Sit Down With Hall Of Fame Photographer Andrew D. Bernstein
CBSLA Sports Director Jim Hill chats with Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein about his storied career and what it’s like covering the NBA Finals for 40 years.
CBSLA Sports Director Jim Hill chats with Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein about his storied career and what it’s like covering the NBA Finals for 40 years.
This partnership is about more than just dumplings and basketball – food and sports have the power to unite and connect people from all walks of life. The devotion required to create a meal filled with love and care is akin to the devotion needed to swallow a three-point shot game after a fight. That’s why Bibigo and the Lakers both have passionate fans all over the globe – they live off the devotion needed for their craft. This connection is suitable for a natural partnership that is particularly organic.
As the new official global marketing partner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Bibigo will partner with the team to create and share inspiring content, drive consumer engagement and offer unique opportunities to introduce fans to the delicious flavors and benefits of Korean food. Bibigo will implement its marketing programs through Lakers’ properties such as signage in the arena, digital content elements on Lakers.com and the jersey patch designation.
Source: LA Times
The National Basketball Association (NBA) unveiled the commemorative NBA 75th Anniversary Season logo, which will appear throughout the 2021-22 season on courts and official NBA merchandise, inside arenas and in original broadcast, digital and social media content.
The new logo is a fresh take on the league’s iconic Logoman identity, based in the classic 75th Anniversary symbol – the diamond.
NBA Finals 2021 presented by YouTube TV continues on July 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC. Additional details regarding the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Season will be shared on an ongoing basis in the coming months.
The quest to maximize whatever elite years remain in LeBron James took another turn, and perhaps the sharpest one yet, with the Los Angeles Lakers getting Russell Westbrook in a major Draft-day trade.
This was a deal that required the Lakers to cross their fingers while shaking hands with the Washington Wizards. That’s because, as combustible as Westbrook is — he’s rewritten all the triple-double records in the book — his skill-set fits only in certain systems and situations. Placing Westbrook next to LeBron and also Anthony Davis will require adjustments and sacrifices with everyone involved in this Big Three experiment, but especially with Westbrook.
First, the deal itself: Westbrook, the 2024 second-round pick and 2028 second-round pick go to the Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the 22nd pick go to Washington, as first reported by The Athletics’ Shams Charania.
Westbrook is easily the heavyweight in the deal, as a former MVP and nine-time All-Star who’s coming off his third career season averaging a triple-double – 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists in his only season with the Wizards.
Westbrook now goes to his fourth team in four years, and just as curious, he’s aligned with yet another superstar in an effort to develop championship chemistry. There was no payoff in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and then Paul George, or the Rockets with James Harden, and certainly not the rebuilding Wizards who had little to offer as help besides Bradley Beal.
With the exception of reaching the NBA Finals with Durant — and that happened almost 10 years ago — Westbrook has advanced as far as the conference finals just twice despite those starry tandems.
Westbrook proved last season at age 32 that he’s still a highly productive point guard who plays at a rapid pace. That aids him at reaching the rim for layups, pushing the ball upcourt on the fast break, and out-rebounding taller players even in traffic. It also results in turnovers, too, as a result of his high-risk, high-usage style.
He’ll be teammates with LeBron, a player he respects, and a player who’d be willing to adjust for someone of Westbrook’s caliber. One area where LeBron can and probably must sacrifice is ball-handling. While LeBron assumed that role since arriving in LA three years ago to great success, Westbrook is most effective with the ball. Without it, Westbrook must play off the ball, where his shooting issues become more glaring.
Also, Westbrook has never had a big man with Davis’ talent. Therefore, the change of scenery plus an uptick in the caliber of running partners should trigger something positive within Westbrook, or at least the Lakers hope.
Whether it results in another championship is anyone’s guess, though. LeBron and Davis are coming off a frustrating season because of injuries largely to blame for their first-round playoff exit. Now they’ll get a celebrated third partner who will allow them to recharge and reboot.
The reason for adding Westbrook is clear: The Lakers are doing whatever they can, within the constraints of the salary cap, to give LeBron as many swings at the championship plate as possible. With LeBron entering a 19th season, he’s running out of time to get a fifth ring. And Westbrook is running out of teams.
The estate of Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa are no longer affiliated with sneaker giant Nike, as the late Lakers great’s contract with the company has now expired.
“With Kobe Bryant’s five-year, post-retirement endorsement extension with Nike having expired this month, Vanessa Bryant and the Kobe Bryant estate elected not to renew the partnership, she confirmed to ESPN in a statement Monday night,” wrote Nick DePaula of ESPN.com.
Kobe Bryant spent his first several years being sponsored by Adidas, even though Adidas was never a big-time player on the basketball shoe market.
Eventually, he joined Nike, starting a fruitful partnership for both parties.
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa Bryant, widow of the Lakers legend, told ESPN. “Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”
Kobe Bryant and eight others died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. last January.
His influence on basketball and its culture is still seen to this day, as several current NBA players still wear his signature sneakers.
Interestingly, there are reports that before his passing, Kobe Bryant was planning on leaving Nike to form his own sneaker company and disrupt the entire industry.
That desire may have been fueled by some differences with Nike.
“According to a source, Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe product during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash,” wrote DePaula. “There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids sizes, according to sources.
“Nike, sources said, had presented an extension offer that was not in line with expectations of an ongoing ‘lifetime’ structure similar to the Nike Inc. contracts held by both Michael Jordan and LeBron James.”
Source: Lakers Daily
LeBron James is preparing to join PepsiCo after a long-standing sponsorship with Coca-Cola, sources told Front Office Sports.
James would join a growing team of NBA and WNBA stars pitching the rebranded “MTN DEW”: Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans; Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers; Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets; and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.
According to sources, James will become the face of Mountain Dew’s upcoming “Rise Energy” line after nearly 18 years as an endorser for Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Powerade brands.
The 36-year old James could also pitch Pepsi’s flagship cola brand, said sources.
The pending deal may also include integration with Blaze Pizza, which currently offers Coca-Cola products at its more than 300 locations. James owns an approximate 10% stake of the chain.
Representatives for PepsiCo declined to comment. A spokesperson for James also declined to comment.
An 18-year-old James first signed with Coca-Cola in 2003 as a No. 1 draft pick. The four-time MVP has since appeared regularly in Sprite and Powerade commercials. In 2014 the beverage giant gave him his own signature drink, “Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James.”
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told Front Office Sports that his deal with the Atlanta-based soda giant expired in September.
“LeBron’s contract came up at a time when both he and The Coca-Cola Company were actively reviewing all of its resources to make sure it was investing in places that ensured long-term growth,” Coca-Cola said. “After many discussions with Lebron and his team, we mutually agreed to part ways.”
PepsiCo’s beverage brands and the NBA have become increasingly entwined.
In 2015, PepsiCo replaced Coca-Cola as the official food and beverage partner of the NBA and WNBA. The blockbuster deal ended Coke’s 28-year partnership with the NBA.
Rather than playing up its eponymous cola, PepsiCo has focused its NBA advertising and activations on citrus-flavored Mountain Dew.
The 2020 All-Star Game’s 3-Point Contest introduced the “DEW Zone” — two attempts from six feet behind the arc, worth three points each. For the third straight year, Mountain Dew also offered fans a branded “Courtside Studio,” with player appearances, music and fashion.
Parent PepsiCo, meanwhile, expanded into caffeinated beverages, buying Rockstar energy drinks for $3.85 billion last March.
James is one of the world’s most popular and successful endorsers, following the path blazed by the likes of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
He signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015 that could be worth as much as $1 billion over its duration. He’s been one of the brand’s key ambassadors since he entered the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s estimated that James will eclipse $1 billion in career earnings before he retires from the NBA; his endorsements, production companies and other sources account for more than half of that figure.
In December, James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers that will push his career NBA earnings past $420 million by the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.
Source: Front Office Sports
Only four players in league history were teammates with both Jordan and James: Scott Williams, Larry Hughes, Jerry Stackhouse and Brendan Haywood. HoopsHype was able to connect with all four of them.
“I don’t think it would be fair to give a comparison on them,” Stackhouse, who only played seven games with James in 2010, told HoopsHype. “I played with LeBron at the prime of his career and I played with Michael in the last year of his career. I just think both are unbelievable players. They’re probably one and two in the history of the game. That’s where I’ll leave it.”
WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF MICHAEL JORDAN?
Brendan Haywood: It was a learning experience. You got to see up-close what made him who he was. He was like 40 years old. He didn’t have anything to prove. But he was still one of the hardest workers. I would watch him teach Bobby Simmons the footwork to score in the mid-post. Everything he did was calculated. Nothing was done by accident. He was reading your lead foot. He understood where to go and how to get you off balance and get to his pull-up jumper and how to get your arm off of him if you were trying to be physical. Watching him, you got to learn a lot.
Larry Hughes: For me, growing up, I played basketball because of MJ. When I got a chance to play with him, I watched all of the small things that you don’t get to see when you are a fan. How did he conduct himself with the media? What time did he go to treatment? I learned how consistent he was with the game-planning and understanding how to get the job done even at an older age. He may have lost a step but he was still effective.
Scott Williams: One of the things that he liked to do was add aspects to his game. During my first two years in the league, he wanted to improve his low-post and back-to-basket game. We played a lot of 1-on-1 after practices. He would have someone throw the ball to him and he would catch it with a pivot foot on the block. He was working on trying to get around bigger, stronger players knowing that he would have no problem with someone his size. He had to learn to shoot with a hand in his face. I never beat him in one of those one-on-one sessions.
WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF LEBRON?
Larry Hughes: As a young player, Bron had a good thought process. He was going to listen and apply the things that made the most sense to him. I can remember LeBron having conversations with a number of teammates on the plane and in the locker room, whether it be veteran guys or guys who were just joining the team. He kept a clean perspective on how everybody saw the game.
Scott Williams: He was always very strong, that’s for sure [Laughs] I remember early days in training camp, I prided myself on my defensive play. I only knew one way to play. I was often playing opposite LeBron during practice. One time he tried to drive down the middle of the lane and I stepped in front, off of my guy, to take a charge. I was clearly in position. He ran into me with a force that I had not felt in quite some time. My first thought was that I hope I didn’t hurt this kid. My next thought was that I hope this kid didn’t hurt me.
Brendan Haywood: When I was in Dallas, LeBron was thinking about going to Miami. Before he went to the Heat, he was recruiting guys to come to Cleveland. I get a text from a number that I don’t know. It’s LeBron. He says: “What’s up, this is King James.” It was a little weird he called himself King James but I kept going. He told me he was trying to get guys to come to the Cavs. He said he knew that they could not give me what I was going to get in the market. But he wanted to know if I would be willing to take a pay cut to be a part of something special. I wouldn’t have taken a pay cut to play with the ’92 Bulls. Buddy, you’re making $100 million off the court! This is my last hurrah! I hadn’t made enough money in my career to take a pay cut and chase a championship. I’d played so many playoff series against him that I saw him as another player. If you play in the league, you look at guys a little differently. He was younger than I was. I looked at him like he was anybody else.
HOW DID MICHAEL JORDAN IMPACT WINNING FOR YOUR TEAM?
Scott Williams: I saw him MJ go from no championships to three. He had mellowed some. [Laughs] Not to say that on game day he didn’t have that smoldering beast side of him. But it wasn’t that all-encompassing thing where every time you were around this cat it was like in October 1990. I’d be curious, for the guys who played with him in Washington, what he was like when he was in practices. I don’t know if it was anything like he was when I was in training camp my rookie year.
Larry Hughes: MJ played in the triangle offense. His attention to detail was understanding angles at a high level. If he didn’t operate the triangle, the job didn’t get done. Bron is similar in his ability to remember and break down the plays. When he is able to see those things, whether it is at a timeout or at halftime, he is able to rely on the information that he downloaded to execute what is needed to happen. It is different based on where they were in their careers when I played with them.
Brendan Haywood: We were a team that based our whole offense around a 40-year-old, aging superstar and we were trying to make the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. At the time, I was thinking that I was just out there hooping. But as I got older, that may have been one of the dumbest ways to ever build a team. You should be featuring your young guys, letting them play, take their knocks and lumps and letting them develop.
HOW DID LEBRON IMPACT WINNING?
Brendan Haywood: The thing that they most have in common is that they impact winning. But they go about in totally different ways. That is why it’s so unfair that LeBron is always compared to Mike. He doesn’t play like Mike! He wasn’t trying to fully dominate like Mike! LeBron wants to play an overall floor game. Bron is more like Magic Johnson but with next-level athleticism. That allows him to do incredible things. LeBron wants to get the 8, 9, 10 assists. He wants to get the rebounds. He wants to get his 26, 27 points. He isn’t just worried about scoring, though. He’s not trying to destroy you. He’s not worried about how many buckets he gets.
Scott Williams: This was an odd year. 2020 sucks. Let’s just get it straight. But with the disjointed season, it threw a lot of the teams off of their games. That’s the thing about LeBron and his leadership. When it did start back, he was able to get his team re-energized and re-focused. The players on the floor have the biggest impact on how hard a team is going to play every night. The coaches will draw up the plays but if the guys aren’t locked on, let’s just face it, some of the execution is sloppy. When you have a stud like that who’s got that championship pedigree, and you have a thirsty young player in Anthony Davis who has yet to wear that ring, you can really get everybody on the same page.
WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU ARE ASKED ABOUT COMPARISONS?
Brendan Haywood: One of the more interesting things is that I had the GOAT conversation with LeBron. We were on the plane and I told him: “I love you, brother, but I have to go with Mike.” I told him my reasons. I’ve had this conversation with him face-to-face. Six rings. Six MVPs. The guy has had two different three-peats and has never been to a Game 7. He was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. I played with both of them and what LeBron has slowly but surely turned into from a confidence standpoint, MJ was that the first time he walked in the league. LeBron has gotten so much better at that. He has grown into a guy that close out games. Michael always had that ability. Michael always competed defensively. Both of those guys are incredible competitors. They do things differently. The biggest difference is that MJ is a cold-blooded killer. He is an assassin. LeBron is more respected and loved. He is loved by his teammates and he is respected by his opponents. So when we had the GOAT debate, LeBron was just kind of nodding his head. He didn’t really say much. Mike Miller and James Jones said some things on his behalf. I don’t think LeBron agreed with me. But at that point, he hadn’t beaten Golden State. He didn’t have the ring he just got with the Lakers.
Scott Williams: The thing that I hate the most is that comparisons are being drawn and I don’t care which way you stand on it. They are two absolutely phenomenal players and I hate when someone says that one is the GOAT and one isn’t. It’s almost like a knock on the one that you say is not the GOAT. I don’t really like to get into that game. I’ve been forced into that corner where I’ve had to make that choice a few times and I will say Michael is the greatest of all time, in my opinion, from being in the locker room with both of them. But I didn’t get LeBron at the top of his game. I got him when he was still developing. We’re not as close but I still consider LeBron a friend. As a basketball commentator and as a fan, obviously, I have followed LeBron. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all that LeBron has done and overcome.
Larry Hughes: LeBron had the same attention to detail that MJ had. He was focused on the things that happened before him and how he could enhance the game that was played before him. He was a student of the game. He understands how basketball players play and how they get their job done. The opportunity to have played with both of those guys was amazing. You see similarities in how they pay attention to detail. It’s film. It’s muscle memory. They had the ability to make adjustments based on what happened.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich acknowledges the challenges ahead of the NBA this season as teams reports to training camp, explains how he plans to approach coaching the Team USA Basketball team at the Summer Olympics and shares how the Spurs will maintain the up-tempo style they experimented with in the Disney bubble.
In this episode of Signature Shots, ESPN analyst Kirk Goldsberry details how Michael Jordan developed from an inconsistent jump-shooter at North Carolina into the most efficient and most prolific midrange scorer of the mid-90s, thanks to his legendary fadeaway.
They said LeBron came to Los Angeles just to make movies and that he had a better chance of winning an Emmy than a championship.
They said that even with Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ roster sucked & was clearly worse than the Clippers.
They said they were an overrated 1-seed who needed wishes of good luck to beat the Portland Trail Blazers & Houston Rockets.
Instead, the Los Angeles Lakers are your 2020 NBA Champions. And in case you forgot how dead wrong they’ve been since day one? Just sit back and watch.