Accolades pour in for Lakers’ Bryant

admin   •   December 22, 2014   •   3008

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the game against Indiana Pacers forward Solomon Hill (44) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana Pacers defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-91. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the game against Indiana Pacers forward Solomon Hill (44) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana Pacers defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-91. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant has often been a polarizing figure during his illustrious NBA career, criticized by some for being too selfish and not doing enough as a facilitator for his team mates.

For his peers, however, Bryant is simply a winner and will do whatever it takes to instill a winning mindset, even though this season has been especially challenging for an injury-hit team decidedly low in overall quality.

While the Lakers have stuttered to a dismal 8-17 record and languish 13th in the 15-team Western Conference standings, Bryant has flourished and averages 25.2 points, five rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.

Five days ago against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bryant eclipsed basketball great Michael Jordan as he moved into third place in the all-time NBA scoring list and the accolades have since poured in from all quarters.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant described Bryant as a quintessential winner and 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki rated the veteran Lakers guard as “probably” the greatest player of his generation.

“It means everything because those are my peers so to have the respect from them is really what the game is all about,” Bryant, 36, told reporters while preparing for Friday’s home game against Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“As players, we play for each other. We play to have respect from one another so to hear those comments from your peers, it means a lot.”

Bryant, who has made a living by making the seemingly impossible possible for the Lakers, scored 26 points against Minnesota to lift his career total to 32,310. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) are ahead of him.

Jordan himself paid tribute to Bryant for reaching the milestone and pondered what his long-time protege might achieve before he retires from the game.

“He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball,” Jordan said of Bryant.

Bryant, who has won five NBA championship rings during his Lakers career, acknowledged his debt to Jordan.

“He’s helped me out a great deal,” said Bryant. “I’d reach out to him, he’d hit me right back. He continues to be helpful to me today.”

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls signing day jersey to go up for auction

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020

The NBA basketball jersey given to Michael Jordan on the day in 1984 when he first signed with the Chicago Bulls will go up for auction in December, Julien’s Auctions announced on Monday.

The red-and-white jersey emblazoned with Jordan’s name and the number 23 is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $400,000, the auction house estimated.

The basketball legend, age 21 at the time, smiled and held up the jersey at his first press conference as a member of the Bulls. He went on to become the heart of the Bulls dynasty that won six NBA championships in the 1990s.

Jordan’s career was back in the spotlight this year in documentary “The Last Dance,” which attracted a large television audience. An autographed pair of his Air Jordan sneakers sold for $560,000 at an auction in May, a record for sneakers.

Hannah Malin, business development manager for sports for Juliens Auctions, said Jordan items have drawn interest because he has transcended the world of athletics.

Jordan is “a pop culture phenomenon,” she said, “so everything he’s done holds so much more importance.”

Other sports items for sale at the December auction will include a Kobe Bryant jersey and a Lakers basketball signed by Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in February.

Bids will be taken online, by phone and at a live auction in Beverly Hills on December 4. (Reuters)

(Production: Sandra Stojanovic/Rollo Ross/Lisa Richwine)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

Jordan backs James after president questions player’s intelligence

UNTV News   •   August 6, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: NBA Legend Michael Jordan and NBA player Lebron James (REUTERS)

(Reuters) – NBA legend Michael Jordan and U.S. athletes rallied to LeBron James’ defense on Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned the star player’s intelligence in a tweet.

“I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” Jordan, now owner of the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets, told NBC News through a spokesperson.

The comment by Jordan and others came after Trump had tweeted:

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

Trump was referring to an interview CNN’s Lemon did in the days after James, who now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and his foundation had opened a public school for some of the most disadvantaged children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

The president’s “I like Mike!” comment apparently was Trump stating his opinion on the debate of whether six-time NBA champion Jordan or James, the four-time league most valuable player and three times champion, is the NBA’s best all-time player.

Even the president’s wife was supportive of James’ work with children.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today,” Melania Trump said in a statement issued by her spokeswoman.

NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns added in a tweet: “So let me get this straight: Flint, MI has dirty water still, but you worried about an interview about a man doing good for education and generations of kids in his hometown?”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Alistair Bell

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