Posts Tagged ‘Lakers’

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Last week after a 149-day lockout the NBA players association and owners union finally came to a tentative agreement, and for the religious sports fans like myself it can’t come soon enough.

With the first game of a shortened 66-game-season set to begin on Christmas day, many teams are left now scrambling to prepare for opening day.

And as a Lakers fan I’m dying to see what they have in the works.

The season is shorter and they haven’t practiced together. The ever-wise Phil Jackson is gone, and they have a new less experienced coach in Mike Brown. In addition, their players are getting old and are banged up.

With so many different variables facing the Lakers organization I’m not worried, in fact I’m looking forward to this new change. This may sound pretty “zen-like,” but the only thing permanent is change. It’s all part of the conversion process.

With that being said, I’m looking forward to big adjustments and changes within the Lakers framework. I’m interested in witnessing the new leadership that Mike Brown brings. But most of all I’m interested in seeing the new acquisitions the team will receive.

So far I’m hearing names tossed around such as Chris Paul, in which we definitely could use a great starting point guard. Let’s face it Derek Fisher isn’t getting any younger, and we need a pair of quick legs to run the triangle offense.

Dwight Howard is another big name that I’d love to see come to L.A. According to rumors floating around, he wants to play for the Lakers, and for Kobe and Howard to be on the same team together is what avid fans have fantasized about ever since last season. In order to change for the better and make this deal happen, I would give up Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom (sorry guys, I do appreciate your contributions though). Plus with Howard playing in L.A., he’d still be able to keep his Disney endorsement, so it makes perfect sense for him.

But wait there’s more! Let’s dream a little bigger and aspire a little greater, because in a recent ESPN article there were discussions of the Lakers pursuing both Paul and Howard. Now how does that sound?

Sounds like I’m ready for the season to start.

However, Lakers’ fans we’re not alone. Sources say that cross town rival the Clippers also have intentions to go after both Howard and Paul. And like the Lakers, the Clippers are positioned — financially and talent-wise to make such a move, as well.

Hopefully the Lakers can begin the 2011-2012 season acquiring both Paul and Howard, but either or, whoever we receive, there is going to be changes and adjustments made.

In order to embrace such new growth, you must leave behind the old practices of the past. And believe me, Kobe left those old practices behind when they got swept by the Mavericks in the playoffs last season.


Los Angeles Lakers forward and former NBA “badboy” Ron Artest is in the process of changing his name to “Metta World Peace.”

Heidi Buech, Artest’s former publicist, confirmed the star filed papers in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing “personal reasons” as motivation for the change.

Artest informed the Lakers of his plans but has yet to file paperwork with the NBA to apply for a name change on the back of his jersey, according to Lakers spokesman John Black.

“My understanding is ‘Metta’ will be his first name and ‘World Peace’ will be his last,” Black said.

“Metta is an early Buddhist word, with various definitions along the lines of kindness or goodwill,” he added.

When asked what should replace Artest on the back of the star’s jersey, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak deadpanned, “I’m an advocate of world peace.”

source – FOX News

Theo Ratliff has plenty to think about in regards to his basketball future hanging in the air – not to mention a looming NBA lockout. But since his mother taught him to put others first, that’s exactly what the veteran center has been doing since the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs.

Ratliff spent nearly a week spearheading an effort to assist those in the storm-ravaged areas of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi. Starting in Birmingham, Ala., 23 trucks, filled with food, water and other supplies were sent out across the region.

“I grew up in Alabama – born and raised – and when all this happened during the playoffs so I couldn’t do anything right away,” said Ratliff, who grew up in the small town of Demopolis, Ala. “My mom lives in Tuscaloosa and while she didn’t get hit by the tornado, down the street a mile or two was hit pretty hard.

So as soon as the Lakers were defeated by Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals, Ratliff, who had watched news reports of the tornadoes on television, called Billy Hunter, head of the NBA Players Association and asked if the league could help out.

Ratliff said Hunter immediately put the plan into action. He called Feed the Children, a relief organization, who has partnered with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) in the past as part of “Operation Rebound.”

Operation Rebound was launched in 2005 in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. Feed the Children, the NBPA, and other humanitarian groups provided disaster relief and assistance in the rebuilding efforts of local communities.

While many players sent checks and aid, others took a hands-on approach. Ratliff was joined in this effort by Ben Wallace, D.J. White, Antonio McDyess, Josh Childress and Chris Bosh – players who all have ties to the South. Each of them sponsored a supplied-filled truck.

“It was sad when think about how these people lost everything and how they have to pick up and start over again,” Ratliff said. “It’s heart-breaking. But in times of crisis, you realize how much their faith and strength carry them through.”

Ratliff, who also helped in the aftermath of the Katrina Hurricane in New Orleans, said his mother, Camilla, instilled in him the need to help others.

“We grew up in the church and my mom always told us that we should help others before ourselves, even if it’s just small things, like going to the store for an elderly person or taking them food. She would say that when you do things like that, you are blessed,” Ratliff said. “So ever since I’ve been six or seven years old, I’ve been helping people and it’s always been a blessing for me.”

Ratliff said it was difficult to comprehend the widespread devastation throughout the south, the flattened houses and businesses left behind by the series of tornadoes. He found it even more troublesome to see the people who were left homeless by the storms.

“The devastation was all over the place,” he said. “… Now more than ever, we need to stand together and lend a hand to those who desperately need it.”

Ratliff said seeing people in need helped put aside his concerns for his own future. His one-year contract with the Lakers expired and the end of the season and said the Lakers probably will not ask him back.

“It’s the Lakers and they don’t accept anything less than winning,” said the 15-year veteran center. “All of that (his NBA future) will be taken care of,” Ratliff said.

source – O.C. Register