NIKE SNEAKER UNBOXING – KOBE 9 EM “CHINA”
Well the Nike Kobe 9 is upon us and I’d like to chronicle the ins and outs of this new collection which is sure to please. We are set to see an elite hightop version and two low versions (engineered mesh and flyknit). Since the Kobe 8 was such a huge success, I sure hope Nike can top it with the Nike Kobe 9 series.
BACKGROUND – Behind the Nike Kobe 9 shoe design (from Nike):
The provocative KOBE 9 Elite embodies Nike’s singular focus on delivering innovation that makes athletes better. Evidence of Nike’s passion to simultaneously push the limits of design is best proven in the details. In this exclusive look at the KOBE 9 Elite Masterpiece we decode the creation of this striking shoe by sharing nine design details from Nike designer Eric Avar. More than two years in the making, Avar worked closely with Kobe Bryant on the design and development process and estimates the two met in person 15 times, spending hours obsessing details to create The Masterpiece:
KOBE INSIGHT #1: I WANT TO FEEL THE COURT.
Eric Avar: “We created a thin web outsole less than 3 millimeters thick, combined with a responsive Lunarlon insert.“
Performance result: This combination puts the foot in close contact with the court surface, allowing agile cuts, quick response and tremendous court feel.
KOBE INSIGHT #2: I’M LOOKING FOR A HIGH-TOP THAT FEELS LIKE A LOW-TOP.
Eric Avar: “Let’s integrate lightweight ankle support with a Flyknit collar that is barely noticeable.”
Performance result: Allows a natural range of motion, proprioception and an intuitive fit with the lightweight feel of a low-top. The collar is high, but there are zero distractions or restrictions.
KOBE INSIGHT #3: MAKE IT PERSONAL.
Eric Avar: “We’ll incorporate nine red sutures stitched up the back of the shoe.”
Performance result: Toughness. These sutures represent Bryant’s commitment to recover from a torn Achilles.
KOBE INSIGHT #4: I WANT TO MOVE WITH THE QUICKNESS OF A BOXER.
Eric Avar: “Create a design that acts as a second skin and locks in the foot.”
Performance result: A natural feel of the upper, combined with sole that “moves with you,” allows basketball movements that mimic the footwork you see in a boxing ring.
KOBE INSIGHT #5: USE THE BEST MATERIALS.
Eric Avar: “Flyknit, Flywire, Lunarlon and carbon fiber are outstanding for performance.”
Performance result: The combination of high-performance materials are lightweight, responsive, strong and durable. For a player like Bryant who runs more than four miles in the average game, shedding weight without compromising strength makes a significant impact.
KOBE INSIGHT #6: COMFORT IS KEY.
Eric Avar: “A quilted tongue and padded inner-sleeve will provide a great feel, with aero mesh in the inner sleeve for comfort and breathability.”
Performance result: In tandem with the Flyknit, the quilted tongue and inner bootie provide a comfortable, glove-like fit.
KOBE INSIGHT #7: INJECT SOME CHAOS.
Eric Avar: “Evolve the Chaos colorway and feature four distinct shades in the Flyknit’s four threads: red, purple, green and black. The Chaos colorway began with the Kobe IV in 2008 as a tribute to Kobe’s intrigue with the joker – let’s parlay that into the ‘Masterpiece’ colorway.”
Performance result: Distinction on the court. Absolutely no pair of the Masterpiece colorway are the same, they are all unique – like snowflakes. The Flyknit creation process weaves a one-of-a-kind upper so that no shoe is the same; the color blend is different on each shoe.
KOBE INSIGHT #8: I WANT TO STOP AND CUT ON A DIME.
Eric Avar: “An evolved herringbone traction pattern that mimics the foot’s natural pressure mapping – what nature intended.”
Performance result: With an outsole traction pattern that provides maximum grip, no slipping and sliding on the court.
KOBE INSIGHT #9: KEEP PEOPLE GUESSING.
Eric Avar: “Let’s include the Kobe code.”
Performance result: Small details matter, both in basketball and design. The Kobe code is featured on each shoe, both on the lateral (outside) and medial (inside) sides of the midsole. Code on lateral side translates to: ‘Masterpiece.’ Code on medial side translates to ‘Veni, vidi, vici,’ an inspirational Latin phrase that translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
BACKGROUND – Behind the Kobe 9 Flyknit low design:
Kobe Bryant demands provocative design innovation. Aesthetics aside, his appetite for the most revolutionary footwear technologies, materials and fit have fueled a special connection with Nike designer Eric Avar. The two have pushed the limits for a decade, with their vision coming full circle with the KOBE 9 Elite Low and special muses inspiring each colorway.
Reverting to a higher cut for the first time since the KOBE 3 in 2007, Bryant’s ninth shoe challenged convention when it launched last December. The KOBE 9 Elite Low version debuts in new colorways beginning July 12, with innovation and inspiration that will change summer basketball.
The KOBE 9 Elite Low is Bryant’s most innovative shoe to-date, featuring three leading technologies: Flyknit, Flywire and Lunarlon. Flyknit provides a lightweight, breathable solution for a summer basketball shoe that performs equally well indoors or outdoors.
“Nike Flyknit acts as a super skin, giving athletes articulated strength similar to the engineering of a spider web – tension and strength just where they’re needed,” said Eric Avar, Nike VP of Innovation.
Flyknit and Flywire technologies are a one-two punch, leading to a dynamic fit for intricate, on-court footwork. Eliminating bulk and distraction was a focus for Avar with disciplined design in a low cut with no distractions.
Flyknit technology introduces a new way to create a shoe upper out of what is essentially yarns. It drastically reduces waste from the upper with a low cut and efficient production process compared to traditional methods.
The KOBE 9 Elite Low brings Bryant’s muses to life. The artistry of music and its ability to move and inspire people has always intrigued the athlete. From classical to pop, he has appreciation for multiple genres.
The KOBE 9 Elite Low Hyper Grape is linked to music and its ability to transcend the decades, with artists, songs and dance moves that stand the test of time. The purple upper pays homage to pop music and includes a moon surface graphic on the outsole.
The KOBE 9 Elite Low Beethoven pays tribute to the German composer and pianist, and more specifically the power of his Ninth Symphony from the early 1800s. The grey color of this colorway represents Beethoven’s timeless quality.
The KOBE 9 Elite Low Hyper Grape releases on July 12, while the KOBE 9 Elite Low Beethoven debuts August 16; both globally at Nike.com and select retail locations.
The Kobe 8 is one of the best basketball shoes ever made both from a hoop and a casual wear point of view. I know my opinion is biased because of my appreciation for a low cut hoop shoe but I know I’m not alone. Nike hit it out of the park with this line which combined performance, innovation, and creativity all into one great shoe. This was the lightest shoe to date at 9.6 ounces which is always a good thing in my book. This line also ran for a extended period of time. The Nike Kobe 8 launched in Dec 20, 2012 and ended around January 2014.
Here is some of the background from Nike on the inspiration for this great line…
The Kobe 8 System is the result of a close collaboration between Nike Performance Footwear Creative Director Eric Avar, his team and Kobe himself. For his latest creation, Kobe wanted a shoe that acted as an extension of his foot, mirroring his quick performance while staying lower to the ground.
“I’m always focused on improving my game, to perform at my best. I want my shoes to mimic the speed of my game,” Kobe said. “By shaving fractions off the height and weight, it allows me to play faster with more control so I can maneuver across the court – I want to feel like I’m moving at the speed of light.”
In response to athlete feedback, the design team incorporated an innovative textile — Nike Engineered Mesh — for the first time in a basketball shoe. This created a dynamic and ultra-lightweight fit that is 90 percent mesh for 360 degrees of breathability and tightly woven for strength and flexibility to bend naturally with the foot. Additionally, the no-sew, synthetic overlays on the toe and lateral quarter panel provide support for even the toughest games.
“We’re always pushing the limits of Kobe’s shoe to be faster, more precise, and to be modern,” Avar explained. “Kobe’s big on being bold, aggressive, provocative and making an impact. Working together, we’re on a never-ending quest for the perfect shoe for him.
“Nike Engineered Mesh creates a dynamic fit that syncs around Kobe’s foot to mimic the natural biomechanics, delivering security where he needs it. As the design team began working with the mesh, it took on this scale-like snake pattern that really brought the black mamba inspiration to life in compelling way.”
The shoe’s full-length Lunarlon midsole delivers lightweight, low-profile cushioning, and is low to the ground allowing for greater stability. A one-millimeter rubber outsole – combining classic herringbone with a snake scale-inspired traction pattern – uses less rubber than traditional outsoles for lightweight durability and excellent multi-surface traction. The 3-D anatomical heel counter provides a sleek, locked down fit.
Beginning December 20, 2012, the black/sulfur color of the KOBE 8 SYSTEM will be available in stores globally, on nike.com and through NIKEiD. The python-inspired color launches in Greater China on January 12, 2013, and in North America on February 2, 2013.
Oh sure, he’s not playing basketball…
Sure he is facing the reality that his career may in fact already be over and his body is broken down…
And sure the Lakers are facing their worst season since they moved from Minneapolis…
But at least Kobe is making awesome commercials for footlocker!!!
Side note: as a Laker fan I am somewhat relishing the opportunity that I have to get excited about the Draft Lottery in a way I never have before. Frozen envelope 2.0 baby!
Nike Sneakers Release Dates Rumors for 2013-14
The release dates can change depending on the manufacturer.
I rearranged the list and sorted it by type to make it easier in case you are a particular fan of one over the others.
|2 – AIR JORDAN 5 RETRO “LANEY”||11/2/2013||Jordan|
|16 – AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG “LANEY”||11/16/2013||Jordan|
|30 – AIR JORDAN 5 RETRO “OREO”||11/30/2013||Jordan|
|14 – AIR JORDAN 12 RETRO/WHITE 130690-125||12/14/2013||Jordan|
|21 – AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO/BLACK 378037-006||12/21/2013||Jordan|
|28 – AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG “BRED”||12/28/2013||Jordan|
|18 – AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO/DK POWDER BLUE 136064-406||1/18/2014||Jordan|
|15 – AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO/WHITE 384664-123||2/15/2014||Jordan|
|21 – AIR JORDAN RETRO 10/WHITE 310805-106||2/21/2014||Jordan|
|8 – AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO/WHITE 136064-123||3/8/2014||Jordan|
|2 – AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO LOW/BLACK 528895-033||4/2/2014||Jordan|
|21 – AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO LOW BG/WHITE 528896-153||4/21/2014||Jordan|
|2 – AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO LOW “CONCORD” 528895-153||5/2/2014||Jordan|
|21 – AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO “CARMINE” 384664-160||5/21/2014||Jordan|
|21 – AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG/WHITE 555088-123||5/21/2014||Jordan|
|21 – AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG/GYM RED 555088-601||5/21/2014||Jordan|
|2 – AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO LOW/BLACK 528895-023||6/2/2014||Jordan|
|7 – AIR JORDAN 2 RETRO/WHITE 385475-102||6/7/2014||Jordan|
|28 – Nike KD VI/GAMMA BLUE 599424-400||11/28/2013||KD|
|03 – Nike KD VI/MET’LC PEWTER 599424-003||12/3/2013||KD|
|26 – Nike KD VI “CHRISTMAS” 599424-601||12/26/2013||KD|
|30 – Nike KD VI/COOL GREY 599424-008||12/30/2013||KD|
|10 – Nike KD VI/BLACK 599424-010||1/10/2014||KD|
|17 – Nike KD VI “BHM” 646742-500||1/17/2014||KD|
|20 – Nike KD VI/PURE PLATINUM 599424-009||1/20/2014||KD|
|5 – Nike KD VI/LT CRIMSON 599424-600||2/5/2014||KD|
|20 – Nike KD VI (GS)/DK MICA GREEN 599477-301||2/20/2014||KD|
|28 – Nike KD VI/ELECTRIC GREEN 599424-302||2/28/2014||KD|
|14 – Nike KD VI/ANTHRACITE 599424-007||3/14/2014||KD|
|20 – KD VI ELITE/TURBO GREEN 642838-300||4/20/2014||KD|
|20 – KD VI ELITE/WHITE 642838-100||5/20/2014||KD|
|29 – Nike KOBE 8 SYSTEM/MINE GREY 555035-003||11/29/2013||Kobe|
|13 – Nike KOBE 8 SYSTEM/GREEN GLOW 555035-304||12/13/2013||Kobe|
|20 – Nike KOBE IX ELITE (GS)/BLACK 636602-002||12/20/2013||Kobe|
|26 – Nike Kobe 8 “CHRISTMAS” 639522-001||12/26/2013||Kobe|
|31 – Nike KOBE 8 SYSTEM YOTH/LT CRIMSON 639654-674||12/31/2013||Kobe|
|13 – Nike KOBE 9 ELITE (GS)/PURPLE VENOM 636602-002||2/13/2014||Kobe|
|20 – Nike KOBE 9 ELITE (GS)/PURPLE VENOM 636602-500||2/20/2014||Kobe|
|20 – Nike KOBE IX ELITE (GS)/WHITE 636602-100||3/20/2014||Kobe|
|20 – KOBE IX ELITE (GS)/COURT PURPLE 636602-501||3/20/2014||Kobe|
|20 – KOBE IX ELITE/WOLF GREY 630847-005||4/20/2014||Kobe|
|20 – KOBE IX EM/BLACK 646701-001||4/20/2014||Kobe|
|20 – KOBE IX EM “BLITZ BLUE” 646701-413||5/20/2014||Kobe|
|20 – KOBE IX ELITE/WHITE 630847-100||5/20/2014||Kobe|
|?? – Nike Kobe 9 Elite/Black 630847-001||Unconfirmed||Kobe|
|?? – Nike Kobe 9 Elite/Black 630847-002||Unconfirmed||Kobe|
|?? – Nike Kobe 9 Elite/BASE GREY 630847-003||Unconfirmed||Kobe|
|?? – Nike Kobe 9 Elite/Black 630847-004||Unconfirmed||Kobe|
|?? – Nike Kobe 9 Elite/NEO TURQ 630847-400||Unconfirmed||Kobe|
|?? – Nike KOBE 8 SYSTEM YOTH/VIVID BLUE 639654-400||Unconfirmed||Kobe|
|22 – Nike LEBRON XI/ARMORY SLATE 616175-401||11/22/2013||Lebron|
|27 – Nike LEBRON XI/BLACK 616175-001||11/27/2013||Lebron|
|06 – Nike LEBRON XI / BRAVE BLUE 616175-400||12/6/2013||Lebron|
|20 – Nike LEBRON XI/WHITE 616175-100||12/20/2013||Lebron|
|26 – Nike Lebron XI “CHRISTMAS” 616175-301||12/26/2013||Lebron|
|30 – Nike LEBRON XI/MICA GREEN 616175-300||12/30/2013||Lebron|
|17 – Nike Lebron XI “BHM” 646702-001||1/17/2014||Lebron|
|20 – Nike LEBRON XI/BLACK 616175-004||1/20/2014||Lebron|
|6 – Nike LEBRON XI/ATOMIC ORANGE 616175-800||2/6/2014||Lebron|
|7 – Nike LEBRON XI/COURT PURPLE 616175-500||3/7/2014||Lebron|
|20 – LEBRON XI ELITE/LASER CRIMSON 642846-600||4/20/2014||Lebron|
|20 – MAX LEBRON XI LOW/LT BASE GREY 642849-001||4/20/2014||Lebron|
|20 – MAX LEBRON XI LOW/MEDIUM KHAKI 642849-200||4/20/2014||Lebron|
|20 – MAX LEBRON XI LOW/ATOMIC MANGO 642849-800||5/20/2014||Lebron|
|20 – LEBRON XI ELITE/BLACK 642846-002||5/20/2014||Lebron|
20 – LEBRON XI / PARACHUTE GOLD 616175-700
21 – AIR JORDAN RETRO 310805-103 10/WHITE
04 – KOBE 8 SYSTEM / PURPLE 555035-502 DYNASTY
09 – KD VI / BLACK 599424-002
18 – KD VI / LASER ORANGE 599424-801
20 – LEBRON XI / GREY 616175-002 MINE
20 – 616805-012 JORDAN CP3.VII/BLACK
21 – AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG / VARSITY MAIZE 555088-707
30 – KD VI / BLACK 599424-004
2 – AIR JORDAN 5 RETRO / WHITE 136027-189
20 – KD VI / MET ‘LC PEWTER 599424-003
21 – AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO / BLACK 378037-006
21 – JORDAN 11 RETRO (TD) / BLACK 378040-006
21 – AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG / BLACK 555088-023
22 – LEBRON XI / ARMORY SLATE 616175-401
27 – LEBRON XI / BLACK 616175-001
28 – KD VI / BLUE GAMMA 599424-400
29 – KOBE 8 SYSTEM / GREY 555035-003 MINE
29 – 616805-402 JORDAN BLUE CP3.VII/GAMMA
30 – AIR JORDAN 5 RETRO / BLACK 136027-035
03 – KD VI / MET ‘LC PEWTER 599424-003
06 – LEBRON XI / BRAVE BLUE 616175-400
13 – KOBE 8 SYSTEM / GREEN GLOW 555035-304
14 – AIR JORDAN 12 RETRO / WHITE 130690-125
20 – KD VI / COOL GREY 599424-008
20 – KD VI / BLACK 599424-010
20 – LEBRON XI / WHITE 616175-100
20 – LEBRON XI / GREEN MICA 616175-300
20 – LEBRON XI (GS) / WHITE 621712-100
20 – KOBE ELITE IX (GS) / BLACK 636602-002
21 – AIR JORDAN RETRO 310805-106 10/WHITE
21 – AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO / DK BLUE POWDER 136064-406
21 – AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO (GS) / DK BLUE POWDER 398614-406
21 – JORDAN 3 RETRO (PS) / DK BLUE POWDER 429487-406
21 – JORDAN 3 RETRO (TD) / DK BLUE POWDER 832033-406
20 – KOBE ELITE IX (GS) / PURPLE 636602-500 VENOM
20 – KD VI / PURE PLATINUM 599424-009
20 – KD VI / LT CRIMSON 599424-600
20 – LEBRON XI / BLACK 616175-004
20 – LEBRON XI / ATOMIC ORANGE 616175-800
20 – 616805-005 JORDAN CP3.VII/ANTHRACITE
21 – AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO / WHITE 384664-123
21 – AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO (GS) / WHITE 384665-123
21 – JORDAN 6 RETRO (PS) / WHITE 384666-123
21 – JORDAN 6 RETRO (TD) / WHITE 384667-123
20 – KD VI (GS) / DK GREEN MICA 599477-301
20 – KD VI / ANTHRACITE 599424-007
20 – KD VI / ELECTRIC GREEN 599424-302
20 – LEBRON XI / COURT PURPLE 616175-500
20 – 616805-607 JORDAN RED CP3.VII/GYM
21 – AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO / WHITE 136064-123
21 – AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO (GS) / WHITE 398614-123
It’s not a shoe, it’s a system! The Kobe System VII was driven from the mantra that, “Good design is the perfect balance between science and art.” -DaVinci
Didn’t know about the Kobe pattern was inspired from Kobe’s “predator” mentality… on the court… he is a predator on the court. The pattern is a combination of shark, snake, & leopard patterns. Cool insight in the vid…
Alright, this news is a few days old now but with work and family I’ve been unable to post it until now. Behold the official Kobe VII:
Thanks, as always, goes out to marqueesole for the fantastic photography of the shoe. What we are looking at is the “inline” colorway of the Kobe VII Supreme. Supreme you ask? Yes well as seems to be the standard with signature shoes these days the Kobe VII will hit in three versions at three different price points. The first to hit, on December 23, will be the Supreme version in Black/White/Del Sol colorway. From what I have gathered “Supreme” in this case refers to the removable ankle bootie. It features some “pro combat-esque” padding and wraps around the bottom of the insole to ensure it stays in place. That of course also means that the insole is removable. The shoe will retail for the steep price of $180 but promises to attempt to combine the perfect world of low top/ankle support. We shall see.
The second version will be the base version, without inner bootie from what I hear which is good because the Supreme cannot be worn without it. It will retail for $140 and no pics have been released to the wild as of yet. The first colorways of this model will hit in February 2012.
Last will be the “Elite”. Little is know about the Elites other then the fact that they retail for $200 so Elite may just mean more money. The first Elite’s will hit in April 2012.
I’m nothing if not a inaccurate predictor of all things sport related so why not throw together some predictions for this years NBA playoffs? After all this seasons playoffs feel more open then they have in a number of years so we should be in for some exciting series. Lets kick things off with the…
Eastern Conference First Round
(1) Chicago Bulls Vs (8) Indiana Pacers
Pacers are an interesting team as of late. I think they play a little gritty which is probably exactly what you need to beat the Bulls. That said, I think the Bulls are playing better, want it more and just plain have more weapons. I pick the Bulls in 5.
(4) Orlando Magic Vs (5) Atlanta Hawks
Boy this Hawks team feels like one without an identity. I don’t recall hearing anything about them all season other then the fact that they probably regret the Joe Johnson contract (and get used to saying the “Joe Johnson Contract” as with the upcoming lockout the owners will push for shorter contracts and we may never see something the likes of his $123 Million contract). On a side note, how happy do you think the Knicks are that they didn’t sign him? I know D’Antoni would probably prefer Joe Johnson in his system to Carmelo but I don’t think any franchise could afford to be strapped to that contract for 5 more years and have any long term success. Sorry Hawks. Where was I? Oh yeah I think Dwight kicks it into Superman mode again for the playoffs. Magic in 5 only because I feel uncomfortable picking a sweep.
(3) Boston Celtics Vs (6) New York Knicks
Speaking of the Knicks, great team with alot of talent but none of it wants to play together or in the system they are in. I think Boston grits this one out and D’Antoni and the Knicks amicably part ways in the off season so they can find a coach to get more out of Melo (lets face it he isn’t going to change for a coach). And no, they won’t get Phil Jackson, I think he will really be done this year and if he isn’t he wants no part of the Knicks. Boston in 6
(2) Miami Heat Vs (7) Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are an interesting team the same way the Pacers are an interesting team. Alot of talent, good coach who will get the most out of them this season, etc… That said the fate of the league is at hand here with the Miami Heat. If they happen to win it all this year then prepare to see stars clogging up in big market teams with deep pockets in order to mimic their success. The only way it does work is of Wade and Lebron physically will them to win every game and I don’t think they can do it. Whether anyone likes it or not, when Lebron gets punched it the mouth psychologically he caves (see last years playoffs for example) so I’m not sure how he makes it through 16 wins unscathed. But in the first round I think they hold off a plucky Sixers team, Miami in 6.
Eastern Conference Second Round
(1)Chicago Bulls Vs (4)Orlando Magic
Interesting match up on paper as it feels like the Bulls don’t have a great answer for Howard but the Bulls do have some size to throw at him and are pesky enough. Jazz fans know that Boozer doesn’t exactly play defense. That said, Howard could average 30-20 in this series and the Magic may still not win. The Magic dominated the first meeting of these two teams earlier this season but its been all Bulls (specifically Rose) in their match ups since then. I’ll go Bulls in 6.
(2) Miami Heat Vs (3) Boston Celtics
Should be a great series between these two teams as the gritty Celtics step in Lebron’s way again. Let me just say I’m not fan of the Celtics the way the Sports Guy hates the Lakers and I would love to see them lose early in these playoffs. I know better and as much as it pains me, Celtics in 7
Eastern Conference Finals
(1) Chicago Bulls Vs (3) Boston Celtics
Does it feel strange to anybody else that nobody took the Bulls seriously early on this season but now we have to consider them favorites to win the east and it doesn’t feel strange at all? Its basically the same team as last year with the addition of a few Jazz cast offs (Boozer, Korver and Brewer) but on this team it all works doesn’t it? I think they blow past the Celtics, Bulls in 5, yeah I said it. Side note, Kyle Korver is making 5 million dollars this year to chip in 8.3 points per game. Hes making almost the same amount as Rose. If my math is correct thats basically $8090 per point this season. Where do I sign up for that deal? Whats really great about it? Its not a bad deal at all. He’s giving the Bulls exactly what they need and is worth it for his 3 point shooting. The NBA, its faaaaantastic!!!
Western Conference 1st Round
(1) San Antonio Spurs Vs (8) Memphis Grizzlies
Am I the only one who feels like the Spurs have been doing it with smoke and mirrors all season? Memphis is a scrappy little team that I don’t think anyone would want to face in the first round and the Spurs are going to have their hands full. And Manu is doubtful for game one? Oh I’m tempted to pick an upset here, if only so my beloved 94 Sonics sad loss to the Nuggets can be forgotten but I just can’t do it. I’ll go Spurs in 7 and hand them up on a platter for whatever team faces them in round 2.
(4) Oklahoma City Thunder Vs (5) Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets are a great story this season but on paper I just can’t see how they can beat the Thunder. I mean this is the playoffs and usually the team with the best player wins. Who the heck is the best player on the Nuggets? I promise they aren’t better then Durrant. I love they way the Nuggets play with the Lawson/Felton UNC 1-2 punch at pointguard but at the end of the day I don’t think they have that one guy that can go toe to toe with Durrant. Thunder in 6
(3) Dallas Maverick Vs (6) Portland Trailblazers
I want to pick an upset in round one, I really do, but its hard to go with this one when everyone else is. Remember when everyone else is picking an upset its no longer an upset. Portland is good, don’t get me wrong, but Dirk is Dirk and regardless of how bad the rest of his team may be. Dallas in 7
(2) Los Angeles Lakers Vs (7) New Orleans Hornets
The West injury makes this little more then a formality. I know Paul is good and New Orleans has some size to combat the Lakers length. But I think the Hornets are coming into this series expecting to lose (and Paul is already looking at real estate in other markets, the Paul watch will dominate the 11-12 season if we have one). You can’t win a series when you expect to lose. The Lakers will continue to make some mistakes though so I’ll go Lakers in 6. I think they still win in 6 even if Bynums knee doesn’t hold up. It shouldn’t hurt too bad in this series.
(1) San Antonio Spurs Vs (4) Oklahoma City Thunder
I think the Thunder are one of the worst teams in the playoffs for these Spurs. They are going to run them off the court. The only thing stopping the Thunder will be themselves. If they come to the dance knowing they can win and have confidence, well the Spurs will be ripe for the picking. Thunder in 7.
(2) Los Angeles Lakers Vs (3) Dallas Mavericks
I don’t trust these Lakers, one bit. Its hard to three peat, I mean really really hard, as evidenced by the talent of the teams that have done it:
And I can feel the wheels coming off with this Laker team which is why they have had a few large losing streaks this season. They have won twice, they know how to win and some nights they just expect that they will come out, be the best and win without executing. They have been battling it all season. The question is, does that go away come playoff time. We know in the month of March, following the All-Star game that Kobe imposed his will on the team and took them to 17-1. They do something like that again and yes they will three-peat. I’m not sure if its a good or bad thing but here in the second round they will face an overmatched Dallas squad and ease their way into the western conference finals, a much easier path then the one seed but I’m almost wishing they could come in battle tested to pull together. If its too easy they could fold when it gets hard. Anyway, Lakers in 6.
Western Conference Finals
(4) Oklahoma City Thunder Vs (2) Los Angeles Lakers
Lets not forget how this matchup went last year. The plucky, upstart Thunder put a scare in the world champs taking them to 6 games in round one. And this year they are better and have Kendrick Perkins who you know the Lakers will hate to see again (as will a certain Laker fan writing this). So the question is, do they make the leap? They have all the tools. They can defend, they can rebound and they have scoring at will. I guess the biggest question is who do you trust more, Kobe’s/Bynum’s knee holding up for another playoff run or the upstart Thunder to take the leap. I’m thinking the Thunder, while great, need another year to marinate before they are ready. Lakers in 7
Anyone remember the 1991 finals when Jordan final made his leap to take dominance over the NBA and the old guard of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? Yeah the parallels are erie there with Kobe and the Lakers being the “Old Guard” this year and its Rose’s quest to take the Bulls to the top of the mountain. But lets get one thing straight. Jordan took 6 years to get to the top of the mountain and while overall Rose’s team might be more talented then the 91 Bulls he’s no Michael Jordan. You want to know who is Michael Jordan? Well Kobe isn’t Michael but he is the closest thing we have seen to it. The combination of talent and pure desire to compete and win. I think the Lakers win in 6, Kobe captures number 6, Philip gets XII and Rose and the Bulls come back next year hungry ready to deal with the grind of the Playoffs.
Back to that Jordan Vs Kobe debate for a sec. I’m a huge Kobe fan but having watched Jordan in his prime its easy for me to say that Kobe is no Jordan. That said lets warp forward 30 years into the future. The year is 2041 and our grandchildren are all sitting around debating who the best NBA players of all time were. They look at their holographic iPads and stream data into their brains that show both Jordan and Kobe won 6 titles a piece. Having not watched either personally and not being invested personally in either but having video clips of both playing in different eras that only slightly overlapped. Will they have the same opinion? And what if Kobe does the unthinkable and wins another title before he retires? Just something to think about…it always seems to be easier to appreciate the past than the present.