard West as the one of the greatest players of all time.

Jerry West became the logo for the National Basketball Association during the 1971-1972 season. During that time, West exemplified the ideal model of sportsmanship and athletic merit in the NBA.

Quiet and reserved, West was a tenacious defender and a scoring machine.  He earned the nickname “Mr. Clutch” because he was someone who could elevate his very own level of performance under the most dire and crucial circumstances.

Away from home, under intense pressure, with the clock winding down, and his team down by two points West was able to pull through.

While being double-teamed, one gracious maneuver would put him in the most dominant position that would allow him to make the most intricate shot and win the game.

That’s the definition of “clutch.”  Kobe Bryant,  is also associated with the term “clutch.”  In fact, West was always in awe of Kobe’s skills.

“He’s playing the best basketball I have ever seen him play to be honest with you,” said West of Bryant in an interview with Fox Sports Radio.

“When he shoots shots a lot of people would probably think they are bad shots. For him, he is not only creative, but he is a shot maker.”

Comparing West and Bryant’s accomplishments is easy. Both players possess amazing basketball skills; enabling them to exceed past even the highest expectations.

With talent and proficiency combined, both players have scored over 25,000 points while primarily playing the shooting guard position for the Lakers.  When asked who the greatest Laker of all time is Bryant replied:

“I’d say Jerry. [For] his playing career, obviously, but [also as a longtime general manager for the Lakers],” said Bryant.”

“He was responsible for bringing Magic here and pairing him with Kareem; as well as trading for a 17-year-old punk kid. So to me, he is the Golden Man.”

On the surface you might say they are the same. But what makes West’s accomplishments so remarkable is he is his dedication to the game beyond his playing career. West also excelled as a coach, executive and manager.

Who would you rather see or who is more deserving as the NBA Logo? West or Kobe?