As someone that resides in New York, but grew up elsewhere, assholes sometimes ask me if I think I’m better than people that don’t live in New York; I only think I’m better than people that ask that question un-ironically. Considering the fact someone in my building just got robbed yesterday, my roommate got rocks thrown at him as he left our building a couple weeks ago, and the recent Community Board 1 meeting detailed the upsurge in crack dealing in the housing project that buttresses my street, I would say no. I am poor, but being poor in New York is better than being poor elsewhere. I can angrily stare at the wealthy people and feel morally superior without really knowing why.
But—at least in terms of NBA basketball—I think we’re at the point where the top basketball city is the City of Angels and not my beloved New York. Sorry Mr. Beck, but no matter how many Nets columns you write or how many concerts Mr. Z performs or however dope their new jerseys look, I still won’t be excited for the Nets and I’ll forever be a Knicks fan (also, fuck you Dolan for giving New Yorkers an excuse to switch allegiances). But Carmelo Anthony is hard to get excited about (Oh look! He lost weight. AFTER THE SEASON ENDED!) and I don’t have high hopes for the Knicks; although they still play in Madison Square Garden and the Nets will always play in a place called: Barclay’s Center. Nothing says basketball mecca quite like financial services firms.
Anyway, to live in and die in LA ain’t so bad these days with the Clippers on the rise and the Lakers signing Howard and Nash. That’s why LA was featured so prominently during the opening of NBA camps and the inchoate media angles that littered my dashboard and RSS all day:
-Just about everyone wrote about LA and Dwight Howard, including Around the Horn talking head Bill Plascke of the LA Times.
-Marc J. Spears wrote about how Kobe believes this is his most talented Lakers team ever (Shaq & Bynum troll alert level: Orange).
Dave McMenamin highlighted how these are still Kobe’s Lakers and after reading a LakerNation post by Andrew Ungvari then scrolling through the comments, I realize Lakers fans are totally irrational when it comes to Kobe and that’s probably rubbed off on Kobe a little bit. Here’s what he said about whose team it was:
"I got a question earlier about whose team this is…I don’t want to get into the, ‘Well, we share …’ No, it’s my team. But I want to make sure that Dwight, when I retire, this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know so that when I step away this organization can ride on as if I never left.”
He’s not wrong, but he’s so damn grandiose about himself it rankles me and everyone else that didn’t grow up in LA (or jumped on the purple and gold wank fest). Speaking of the egos on the Lakers, J.A. Adande writes about how the Lakers superstar roster filled with capital A, Alphas, will coexist as a team. My guess is that Mike Brown, with his championship pedigree and experience coaching superstars so well will be the glue that keep them together as a team (sarcasm alert level: RED). We’ll have a better idea about the Lakers once they actually play games, but in a lot of ways they’re more fascinating to think and write about than the Heat going into the ‘10-‘11 season.
But what about those other guys that share the Staples?
Not as much hullabaloo for the opening of the Clippers’ training camp, but we did learn new Clipper, Lamar Odom, wants to apologize to Mark Cuban for his performance with the Mavericks last year. I wonder if he’ll return the money he made?
-Odom is also a big fan of Blake Griffin (queue up the faux-sincerity of training camp, starting now).
-Clipperblog experienced some technical difficulties, which means they couldn’t continue discussing (into the ground) those silly ESPN rankings, which Clipsnation wrote about as well.
-About the only thing that piqued my interest surrounding the Clippers—aside from the lovely MS Paint from above—was that Chauncey isn’t rushing back after tearing his Achilles Tendon, which is smart. Billups is very smart even if his first name makes my girlfriend think he’s a snooty WASP. <3 you Chauncey!
So yeah, Los Angeles: home of Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, home to homeless people dressed as super heroes, home to Dwight Howard AND Kobe Bryant, home to a smog-filled sunset that makes the hot Midwest cheerleader think she can be a model/actress too. Home to the best basketball in America right now.
Now I gotta sleep in my Frazier jersey to stave off nightmares of a Kobe/Nash/Howard/Pau/Metta assault on the record books.
[Clippers via; Clippers MS Paint via; Lakers starting 5 via BDL]