From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: As part of a continuing series, NBA players share the various ways growing up in L.A. shaped their games. Growing up in L.A., University of Michigan point guard Darius Morris was exposed to a wide spectrum of the city’s culture. The Lakers’ second-round draft pick first grew up in Hawthorne, but his family uprooted to Redondo Beach and then Carson in an effort to find better educational opportunities for their children. Darius eventually received a scholarship to Windward, a small private high school in Mar Vista, but remained a fixture at various parks across L.A. He led Windward to a state championship while making a name for himself among his local peers.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Derrick Rose could lead a barnstorming tour of NBA players through China. So could Kobe Bryant. A few agents out there are pitching the idea of a lockout tour of China this fall and it is gaining momentum for the players. But they better check with the Chinese government first. Because while it sounds like a money-making idea over here, over there things are viewed differently. Over at niubball.com — the best English blog about what is happening with basketball in China — they interviewed Matt Beyer, who works for North Head, a public affairs consultancy that represents a few NBA athletes in China. While to us the barnstorming tour seems like a no-brainer, selling it to the Chinese Government requires a very different mindset.
From Tim Harvey, Lakers Nation: “It’s about time,” Kobe Bryant said just weeks before Jerry West received his over-due immortalizing in bronze, as the logo’s statue was unveiled during the 2011 All-Star game at STAPLES. From one shooting guard to another, the Mamba recognizes Mr. Clutch’s greatness. Why wouldn’t he? If it wasn’t for Jerry West, Kobe Bryant would be wearing teal and white instead of purple and gold, and who knows what would have resulted there (am sure in some ways some of the same for Kobe at least). Mr. Clutch himself has imprinted more than his likeness for the NBA’s logo. He has also made many big plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. On and off the court.
From Marcel Mutoni, SLAMOnline: Pau Gasol is the most high-profile NBA star to claim he’d play overseas during the NBA lockout, telling the press in Spain that he’d consider playing in his home country, or perhaps even China. According to the Los Angeles Lakers’ star big man — who will play in the European Championship in September — Spain is his first choice, but there are other options. Pau Gasol wasn’t done making news, however, as he also expressed a strong desire to see his brother Marc play for a team other than the Memphis Grizzlies. The AP reports: Gasol says “if there is a lockout, Spain would be the first choice — I wouldn’t say only one, but the first” on Friday. China, he adds, has “great potential” as an alternative to Spain. Gasol says sitting out a season would be too “weird” especially as the NBA is coming off a “great year” with the Dallas Mavericks beating the favored Miami Heat in the finals. As for brother Mark’s future, Gasol would like to “see him with a franchise that has better options” than the Memphis Grizzlies.
From Mark Heisler, LA Times: Oh, no, am I here all alone? Actually, the world didn’t end when the NBA locked its players out. The NBA didn’t even end, even if it felt as if was about to as darkness moved across the land. I have nothing against doomsday scenarios … but if that’s all that’s out there, something had better be coming to an end, or it’s just the media chasing its tail again. With months of this idiocy left, let’s see how close we can come to some actual perspective: Who’s pushing this, owners or players? The owners, seeking a monster giveback. Before this they would fight for six months over 5%. The owners started this seeking 14%. How about the players breaking faith with the fans? Not. For all the flak players inevitably get, because they’re the ones living out fans’ dreams, they’re not asking for a single thing and have accepted the fact they’ll take a cut … just not the one the owners have in mind.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: The Lakers would neither confirm nor deny a report Friday that Kobe Bryant underwent a procedure last month in Germany he hopes will improve the strength in his aching right knee and enable him to avoid a fourth surgery since 2003. Teams are forbidden by the NBA from discussing their players in any way, shape or form in the wake of Thursday’s lockout by the owners. The league reportedly will fine teams up to $1 million for even speaking of their players. In fact, websites of all 30 teams underwent dramatic makeovers after the lockout began, with almost all references to players removed. Interviews, videos and photographs of players have been taken down, but rosters and statistics remain intact.