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February 15, 2015 Updates
February 13, 2015 Updates
February 12, 2015 Updates
February 9, 2015 Updates

Axelrod stuffs his hands in the pockets of his blazer and walks the short block back to the Institute of Politics. Inside, the floors are covered in the salt stains of a hundred student boots. The institute, which hosts an impressive slate of speakers from both parties, including, in April, Mitt Romney, is something of an ad hoc museum, filled with Axelrod’s collection of American political artifacts. In the front hall is a glass-encased ballot box from the Florida 2000 presidential election. There’s also a napkin signed by JFK, a letter from the newly elected Abraham Lincoln to the Chicago mayor’s son, and a signed poster of Michael Jordan. “When the president turned 50, I wanted to get him something special … so I sent it to Jordan to have him sign it for me.” In black Sharpie, Jordan scrawled, “To Barrack: you still owe me dinner. Wishing you well, Michael Jordan.” “I gave it to the president, and he said, ‘I can’t put this up, he misspelled my name!’ So I said, ‘Fine, I’ll take it.’ ” His own office is a special exhibit dedicated to his time in politics — a program from a State of the Union speech, a ticket to the Nobel Prize ceremony, an invite to Obama’s swearing-in as senator, with the words HERE BECAUSE OF YOU! written in the president’s script. New York Magazine

February 8, 2015 Updates

Dean Smith has died at 83, the University of North Carolina has announced. “Coach Dean Smith passed away peacefully the evening of February 7 at his home in Chapel Hill, and surrounded by his wife and five children,” said his family in a statement. “We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public. Thank you.” The Big Lead

February 3, 2015 Updates

Horace Grant was on the radio on New York’s HOT97 and told this story, thanks to No Coast Bias for finding this gem. “Our practices were so intense because Phil, the mastermind behind everything, would put MJ on the second team, me and Scottie would be on the first team, and being competitive like he was, man. Unreal, unreal. Of course punches got thrown, many fights. I’m just so happy that social media wasn’t (around) back then.” “I hate to tell the story but Will and I are still good friends… Typical Phil (Jackson) we run this play and Will set an illegal pick on MJ, and MJ said,’Will, don’t do that again.’ ‘Whatcha talking about’ that’s Will. MJ says alright; Phil says run it again. So naturally we run it two more times, illegal pick. MJ walks up to Will — boom. Lit him up. It was over; we grabbed Will — you’re not going to hurt MJ. MJ can take care of himself. The next day on the plane, Will gets on with this huge shiner.” NBCSports.com

January 26, 2015 Updates

More than a decade ago, Bryant wanted to get away from Los Angeles, and the team he wanted to join was the Wizards, where he would join forces with his mentor Michael Jordan. Those plans evaporated when then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin parted ways with Jordan in 2003, a year before Bryant became a free agent, but as Wizards fans pine over the idea of Kevin Durant coming to Washington as a free agent, the near-miss that was Kobe-to-DC finally can be shared. “That’s true,” Bryant confirmed recently. “A long time ago? Yeah.” Washington Post

“The challenge had been thrown down upon me, of not being able to win without Shaq. A public challenge never really bothered me too much, but he made a couple of comments as well. I think he called me Penny Hardaway Part 2 or something like that. So that’s what [ticked] me off,” Bryant said. “Then it was like, ‘Listen, you know the step back that I took to help us win championships. Let’s not get [expletive] confused. I can dominate on my own. I decided to stay here and win championships and sacrifice MVPs and scoring titles and all that stuff.’ So once that was said, it was like a line in the sand now.” Washington Post

Had he joined Jordan in Washington, Bryant is certain only one result would’ve unfolded. “We would’ve put together a great team and we would’ve won championships,” Bryant said. “Listen, man. There are not a lot of players in this league that say, ‘Come hell or high water, we’re going to get this [expletive] done.’ People can look around and joke around about winning, saying they want to win. For me, it’s a matter of life or death. It was that important to me. And if it’s that important to me, I’m going to get there.” Washington Post

January 25, 2015 Updates

Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has been intrigued with the possibility of Johnson, who has struggled recently with tendinitis. Johnson, 33, has one of the three major contracts that the Nets would ideally like to unload, what with the $23.1 million on his 2014-'15 deal, and $24.9 million in the final season of his 2015-'16 contract. Yahoo! Sports

January 21, 2015 Updates
January 16, 2015 Updates
January 11, 2015 Updates

Gasol was 17-for-30 from the field and 12-for-13 at the line in his 20th double-double of the season. He became the first player to record at least 46 points and 18 rebounds for Chicago since Michael Jordan had 69 points and 18 rebounds in a 117-113 overtime victory at Cleveland on March 28, 1990, according to STATS. "You start making your first couple of shots, your teammates start looking for you, and I was able to find good spots and get in rhythm," the 34-year-old Gasol said. "I give a lot of credit to my teammates. They made a lot of plays for me and looked for me a lot of times." USA Today Sports

January 5, 2015 Updates

Approaching 30, it was Scott Brooks, a former NBA player and current coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who told Hawkins he was good enough to play pro ball. Two weeks later, he received a phone call from the Houston Rockets and beat out four other players to make the cut. His contract was $594,000. On Nov. 22, 2002, Hawkins started against Michael Jordan and the Washington Wizards. Hawkins says it was the best day of his life, even though the six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls “didn’t respect me at all.” Jordan dared him to shoot the ball. Hawkins made a bucket on his way to scoring a career-high 14 points. Long Beach Press-Telegram

Yes, he would reference Tupac, but he also would quote Shakespeare: "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." And occasionally, he would bust out his own poetry, as he did for this jam on Michael Jordan's 50th birthday on Feb. 17, 2013: the best ever ... a CLEVER phrase we OVERuse ... when mere greatness becomes our MUSE ... or artistic inspiration ... but the real celebration of "best ever" is an ENDEAVOR into MORE than GREAT! WAIT ... didn't you see the tongue wagging ...shorts baggy ... practically DRAGGING teammates to 1-nc2a ... 2-gold ... brotha I was sold when he won 6-NBA rings ... but the THING that makes "best ever" SING ... not scoring titles and-MVPs, the double nickel that sliced the knicks at their knees ... the 63 he put on Bird ... Larry Legend sayin' PLEASE ... is that GOD? ESPN.com

December 30, 2014 Updates

B/R: Kobe Bryant (on Dec. 14) got celebrated for passing Michael Jordan in points. You've talked a little bit about your appreciation for what he's done. As you watch him and the way he's handling things six years down the line from where you are, does it make you think about how you might handle things? And also, you are more than 2,000 points ahead of where he was at age 30. LJ: Absolutely. Absolutely. Come on, man. This is the longest shortest career of anything. I think about all the time, what's next for me in the next couple of years, you know 35, and then if I make it to get where Kobe is, you know. How do I approach the game? And what is my mindset? And is my love for the game still there? I absolutely think about that stuff. I mean, how could you not? I mean, I've been in this league 12 years, and it's not like I'm going up another 12 years. You know, my escalator is starting to tail. So I understand that. Bleacher Report

December 29, 2014 Updates
December 26, 2014 Updates

Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the scoring list earlier in December to become third all-time in the NBA. He was asked about this achievement when the Lakers came Chicago on Christmas. via the Chicago Tribune: “It was more of a thankful feeling to Michael and the players who came before because I’ve learned so much from them,” he said. “And I don’t say that lightly. I’ve literally just stolen (stuff) from them — like spin moves and pull-ups. It’s not me passing these players. It’s us.” For The Win

Mike Trudell: Kobe said he talked to Michael Jordan after passing MJ for 3rd on the scoring list, and among MJ's messages was: "Go get Karl (Malone)." Twitter @LakersReporter

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