Looking into the Future: The 2016-17 Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe-Bryant-Celebrating

Bro – I’m calling it now. The Lakers are gonna win the NBA Finals in 2016.

Seriously, just trust me. I’ll explain and then you’ll get it, cuz it makes mad sense. One second, lemme just finish this Keystone Light first.

Arite, bro, you wanna talk Kobe? Fine, let’s start with Kobe. And I know what you’re gonna say about him, so don’t even say it. Kobe missed mad time the last two years, I get it. But who cares? The dude’s KOBE. He’s 36? So what? He jumped over a car, bro. A friggin’ car! And not just any car, by the way, it was an Aston f#$%ing Martin. Kobe jumped over an Aston Martin, bro. Pretty sure Jordan never did that.

And further, dude, the Lakers and the NBA have both totally boned Kobe over the last three seasons. First, we HAD Chris Paul. He was a Laker, bro. For like at least 15-20 minutes, at least. Then Stern straight up just cancelled it; like what kinda BS is that? It’s no wonder he got fired last season. Nah, man, Stern got fired. Why else would he just bounce in the middle of the season?

Speaking of boning, but kinda off topic; you know that girl Stephanie from Economics? She just started following me on Instagram, and she’s been posting mad bra pics. Like almost TOO many. Jerry even told me you could see part of her nipple in one. I tried looking for it when I was on the can yesterday, but no luck. She must’ve deleted it. Sucks.

Back to the Lakers, though. So we get totally hornswoggled out of Chris Paul, then we trade for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Nash used to be nashty (HAHA, I just came up with that on the spot! I feel like I’m gonna be the next Dane Cook or something!), but by the time we got him he was like 100, and now he’s got a bad hip or like swine flu or something. Then Dwight totally bitches out and leaves for the Rockets. The Houston Rockets, bro?!? I didn’t even know the NBA had a team in New Mexico. And besides, how do the Lakers not convince him to stay in Los Angeles? I mean L.A. has the hottest chicks, the sickest cars, mad celebrities and the hottest chicks. Why the heck would he bounce for Houston? I don’t even think you can take a plane straight to Houston, anyway.

While we’re on the subject of planes, bro, did you see all this stuff about ANOTHER flight getting shot down or something? It’s messed up. Yo, I’m not saying it’s all his fault, but there was never any planes shot down in Malasia, or Azerbaijan or wherever until Obama came into office. Now there’s been two in like a few months? I don’t know, man, it just sounds shady. And how come we never saw proof that Osama bin Laden was actually killed? It all seems like a conspiracy if you ask me. The Illuminati is a real thing, bro.

Alright, so now that we got the Lakers’ past outta the way, let’s talk the future. Yeah, we didn’t get any good free agents this year, but that was on purpose. Trust me. It’s all a waiting game, bro. Cuz guess who are free agents next year? Rajon Rondo and Marc Gasol. It’s not even a question whether or not we’ll get them, cuz we are. Both of them. So our lineup in 2015 will be Rondo, Kobe, Julius Randle and Marc Gasol. We’ll find some random dude to play small forward for a year, it doesn’t matter. And just one year, cuz that’s all we’ll need. Why, you ask? Drum roll please…

Cuz in 2016 KEVIN DURANT is a free agent, bro!! And you KNOW he’s coming to The Lake Show. There’s already a legit photo of him in Lakers jersey, so it’s gotta be true. (Honestly, it’s a pretty sick picture, dude. I might actually have to make it my Facebook profile pic.) And once we have Durant, Marc Gasol, Rondo and Julius Randle all on one team, you KNOW Kobe is gonna want to come back and take one last shot at that 6th ring. I even read somewhere that Magic Johnson might come out of retirement to play with the team, too. Durant-Gasol-Rondo-Kobe-Randle-Magic. That team’s more of a sure thing than Sara getting too drunk and passing out in the lacrosse house. (Remember that time she fell asleep on Vinny’s couch? I was the one who drew the “LOSER” on her forehead, HAHA! Did I tell you I’m pretty sure I’m the next Dane Cook??) Maybe we’ll finally get that Kobe-LeBron showdown everyone always wanted – with Kobe winning, of course.

So mark it on your calendar, dude. Cuz it’s gonna happen. If it doesn’t, I’ll buy you a whole 30 of Natty Light. You know what else? I’ll even show you the pics my girlfriend sent me from spring break last year. Spoiler alert: they’re nudes.

See you in 2016, bro.

Doogie Schratweiser is a writer for Back of the Jersey and For S & G. Follow him on Twitter @DoogieSchrat.

 

Go New York, Go New York, Go!

 jeremy-lin-james-dolan

As the NBA trade deadline looms closer to its conclusion this Thursday, it’s hard to sort out actual, concrete trade possibilities from the hilariously overblown debris of rumors spewing from the interwebs.

BUT.

But, I say, there are always some rumors worth discussing; the best kinds of rumors. Knicks rumors.

Courtesy of ESPN’s Chad Ford comes the greatest of things. On yesterday’s B.S. Report, Ford stated that the Knicks would be open, interested even, in trading for Jeremy Lin.

Quickly:

As “Linsanity” took over New York in early 2012, it was obvious that the Knicks had stumbled upon not just a good player, but a potential marketing goldmine. After the conclusion of the 2012 season, Jeremy Lin found himself a restricted free agent, and although the Knicks upper management, coaching staff and even Lin, himself, believed he’d call Madison Square Garden his home in 2013, owner James Dolan chose not to match the Houston Rockets 3-year, $25 million offer sheet Lin signed that July. The decision not to match Houston’s offer to Lin was thanks to the Rockets back-loading the final year of the deal, increasing Lin’s salary to $14.9 million in 2014. The Knicks, as well as many other NBA franchises, didn’t believe Lin’s worth at close to $15 million for a single year, which was a fair assessment.

But-wait-a-second.

If the Knicks trade for Jeremy Lin, they’re literally handing over more assets for someone they already had and didn’t want to pay. And on top of that, as all NBA contracts are guaranteed, Lin’s $14.9 million salary in 2014 would be paid for by the New York Knicks

What. The. F&$%?!? Yo, Dolan. Come on, dude, really? How can you be this stupid?

Unless James Dolan is running an experiment to see how far Knicks fans are willing to go before their Dolan-rage turns into an actual attempt on his life, I don’t get why he would even entertain this. Besides, Rockets GM Daryl Morey doesn’t have much to plunder from the Knicks, unless Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert somehow tickle his fancy. As funny as it is to think about, I really don’t seeing it happening. But still, we can to sit back and admire the mess that is the Knicks franchise.  

Although now it comes with a side of heavy irony, the motto remains the same as always:

We are the New York Knicks.

 

Lakers-Warriors: A Retro Diary

 

Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen

The time I stayed in on a Friday night to watch a Lakers-Warriors game, then proceeded to reevaluate my life in its entirety.

As you may or may not know, I was a little overly excited for the Lakers season (pre-Kobe) this year. Thanks to that, I decided to watch an entire Lakers’ game while documenting said excrement.[1] Excuse me, excitement.

10:32 pm – Quick injury report from the folks at ESPN – Kobe isn’t playing tonight, in case anyone was wondering. In case you have been living under a rock.

10:43 pm – Sweet deal! We’ve got Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy in the booth commentating, and Mark Jackson’s coaching Golden State to boot – the gang’s all here.

Mike Breen lets us know that Steph Curry is out tonight after suffering a concussion two games ago. He then informs us that Kobe Bryant will not play tonight, but reported it in the same vein as someone reporting breaking news. Here’s some breaking news: it’s not breaking news.

In case you weren’t already enamored with him, Jeff Van Gundy attempts to sit down while on camera, not realizing he’s still being filmed. He’s the best.

10:45 pm – As we tip-off, the Lakers’ starters tonight are Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill, Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake and Wesley Johnson. I didn’t see Shawne Williams’ name there, so I’m fine with this lineup.

Unlike Jeff Van Gundy, Steve Blake is not the most attractive person in the world. I’m sorry if you feel otherwise.

10:47 pm – Mike Breen: “So how’s Golden State different without Steph Curry?”

Hmm… worse?

10:54 pm – ESPN telecast shows the replay of Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury last season, while also informing us, again, that he won’t be playing tonight. At this point, I still have one lingering question: “What’s Kobe’s status for tonight?”

The replay of his injury brings up some forgettable memories from last year. Like the team’s injury woes, Mike D’Antoni’s coaching, and Dwight Howard’s everything.

10:55 pm – Finally, we get a camera close-up of Mike D’Antoni’s mustache.

10:56 pm – Shawne Williams and Nick Young check into the game. I think it’s time to knock out a few levels of Candy Crush.

10:59 pm – Andrew Bogut fouls Pau Gasol, leading Mike Breen to say, “That’s two fouls on Boguts.”

I’ll let it slide this once, but people who add an unnecessary “s” to the end of a word fall under the same category as people who use the phrase “amazeballs”. I’m looking at you, guy who says Barnes and “Nobles”. Nails on a chalkboard. Get it together, Breen.

11:02 pm – Nick Young, playing hard defense, gets a steal and hustles down the court in time to catch a Jordan Farmar alley-oop. I didn’t know “Nick Young” and “hustle” could be used in the same sentence unless Rick Ross was rapping. Mike Breen shares my surprise at the sight of Nick Young not doing Nick Young Things.[2]

11:08 pm – While Googling “Marreese Speights thing on head” I almost miss Jordan Farmar hitting a three to end the 1st quarter.

After one, Lakers up 22-21 on the Warriors. Kobe Bryant has yet to play.

11:12 pm – J.A. Adande’s between-quarters interview goes a little something like this: “How does Steph Curry being out hurt your team?” to which Mark Jackson answers “Well he’s our best player” – riveting television. Adande knows how to ask the tough questions.

11:20 pm – Xavier Henry attempts an alley-oop pass, but instead throws the ball straight out of bounds – I had literally just finished writing the sentence “I’m oddly okay with Xavier Henry.” Awesome.

11:26 pm – If it weren’t for these Reebok commercials, I would’ve forgotten that the Cavaliers selected Nerlens Noel with the #1 pick in this year’s NBA draft. (Checking…) Wait, they didn’t? Who’s Anthony Bennett?

Oh right, he’s the guy with almost as many fouls as points this season. Who was drafting for the Cavs, Isiah Thomas?

11:30 pm –Pau Gasol schools Andrew Bogut with a beautiful up and under move. Take that, Boguts.

Gasol’s playing well tonight, touting a stellar line of 16 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists with less than 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.  He must know I’m watching.

11:41 pm – At the half, it’s Lakers 55, Warriors 46.

Things I learned during the 1st Half

  • Marreese Speights has a bizarre scar on the top of his head
  • Pau Gasol is donating $1,000 to Typhoon Haiyan relief for every point he scores tonight
  • Marreese Speights does not like heavyset women

12:08-12:20 am – To begin the 2nd half, Steve Nash joins Breen and Van Gundy courtside. Breen explains that Nash is suffering through a nerve root irritation injury, which I’m pretty sure is just another way of saying he’s really old. A few of the highlights from the interview:

  • Mike Breen to Steve Nash, “Doesn’t Mike D’Antoni deserve a lot of credit?”

I missed Nash’s answer, because I had to leave the room and throw up.

  • Shawne Williams air balling a three-pointer, followed by complete silence from the booth.
  • Breen to Nash – “So when’s Kobe coming back?” Wish I was making this up.
  • Xavier Henry dribbles the ball off his foot out of bounds. Or maybe it was Wesley Johnson. Or Nick Young. It’s all just one big blob of awful.[3]
  • Breen finishing off the interview with, “Great looking suit, but I’d rather see you in orange and gold.” It could just be me, but I always thought the Lakers wore purple and gold.

Mike Breen must’ve hit the bar at halftime. Speaking of which, I think it’s time I crack open a beer myself.

12:26 am – Trailer for “A Madea Christmas”. Can’t. Look. Away.

After this, I’m pretty sure the 4th quarter happened. Maybe it didn’t, I don’t remember. A quick look at the progression of my Google search history is a good microcosm of the way the game went.

My Google searches, in order, from 10:30 pm-12:45 am:

  • Steve Blake
  • Marreese Speights weird thing on head
  • Marreese Speights head scar
  • Marreese Speights jersey
  • Derrick Rose knee
  • Tyler Perry
  • Number of Madea movies
  • Jennifer Lawrence single
  • Candy Crush cheats
  • Vanessa Bryant

#Journalism

Glad I stayed in on Friday night to watch this hilarious travesty of a game.

12:57am – Final Score: Lakers 102, Warriors 95, Rory Goulding 0.

Mile High Tragedy: Promise, Champagne and the Jersey that will Never be Forgotten

Limousine in Shooting

In the early hours of January 1st, 2007, three Denver Broncos left a club where they had been ringing in the New Year, and celebrating the birthday of then Denver Nugget Kenyon Martin. Minutes later, a horrific event forever changed the lives of these three Broncos, who were both teammates and friends.

 

“I still have those clothes.”

 

April 20th, 2002 - Day 1 of the NFL Draft. The Green Bay Packers draft Javon Walker in the first round and 20th overall.[1] He is the third of thirty-four wide receivers to be taken in the draft, behind only Donte Stallworth (Saints) and Ashley Lelie (Broncos).[2]

March 4th, 2004. The Washington Redskins trade star defensive back Champ Bailey and a second-round pick to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis. Bailey would remain the starting left cornerback for the next nine years, and although currently out with a foot sprain, the job is still his.[3]

April 23rd, 2005. Despite trading for Bailey in the previous offseason, the Broncos use their first three picks of the 2005 NFL Draft on defensive backs, hoping to address the weak side of their secondary.[4] The first of these three picks is used on defensive back Darrent Williams out of Oklahoma State.

 

“It’s just something that reminds me every day of what could happen and this is what happened to my friend. And this is like…what’s left of him is on my clothes.”

 

September 11th, 2005. Javon Walker tears his ACL in the first game of the season for Green Bay. He will miss the entire year. Williams, however, has a successful rookie season, recording 50 tackles and intercepting 2 passes, one for a score. Thanks to his stellar play and trademark “fro-hawk” Williams becomes a fan favorite. One of the fans he wins over is my younger brother, Ryan, 14 at the time, who to this day is still the biggest Bronco fan that I know.

April 29th, 2006. The Broncos select quarterback Jay Cutler out of Vanderbilt with their first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. On the same day, the Packers agree to trade Javon Walker to Denver for a second-round pick.[5] Unhappy that the Broncos traded for another #1 receiver, Ashley Lelie requests a trade. Denver complies, sending him to the Falcons in a three-team deal. Now needing to fill the new void at receiver left by Lelie, the Broncos select Brandon Marshall in the fourth round of the draft, the very next day.[6]

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006. After losing 3 of their last 5 games, the Broncos decide to bench quarterback Jake Plummer in favor of rookie Jay Cutler. Cutler instantly gels with Marshall, and they connect on a 71 yard touchdown pass to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.

 

“All I remember at that point in time was he was just looking up at me and I was like, ‘I got you, Dee. I got you, Dee. I got you, Dee.’ So the limo went off the road into the side of the snow. I just remember grabbing him, pulling him out the limo.”

 

Sunday, December 24th, 2006. Javon Walker catches 3 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Marshall adds 4 catches for 65 yards of his own in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Darrent Williams gets his 4th interception of the season, solidifying his role as starting cornerback opposite Champ Bailey. The Broncos are a win away from making the postseason. On Christmas morning the next day, my brother finds that Santa has brought him the jersey of his favorite player, Darrent Williams.[7]

Sunday, December 31st, 2006. The Denver Broncos are eliminated from playoff contention on the final day of the regular season, losing to the 49ers 26-23 in overtime. Although their season is over, the Broncos show promise, along with a wealth of young talent. Along with Cutler, Javon WalkerDarrent Williams and Brandon Marshall all show signs of turning into stars for this young Denver team.[8]

Later that night, WalkerWilliams and Marshall head out to the Safari nightclub in downtown Denver, where at least three of their teammates and two Denver Nuggets players are celebrating New Year’s Eve. The ensuing events after midnight are a point of much dispute.

 

“You don’t know what to think, to have someone die in your arms and you know you’re the last person he hugged.”

 

January 1st, 2007, 12:00 AM. When midnight strikes, Brandon Marshall’s cousin, Blair Clark, shakes and sprays a bottle of champagne over the entire 3rd floor VIP section of Safari, angering two members of the Denver Crips, a notoriously violent gang. An argument starts between Marshall, Clark, and the two gang members, who are promptly removed from the 3rd floor VIP section.

1:30-2:00 AM.  The two gang members confront Marshall and Clark again. When the argument gets heated, the two gang members are kicked out of the night club. But instead of leaving the premises, they wait outside and confront Marshall and Clark when the party draws to a close, reigniting their feud.

2:10 AM. Williams, worried that the argument is escalating out of control, heads over into the midst of the fight, before things get physical, pleading with everyone to break it up. In front of the entire group, he tells Marshall, “Come on, get in the limo.” After having no success, Williams leaves and joins Walker in the white stretch Hummer that he arrived in. A minute later the argument finally ends and the groups separate. Marshall and his cousin head to their own Lincoln town car that will take them back to the suburbs, the opposite direction of Williams and Walker.

2:13 AM. The white Hummer with WalkerWilliams, and a handful of friends and dates leaves the club. A white Chevy Tahoe pulls up in the lane to its left. Seconds later, as Walker is leaning over to reach for the music, Williams falls into his lap. Thinking that he’s just messing around, Walker then moves to push Williams away. That’s when he sees the blood pouring out from Williams’ neck. He attempts to stop the bleeding, cradling Williams in his arms while applying pressure to the wound, which has now stained Walker’s white shirt. But to no avail, as Williams dies almost instantly as he slumps into Walker’s arms.

 

“Javon picked him up, he was like, ‘Don’t die on me. Don’t die on me.’ But D wasn’t saying nothing, he was holding him like he was a baby.”

 

January 6th, 2007. Five days after his death, Darrent Williams is laid to rest in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. In attendance was Williams’ mother, Rosalind Williams, along with high school sweetheart, Tierria Leonard. In the days following his death, and the weeks thereafter, Leonard would call Darrent’s phone regularly to hear the recorded sound of his voice. At the funeral, their seven-year-old son Darius asks his mother if Daddy has his cell phone in the coffin.

Javon Walker does not make an appearance.[9]

 

“Maybe when I see him in heaven, I can ask him, maybe put it behind me then.”[10]

 

The Aftermath:

The new year in Denver began with the end of a life, and so, the end of a promising career. And although nothing can rival Williams’ grim fate, his teammates did not escape the incident without scars of their own. Walker, who held Williams in his dying moments, was never the same, not as a player, and perhaps not as a man. From 2007 to 2008, Walker played for both the Broncos and the Raiders, totaling only 41 receptions, 483 yards and a single touchdown, never playing in more than 8 games each year.[11] In 2009, he played in 3 games, never tallying a single catch. He retired the next year. Marshall’s football career, while more successful, has been beset by bi-polar disorder and an almost endless string of off-the-field incidents. [12]

And as for the jersey that my brother received, just days before Williams was killed, “I wore it once to school, the first day after Christmas break. Then I hung it up on the wall when I got home.” It hasn’t moved since.