Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Daily News’

Bynum Feeling Better, On The Way Back?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Stop now if you’re a Philadelphia 76ers fan tired of reading encouraging reports about Andrew Bynum and his potential return to action.

But if you’re still a believer in the power of the big man and what he could do for the Sixers, this might be the stocking stuffer that’ll make your Christmas. Bynum, strictly an observer so far this season due to knee issues, seems to be feeling much better these days and is potentially on his way back sooner rather than later, per Bob Cooney of the Daily News.

Apparently seeing his old teammates from Los Angeles boosted Bynum’s spirits a bit over the weekend:

Former teammates made their way into the Sixers locker room before the game after the media was cleared, probably stopping by to see their former running mate.

“Winning championships there was fun,” said Bynum. “But obviously my time there is done. Health is the main concern with me now. I don’t regret anything. Personally, they traded No. 1 (him) for No. 2 (Dwight Howard) and that is what happened. I think Dwight is a great player and has to get accustomed to playing and not touching the ball on every play.”

While Bynum has done nothing more than observe during his time here, he appears to be itching more than ever to get back on the floor. His doctor’s visit on Thursday will go a long way on letting everyone know how soon that is to happening.

“I think I could do wonders for this team because right now we don’t have a lot of post threat and that would help free up a lot of our guys from the outside – knock down shooters and Jrue and Evan are playing a lot with the ball right now so it would be good to join them and Thaddeus, also.

“The update is that I’m feeling much better. From the beginning of this year, the state of the injury when I see the doctor hopefully I’ll be cleared for impact. Only the left knee (is hurting) the right knee is fine.”

Fine, so the news isn’t all good if Bynum’s left knee is still hurting. Still, the Sixers could know as soon as Thursday when they’ll have Bynum back in action. He’ll need time to get in game shape and get up to speed as quickly as possible to help out a Sixers team that has lost three straight and is fighting to stay at .500 or better right now.

If the Sixers want to stay in the playoff mix they’ll need a boost. And an inspired and reasonably healthy Bynum could be exactly what they need to get them back on track.

Still No Love For Kobe In Philly

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kobe Bryant is just 24 points shy of passing Shaquille O’Neal for fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Fifth all-time!

That he could reach that milestone a short train ride away from where he cut his teeth as a high school basketball star would seem like the ideal way for things to play out tonight when Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers face the Philadelphia 76ers, except for that little issue the city of Philadelphia has with one of its greatest exports.

Bryant is loathed by sports fans in the city. So if he does pass O’Neal tonight, don’t expect a fireworks show or a standing ovation for the pride of Lower Merion High. Because, as Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood, no one wears the black hat in Philadelphia better than Bryant:

He is unquestionably one of the most despised athletes in Philadelphia history.

Just last week, Bryant was ranked at No. 2 in the Comcast SportsNet series of the Top 20 All-Time Philadelphia Villains. Only the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, with Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman, topped him.

Listen to sports talk radio today and don’t be surprised if venom spewed about Bryant generates more air time than the results of Super Bowl XVLI.

That’s just the way it’s been between Philadelphia and Bryant.

If you’ve ever wondered where that chip on Bryant’s shoulder comes from, just take a look at the peculiar relationship he has with his hometown and it might make sense to you.

Bryant left for Italy, where his father was a pro star, when he was just 6. He returned for high school, though, and that’s easily the most crucial time for a budding star to bond with the hometown fans. But he had more doubters as a 17-year-old declaring for the draft than he had supporters.

(If only they knew the things he would do in his career …)

The relationship never healed. Bryant helped the Lakers to that 2001 NBA title over the Allen Iverson-led Sixers, a title clinched on hometown soil, and then there was that nasty incident at the 2002 All-Star Game when he was booed after winning MVP honors.

If the Sixers keep him from getting loose tonight this whole story moves on the next stop and the dynamics change completely. But he’s had just four games all season where he didn’t score at least 24 points and he’s averaging 29.4 points per game … like we said, it’s going to be interesting to see what sort of reaction the folks at the Wells Fargo Center have tonight if Bryant has just an average night before the hometown fans.