Don't ever make the mistake of trying to marginalize Kobe Bryant in a conversation about the NBA's best players. You'd be wrong.
The NBA season will be fast, furious and frenetic. (Beautiful? Maybe not so much.) And as it opens, the spotlight shines on LeBron James (doesn't it always?) and the Heat. Again.
Two days later, how does the Chris Paul trade look? That depends on where you live. But this much is indisputable: It's a lesson for small market teams everywhere.
The move by David Stern and the NBA owners to keep Chris Paul from being traded to the Lakers was spectacularly petty.
The NBA will finally open, two months later than usual, to which we say: Season's Greetings! Christmas Day is the right time to tip off the season.
He brought so much more than his unparallelled combination of size, skill and talent to the NBA. The league will sorely miss Shaq's playfulness, charisma and showmanship, too.
Some half-dozen candidates duked it out in our writer's mind before he cast his vote for NBA Coach of the Year. But MVP and Rookie of the Year? Winners in a walkover.
Three straight home losses? Check. Angry words? Check. Petty jealousies? Check. Got 'em all. Which means Kobe and the Lakers have everybody else right where they want them.
A conversation with Kobe. As he arrives in Chicago for a rematch with the Bulls, he says Derrick Rose's team has joined the Spurs, the Celtics and the Heat as contenders for his Lakers' crown.