The “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” look. This would be courtesy of Dwyane Wade on January 11th. Give this guy a few stitches and he will be right back on the court. Whether it’s a messed up pinky, knee or eye, this guy comes to play every night. Loving basketball a little too much…
The Zoom Kobe IV Book is comprised of over sixty pages of in-depth content detailing all things Kobe. Sole Collector sat down with designers Tinker Hatfield, Eric Avar and Tom Luedecke and broke down each shoe Kobe has worn over the past five years. You’ll also learn about every last inspiration and cue from this year’s Zoom Kobe IV.
View or Download your copy here:
In an interview on January 6th on AM 570 KLAC, the guys asked Phil why Bynum doesn’t learn the “Sky Hook” even though he has been working with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for 3 years now. The simple answer that Phil gave was the fact that Bynum just can’t. Phil says:
“It’s really a specialty shot. It’s a step shot in our league. You take off of one foot and in our league there’s so much body contact that if you don’t have that base, and it’s hard to get a base off a one-foot step, you can’t shoot that shot with a lot of accuracy. And we really worked with Andrew on this both left and right and yet that first step usually puts him off balance and if he gets nudged then he doesn’t have the kind of base that you have to have… but yea he does work on it, but it’s not natural for him.”
Check out this two-handed block where he just rips the ball out of Rasual Butler’s hands and takes off the other way…and then travels.
Though the greatest signature basketball shoe line, Air Jordan, has always been influenced by man-made engineering feats like Ferraris, watches, high heel shoes and fighter jets, the Zoom Kobe line has been influenced by various things such as the natural world. Kobe seems to love Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel because he likens himself to animal quickness and instinct. He calls himself, “The Black Mamba,” which is why we see faux snakeskin details on a lot of this shoes. He’s even gone so far as to choose the Orca Whale as a source of inspiration for his Zoom Kobe IIs a couple years back.
For the Zoom Kobe 4, Kobe seems to look to Marvel Comics’ Venom and DC Comics’ Joker for influence. As you saw in a previous post, Kobe’s “Venom” edition of the Kobe 4 was debuted in Miami. However, another indication of Venom influence can be seen on every sole of the Kobe 4. The detailing on the bottom is supposed to mimic the “symbiote” suit that grabs a hold of the victim. Kobe stated in interviews that the “symbiote” detailing was in keeping with the theme of the shoe as a lock down performance sneaker that becomes one with the foot.
The next shoe that takes a cue from DC Comics’ Joker is the Nike Zoom Kobe IV “Chaos.” The purple nubuck material looks a lot like Joker’s raggedyass purple suit. The shoe is set to officially release at the House of Hoops by Foot Locker beginning on January 10th at the House of Hoops Los Angeles. The next weekend, January 17th, the House of Hoops Chicago and the House of Hoops NYC will release their pairs. Pairs will be limited.
January 4, 2009 has to be the weirdest and fakest day in the season so far. Just when I thought the top dogs in the East were real, they all acted fake…in concert. The top 3 teams in the East, Boston, Cleveland and Orlando, all lost on the road last night as they lost to New York, Washington, and Toronto, respectively. I am not sure how much I should read into this, but I hope these are ancient New Year omens of what’s to come in the remaining 2/3 of the season. Both Boston and Cleveland are up to 6 losses with Orlando at 8 losses. The playoffs in the East is going to be all about homecourt advantage it seems. The Lakers, meanwhile, are still at 5 losses, still smoking the rest of the Western Conference.
Let’s hope the Lakers’ winning ways will continue for the next couple of weeks because there is much to redeem. The Lakers will face 3 of the 5 teams that handed them losses last month in Indiana, Miami and Orlando. Also, in between the Miami and Orlando games, the Lakers will make a mini-Texas swing to face the Rockets and the Spurs. Then on January 19th, the Lakers will wrap up this tough stretch of games against the league MVP thus far: Lebron James. The next two weeks will truly test the Lakers’ desire to maintain the best record in the league.
Bynum vs. Oden. Oden vs. Bynum. This will be the storied matchup for years to come. Due to Oden’s injury during their first ever NBA matchup during the Lakers’ season-opener, face-time between the two was very limited. However, it was clear that Bynum would come out to play during this game because Oden did have a monster block against Bynum their first go-round. Their matchup last night did not seem epic mainly due to the fact that neither exactly filled up the box score. Oden finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 0 blocks. Bynum finished with 4 points, 10 rebounds and 1 block. So who played better?
Oden was a bit better on offense than Bynum was last night. That was because Oden got post position very deep in the paint. Oden is just a beast. Oden was the most physically imposing player last night. Even when Bynum did ask for the ball in the post, the Laker wingmen often swung the ball to the other side of the floor because Oden pushed Bynum out to the elbow area. Bynum is essentially useless out here. Bynum could not seal this guy. However, this is not a knock on Bynum. Oden did the same thing against Garnett and Kendrick Perkins in the Blazer victory over the Celtics last week. It will be interesting how his physicality compares with that of Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal. This post position also enabled Oden to get to the charity strike 7 times last night, the most by any Blazer.
Bynum was a lot better on defense than Oden. Even when Oden did back Bynum very deep into the paint, Bynum did a fairly decent job of playing position defense. He was always right between Oden and the hoop at all times. When a guy like Bynum can play position defense well, it is very effective because his added length makes the shot for the offensive player that much more difficult. Bynum also finished with 6 more rebounds and one more block than Oden. There were countless times that Bynum’s activity on the defensive end resulted in Laker steals on the perimeter or poor shots by the Blazers. Altering shots is just as much a part of defense as blocking shots is and Bynum was effective in doing that.
In the end, the matchup was fairly equal. More than the numbers, the exciting thing to watch was the wrestling match in the post. In fact, it would have been even more entertaining had either team not thrown help defenders at them causing them to pass the ball back out. Watching Bynum front Oden in the first half, while watching Oden force his way in the block was amazing. It was truly a bruising affair. It wasn’t exactly pretty basketball, but it was gangsta.
If you wanted to see pretty basketball, it was definitely the LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Pau Gasol matchup. These guys are just offensive machines. Though Gasol’s skill set is more playoff-proof, you can tell that Aldridge is going to be a star in this league. You just know the Bulls are banging their heads on a table for letting him go. Aldridge was 11-19 from the field finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Gasol was equally as effective finishing with 19 points and 5 rebounds, while he was 7-9 from the field. Both seem to be able to hit shots regardless of the speed or complexion of the game. Aldridge still hit fadeaways consistently even when the Blazers were down big. The momentum going against him didn’t seem to bother him.
These two teams are the hottest young teams to look out for out west. Though Brandon Roy is injured at the moment, even his matchup with Kobe Bryant is one to watch as well. So there you go. Three fairly even matchups in the starting lineup. We’ll see what the Lakers are made of once they travel to Portland. The Lakers haven’t won at the Rose Garden for god knows how many years.