Podkast: Bomani Jones on Kobe, Pau, LeBron and Prince

The latest batch of ear candy, featuring a smorgasbord of topics. Your breakdown ...

  • We kick off the show with our Bomani Jones ("The Morning Jones,"ESPN.com Page 2). Living on the other side of the country makes Pacific time zone games tough to catch, which annually prevents Jones from realizing the Lakers' talent. Hence, the recurrent cycle: Bomani underestimates the purple and gold during the regular season, then the playoffs quickly make him a believer.

  • The notion of Pau Gasol as an elite player wasn't for Jones to accept, particularly after the 2008 Finals, when he looked "scared to death of Kevin Garnett." But enough time has now passed and Bomani sees a completely different player.

  • We discuss the controversy surrounding Kobe Bryant's Black Opps commercial. Many pundits have debated the "appropriateness" of Kobe appearing in a commercial for a violent video game, but Jones was more intrigued by the league's non-reaction. After all, David Stern was once bent out of shape about Allen Iverson's potentially offensive rap CD. But despite the media making a big issue of Kobe's participation, the general public hasn't raised a fuss, so Stern doesn't appear outwardly bothered. To Jones, this entire issue reflects how the NBA controls its image and how society perceives war violence vs. street violence.

  • Kanye West is compared to LeBron James, since both have been painted as talented guys with too much ego. We also debate the backlash over "The Decision."

  • The three of us are ginormous Prince fans, so a discussion about the iconic musician was mandatory.

  • After Bomani departed, Brian and I discuss whether Theo Ratliff's knee surgery, combined with Andrew Bynum's uncertain return date, should prompt the Lakers to add a big man. We wouldn't mind a new body on hand, if for no other reason than to enhance practices. But anybody signed isn't likely to play much with Drew and Theo out, much less when they're back. Thus, someone like Erick Dampier could be more trouble than he's worth. Just get a guy who can be landed with a non-guaranteed contract and call it a day.

  • If you're trying to find a promotion more insulting than the Miami Heat's "Fan Up!" campaign, just stop, because it doesn't exist.