Monthly Archive for August, 2009

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Rambis Introduced in Minnesota

Kurt RambisA day after L.A.’s brain trust weighed in, former Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis was officially introduced as the new Head Coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday afternoon in Minneapolis in press-conference format.

We watched on timberwolves.com and took some notes on Twitter in case you missed it:

LakersReporter: Rambis: “I left an incredible job in Los Angeles. I was very happy there. That team has a chance to win several NBA championships.”

LakersReporter: Rambis was quite gracious in thanking the Buss family, coaches & players individually. But bottom line: Couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

LakersReporter: Rambis cited the influence of Tex Winter, whom he called an unparalleled basketball mind that had no filter.

LakersReporter: Rambis is certainly cogent & comfortable in front of the media – After 10 minutes he’s yet to have a slip of the tongue. Impressive.

LakersReporter: Rambis on Phil Jackson: “I like the way that he allows players out there on the court to make decisions for themselves.”

LakersReporter: On Phil cont’d: “I like the freedom he’s given players to make decisions with the ball – be passers, be shooters, be basket attackers.”

LakersReporter: It took a little while, but Rambis finally got the cold weather dig in. For those of us from Minnesota, we know it’s coming eventually.

LakersReporter: Rambis cited his exp. w/Shaq and Kobe – plus Rodman – as a head coach as boosting his knowledge. “Best learning exp. for a young coach.”

LakersReporter: Rambis highlighted that he learned preparation from Pat Riley and player management from Phil Jackson, two of the best at each.

LakersReporter: Bottom line from presser: Rambis is very obviously prepared and excited to be a head coach.

Buss, Kupchak, Jackson Wish Rambis Well

Kurt RambisThe Los Angeles Lakers released the following quotes from owner Dr. Jerry Buss, General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Head Coach Phil Jackson regarding the announcement of Kurt Rambis as new Head Coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves:

Dr. Jerry Buss
“Kurt is one of the hardest-working and brightest assistant coaches we’ve ever had, and I expect he will be very successful with the Timberwolves. Kurt has been a key figure in the success of the Lakers for nearly three decades. In my mind he will always be a Laker, but we wish him the best of luck in Minnesota.”

Mitch Kupchak
“While we’re obviously sad to see Kurt leave, we are excited for him to realize his long-time goal of becoming an NBA head coach. Kurt is a true professional and has ingrained himself as a fixture as a player, front office executive and coach in this organization, and has become a fan favorite both on and off the court. I’d like to thank Kurt for his tremendous contributions to the organization over the years. While he will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to the Timberwolves franchise, Kurt will always remain a part of the Lakers family.”

Phil Jackson
“It’s ‘best of luck’ that the coaching staff sends to Kurt Rambis as he takes on the coaching duties with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kurt has been the workhorse of my staff the past few years. He’s worked with the youth of our team, coming in early and staying late, to help players develop. Last season he took on the responsibility as the defensive coordinator, a valuable part of our championship run. We will miss him, but know this is his time to do what he’s destined to do.”

Dodgers CF Matt Kemp on Lakers.com

For the latest segment of the “Popcorn Machine,” we went to Dodger Stadium to sit down with a serious basketball fan who dabbles in center field for the L.A. Dodgers: Matt Kemp.

Kemp, who came to several Lakers games this past season, played high school hoops with Shelden Williams* at Midwest City in Oklahoma on a squad that was so good, they won back-to-back state championships.
*Williams, who starred at Duke and was the No. 5 overall pick in 2006, recently signed a free agent contract with Boston.

Kemp almost continued his hoops dream in college, but instead decided to sign with the big leagues as his game continued to grow and scouts became superfluous at his high school baseball games.

So, on Tuesday afternoon prior to L.A.’s 17-4 win over Milwaukee, Kemp joined us in the Dodgers dugout to detail his basketball past, speculate about Lamar Odom’s baseball prospects (the lanky lefty fancies himself a pitcher), guess that Jordan Farmar would be the Lakers’ best baseball player and give us his top five musical artists as compared to those of Josh Powell and Shannon Brown.

TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST, CLICK HERE.

Mailbag Question – Jay Z/Lil’ Wayne

Lil WayneLakers.com reader Stanley checked in recently with this question:

Q: Jay-Z has seemed to have aligned himself with LeBron James (he’s in his new video) and Lil’ Wayne made the song called “Kobe Bryant”… So who wins that battle, and what’s your take on arguably the two best rappers in the industry using the two best basketball players on the planet to sell records?
- Stanley, Valencia, CA

Any time someone can sensibly mix Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne into a legit question, I’m compelled to answer. In fact, this topic could probably circle sports talk radio for weeks (OK, maybe a day … all right, an hour … fine, one segment). Alas, I’ll first refer to J-Peezy’s Playlist. During our 2009 Lakers Hip Hop Draft (Playlist No. 3), featuring Josh Powell and Shannon Brown with myself on the side, Lil’ Wayne went No. 1 overall (to Powell), while Jay-Z fell to No. 3 (to Brown as I took 2pac second).

“(Lil’ Wayne’s) just poppin,’,” said Powell at the time. “He’s gettin’ it in right now. I’ve been a ‘Lil Wayne fan since he was 12.”

I’d argue that while Jay-Z is the more accomplished artist at this stage (who has more hits?), the younger generation of NBA players seem to prefer Lil’ Wayne. Many, like Powell, literally grew up with him. Per your question, Stanley, the fact that Weezy not only wrote a rap about Kobe, but that it’s well-written and has a solid beat, supersedes an appearance in Jay-Z’s video from LeBron. Furthermore, Lil’ Wayne joined Kanye West to perform at L.A.’s championship party, so I’d have to say that the man from the South gets Round 1.

I’m not really sure, however, that the rappers are using the athletes to sell records; entertainers and athletes seem to envy one another’s careers and seem constantly eager to cross over. At the same time, your point is taken – it probably doesn’t hurt the record sales to go the athlete route. Thanks for the question.