Howard Beck on his oral history of The Lob
And now the has welcome to a Monday edition of the low post podcast, where some traditions must be honored, even amid the worst and most tumultuous of times and one such tradition is this it is time. To say the three most anticipated words in Niche Basketball podcasting because of my guests identity today so I will start by saying. What back what up blow good to see you I'm glad we're not just talking, but seeing thanks to the wonders. Of Technology. How. I'm good I I'm I'm fine. It's all things considered I'm fine. I'm lucky I'm fine. Everything's good I I am not as lucky as you. Because you had a speaking role in your own voice in game of zones I did not get to speak my lines about the swamp dragon I one of the Malou. Brothers did that for me. You've got to speak your I think you did I like like? Be Be not quite a I'm not ready to like line you up for regular voice work in different accents, but like decent I was. Kinda hoping for an emmy, but maybe that's too much to ask for my my acting debut, but a be I. Mean I'll take that I have no acting background. I faked one of the worst British accents person could come up with. But Yeah I got the voice myself in game, Abso-. Career Highlight Zach like that like I could retire right now, and there's nothing left to do. There's nothing to accomplish like like a Pulitzer. Who Cares about a I got voice myself. And game zones with a bad British accent. I don't know how it's going to get anybody. Is there like a six hour outtake reel of you? Who may going the line or trying different variations of the accent and like them having to take breaks? Because you're so badly, you don't let. Let's just take five becks. Bets take five back. They gave me the line. Months ago right before the shutdown and I had said. Do you want me to do this in here? Like in their studio in front of them, which I thought that was going to be too self conscious, so I did it at home. and. I pro- I probably just because I'm. A crazy person I did do probably like twenty takes sitting here at this very desk. Trying to get it exactly right and figuring out what my tone was, and my cadence was. Yeah I mean listen if you're only if you're gonNA, get one acting line in the history of your life for a beloved animated Mash up of the NBA and game of thrones. You better nail it right so but be I'll take. There are a lot of basketball fans in the comedy world, many of them are involved in projects that are in various stages of incubation that are about basketball right there I like none of these really ever been made public a couple have and then they start and stop because this is how movies work apparently their ideas that sit there and scripts that sit there for fifteen years and I've told them all. If there's a press conference seen, just let me be one of the reporters. Wear the stupid hat like the stupid old school reporter hat and I'll raise my hand. Question question and it just let me be that guy and as I. don't care if the question is dumb. Just Gimme that opportunity. I have always wanted to do that as well. Going back to I think it was the movie and Bill Paschke and some of the other LA reporters maybe Steve Springer guys the LA I remember being in one of those scenes, and even getting to like do the getting one of the. And like being able to shout out the question, and you get your one moment in there. And I think it was the Ali movie and. Then I thought. That that would have been the life goal, but game of zones. You know I'll take on the other hand while you did not voice your own voice they did nail. A Great Zach Ism within that, so can we. Can we talk about how Russell Westbrook is attacking US right now? That was pretty good. I have to say and I got a good death. Anyway. The reason you're on this podcast is because. You just posted one of your one of your Beck one of your back. Stories are Beckett too long or history of game, seven of the two thousand Western Conference finals, between Portland and the Lakers, which is of course. The infamous either the famous Lakers come back, or the infamous blazers collapsed depending on your perspective culminating in the Kobe Shack Lob dunk that puts the Lakers up six. I believe in Isis. The game this has become. You can only do like one of these a year because they take a lot of work and they're it's. Even if it's a flash BULB landmark game from twenty years ago, it's still twenty years ago in the public appetite for twenty years ago is not ever going to be as strong as for what's happening right now, but I love to these stories. I just did one in conjunction with the last dance on game seven between the Pacers and the Bulls in nineteen ninety eight. And I. I love it because. All these years later, the participants are much more willing to actually tell you the truth about what happened behind closed doors, and be candid about how they were feeling, and what they remember I love it because it gives you a chance to really like I was much more interested to talk to. The Pacers been the Bulls and I think you probably as much as your story was about Shaq and Kobe come together for this moment that signified the cement partnership and gave them a pathway to a three peat. I bet you, or is it more excited to talk about the Blazers? Because the losers are always more interesting to talk to just to get their perspective, and like the degree to which they still feel that heartbreak, twenty years later is. It just seeps out of your piece. Yeah, so. The heartbreak. Part of it is interesting so I talked to Mike Dunleavy senior. I also got Mike Dunleavy. Junior high did not end up using my apologies to Mike, dunleavy junior, but he was sitting on the bench for I. Think Four of the seven games were behind the bench. No Way, yeah, you could see him in the highlights, so if you watch especially game seven Mike dunleavy junior sitting there. He's like nineteen years old. Just finished his freshman year at Duke. And I figured he was a great perspective because he witnessed all this so but I ended up with just so much great material I couldn't use, but I talked to. You Got Scottie Pippen and Damon Stoudamire. Steve Smith Greg Anthony. So had five players plus Dunleavy, senior and junior, five of the Lakers in a quick exchange with Phil Jackson. Who did not participate vote very much. So because I had so much, there was a lot that. Had To? Decide to take out but one of the through lines with the blazers that single person to a man. Without even asking most in most cases said I've never watched that game and I'm never going to watch that game. It's just too hard. It just too much heartbreak. It still pains me to this day because they're all convinced that. If they won that game, they would have won the championship and maybe more than one championship and the Lakers. Don't disagree with that. The Lakers also yeah. They were that good. Yeah, they would have beaten. India and Lynn team was awesome and I. Remember in ninety nine. When they built that team when they acquired pippen, and they were going to run twelve deep in the. We're GONNA play all these like giant IW lineups, and like the like Damon Stoudamire doesn't even play the fourth. They don't play a point guard. The entire fourth quarter of this collapse will talk about I love that Portland team and I had a friend in college out to Lindsey. Moore, who was a huge Lakers fan and we made a bed. Before the season started that the blazers would get further than the Lakers and I took the blazers. Think we bet fifty bucks. And then we kind of lost track of each other, and and obviously the bet came down to this game, and was feeling feeling myself in the third and fourth quarters like I'm going to win this bet I'm going to get in contact. Lindsey and get my fifty bucks and I reached out to her on facebook that she if she remembered this after reading your. She doesn't remember it. She is now going to charge interest for not paying which is completely fair and I'm gonNA calculate. The interest. But I love that team and I think what happened in the fourth quarter to them was. Somewhat. Baked into the construction of their team in terms of the kind of shots, they took in the kind of shots. They Miss, but I I love that team I went back and watch the game in preparation for this I loved watching them play amid a collapse. But you were at the game yeah. Yeah so so, where are you sitting? Did you see the lob? Could you see it? Could you have a good angle of it? So one of the reasons I wanted to always go back to this game, and I nearly did this four years ago, but the story kind of got shelved. For reasons beyond my anyway. So it's. It's. I wanted to go back to because I was at that game, because I covered that series I was a Laker beat writer for the Daily News at that time, and it was always one of my favorite moments, one of my favorite series, and that Portland team was one of my favorite teams to have watched play against the Lakers, and obviously the the kings during era, too. But I've always contended that that was. The best thing they face Robert Ory agreed with me and said in fact it's the best team. He ever played period in his life and Robert ory seven championships so that that says a lot. that. We just was amazing and I thought. Unfair or unfortunate that they've I think almost been forgotten. Even when espy nation recently did their thing where they did the best teams of all time not to win at all. Like, I, don't know they were like in the third tier or something and I'm like. I'm convinced and I don't have a ton of history before. That time in terms of like being immersed in this, so I I can't tell you definitively from the seventies, or even some of the eighties, but to me in the time that I've been covering the League in twenty three years. That Blazers team is the best team I've seen not make the finals. But the love. The love. We're sitting. Baseline are seats at Staples Center. The the beat writers. We sit baseline on the same end of the court as the Lakers, so we're opposite their bench on the baseline, the opposite side of the basket. So as the play unfolds Kobe's Bacchus to me and so when I see this, play my mind's eye all the time. It's always Kobe dribbling against Scotty crosses him over and starts to drive, and so as Kobe starts to go up, and his hand goes up. I thought he was shooting in the moment. It's a split second your perceptions right? I thought he was going to shoot, I did not see sheck and Rick Fox who was on the bench at that time, so he's at the same end of the court is as I. Am you know almost? Almost ninety feet away. It's the same thing he said. I didn't see shack until I saw Shaq like he just came out of wedging, not seeing shack. Like what kind of specific angle do you have to be sitting where you can't see shack will also, this is part of the you know. If you let yourself get sucked in as a viewer to watching just the ball, and of course, why wouldn't I be watching Kobe Bryant? Going up against Scottie Pippen of my entire focus was there, so I ended up asking various people or pretty much everybody for the story at the time that Koby drives past Scotty, and starts to go into this motion to do you think he's shooting or passing? And it was basically evenly split, and I was glad to see that I wasn't the only one who thought maybe it was up for a shot now. I think it was Robert Ory who who pointed out. If you see the way his hand goes up. It's clear it's not really a shooting motion. Just kind of this little shotput motion. But in the moment, and especially from the perspective that I had from the baseline watching from his back. Tell and I didn't. I didn't know. Shack was was about to jump up so the athletic much. Chagrin. wrote, this wrote a version of History of this game. Kind of that published the day before yours And if you add up the quotes, their story and the quotes in your story about this very particular subject. I think it becomes like two thirds one third people saying they all thought Kobe was gonNA shoot like like thirds of the 'cause now we all thought Kobe was gonNA. Shoot which is which is funny, because it's Koby normally Kobe shoots but it's. It's obviously an iconic play. My favorite thing about it has always been shacks reaction. which is a wide? sprinting back kind of has lost control of his senses and points at which I didn't remember. Point is pointing the two handed point, which is to his son. Region the crowd and why I love that is because. You know you hear like Gino Auriemma had a rant about this like a year or two ago and I think there's some. It's a little bit of a Crotchety old man thing but I think there's some truth to it about how Sort of he was talking about raw effort. Raw unadulterated effort in run, raw unadulterated emotion are not cool. You don't look cool when you're really really trying hard, and you don't look cool when you're really really just overwhelmed by the moment, and you're making goofy facial expressions and running and goofy ways, and jumping around and trying to hug people and I think a lot of athletes like being cool as part of the job, and like it it it. No one wants to look cool in any walk of life and I love when there are moments were any even if it's just? Just a little subconscious party our brain. That's like I gotTA. I gotTA. Keep Persona that I that I want to you know, have the public. See I. WanNa be cool just melts away completely, and you're just a kid out of control. Looking goofy and shack was as cool as it came, and that's not a criticism. Shack is just cool. Should the way Shag dunked was cooled away. Shack played was cool. The Way Shack just rolled over people with Shag broke backboard. The whole deal in that moment shack is completely uncalled. It's completely overwhelmed by an I. It is my absolute. Favorite shack moment ever. I hadn't thought about it, but it probably would be mine. It certainly should be i. mean there are there are some others I mean on. There was a time I think the first year I covered them where he gets knocked down. This is again the side of the court. That's closer to us. This is at the form, and he falls down, and instead of just like falling plopping to the floor. He spun it into like a break dancing. Yes, that was cool. That's cool. That's what I'm talking about. That's cool. That's betsy are so a couple of different thoughts. One is that. While she was the ultimate image of cool and a lot of different ways. Shack was always the overgrown kid, so check never worried about dropping his guard, and showing his emotion, whether it was anger or joy or goofiness. He did all kinds of crazy stuff. He wear crazy the suit he wore the day of the. This is really pulling from the archives. Go, look up! The Doug Christie versus Rick Fox fight that a preseason. Game. Lakers kings and then Mrs Christie gets involved at Shack is back in the hallway because he's injured and. In this crazy ass suit anyway shack never worried about. Needing to project cool, he just was cool, so he I think he had the latitude to have those moments without ever worrying about it, but the other funny thing about Zach when re watching that game. So Kobe throws the lobster shack, and before shack comes running down the court with his mouth go. Agape and his eyes bugging out and pointing all this, he has a quick, little slapping five with Kobe, Kobe stone cold like there's no emotionally Kobe whatsoever. There's not even any emotion in shack at the moment that they slap hands, but then the timeout is called Shack starts running down the court doing all that stuff and. Kobe Steel Kobe like there's no like he's frigging locked in and shack like and it was such an imperfect can. To shock was always the overgrowth kid Kobe. He's twenty one at this point. There's nothing about him sure. There was immaturity in his game, but in terms of his demeanor. He was totally controlled and hyper focused, so that contrast is fun to the other thing. If we're going to get old, grumpy, old man with with with gene auriemma agree. In going back through. Just the archives going into the next dive, and also just talking to these guys now not only. Are they really candid about it now? Had you know a lot of stuff to say a lot of smack talk as well both sides. Going back and looking then they were talking like Phil Jackson, referred to the Blazers as jackals. jacker celebrated, usurp the bench. That's you can't say Phil Phil I. Love that stuff fills lexicon of jabs. JACKALS is troubling actually if you think about it a little bit more than just the first layer of analysis and that and culminating in Posse, phillies had troubling some trouble. He's much more explicitly bad and obviously bad. jackals was just I I don't know I would. Have not looked into the demolish. My immediate reaction was. That's troubling. Yeah was not that that's funny. That's that if he said that today, he would be called out on immediately as troubling I so without getting into like the layers of that particular term because I honestly as I'm sitting here right now, I oblivious. To what else imply, but I will say that my point is generally that. Phil Talk. Dunleavy talked some stuff done leaving rick. Fox got into it in the midst of a game because Rick and Scottie Pippen. We're getting into it and Dunleavy kind of jumped in because it happened by their bench. There was just a lot of stuff talked by both sides back then and those kings laker series used to get that way to. You know it happens occasionally now, and but I think more of the the trash-talk which has always been a fun part of this game about this league. It's confined to the court between them. Back, then, it was not unusual at all for them to be saying all this stuff between games and you know. Interview Sessions scrums and I just think it was a lot of fun because they weren't. Nobody was so image conscious back then or so brand, conscious or worried about who they were going to piss off well, one of the one of the fun things about doing this twenty. Whatever years later is that? You have a quote from Bonzi wells in which he admits when they're up seventy, one fifty, five late in the third quarter up by fifteen early in the fourth, he comes out and says I'm from Indiana. I'm starting to think yeah. I'M GONNA. Go play my hometown team hometown team in the finals. How cool is that going to be and when I? wrote the Pacers Bull Story from ninety eight. The Pacers jump out to a twenty to seven lead in that game and and Jalen told me Jalen rose on the Patriots. Team told me Hell Yeah. We're thinking. We're about to blow the freaking bulls out of the gym and go to the finals and Derek McKee and Dale Davis who's a key factor in the aftermath of your story. Both on that Pacers team told me yet during the conference finals I'll admit it like I. let it get into. Enter my brain that I think we match up pretty well with Utah like I. I think we can win the championship if and when we get to the finals. Players will never say that at the time. Because it's sacrilege, it's heresy. It's Belinda born aerial, but it is so completely human when you're up sixteen in the fourth quarter to have your brain flash forward, and it was cool to hear bonds. You say yeah. I didn't like it was running through my mind. We're going to the finals in my hometown. Because that's that we can relate to that it's it's premature it. It looks in retrospect like overconfidence, but that's just human emotion. Yeah, and he was one of the younger guys, so he was a little more excitable the veteran. Veteran guys when I asked. Did you think you're up sixteen late in the third up fifteen with ten to go in the fourth? You thinking this, is it? We got it and there were varying responses to that but I mean the more polished and veteran guys were mostly like you know you always understand blah. Blah and Dunleavy said absolutely not I did not assume that for a second. I've been in too many games Bob. Whitsitt said no absolutely not have been too many games. The was one of the younger guys on that team and was excitable and you know he. He was great regardless. He was such a fun interview for this story because he's. He's just so completely candid about it. All and he's got a really great perspective on it. That this was a great moment to be part of even if they lost and Dunleavy, it's funny, so Dunleavy's the one guy who has rewatch this like. Almost like maniacally, so I don't know how many eight he's talking about. Miss Rotations on corner. Shooters like this guy needs to let this game. Go Man! Oh, man! He's the level of detail that he could sight I think because of how many times he's reviewed it. It's it's UNCANNY, whereas everybody else was like. I'm never watching that game against to painful. He did say that he re washed. maybe just the fourth quarter. Earlier this year because he wanted to see Kobe and he said is I, watched it I felt happy for Kobe in that moment, which is an interesting thing kind of out of body experience for Bazi twenty years later in a game that he's involved in. To See Kobe make the lob passed a shack and. In light of Kobe's passing Bonzi. Just saying that was I wanted to watch that I wanted to see in that moment, so that didn't make the story. That was also just a funding from from Bonzi. Saying that somewhere in the series. Maybe it's before game. Seven game seven was a Sunday. And Bonzi was saying on that Saturday night. I'm at the hotel and bed at ten o'clock. Because I knew I was going up against Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant was not going to be out on a Saturday night before playoff game, he was gonna be home in bed or preparing getting ready. Whatever and if Kobe's doing that, I gotta do that, he says Kobe nobody else but Kobe. Bryant would make me be sitting in the hotel or going to bed at ten o'clock on a Saturday night in La. Well first of all, you mentioned that you. I mean Kobe. In this playoff run is I think twenty two years old, twenty one years old, maybe twenty, two twenty two later that summer. You mentioned. Kind of kicking around the story for years ago and executing it now this year. colleagues not quoted the story. Had you already passed away by the time that you kind of dove into it? Did you try? Did you have preliminary discussions about trying to get him to talk about the game? He's quoted in old interviews on the Laker. Easy Network Yeah. It's actually not that old the two quotes that I think it was two from spectrum sports. Net La. Am I getting that right? It's a very long title. They have their TV partner did A. Documentary last summer. About the beginnings of the Kobe Dynasty, and so they spent some time on this game, and on that play, which I didn't even realize I kind of found that found that by accident while I was doing the story which thank God because it did the Kobe quotes are great, and I was able to put them into their all history, no so four years. Years ago identify very preliminary. Work sketched out what I WANNA, do sketched out who I wanted to talk to chat with Bob Costas for a bit talk to Jason Quick who had been at the Oregonian covering that game as a sidebar guy, and of course today is working at the athletic where he bill teamed up on their version of this story. So I talked to cost Jason Quick and I'd reached out to several of the participants. We didn't get anywhere and then somebody shelved. So it went into into hibernation. By the time that this came back, it was because Kobe had passed guts, and all of a sudden editors were like. Hey, it's the twenty anniversary coming up Jim. Would you want to write about that game? I wanted to? Yes, of course. I WANNA. Write about this game. So four years ago when I've initially thought about this story, I actually wanted to do it more from the Portland side of it. It was more about this sliding doors moment changing history. How Great is Portland Team? Was that I thought it was one of the best teams of all time not to make the finals that it's been forgotten that I I was so much more interested in the blazers part of it and. And, then you know here, we are in twenty twenty. It's taken on a different context or different meaning, because of Kobe passing and so the lobby itself. Not that didn't always have great resonance, but I just think it was that much stronger now and that, plus the twenty year anniversary gave us an opening to do this and I was still able to kind of even a lot of the Portland's aspect as well. T so is the official watch of the NBA still undecided on Father's Day. Gift Father's Day's coming up soon. Tesol offers a variety of watches for dad range from classic Sporty and contemporary. Styles is not so watches dot com to explore the collections that Best Fit Dad's everyday style tea so is a Swiss watch brand with a broad range of high-quality watches at attractive prices, they bring performance end style to the game by offering painstakingly accurate timekeeping in stylish authentic watches. T so this is your time. Follow T, so dot us on facebook INSTAGRAM AT CHECKOUT THE HASHTAG! This is your time for more information about T so. Before we talk about Kobe because? He's actually He's the appropriate lens on a lot of different levels to look into this story through neither you nor the athletic. This is a very important question i. just need to know I clarity on this. Neither of your stories has any quotes from Rasheed Wallace. What would you just not want mean? Rashid has a a bad fourth quarter. You Mrs like a million shots She was however an absolute destroyer that entire series just just eviscerated the Lakers. They had no answer for him. It's one of it I love Rasheed Wallace then I love this game I. Love Watching that series to. He does not want to revisit the game. Rasheed was an amazing amazing player, and it's unfortunate that his career stats will never attest to that and that. That that I? Think he kind of gets forgotten. Sometimes, Rasheed was incredible, and they had no answer for him so I figured that the the guys who are going to be hardest to get I didn't I wasn't gonNA. Even try so bonus because I know that he does very very little. I wasn't sure that there was much chance of him. My goal was to get at least five players from each team. And then as long as I got the right five or the good talkers, the guys who? Had the best perspective I'd be being good shape and in anything past that I'd have too much anyway. When I spoke to Bonnie Bonnie machines started a podcast of their own together within the last few months. and. It's a lot of fun and they do a great job and. I watched them. Talk about this game on on the Youtube version of their podcast. And when I got bonds the. We chatted and he said I really. Let's talk to sheet I. Know He's not great with the media I know. He's never really liked this much. I know that you know throughout his career, but you know. He did an interview with some local paper because these coaching in Highschool Down I. Think North Carolina. And so I thought. Maybe there's a shot and body says I'll ask him for you. Bonzi went to him a couple of different times, and I would check back with Bonzi occasionally, and the answer just kept coming back as I, guess no, thank you. I gotTA listen to that podcast because I'm dying to hear sheets thoughts on the game because he was. She was ahead of his time as a player. And and the Lakers just had no answer from him other than just hope he misses these fifteen footers over Robert Ory in the post, or whoever is guarding him in the Green Yeah. just know the guy was a monster does hit big three after the Shack Koby lobbed to pull shortland back within three and give them a chance to win the game in the last thirty seconds. We can talk about what happens after that Let's talk about. Kobe in the lead-up, so here's the lead up to this game. Here's the circumstances of this game. This is Phil's first year. As coach of the Lakers, the previous two seasons have ended with the Lakers. The shackle be Lakers getting swept out of the playoffs ninety eight. It's the jazz ninety nine. It's the Spurs, and the Spurs series is a humiliation I remember it at the time being a humiliation I remember watching it with my college buddies, and listening to all the commentary on ESPN, TNT about it, and it was reported and perceived as a humiliation for shack and Kobe as the more polished defense, first team playoff, ready team, tougher team, embarrassing premadonna Lakers. Lakers not ready for the moment. No Chemistry Blah Blah Blah. You go back and read the clips of that game. It's the last game in the forum. The Spurs closed down the forum. You go back I. Read reread some of the Clips Mario Elie. WHO's on that's team is talking so much about closing down the forum and embarrassing the Lakers now he wants to go steal a piece of the court with the letter L on it. Because the probably cause. They just hung some ells on the Lakers. According to the San Antonio Express Account express-news account of the game. Kobe was booed during the starting lineup introductions in Los Angeles in game four, and the crowd during the game was chanting for Eddie Jones. who had been traded to make way for Kobe? This is so like this is. This is what the Lakers are perceived as when they meet the Blazers in the Western Conference finals, and what's at stake for them? If they lose that series, now shack inches in your story about all. I would have been traded if we lost everyone. WHO's that? Says No way and and said we would. We would probably traded everybody but Shack Colby and rearrange the roster, but. The Lakers. I mean everyone knew they were going to be awesome. You don't get shacking Kobe on your team. Coby was just twenty one years old. He was just becoming what he was going to be. In a lot of ways, this playoffs was his breakout as a true trueblue NBA postseason superstar, but the Lakers were perceived as unready particularly in comparison to the Spurs, as not a playoff, tough team, and and this was a game where they had to wipe that perception of women. You live that people like the Lakers were humiliated by the spurs the year before. Humiliated by the spurs swept by them, as you mentioned, swept the year before that by Utah and of course shacks, Orlando career ends with him being swept in the finals and so this running theme of Shaquille O'Neal can't win. The Big One Shaquille O'Neal keeps getting swept. Not just losing. Beginning swept that hung over him hard. He went off on this tangent that I did not include in the story about how he knew if I don't do this. You guys are going to tackle this stuff. You Guys GonNa Rattle this stuff, and that really motivated me because I knew I can't let this happen again. That that weight on him a lot. Because all right Kobe was only twenty one, but shack was like whatever twenty six at that point. And had already been the league. Several years had already been to the finals with Orlando and here he is paired up with this young phenom and Kobe and he's playing for the Lakers and expectations are through the roof for for you know used to say back in the day he goes. You know I know what it's going to be if we lose. I, it's going to be an remember. It was I mean, and then del or I delvin me or whatever, and of course eventually, del Harris got fired. So, but he knew he he understood that. That's what it means to be. The Franchise Star and it was more on him than Kobe Kobe was young, and was not established as as a franchise centerpiece yet. His his obviously, his potential was boundless. So but it's an important point Zach. Among other things that I wanted to really emphasize in this story that the Lakers were not the Lakers yet and yet they won sixty seven games, which at that time was one of the best records of all time top five, or whatever of all time, but it wasn't expected. And the LA. Times had the the Lakers as fifth in the West in their preseason. Rankings sports illustrated picked the Spurs. Vegas had the spurs a bunch of papers newspapers, which were that was most predictions back then was newspapers. They were all either blazers or spurs coming out of the West. I don't. I couldn't find one I didn't. Look at all of them. I couldn't have that much time, but I did not find my search a single paper that takes the Lakers to win the West that year much less the championship they were. They were immature. That supporting cast people were constantly even after they won the first championship by the next year. It was back to well. Who's going to be the starting powerful, and of course they make the trade. The trade gun rights for grant horaces older at that point, but it was always Robert. Ory Isn't big enough and strong enough to guard the Carl Malone's and the the Rasheed Wallace is and the Tim Duncan's in the Chris. Weber's like Robert Ory because he was more of this kind of like. You know skinny almost a small forward in Houston. Played. Or has a quote in your story about how Phil Phil was always trying to get out and get rid of him and get off him and didn't want him on the team I'm like. HOW DID FILL NOT ALLEGRA? How does any coach not love? Robert like he's he's A. He's a prototypical three and D guy. Positions? He's the greatest entry passer of all time. That's what one coach told me about him. One time, which is like a thing that only coaches would care about and love. How do so what's that about like? It was just about what you're talking about now. Yeah, I, think Phil, like his mind to power forward was more of your traditional manly man power forward who banged in the post and Rebounded in high numbers, and and whatever maybe hard screens, Robert was more of this kind of three four type and yeah, he was, he was. He was a an early version of the three point shooting. Big You could call him. A big and rob was really clever defender, but he was not a particularly physical defender, so yeah, Carl Malone overmach him, and some of the other guys get overmach him, but Robert became a really great defender at that position, just with his Guile, and his knowledge of how guys played Roberson Incredibly Smart Player, and so eventually I think he did win. Fill over in that regard, and he did start I think for their third championship when they played the nets, but you know the first few years every and this was the fans to by the way fans and media. Talk Radio it was always. Derek, Fisher isn't good enough. We need a better starting point guard. Derek Fisher can't can't stay with the Damon. Stoudamire is the world or Alan Iverson or whatever and it was always Robert. Ory Can't guard these so those two particular always targeted by fans in media, and there was always question, and so you know harp was older Brian Shaw older, so the wasn't just whether or Shaq and Kobe were getting along, and we're mature enough as a duo it. It was always disappointing casts all these doubts about them, which is funny, because as you and I have discussed before all anybody looks back on now. Is there a dynasty? They were amazing. They went three in a row, and they had Shaq and Kobe. So of course they were dominant, but they weren't that dominant. They're this close to not winning in two thousand and this close to winning in two thousand two, and that's the great sliding doors moment that I wanted to explore. If they lose this. Not only are the Blazers winning the championship that year, but then the blazers probably stay together the Lakers, even if they keep Shaq and Kobe together and I think they would've I don't think shock. Yeah, you don't you don't trade you don't. Know, what would have been crazy, but Rick Recruit Rick Fox and Robert orey right the rest of them. There would have been major consequences, and when we see looking back, knowing what the great chemistry of that team was, and how those guys were such. Great Glue Pieces Smart Veteran Ball movers defenders that I'm talking about Fox and fish Orien- Sean, and Harp. If those guys don't stay together. Whoever's replacing them? The chemistry is probably not the same. These things matter. So. So I one of the reasons that the blazers have disappeared from the discourse. As you mentioned his aide, they disappeared their own team with an with one of the all-time Asinine win now traits was Jermaine O'Neal for Dale Davis in Jermaine. O'Neal immediately goes to Indiana's like Oh. Yeah, he's good. Although all the player all this stuff is doing practice turns out. He could do it in. Games Mike only just didn't play him and and Mike Dunleavy's defense. That team is legitimately thirteen fourteen, but that was Jermaine O'Neal fourth season. It wasn't like his first season. Is the teenage rookie coming in at? At High School sitting on the bench, that was his fourth season in Portland. He never played nine hundred minutes in any of those four seasons. That is incredibly unusual for a first round. Pick to just not basically play for four years in a row, and they eventually like right. The coaching play plan Bob. Whitsitt said he'd made a promise to Germain. If the coaches and play on trade, you and they make this win now. Trade which everybody knew when it happened, even though Jermaine O'Neal had never played well, that's dumb, and then they trade Brian Grant for Shawn which was disaster by. Exchanges to, but. The other reason is the kings rise up. and become the Lakers sort of a short term rival in absolute. Classic Playoff Series in obviously very controversial playoff series in two thousand two. And then the team that sort of is hovering around that discussion and outlasts all of them is the Spurs, and what's interesting about this season two thousand one you wrote about? It's the only season six years that the Lakers and Spurs did not meet in the playoffs ninety nine is the sweep, and then every year from every year in the three peat, and then the point four shot. And then the year the Spurs went in two thousand three, so every year from two thousand and two thousand and four five years. They meet in the playoffs. This is the gap year and the year. People forget this. It's the year when Dunkin is dispersed. Sit Dunkin from the playoffs Dunkin gets injured at the end of the season. I think he has a meniscus tear. Tear wants to come back working comeback. Papa subsquently said Yeah. We thought about it. We actually don't know we made the right call. We hope we did for his. We think in retrospect we did for his longevity, so the spurs sort of vanish off the face of the earth for this particular playoffs, other than that the Spurs and the Lakers I love that rivalry. It feels like there's not. That rivalry to meet five out of six years in the playoffs is really rare an awesome and yet it doesn't feel like we talk about that rivalry enough and I'm not quite sure why that is, but this was. This was the year they didn't. This was the only year they didn't meet and I think one of the. One of the missing questions about that playoff run for the Lakers is is boy would have liked to have seen a rematch of that of that sweep in all those storylines colliding. I think this is the spurs the sons that year with Dunkin a guy believe. They got swept or maybe one one game they got hammered swept by this. So it's. It's funny, too, because even with the Lakers when I asked them. You know. Where did this blazers team? Two thousand rank of all the teams that you guys had to go through in a three peat. And a lot of them said they were the best team, or it was maybe a really thin separation between them, and the two thousand and two kings, and nobody mentioned the spurs at all, and then when I put it in a different way to shack, and asked about toughest team, and he says yes, they were the toughest micro tougher tougher than the Spurs and said Yeah. It's like it's weird that the Lakers don't go out of. Them. I think it feels like they never met at the peak of their powers together. Well input in two thousand one, which is the Lakers title and the one where they just big fifteen and one in the playoffs in just APPs obliterate everything in their path. They face each other in the Western Conference finals at your, I, it's the only time they face each other in the conference finals and the Lakers. To say that they. Returned the humiliation from nineteen ninety nine onto the spurs is actually putting gently they run over the spurs like a mack truck, and like the scores of the last two games. It's like one eleven to seventy, and like one ten to seventy. I mean they just. Absolutely. I don't even know what the right word is. They just run them over like a mack truck, and like to to look at those score I. Mean I remember those games? I remember that particular. Lakers team in two thousand one the second title team feeling. Utterly indestructible, but to look at those scores and see Tim Duncan team losing by that many points and getting swept is like Oh my God. Yeah and the the Spurs. You know that's still so it's it's. We Got Duncan and Robinson together but perimeter wise. They don't have have the weapons and. Honestly hard for me to remember back to how those series unfolded, but Duncan and Robinson together. Of course, that's A. that's a tough of big Montana. Shack is going to. Win a fifty eight win team that the Lakers squash like fifteen when team. And that was when the? Year where you could say. The Lakers were truly dominance in the playoffs. They always played with fire all the time. Play with fire, the two thousand postseason they played with fire in two, thousand and two. And you know as great as they were in the in the abstract or in the in the totality of their run. It's you know they did they just had. There were just some weird glitches with those laker teams and you know. The Spurs. Spurs should should rate a higher. A higher number in this whole pecking order of of their rivals, for then and I think in the again in the totality of it, and if you take the entire, Shack Kobe run from ninety six sto for the Spurs stands the biggest rival. In terms of number of times met and some key moments, but somehow the kings and Blazers, I just think the nature of a seven game series, and how testy though series got and how close those teams were to keeping them from the finals. In the last possible moment I, think just somehow stand out more and the Lakers in four, the Spurs series of the five or second round series, which is sort of. Less memorable less fewer is on it than when there's only one game night and it's an it's you know a birth at the finals. is at stake here. You've made this point very artfully. Many times that like the Lakers. Three P. did but two of them were really really fragile, and on the brink of like they're they're. They're very close to winning only one title in three years, which would be perceived as disappointment. But they do win. All three and I think the nature of basketball. You know when these superstar teams get together. We all every the the all. They're unbeatable. They've joined up. The odds are unfair, and yes, when the superstars join up they generally are going to contend for titles for a long time. There are twenty five other teams we can't win and all that but to actually win in the end to be the last team. Standing is hard even for those teams because of injuries and and tear and chemistry now the warriors I think we're an exception because they collected four stars, and that was kind of unprecedented, the level of star power on the warriors was unprecedented and yet. I think this Lakers team. There's no, there's no. You don't lose points for barely winning the championship. You don't lose points for having shaky fragile championships at bookending three. You don't because it's hard. Every time they won three period, they got three and I think. All of the focus has always been on the what if of and Kobe? What if they could have gotten along? How many could they could they? COULD THEY HAVE ONE? There's and the what if his tinged with disappointment right that the subtext is. They didn't win as many as they should. I would prefer maybe I'm trying to be optimistic. I would prefer to look at it the other way. I think they're going to age well, because if you look at what's happened before. Before them. The Celtics of the eighties and the Lakers of the eighties did not three peat. The Bulls did twice, but those teams did not after them. The Spurs never of a repeated. Let alone repeated the heat with Lebron could not manage a three peat. The warriors could not manage a three peat. These teams keep rising, and they seem inevitable unbeatable, and they can't win three in a row. The Lakers won three in a row. It's unbelievably rare, and I think. They should be celebrated for that more than the what ifs and the controversy. They won three. Nobody. Does that very few teams ever doing? So yeah of course I. AM guilty of this I've said it many times I like pointing out how fragile the three peat was, maybe because I lived through it, and saw it in real time and felted real time. How fragile it was is not to diminish by any stretch. My point is it doesn't finish it. It actually doesn't sit up. It does, and it also does help to. Your point underscored just how tough it is, and sometimes how close these things are happening, and if you were to go back through history, you could probably find a lot of these little potential sliding doors, moments, or you know the. Phil Jackson's turn on a trifle phrase, but there are a lot of these championships that turned on a trifle probably. Could have gone the other way and. It's been eighteen years eighteen years since the Lakers three, which makes me feel really old, but that nobody else has done it and we have had some incredible teams. The Lakers were not a super team. Yeah, the check and Kobe and they're both top five players, but again Kobe's twenty one at the beginning of that that run, and they never really had a third all star they brought Glen. Rice to kind of be the third star, but Glen Rice. If you look at what he did for that team, he was fine, but they were able to easily flip them for an older Horace Grant, and not think twice about it when Glen Rice priced himself out. And they needed a power forward more than they needed him because they had Rick Fox so they never really had a third star. And now we're talking about seems to three stars and four stars and super teams starting with that Celtics team. This whole era of super teams and none of them have won three in a row. And so I think you're right I think the longer we go. The more history will smile on what Shaq and Kobe accomplished in terms of the whole. Regret into. They leave titles on the table and all this. I'll give you the short version, which is at the time that they broke up, which was my last year covering the team in Oh four after losing the Pistons I I thought that way I thought. This is a tragedy. These guys should suck it up. Figure it out. They just blew it I still think to this day despite Carl Malone's injury despite Gary Payton not liking the triangle. Despite the aging issues, they had with that roster. They still could have. Have beaten the Pistons. Shaq and Kobe were actually on the same page, and not running away from each other as fast as they possibly could. Because they knew the break-up was coming, they were done with each other and that lack of cooperation. Just poisons everything else so at the time I thought it was a tragedy in some regard that I thought this team that those could have one more together the reality. Is this the salary cap at that time? was much lower than just today of course. The luxury tax just in a few years before Shaq had been grandfathered in his salary, had been grandfathered in before the concept of Max contracts existed shack, what was essentially a super duper quadruple Max and was he would've nick. He would have nicknamed it like a shacks or shack Max or like if he would created some nickname for it Shocks. Some so maximum. There, we go. He and Kevin Garnett. They had the two contracts that broke the system. Enforce the lockout in one, thousand, nine, hundred eight, and so, but they got grandfathered in, so they kept getting the raises on top of their old A. Huge salaries everybody else was now limited to at that time like sixteen million as a starting salary. Shaq plus Kobe was already. At the CAP or pretty close to it, and so the Lakers, they're getting older in two thousand and four rick. Fox's is is just you know decaying horace grant is just done. Carl Malone got hurt that you didn't have. They didn't have any core around them. And when you're drafting low every year, you start to erode. We saw that with the Miami Heat of Lebron. Wait even by by. Just eroding the cast is eroding, so the Lakers could not have replenished very well around them. UNLESS SHACK GONNA take a pay cut. And the opposite of that was happening. Shack was asking Free Max three year extension that Jerry Buss was balking at which had a lot to do with the trade to Miami. Also, it wasn't just about Kobe, so. I don't know that there was any if they'd if Shaq and Kobe. We're sticking this out together and we're GONNA. Get along, and we're going to be the best version of ourselves with each other. Their salaries and cap issues and aging of that roster would have made it incredibly challenging to get the right guys around him. Now more than ever, we have to look out for each other and count on each other marathons you to know that you can count on them for high quality top tier gas marathon. Gasoline's formulated with esotique additives. They keep your vehicle running at peak performance by. Fuel economy removing those ugly deposit buildups by reducing emissions. That's good and right now you can get five cents off every gallon every day with make it count rewards from marathon, plus you can earn points for additional savings on fuel airfare, hotels and more. This is definitely deal. You can count on. It's quick and easy to join. Just download the free. Make it count apropos to make dot com slash radio and start saving today. This offers valid only at participating marathon stations. Remember wherever you need to go be safe. People at Marathon are behind you all the way. Let's talk about the game. Because you were at the game. Your story is about the game I remember in the moment watching it. With a allegedly with money on the line although I haven't paid my dues on this feeling. It's one of the all-time sky is falling, and you can't do anything about it games. It just keeps. They keep missing the Lakers. Keep making plays, and it begins to just feel once it just be it like it's all cascading. Everything is falling apart. And watching it again in preparation for this, it still feels that way and Steve Smith has a quote about I. Don't know if it's or the other one where he's like, we could have just taken shot clock visions, and it would have just been about the same in terms of how are they ms thirteen th straight shots all that what stuck out to you about either either watching the fourth quarter it now all these years later or talking to the blazers or the Lakers about? How what the Hell happened here? On the blazers side of it, there is no one thing to point to and the interesting thing about the way the blazers see this game all these years later. Dunleavy as we said has examined it down to the tiniest detail and says. I didn't do I don't think I did anything wrong like he's. He's confident in every decision he made. He feels really good about the way he coached that game. The players say we got good shots. We just missed them. And I think for the most part you can look at that and say that, although all come back to that one in a second. The players all feel like. We didn't do anything wrong. It's not like we started like kicking the ball into the third row. The just couldn't make shots anymore, and it's not like I think maybe the LAKER defense may be turned up a little bit. I don't know how you gauge that. It didn't look substantially different than in the third quarter to me in terms of that part of it. But the Laker role players really played a huge role, and there's a point there were shacking Kobe combined for like eight straight points or something for the Lakers, but before that it's know Brian Shaw hitting a couple of threes and Robert Ory, hitting a three point Robert Ory gets his own rebound dribbles out in his very. It's a very Robert Ory play casually. These policies and are these plays, and if you're a blazers fan. The Shaw Bradshaw banks in three at the end of the third quarter to pull the Lakers within twelve there and it's just. It's just one of those every game like this has a shot like that. Like the Clippers rockets come back from two thousand fifteen as the Josh Smith Corey brewer random freezers always just like stuff that what had happened. You're like Ooh, that one that seems bad and the Orient is. Shack is just so big that it takes to the blazers to try to box him out on that play, and they can't corral the rebound in Bounces to Robert Ory. Who just dribbles backward and shoots a three and you're like well okay? I, guess I guess those are the ones that stuck out to me like those are. The kicks in the balls if you're Portland. Those shots, yeah. But it is funny that way the blazers view it themselves or not view it because they refused of you decide from Mike. Dunleavy is that. They they really don't have some major. Regret it. Scottie Pippen was the only one and Scotty was the. He was the one to say this, and it was interesting as another piece of Scotties. Quote that I did not get chance to use but. Scotty was the one who said we weren't getting the right shots and everybody else says we got good shots just missed them. Even when I asked, did you get tight? That's the obvious. Question. Did you guys get up tight? Did you start to feel the pressure the the moment? And they don't even feel that. They don't even say that now I would say that there are some shots that maybe look a little rushed. A couple of threes in particular, a couple of deep this narrow when the mid range was fine, but there are some x sixty eighteen footers in there. That looked like maybe they could have worked for a better shot. Nobody could stop Rasheed going inside as we were talking about earlier, so maybe they should have been. More for Scotty posts posts Rasheed post-ups body like in the post. The Lakers had a very difficult time with those guys and. But that's that's. That's not the way it unfolded so Scott. He's the only one who said we didn't get the right shots into him. That was an indication of among other things. We hadn't been together that long Scotty Steve. Smith Daedalus shrimp had all been brought in the prior Somerset's their first year together with this group You got the holdovers in Stoudamire and a young bonds and an older. Visa Bonus and Scotty just felt like you know. Maybe the the chemistry and the trust wasn't there especially for a game seven on the road and he said. Like scotties view where they lost this. Was Not, getting home court advantage, there tied on February twenty second or something that they play in Portland. Game between them the Lakers win that and they go on to storm down the stretch of the season while the blazers go like five hundred or something, and that's the difference in their records, the Lakers and up with home court. It matters and game seven. Scotty thinks if it's at the rose. Garden, they win it and another another parallel with the ninety eight Pacers because Larry Bird on the first day of training camp. Tells the team. We have to have game seven at home against the Bulls First Day camp says Gumbo one goal this season. We've gotta get the number one seed, because if we played Chicago and game seven, it has to be in Indiana, and they don't get the number one seed in the Games in Chicago when they lose the other funny thing about. The Scottie. Pippen Elements Zach So. The Lakers had wanted to acquire him. The Blazers get him. And Well Phil Scotty. You're obviously fond of each other. Phyllis fill, so he's trying to tweak him in the lead up to that series, if I'm recalling correctly like he kept saying Scotty S to lead them if he doesn't lead them, they're not getting anywhere I. Think he's trying to totally trying to beat them and put this this autumn Scotty told me. That you know we were really well prepared because I knew everything Phil was doing I, knew his offense. I knew like we had I had. These guys trained essentially, but when it came down to the leadership that fourth quarter. This this this leadership idea when asked any of them about well, who was the leader team who who should have bailed? You guys out? Who Saves you from the Super? Vents this from happening? WHO's your go to guy? WHO's the heart of your team? And I got all these different answers from all the different blazers and. What Scotty eventually end up saying this is a quote that did not make the story was. I felt like it was just my first year there and so here he was with his six championship rings, and this off from the Bulls Dynasty. He didn't feel like he was the one who was going to make demands of these guys. Yes, he told them what they should do. In terms of defending against the triangle. But he he said to me that he he really didn't feel like he could put an imprint leadership. Why wouldn't he couldn't really speak up and be the one to pull guys along or get them in line? Because this was a really veteran team that predated him, and it had guys with a lot of standing on their own like Steve, Smith and Savona so. That was that was interesting I watched it. With. Scotty was never wired or really didn't have skill set to just take over games. That wasn't how he played. He wasn't just going to go score. That's just not wasn't in his wheelhouse. I watched it and I. Get what the Blazers are saying by. We got the shots we wanted to get because. That season they were a very slow pace team. They took an above average amount of twos. They worked the post a lot. And that's what they did. In the fourth quarter, they worked the post a lot, and they took a latitudes, and they missed a lot of twos so i. get what they're saying however. I viewed it as Story mentioned this. I I'm watching the game and I'm thinking. When you say they don't go to guy, and like there's too many a minus players, not in eight-plus player, there's no hierarchy what they really didn't have on the floor was someone who could beat the defense off the dribble, and that, and so way of penetrating the defense was to throw the ball into the post, and that's fine that worked for them a lot, but like Scotty. Scott, he couldn't get downhill. Steve Smith could barely hit the ball up the court. He wasn't like a lot of separation guy off the dribble. They just didn't have enough to drill by kept thinking. I wonder I the one name that wasn't mentioned a muff is that I kept wanting to put even though I know they didn't was I would've thrown Damon Stoudamire in the game just to give me a little north-south speed just to give me. Who could get? He didn't play in the fourth quarter. Until there's forty seconds left in the game. He doesn't play the whole quarter. And I would is throwing him in there and just give me someone who can get into the paint off the dribble. Draw some help, and like get the ball moving a little bit. Because the blazers had a ton of great players on the court, they had a ton of size. They didn't have anyone who beat anybody off the dribble. Dribble and I. think that more than their shot selection and more than not knowing the man was that was their undoing in the game. So here's the funny thing, so Bonzi and Steve Smith and Scotty I'll talk about how their strategy was to have their bigger guards go at Kobe, post them up. Get Him Ninety four feet away from the other basket where him down, and all this and Damon Stoudamire does tell me about how he would start out on colby because. It was just kind of like to play mind games with. They baited into posting up on offense and hosted him up on defense so Kobe's. That was really fat, a really fascinating part of your story so they so they had to go with both strategy small with Damon Stoudamire Bates Koby bigger with the other guys. They can try to wear them down physically. In the was looking this backup before we got started today the third quarter. The Blazers are up fifty to forty nine. In the third with about six minutes ago and Banzi comes in at that point, and it's Waban's. He's in that they build a sixteen point lead. And Damon doesn't play really in the fourth. So among the things it did not make my story. Bob Whitsitt, and now you could see. Dudley Whitsett really go back and forth about the trades of Jermaine O'Neal. There's some disagreement there between MOH and GM and Brian Grant you. No love lost between Dunleavy and Whitsett. Here's what I did not use. This dog wits talking. This is not a dump on Mike kind of thing at all meaning Dunleavy. And dumps on him. He says fill likes guards. He doesn't pressure you. He doesn't have what I call the Classic Point Guard who's going to go. Twenty and ten likes big guards. So we had a team that could go big bigger and big big big, and we can go small if we had to, but our success was when we use more of our big lineup and less of Damon Stoudamire. And so that he says, but for whatever reason we kept wanting to play Damon a lot when our bigger successes when we had the bigger lineups in there, so he's just killing Mike's decision to go with so much data Meyer in that series now. If you look for the series, his mom's go wildly up and down. He's thirty one game thirty. The next and stout admire average is like twenty four minutes. Minutes a game in that series of twenty five minutes a game and bonds. He averaged seventeen minutes a game in that series, so is convinced all these years later they should have had more bonds less Damon. And of course you're making the case for why Damon actually was actually important to them, and I think Dundee, but obviously agree with you excited. Employ them in the fourth quarter I mean look to. It, but they've gotten their lead with Bonzi I. Don't know if that I didn't ask him that particular thing. But. Would ask him go back and ask him and then report back on the next podcast because I that's that's. I would have asked him that question. It's it's an absolutely. It's his gutting as losses get in the NBA and You know it did change things for both franchises it you know, and and and look back to Kobe. So Yes, twenty five eleven and seven in this game he outplay shack for the most part in this game and then of course they get to the finals and coby has I think his first capital M. Moment, which is He gets injured. He sprained his ankle and game to. Sits in game. Three doesn't play the Pacers win game three. It's two one comes back for game. Four game goes to overtime at Shack. Fouls out, and coby has shack out with two and a half minutes left in overtime, and Kobe has a three minutes of just. Like jump shots a tip into ice, the game and and The Lakers go up three one. They went on the road in the end. I believe in that game and that's. That's. Probably two weeks after this this game or something like that, and that's all of this is sort of Kobe's cemented himself like Oh. Yeah, this guy is going to be a guy that likes the moment and can play in the moment. And in that series in the finals, only averages only, but he ever like fifteen six and four or something. It's nothing leaves off. The page and shack is just a frigging beast like he's thirty eight fifteen. Like Shaq just destroys the Pacers. In that series and Kobe plays very much the supporting role, but they don't win game four without him and the fact that he was doing it on that ankle that had kept him out of game three, and that we thought we thought he might Miss Multiple Games that was when Kobe went down. Go back and watch that that's the. Jalen rose stepping under Kobe play which he now admits years later. Yeah Kinda wanted to I didn't want to injure him, but I wanted to hurt him or somewhere distinction that Jalen has made. and. We weren't sure if he was going. Play again or how many games you might miss that he that he was back in game four at all. Not to mention saving them in overtime after shack fouls out. Critical and even in that moment that night and the next day the entire conversation was this kid who everybody was saying. Oh, well, he plays a little like Jordan and he wants to be like Jordan, but he's not Jordan and is he's got some nerve trying to be like Jordan edited that moment was when everybody said Oh. Wow, okay. Maybe, he does have some Jordan. Maybe there is something really special here and that he can rise to a to a moment that he can really deliver in. This is huge huge moment on the road in Indiana with this game and the series kind of in the balance, and it did like that that was the lobster shack is like a moment for them together, but game four against the Pacers Kobe's. I true singular moment. Well, it's it's a great story. Did a great job with it? Everyone can go to bleacher report in read our story on love. Lob! twenty years later before we go. Any quick thoughts on the NBA's twenty two team playing tournament. Extravaganza to restart the season. What are your first impressions? Not like when you got in mind. Quick hitters on this I would have been fine with sixteen teams I understand why you want twenty two. A lot of that has to do with money team in the game. That not a lot the whole. The whole thing all of it. That's A. Your employer in mind, both will be happy to have all those extra teague TV Games but I think sixteen. If we were talking about the just safety, which is why the season was shut down in the first place was about health and safety, then the highest bar for health and safety. If you're going to play, it, all would be just go with the sixteen teams in the playoffs if you're just talking. Talking about health and safety. You don't know Sports League is playing right now i. mean that's that's so. That's that's. That's the assumption that you have to make and get past. If you're going to talk about this, there is no governing health body that right now would say yes, congregate sweat and hit each other in indoor space. Here's frequently. That's like you would not play. I'm not making light of it. If health or the only reason you would do this, you wouldn't. You wouldn't be sports. That's it. There is the most puzzling part of the Zach. Is this discussion of how and we'RE GONNA? Do social distancing in the arena when guys are not playing, they'll be sitting in different rows with Massa. What's the point of that? You've just like banged into each other sweated on each other breed? Them other screamed at each other tucked smack. Smack. Yeah He's other and I'm not making light of it by saying that no governing health body would recommend this. I'm saying it's a very serious thing and it absolutely. Yes, you're going and you start you better. You better take every precaution like the NBA isn't the only sports sieglinde the world restarting almost every sports league is trying to or currently we're going to so, but but that's that's the assumption you have to just. Be Able to live with. And frankly it's it's. It's not an easy. It's not an easy thing to live with I. Think for the for the decision makers. I do not envy any of them, not the league. Not The team's not the players. No one I would be very very nervous. for for all of them I am nervous for them and. I would have preferred as I. Say fewer teams fewer bodies. Less risk. That's just the basic math of this all. That's how this thing works, so, but that's fine. I understand why they want to understand the need for TV games I understand the need for teams to be involved to play to feel relevant still to not nine straight months without playing all of this I get it and I also think that the biggest caveat on all of this for both good and bad. Is that if they're not GONNA? Play a single game until July thirty first. Give or take. There's still a lot of time left for things to happen again. This could go either way. Maybe we're much much better place as a country with regard the virus by then, and maybe we are in the midst of a second wave that actually throttles this whole thing for all we know. So I've been trying to withhold too much judgment just in the sense that. Our lives our world. Our surroundings have changed so many times so dramatically in the last few months that trying to anticipate where we'll be on July. Thirty first is foolish, but I have no doubt that the NBA. I know that they have an exhaustive list of protocols that are being finalized that we'll. We'll learn about soon and I have no doubt that those will will be the best that anybody can do the circumstances, but the circumstances are still you're bringing together. Hundreds of people thousands of people try to play a bunch of games and by definition. It's going to come with some risk and. You just hope for the best I'm also really honestly again. Where this is where we play amateur epidemiologist, the idea that if somebody test positive, they're only going to isolate the one guy so that they can just keep going. FEELS RISKY TO ME? That's what they're gonNA do. You know yeah, that is what they're gonNA. Do and we'll see how it goes well. I think I think they're you know look. There's no foolproof way to do it, but I think their their hope is. We're, GONNA test people every day. And we'RE GONNA. Take People's temperature frequently. And in doing so we are going to close as many of the spread windows as possible. Totally shut because. If you talk to sports, scientists and experts on this you know. The word asymptomatic gets thrown around a lot, super spreader and in a lot of cases. A symptomatic is actually sort of a misnomer because if you take their temperature. They, do have symptoms. They might have ninety nine three. and not feel it. And the hope is that as soon as we find that ninety nine three. You're out, you're not you're out, you're you're being isolated? You may feel fine, but that's a symptom, and so that like the frequency with which I do that, we will hope day. They hope to close as many windows as possible that there's no way they can close them all. There will be windows where there is somebody who has it and they don't know and there's a practice and what happens there is you know? We'll see I do know that a lot of people in the league remain very surprised that only two people with the jazz got it. When when two players were. Had it and we're around each other, and so people that that's just one isolated case, but there's no way to close. All the windows are the best they can do is close as many as they can, and we will never know Zach. How many guys had it and it just wasn't reported out because the League had no obligation to, but once they shut down. You know there was some self reporting, and some you know players players there. Maybe, there were more there probably were more that we we don't know about. Almost certainly was and so. Yeah I, look on the competition side of it. The only thing I. my only thought is this. Again. I understand the need for more games rather than fewer because of revenue concerns, which not unimportant but. The longer they're down there, the more there is the longer down there the more of a burden it is not just players, but all the NBA personnel and teams and everybody else who have to be there for up to two ninety days potentially, and you know they could compress this you. Did you have to go eight play in seating games or whatever they're going to call them? Do you have to stick with best of seven in every round? I don't think so. There are ways to speed this up and condense it and make it more less risk, more efficient, less onerous, and they didn't. They're going for the Max number of games. They can squeeze out without going to thirty teams and. You know. We won't know if that was the right call. And what consequences came with that for a while Yeah I. Mean you know there's just again these are? Not Going to be a right answer to how to do it, the right answer is probably you don't do it, but no one seems to be going that direction. The direction is can we do it safely? But the ramp up games. Eight struck me as a lot, too, but then you get into the you. Can you go zero to sixty that fast? You know what I mean like. Do we need to be even preseason games or whatever the games that don't count to the standings? Because if if you make these guys, go right to playoff level intensity your risk of injury, increases, and there are some people in Sports, science community that are actually more worried about that than they are about the virus, more worried about a spate of hamstring tears, and this and that and you know we'll see whatever comes to fruition, but. It's it's a it's an unknown, and it's June eighth, and as you said that there's a lot of time between now, and even when there's a there's approximately a month, I think before they teams are going to start going to Orlando and there's a lot that can happen in that time so. The. NBA is watching every league. That's playing now to see how it all unfolds and. You know it's. It's it's scary, and it's an unknown and we'll see what happens. Yeah You know we're all hoping for the best. Obviously, we're hoping for great basketball, no injuries and no no virus, right and but but all those all those things are in the mix there and look you know. Stepping back from the serious matters of it all. It's just GONNA be fascinating fascinating to watch these guys playing with no fans. Fascinating just to see what this looks like with no, no home courts, and no, no anything it just it's just going to be bizarre, and when we all start talking about like how we're gonNA perceive in an actress. No, ask stuff I don't know how we're going to judge it until we actually see it like it is such a the beholder thing, and it is such an in the moment thing that until we actually see these games being played and how it unfolds, I. Just don't know how we're going to classify it. conceptualize it. Until it actually gets here and. That's still lead to Asterix. Discussion is the least interesting discussion of all of it to me, but like you said we're GonNa, we're GonNa see what happens, and there's a lot of there's a lot. We're going to learn the next month our back. Rights for bleacher report just wrote about the lab. Has A podcast called the full forty eight? That has a very interesting gamut of guests. You've done a good job. Pandemic guest list as bishop and as been ECLECTIC. It's been all over the place in a good way. I may be making an appearance on that next week. SPOILER ALERT AND I will try to come. Prepared Howard I you always you always. There's always something you spring me when I go on the full forty eight. There's always a list that I have to react to. There's always there's always something so I gotta get my game now now you're putting the pressure on me to come up with something clever in the next week which? Absolutely going to thank you, sir, be well, be safe. Best Your family. Thanks you too appreciate.