Countdown to Tipoff: NBA Season Gets Closer by the Minute
BREAKING NEWS out of Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant has declared the Lakers as his team! Wait… That’s not breaking news., that’s not even news at all. When was the last time we questioned who ran the Lakers? Magic Johnson was even quick to tell the LA Times that it’s Kobe’s team and will be until he leaves. So, why did Kobe feel the need to address the media telling them that it’s his team? Better question, which media member was dumb enough to ask Kobe whose team it was and why didn’t anyone show that person to the nearest exit? Of course it’s the Mamba’s team, it has been and always will be as long as he puts on that Lakers jersey and goes to work everyday. There was even a time when Kobe could have said, “Yeah, this is my league,” and aside from a lot of criticism, the majority of us would nod our heads and think, “True, true…” That’s not the real breaking news, however. The real breaking news is that it’s October and aside from pumpkin flavored everything and Halloween, that means one thing… We’re officially in the month where beloved basketball returns to us with preseason and official regular season games. With love in the air as 2K13 is released (If you’re taking a timeout to read this, it’s greatly appreciated), it’s a time for everyone to brush up on their hardwood knowledge and just overall get ready for our first full season of hoops in two years.
Yes, this time last year it was a dark time, one with uncertainty and a group of media members hanging out in hotel lobbies eating old pizza and waiting hours for 2 A.M. meetings to wrap up, in hopes of hearing a deal had come through. However, this year is already far different. Although I did miss the abundance of lockout games and ridiculous highlights last year had to offer; summer league was back, USA reminded everyone who the best is and there was no shortage of hijinks happening in the alleyways of the off-season. Jeremy Lin continued to stay relevant in the media, heading to Houston and sporting a Hello Kitty head, Amar’e Stoudemire managed not to punch another fire extinguisher casing, Ray Allen crept down to South Beach to join LeBron James and the 2011-2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat and we all managed to awake from the Dwightmare without any tears shed (Orlando not included).
October managed to begin with an emphatic ‘bang’ as media day across the country was conducted for the majority of NBA teams. Media day is generally a quirky day for players to reunite and be relatively corny and have a personality without anyone of the press questioning how it will affect their performance for the season. It’s a chance for media members to ask the questions they’re dying to, the fans to get a glimpse of their favorite team before they hit the court and for many teams it was an opportunity to show off their new alternate jerseys. For Kenneth Faried and the Denver Nuggets, or as they appear to be, Marquette 2.0, it was a chance to be goofy and show off their fantastic new jerseys at the same time.While media day may seem irrelevant to many people who just want basketball to start already, it is a necessity for many reasons. Sensing the vibe from the team being around each other, asking the questions you might not get an answer to in a few weeks when things aren’t working out for a team like they had planned and for the mere fact that it’s a sign of life in the world that we call the NBA. C’mon, don’t tell me you didn’t get a little excited when you saw players in jersey’s pop up on ESPN, if you weren’t already amped from the revealing of all the new Brooklyn apparel and Barclay’s Center. It’s getting a chance to peek at your presents before Christmas and yes, it is parent approved. Of course, sometimes the present isn’t what you wanted but the peek looked promising anyways. In other words, buckle up, Wizards fans; it looks like it’s going to be another long disappointing season, so just enjoy the pretty wrapping on the gift before it’s forced to be unwrapped. Of course, there are signs of a Red Ryder BB Gun in the future for some teams, let’s just hope they don’t shoot their eye out with it (I know it’s early for the Christmas puns but bare with me). From the looks of it, Kyle Lowry is adjusting well to the new scenery of Toronto, Josh Smith has ‘total faith’ in Atlanta’s new GM, Danny Ferry and as if it weren’t bad enough for the rest of the league, Dwight is healing nicely and back to doing some light conditioning, which means he could be back sooner than everyone else thought. Then there are the “in-betweams”, as I like to call them, such as the Portland Trailblazers and the New York Knicks. Portland has been a team on the come up for the last few seasons and is deadly at home, but manages to tank for the better part of the season. The Knicks have recently taken to local senior centers in their latest recruitment efforts, establishing a team beyond it years, more so physically than anything else. Still, with the collective age on the roster it leaves some people thinking, this might just work… or it will end horribly.
At the end of the day though, whomever you cheer for, through thick and thin, you should be ecstatic. What seems like yesterday when LeBron hoisted the Larry O’Brian trophy is behind us now and we can look forward to a clean slate for all teams. So get your foam finger, get your jerseys and get European two-step on point, Spurs fans, because basketball is right around the corner and come October 30th, everyone is 0-0.
Now that you’ve been teased with mere words, here’s just a few of many photos complied from the best of media day; along with those posted throughout the piece.