NBA All-Time Starting Lineup

Point Guard:

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson is one the best point guards to ever have played the game. He was general on the court and his basketball IQ was off the charts. Magic was also one the clutchest players in NBA history, so you know the Lakers made sure the ball was in his hands when it mattered most. He could blow past you on the dribble or beat you with his jump shot. Magic was nearly impossible to defend. During his career he won 3 NBA MVP awards, selected to 12 All-Star games, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game with 11.2

Shooting Guard:

Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan is arguably the best player in NBA history. During his time with the Chicago Bulls he won 6 NBA championships and never lost. An impressive feat to say the least. Jordan was also noticed for his tenacious defense, as he was elected to the All-Defensive team nine times during his career. Jordan never shied away from pressure, he thrived on it.  When the game was on the line everyone in the arena knew who the ball was going too but the opponents could not do anything about. He hit numerous clutch shots in his career and most of them were in the playoffs. He was a real treat to watch as an NBA fan.

Small Forward:

 Lebron James

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In the 2003 NBA draft, there was a ton of hype about this 18 year old kid from Akron, Ohio. People believed he would be one best players in the NBA when it was all said and done. Well, they were right. Lebron is already in conversation for one of the best to ever play the game and he still in the prime of his career. So far, he has won four NBA MVP’s, two NBA championships, elected to 13 All-Star teams, six All-Defensive teams and is also the Cleveland Cavaliers all-time leading scorer. Not too bad, right? However, one of Lebron’s ultimate goal is to bring a NBA championship back to Cleveland, a city that has not seen a championship in over 50 years.

Power Forward:

Tim Duncan

Wizards v/s Spurs 02/12/11

Mr. Fundamentals – Tim Duncan is not seen as very flashy player with eye popping statistics, but does what he needs to do to win games. He was the key figure for the San Antonio Spurs five NBA championships and  is a leader on and off the court. He is a two-time NBA MVP, 15 time All-Star, and three time NBA finals MVP. When it is all said and done, he will regarded as one best power forwards to ever play the game.

Center:

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

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Kareem Abdul Jabbar was one of the most dominating big men of all-time. He was known for his incredible “sky hook”, which was almost impossible to defend. He won 6 NBA titles, was elected to 19 All-Star games (still a record), and still remains the all-time leading scorer in the NBA with an astonishing 38,387. Kareem enjoyed an incredible career and was fan favorite.

 

Kobe Bryant to Retire at the End of the Season

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The 2015-2016 NBA season will officially mark the end of an era as future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant has announced his retirement. Kobe has spent his entire 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and has helped lead them to five NBA Championships. Bryant announced his retirement this past Sunday via The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform founded by former New York Yankees captain, Derek Jeter. The Players’ Tribune provides professional athletes a medium for their direct reflections, thoughts, and experiences.

In Kobe Bryant’s first-person poem titled “Dear Basketball,” he says that basketball “gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream/And I’ll always love you for it.” “But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer,” Bryant wrote. “This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.” These powerful words by Kobe Bryant illustrate the difficulty in saying goodbye to a legendary career. He is the top scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history, which is an incredible feat considering the many Hall of Fame Lakers who played before him. Only 13 players in NBA history have played on more championship teams than Kobe Bryant. The list includes players such as Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. Bryant is also 2nd in NBA history with 17 All-Star selections and is the youngest person to achieve 30,000 career points. The accolades speak for themselves.

Kobe’s skill, work ethic, and love for the game are admired by many, including future Hall of Famer, Dwyane Wade, who said, “He was my favorite player and he set the bar for me.

This season has been a struggle for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 3-15 record. Kobe is having one of the worst seasons in his career, but injuries have been a main factor for him missing 123 games over the past two seasons. The Laker season has become a farewell tour for Bryant, as players and fans alike are coming out in droves to witness the legends’ last games. Thank you, Kobe Bryant for an incredible career and inspiring athletes across the world.

To hear more about  Kobe Bryant’s retirement decision, check out :

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14254236/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-announces-retire-season  

Under Armour Snatches Draft Title Sponsorhip

Thanks to a new partnership deal, signed sealed and delivered, the new NBA

Steph Curry

draft Title sponsorship will be held by sports apparel brand: Under Armour. Under Armour has not only sponsored Steph Curry the NBA 2015 Most Valuable Player, but also PGA’s Jordan Spieth, and it seems that the brand is reaching to include larger brands and athletes as it moves forward with more sponsorship deals. What does this sponsorship deal mean for the NBA. To detail this partnership with Under Armour, the Baltimore based company will not only be the NBA draft title sponsor, but will also sponsor the league’s youth basketball program. This deal is one that represents an extended partnership between the two companies. With hopes of expanding its youth league to include five million boys and girls in the 6-11 age group in the next two years, the NBA is looking to move beyond the original “draft” narrative, and will be expanding to clinics which will train youth in the 6-11 age demographic. Business is booming!

According to IEG , brand sponsorships for bands will be worth $40B worldwide, There is, it seems a unique way to emotionally engage with fans, the NBA has most likely caught up with that. Under Armour, still a newcomer in the apparel market, now seats  beside Nike, Reebok and Adidas in the game of basketball sponsorship. Brand sponsorship has numerous benefits for both brand and partner . According to Brandwatch, sponsorship benefits brands because they can preempt and think ahead of consumers needs through research and analysis. In the sports world, leagues like the Barclays Premier League have been actively using brand analysis, social media campaigns and brand insight to under consumers needs. Brands can also measure their international impact, a factor I am sure will be helpful for the NBA as they increase their international branding efforts.

 

Kobe and Lakers to Part Ways

Remember this guy?

Remember this guy?

Kobe Bryant is arguably the greatest player of all-time. Yes, even a lifelong Laker fan has to put that “arguably” qualifier before that statement. The end of next season will make it 20 years that Bryant has been loyally wearing the purple and gold. It will also be his last year with the team.

Mitch Kupchak is one of the worst general managers in basketball and probably shouldn’t have given him and Steve Nash so much money in the first place. But it sounds like he has finally come to his senses and mutually decided to part ways with the former superstar. Kupchak told SiriusXM NBA radio that the two haven’t had any discussions about a working relationship going forward.

Kobe Bryant is still one of the youngest players to play in the league. He came into the league at 17 in the late 90’s and never had any problem taking his share of shots. When those shots started going in at a high percentage and we started getting rings again, Lakers fans embraced Kobe and even defended him against bogus rape allegations in Denver.

As a Laker fan there is something to say about keeping Kobe these last few years. He will be the first player to play for the same team 20 years. Twice he lead the league in scoring and for 17 years Kobe made the all-star team. However, paying him $48 mil for two years after a torn Achilles is questionable judgement on behalf of Kupchak.

At the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, Kobe suffered a devastating knee injury and had to miss the entire season. His ability and resilience to play through injury is commendable but when your team suffers as a result its no longer endearing to fans. Kobe has been playing through back problems, shoulder injuries and thats just what we know about. We thank Kobe for what he has done but we will not be said to see him released.

Steph Curry vs LeBron James

LeBron James may be the best player of all-time as much as it pains me to say it. Steph Curry may prove to be even better if at nothing else but shooting fade away three pointers with six hands in his face. This is LeBron James’ fifth trip to the finals in as many years.

Stephen Curry

If you told me when I was growing up that we’d see the Cavaliers and the Warriors in the NBA Finals I’d tell you you were crazy. But these historically terrible teams now have there time in the sun. The Cavaliers haven’t won a championship ever and the Warriors haven’t won since 1975.

But what a difference unbelievably great basketball players can have.

LeBron who was raised in Cleveland went back this season after a mildly successful few years in Miami. The team already had a worthy all-star in Kyrie Irving, but another team leader in Kevin Love decided to join the team.

The Steph Curry led Warriors have a had a more gradual run to the finals after a few years mastering their high-flying brand of team basketball and of course, three pointers. As a Lakers fan it’s difficult to root for the Warriors but one cannot be a fan of basketball without a sincere appreciation for the diminutive point guard who pulls off miraculous shot after miraculous shot with the ease of a fast-break layup.

This finals matchup is actually the best case scenario for agnostic basketball fans. Both teams like to play small ball. The Splash Brothers of the Warriors spread out the floor allowing for more effective offensive plays, and LeBron James requires a double team which opens up the lanes for other players.

Either of these two teams can get on a roll and sweep the other team, or maybe, just maybe we’ll see an epic game seven. Anything can happen but only one thing is for sure, a rookie coach will win a title this year.

 

The Best Basketball Leagues In The World

Basketball exists outside of the United States and it is played at a very high level. International leagues have got better through the years and with the popularity of basketball surging in the past decade many of the players in these leagues are homegrown. No longer is it only  destination for players who couldn’t make it in the U.S. Below is a list of the top basketball leagues in the world.

The National Basketball Association

Rather obvious but necessary to add to the list. The best players in the world compete to play here.

Liga ACB

For the past decade Liga ACB of Spain has been the best basketball league in the world besides the NBA. The popularity of the sport in Spain and the strength of the Euro has allowed the team’s to pay competitive salaries and attract top talent.

HEBA A1

Greece may not be known for creating basketball legends but the competition is stiff. Panathinaikos and Olympiacos are reliably Euroleague contenders every year. Many NBA players and former NBA players have played in this league.

Israeli Super League

The Super League of Israel is arguably well known and difficult only because of Maccabi Tel Aviv which has been one of the most successful teams in Euroleague history. A lot of international talent comes to play in this league because of the high pay and liberal policy.

Chinese Basketball Association

Many people know this league as the league of Yao Ming and where Stephon Marbury and Gilbert Arenas went to play. Since Yao Ming left China to play in the United States, China has exploded in popularity allowing teams to play high salaries to more players.

Honorable Mention: Euroleague

Euroleague is the Champions League of soccer equivalent. Games are played simultaneously with their home league’s season so the league is kept short. However, it does pit the best clubs (teams) from all over the region against one another.

Steph Curry For MVP

Steph Curry is an absolute beast. As a Laker fan it is normally difficult to rot for any one who even once played the Golden State Warriors. But Steph Curry is no normal player. He is by far the most entertaining player to watch with his lightning fast quickness, impeccable ball handling skills and ridiculously smooth and accurate jumper. He is remarkably effective as well and has been integral in his teams rise from nothing. He deserves the MVP this season.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets is in a close second, but not even a sustained effort to “get him the recognition he deserves” by Houston fans can lift him to MVP.

Curry is the best player on the best team and though this isn’t always a recipe for winning the MVP vote. The Warriors haven’t had a team this good since winning the 1975 NBA Championship. Between  the splash brothers Curry and Klay Thompson, defenders are completely spread out on the floor making it easier to get solid production from their front court.

He averages 23.8 points a game with just 33 minutes per game. Other players in the running like Harden and Russell Westbrook often play up to 45 minutes a game. So its a lot of the other players on the team that are responsible for the sudden success of the team. But that team is also 10 games ahead of the closest competitor in the Western league where both Wesbrook and Harden play.

Curry shoots a ludicrous 43.6% from three point and he’s not a designated shooter. In fact, a lot of those shots are off-balance fade aways. He has an efficient 2.43 assist to turnover ratio and often makes the other team double team and help off making his team much better.