13 NBA Reasons To Be Thankful

VIDEO: NBA players give thanks for their communities and more

Before we dig into the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie, here’s a baker’s dozen things on the NBA plate to appreciate on Thanksgiving Day:

Kobe Bryant: We get two more years — at least — of the most ruthless, relentless, never-show-a-weakness competitor the league and maybe pro sports has seen since Michael Jordan was chewing up the scenery and opponents in Chicago. In the wake of his signing a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension, we also got a slew of critiques about impact on the salary cap and physical limits of your average 35-year-old body that overlook his unquenchable thirst to play, his drive to get back onto the court for the Lakers. Love him or hate him, you’ll miss him when he’s gone.

VIDEO: The Starters talk about Kobe Bryant’s new deal

The Heat Wave: Never mind that the Celtics did it in 2008 with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, the Celtics did it in 1980 with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, the Celtics did all through the late ‘50s and 1960s with Bill Russell and an entire wing of the Hall of Fame and the Lakers did it with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami is just what the doctored ordered in the overreactive, hypersensitive age of social media — something to cheer, complain and obsess about. And, oh yeah, they’re damn good.

LeBron James: For all of the disappointment over not getting to the top in Cleveland, bad judgment and bad taste of “The Decision,” he took his talents to South Beach and has delivered on the promise. Would Jordan or Bird or Magic or Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell have stood up to the 24/7 scrutiny under which James has played his entire career? Be thankful you get to see him now, because 20-30 years from now you’ll be bragging to the grandkids that you did.

VIDEO: LeBron James is off to a monster start again this season

Riquickulous: It’s not just a clever TV commercial for Nike. On almost any night he laces up his sneakers, it never gets old to know that the game’s greatest ball handler and top point guard Chris Paul is quite likely to pull off a variation of the “the pull-back-hop-step-under-the-left-leg-behind-the-back-right-hand-two-dribble-half-pokey-crossover-between-two-defenders-drop-step-take-tweet-through-over-the-shoulder-pop-pass-into-the-sidestep-power-jump-stop-double-clutch-offhand-reverse-floater-layin.”

Anybody need me to repeat that?

VIDEO: Chris Paul puts a ridiculous move on the Rockets’ Jeremy Lin

The Spurs Way: They’re the often unseen lining on the inside of an expensive fur coat, the overlooked soles on the bottom of a pair of $1,000 designer shoes. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and all of the stability and professionalism they stand for in San Antonio prove that you don’t have to live in the headlines to be deserving of them.

John, Paul George & Ringo: Because of where they’re from, because of who they are, the Pacers will likely never be known as the Fab Four or Five, even if they’re lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June. It’s a team-wide commitment to the task that has the Pacers steely-eyed and focused on the rolling up the best record in the league. But watching the growth and transformation of George from talented rookie into team leader and MVP candidate has been nothing short of breathtaking.

VIDEO: NBA Action takes a closer look at Indiana’s fast start to 2013-14

LaMarcus Aldridge: Another MVP candidate from another team with a geographical handicap that keeps the world of headlines and acclaim from beating a path to his door. The Blazers forward could have become discouraged and looked to bail out of Portland after three straight non-playoff seasons in the prime of his career. Instead he’s doing it all and having his best season in the NBA Go ahead, tell me you saw 13-3 coming.

VIDEO: The Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge has helped Portland start off solid

Gregg Popovich vs. Craig Sager: Those terse, contentious in-game chats on TNT between the acerbic Spurs coach and a guy wearing one of Secretariat’s old stable blankets are some of the most uncomfortable and hilarious bits in the history of television. Other sideline reporters have tried to horn in on the act, but this is Ali-Frazier of the genre.

Russell Westbrook: Yes, he’s wild, restless, unpredictable, flamboyant, stubborn and burn-down-the-house crazy at times on the court. But we watch him with our jaws dropped because of those traits. I know you expected me to say Kevin Durant, and I have nothing but respect for K.D.’s silky smooth, just-go-about-his-business approach to the game. But when it comes to the Thunder, you can’t help but be drawn to the lightning.

VIDEO: Russell Westbrook runs wild on the Nuggets in Oklahoma City’s victory

Love Story: Everybody knew he could rebound coming out of UCLA, but not like this. Everybody knew he could shoot and score and pass when he entered the NBA. But not like this. There are still general managers in the league who foolishly label Kevin Love as “unathletic” every year in their annual poll and you have to wonder how they keep their paycheck or any sense of credibility. The Timberwolves power forward is challenging LeBron in the early MVP race with a game that is deliciously well-rounded.

VIDEO: Kevin Love is leading the league in rebounding

Stephen Curry: Slender as a reed and maybe as frail as a snowflake, Curry is delicate yet dangerous, in some ways the 21st century version of George Gervin because he can shoot with such ease and from unexpected angles and barely ever looks like he’s breaking a sweat. It’s his propensity for injuries that makes you want to take in as much as you can see right now, just in case.

Andre Miller: He’s old and slow … and he’s been that way for what seems like decades now. But at 37 and in his 15th season, if you bounced him out of Denver right now and into Chicago, the Bulls would have just the smart, tough point guard they need to stay in the Eastern Conference race. There’s something about watching an experienced, heady veteran surviving and thriving that is satisfying.

Motor City Jerseys: OK, let’s not get carried away and see Kobe wearing “La-La Land,” Dwight Howard “H-Town” or LeBron “South Beach” across his chest. Detroit and the Motor City nickname has history, tradition, staying power. It really means something to a town that has taken its share of lumps and bruises through the years and a franchise with a long-standing championship pedigree. The Pistons in the Motor City jerseys are just, well, cool.


  1. koudrus says:

    You are probably all in your twenties and never witnessed real greatness. I actually feel sorry for you. And no, I’m not a Kobe fan. Just a fan of the game. I saw Michael play in his prime. And I’m truly GRATEFUL because the way it’s played now, the refs decide who wins and who loses. Yes, I will give LeBron his dues as a basketball player. He really has grown. But he still acts like an ill-mannered kid on the court always whining after every play or celebrating too hard or staring hard at the opposing player. It’s these little things that make him look petty. I can’t imagine Kareem, Wilt, Russel, Magic, Bird or Michael acting like that. Too be fair Kobe was kinda like that too. That’s why he’s not among my favorite players. Anyway: I understand it’s a matter of taste.. I just think that a player who enjoys an elite status like LeBron should not only be judged on the merit of his achievements but the way in which he goes about his business.

    • mee(a)t says:

      Didnt MJ mock Mutombo with the finger thing?

      • thatswhatshesaid says:

        MJ stared down and finger waved more than one person. Do your research. LeBron is not Jordan. Kobe is not Jordan. Jordan was Jordan and one of a kind. LeBron is only 28yrs old… Maturity will blossom. Let boys be boys. LeBron is a beast and a champion. 2time! Go Heat!

  2. justsayin says:

    I don’t think that was sage in kobeisgood’s stuffing…

  3. Hamlet says:

    excelent article!!

  4. bodjee says:

    I am thankful for the Sun, the provider of live.

  5. Basti in the house says:

    i feel sorry for koudrus… he doesn’t know basketball at all… I’m sure you’re just one of those envy guys who wants to see the heat fall down.. ain’t time dude… prepare to see more time of Miami’s greatness… LBJ is the 2nd G.O.A.T thus far after MJ… Time will tell…

  6. asdf says:

    Im am thankful for shaq, barkley, kenny, chris weber and ernie doing inside the nba, funniest show on tv.

  7. ron says:

    andre miller. are u kidding…

  8. BUSINESS MIND says:

    Kobe is way past his prime. There’s no reason why the lakers should be wasting so much money on him

    • defdun says:

      Wasting money?! You seem to forget the marketing power which kobe brings. That money is easily paid off in merchandising in Asia alone! So much for “Business mind”…

  9. rey says:

    nice article lbj the great

  10. xadu says:

    what about DIRK!!!

  11. kobeisgood says:

    lakers will sign bron and melo for kobe next season. We will trade nash, hill and henry with draft picks and cash for CP3 to return to LA. With everyone taking a cut, our lineup will boast multiple mvps and scoring champs.


    With paul hitting dimes and kobe dropping the dagger and james workload on the all around game with melo knocking dem iso down, we will have an amazing O. With gasol helping to space the floor and post on centers, this will be the best offense. We will average 130ppg and run to 82-0

  12. CHU says:

    If it’s all about money, the Lakers should win the champion last year.
    GO HEAT !

    Even John was just telling us his feeling, I think he had no reason to attack anyone by “gay”.

  13. champoy!!! says:

    hahahaha nice one john..

  14. john says:

    Tell your kids that you are a LBJ hater* and also a gay !

  15. koudrus says:

    I’m glad that the nba hype machine didn’t forget to tell us that LeBron is so heavely scrutinized. Poor LeBron. It’s not like he didn’t bring it up on himself or anything. No, we should be bragging to our grandkids about this flopping, whining, cheating and most of all OVERHYPED lowlife. I’d rather tell my kids about true champions like Kareem. Wilt, Bird. Magic and Jordan.
    If this poor excuse for a human being is the standard by which players are measured it’s a pathetic standard. The guy has Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen, Sure he’s blossomed who wouldn’t? I know it’s acliche but it very much holds true today:Sport used to be about fair play and now it’s all about money.

    • mee(a)t says:

      should i feel sad for you?

    • rulebook247 says:

      most ridiculous comment on this site.

      • Han says:

        And all the true champions you mentioned won it by himself without any other stars? Magic played with Kareem for their titles, in case you actually never watched NBA game. And oh, they also had James Worthy, and if you have time to google it, he ain’t no worse than Chris Bosh.

    • Leonardo says:

      Lol jordan had steve pippen robman all which are IN THE HALL OF FAME.

    • Another Heat Fan says:

      Kobe wouldn’t have blossomed with these guys in fact he would have been too redundant and not added anything to Wade\Bosh. Kobe wouldn’t have made it work.

      And i say this because i know you are most likely a sore Kobe fan, and i know deep inside you that you know i’m right.

      Kobe’s game is selfish and based on trying to win the game as one player.

      Lebron’s game is based on a really high basketball IQ, and most importantly a team game whereby he fills any position his team is lacking.

    • herpaderp says:

      yep cause he’s the one that forced all that attention on himself when he was still in high school…..

    • Emmanuel gonzalez says:

      And all this players are the youngest players to win 2 or more league MVP’s right……………Deep inside even if you hate him everyone is still a Lebron Fan.

    • herpaderp says:

      cheating, lowlife? are you kidding me? that is just plain ignorant and offensive. the guy gives back a lot and has never cheated at anything. calling LeBron a lowlife shows how unaware you are, he is an upstanding citizen that is fully committed to his wife (why don’t you ask kobe how that’s working for him) and children. not to mention his extremely generous work for the children of his hometown what else can you ask from the man? grow up, you are just a hater that desperately needs a life.

    • PetrGSW says:

      Wow, thats alittle too harsh dude. Sure hes hyped up, sure NBA is about money, sure he travels the most of all nba players and never gets called for it, but dont tell me you belive there is anybody better or even close to him in the NBA now. Allready only players you could compare to him are Larry and Magic, and hes a better defender than both of them…(yeah I didnt forget MJ but to me they are too different to compare). Anyways you will be gratefull you were able to watch him play, no matter what you say now!

  16. PalmOil Preference says:

    Thanks for the Starters and Inside Stuff to fill in the gap between the 23 hour replays of Gametime. NBATV get it together we have such a trenscending sport but the network were given to watch is comparable to UPN.

  17. them guys should be thankful about jeremy lin too…hes raking in a lot of cash to the NBA since linsanity lol