From Corey Hansford, Lakers Nation: Everyone in America remembers where they were on November 7, 1991. On that day, Magic Johnson announced to the world that he had contracted the HIV virus and would have to immediately retire from the NBA, ending one of the most illustrious careers in the history of the league. Despite announcing his retirement, Johnson’s name was already on the All-Star ballots that had been sent out to all NBA arenas, leading to Johnson being voted as a starter for the Western Conference despite never stepping on the court. Many people were against Johnson playing, most notably Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone and even Johnson’s former Laker teammates Byron Scott and A.C. Green, as they were unsure whether or not they could contract the HIV virus if Johnson were to suffer an open wound while playing.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: This is why there is drug testing in the NBA. Not that Metta World Peace is on drugs or needs them to say something outrageous. Never has and never will. He was certainly excessively boastful of what the Lakers could and would do when he was a member of that team. This summer the Lakers decided to amnesty him but that doesn’t mean he’s given up the over-the-top Lakers predictions — he made another one to ESPNNewYork.com. “I think the Lakers are going to go to the NBA Finals,” World Peace said during a signing for his children’s book “Metta’s Bedtime Stories” in downtown Manhattan on Wednesday.”
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Veteran point guard Steve Blake says he believes that the Lakers will exceed expectations this season. “I’m still a little bit surprised about how negative people are on us right now,” Blake told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com on Tuesday. “If you speak to most of the players, we’re all pretty optimistic,” Blake said. “I think the fact that people don’t believe in us this year might give us an advantage somehow.” Blake has joined nearly the entire roster in informal workouts at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. Two still out are Kobe Bryant, recovering from an Achilles injury, and Pau Gasol who is in Europe (primarily Spain) while rehabbing his knees. It’s unclear if either will be ready by opening night on Oct. 29.
From Kevin Ding, Bleacher Report: The first words Kobe Bryant ever said to me came with a sideways smile. “I look forward to reading your criticisms.”Bryant was 20, nearing the end of his third NBA season with stardom and backlash already his reality show. He stood, spoke and soon laughed in front of his locker at The Forum, the Lakers’ old home, in 1999. Already cocksure then, still cocksure now. Today he’s 35, and we’ve been together every step of that way…with an awful lot transpiring in what has to be considered one of the most interesting lives you’ll ever see play out. And in all honesty, there are not many people in my life I understand better than him.