Thursday, April 14, 2016

Leadoff with Lee 4.14.16

By Raven Williams, @nevaRWilliams & Chris Lee, @TripleThreatLee

Last night, NBA history was made!

In his final game of his illustrious 20 year NBA career, Kobe Bryant dropped 60 points in a comeback victory, topping the Utah Jazz, 101-96. The atmosphere was electric in the Staples Center as Bryant kept taking shot after shot... and making shot after shot! Kobe attempted 50 shots Wednesday night in his farewell game, shooting 22-50, and 6-21 from 3-point range in 42 minutes of play. It was easily the best moment of the season for the troubled 17-65 Lakers. After exiting the game to a resounding chorus of "Kobe!" chants from the Lakers faithful, Kobe took to the mic and stated:

I can't believe how fast 20 years went by, man, this is crazy. This is absolutely crazy ... and to be standing at center court with you guys, my teammates behind me, appreciating the journey that we've been on -- we've been through our ups, been through our downs. I think the most important part is we all stayed together throughout.

You can't write something better than this..... Mamba Out!

Take a look at some of the reactions from players around the league (click to enlarge):

Thank you Kobe Bryant. The final chapter in his career is the stuff of legends. - By Raven Williams, @nevaRWilliams

But that wasn't the only history made Wednesday night. With a 125-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors became the winningest NBA team of all-time, reaching 73 wins, eclipsing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls 72-10 record. Reigning, and likely back to back MVP, Steph Curry capped off his impressive regular season draining his 400th 3-pointer of the season, shooting 10-19 from beyond the arc, finishing the game with 46 points. With 73 wins now out of the way, the Warriors can now focus on their playoff run and attempting to be the first back to back NBA Champions since the 2012 and 2013 Miami Heat. Hopefully, the main cog of those Heat teams can prevent the Warriors from obtaining that goal. - By Raven Williams, @nevaRWilliams

And lastly from me, all of the seeding is set. Here's a look at the playoff match ups for the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Be sure to check out and "TV Tonight" for game times.


- The Cleveland Browns claimed tight end Chase Ford via waivers Wednesday from the Baltimore Ravens. Ford is 6'6", 245 pounds and entering his fourth NFL season out of the University of Miami. Chase Ford graded well as a run blocker in his limited opportunities with the Minnesota Vikings. Last season, he was inactive for eight games with Minnesota and one game with Baltimore, before being placed on injured reserve. With the tight end position lacking depth, Ford, E.J Bibbs, Randall Telfer and Connor Hamlett will all be fighting for roster spots this season.

- In other Browns news, a possible trade scenario surfaced Wednesday that featured the Browns, Bills and Broncos being involved. This is the trade scenario posted by that made waves around the TwitterVerse.
Whether or not this trade actually happens, it's very interesting. Consider the rumblings that Tyrod Taylor wants out of Buffalo, the Broncos needing a quarterback and the Browns in "asset acquiring mode", it could all make sense. This trade can't be any crazier than all the mock drafts floating around.

- Hall Of Fame Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann is going back to the West Coast, this time as the man in charge. 

Swann was named athletic director at the University of Southern California on Wednesday, the university announced. Swann is returning to the campus where he was a star from 1971-74, winning the national title in 1972 and making the All-America team in 1973. Swann takes over July 1 for Pat Haden. He is the third straight former USC football player to be named AD.

- Several outlets have reported that the Memphis Tigers athletic department has been in contact with Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith about becoming  their new head coach. According to one report, if Smith is offered the Memphis job he will accept. Memphis is expected to make a decision by the end of the week.

- NBA owners are scheduled to vote this week on putting ads on jerseys for the 2017-18 season, multiple sources told ESPN. The measure is expected to pass, according to sources. Several teams have begun testing the market to sell the potentially lucrative ads, which would be placed in a 2.5 x 2.5-inch patch on the left shoulder.

Corporate logos on player's jerseys are commonplace in the English Premier League and throughout international soccer. "With U.S. TV coverage of these leagues already bringing the sight of these jerseys into American living rooms, ads on players jerseys are an idea whose time has come," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Nike takes over for Adidas as the face of NBA apparel starting in 2017-18, meaning that’s the first season this new format could be debuted. There is a real potential that players might see an issue with the revenue split, especially if Nike jerseys on sale in the retail sector include the ads.

- Per NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Johnny Manziel's second agent this off season, Drew Rosenhaus, has informed the former Browns quarterback that he either gets treatment or he will no longer represent him. Rosenhaus stated Wednesday, "I have terminated the standard representation with Johnny Manziel in hopes of helping him get the treatment I believe he needs. I have informed him that if he takes the immediate steps I have outlined for him, that I will rescind the termination and continue to represent him. Otherwise the termination will become permanent. There is a five day window for me to rescind the termination. I'm hoping he take the necessary steps to get his life back on track". 

Erik Burkhardt, left him in February when he refused to get help. The comments from Rosenhaus came after Manziel seemed "disheveled" Saturday night and showing up to a Sunset Strip nightclub and was later involved in an auto accident, where he was the passenger the same night. Rosenhaus told SiriusXM NFL "LA isn't a good place for Manziel." And with that, he has returned to Texas. Needs to start working out and get back to football. "It's a 'life & death situation' & he's trying to help a young man who's in trouble. Rosenhaus was also asked about his other Browns client, wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon experienced a "hiccup" & "temporary setback" in his NFL reinstatement. And believes he will be back in 2016.

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