Lakers discuss best ways to make statement as a team

September, 26, 2016
Sep 26
6:30
PM PT
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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AP Photo/Nick UtAfter meeting with Lakers players about the issues behind the national anthem protests of athletes, first-year coach Luke Walton acknowledged that "something needs to be done" and that "what that is, we'll decide as a group."

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. –- Before holding media day for the 2016-17 season at their training facility Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers' coaches and players met to discuss athletes' recent national anthem protests against unjust treatment of African-Americans in the United States, a movement that first gained recognition from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"It's obviously a very serious, important issue," said Lakers first-year head coach Luke Walton. "I think something needs to be done. This country is too great to have happen what keeps happening. What that is, we'll decide as a group and continue to talk about what we can do.

"But I think, most importantly, it's what we get behind as an organization, individually and as a team. I know a lot of the media runs with what happens during the national anthem, which is a very big subject, because it's touchy from both sides. But to me it's about what kind of change can we make. And that comes from getting with organizations that are in action within the community and giving out time, money and whatever else we can to help this problem get fixed."

Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. said players discussed possibly locking arms and that the team's coaching staff and front office said they'll support the players' decision.

"Obviously, something needs to be done about this in the United States today," Nance said. "But as far as my stance, we as a team are currently in discussions of what we're going to do as a group, as a whole. That's something that I think the brand of the Lakers can really make an impact on."

Forward Julius Randle added, "I think definitely there's a way for us to all get together, and making an impact on what's going on. Guys need to say something, and something needs to be said."

Kobe BryantHarry How/Getty ImagesThe Lakers' media day Monday left an impression that they are ready for a style of play that doesn't focus on Kobe Bryant.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant is gone, sort of.

At their practice facility Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers held their first media day in two decades without their now-retired icon, but questions about Bryant -- about his legacy, his lessons and who now becomes the face of the NBA's glamor franchise -- dominated interviews as they did throughout his historic career.

"I can sense him. He's here," said Lakers swingman Metta World Peace, who won an NBA championship alongside Bryant in 2010. "He's always going to be here. This is the Lakers organization and, yeah, the Mamba is still here."

Perhaps Bryant is still with the team in spirit. Lakers forward Julius Randle said he recently worked out with Bryant and glowingly praised Bryant's intelligence, detailed understanding and competitive edge. And World Peace said that he visited Bryant's "entrepreneurial office" earlier this summer, and the two chatted about books that Bryant is working on.

"I'm really excited about his books," added World Peace, who didn't clarify their literary genre. "I can't wait to read his first book."


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Key questions for Lakers going into training camp: A franchise that has expected excellence for most of its history now heads into a transitional period that demands patience as it rebuilds. The Lakers finished last season 17-65, the worst record in franchise history, four games worse than the previous mark set just one season earlier. The road back won’t be quick or easy. But patience will work only if coupled with progress. -- Los Angeles Times

Questions abound as Lakers prepare for life after Kobe Bryant: For the first time in 20 years, Kobe Bryant won’t be in the Lakers’ practice facility. Title banners still adorn the walls there, but the Lakers aren’t likely to invoke “championship or bust” rhetoric this season with an intriguing but unproven roster. The post-Kobe Lakers go into Monday’s annual Media Day in El Segundo with many unanswered questions, some of which they will begin tackling when they open training camp Tuesday at UC Santa Barbara. -- The Orange County Register

Lakers re-sign Metta World Peace for 17th NBA season

September, 23, 2016
Sep 23
4:22
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed veteran forward Metta World Peace, who will attempt to win a roster spot for his 17th NBA season.

The Lakers announced the deal Friday.

The 36-year-old World Peace returned to the Lakers last season after winning a title during his first four years with the franchise from 2009 to '13. He appeared in 35 games last season, largely serving as a veteran leader and mentor during the worst season in Lakers history.

World Peace has played in 966 games for six NBA teams during his career, which began with Chicago in 1999. He was an All-Star and the NBA's defensive player of the year in 2004.

He then received the longest suspension in NBA history in late 2004 for his role in the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl, but he has become a model teammate and leader who received the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011.

The Lakers have 20 players on coach Luke Walton's first roster as they head to training camp in Santa Barbara next week.


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NBA Power Rankings: Training Camp edition

September, 21, 2016
Sep 21
12:45
PM PT
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Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City are meeting the media Friday. The NBA's other 27 teams open for business Monday.

So it's time!

Time for the return of ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings, with your faithful Committee of One ‎back to oversee the ladder for its 15th successive season.

LeBron James and his title-winning Cavaliers -- how does that sound, Cleveland? -- naturally start out on top, upholding our longstanding tradition which mandates that the No. 1 spot must be where the defending champions open. That means Golden State, fresh off becoming the first team in ESPN history to sit atop this poll from wire-to-wire last season, must settle for No. 2, launching our first good rankings debate of the new season.

Friendly annual reminder: Our Training Camp edition of the rankings is not meant to be a predicted order of finish in each conference. This introductory batch gives significant weight to a team's personnel successes (or failures) from the summer -- as well as any injuries -- when sorting the 1-to-30 order. Which should explain, for example, why Oklahoma City has tumbled to No. 10 after losing Kevin Durant in free agency. Or why Miami, no longer home to Dwyane Wade and facing an uncertain future given the status of Chris Bosh, opens at No. 20.


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Ron ArtestKevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesMetta World Peace, a 15-year NBA veteran, has agreed to another year with the Lakers.

Metta World Peace has agreed to return to the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year deal, he told ESPN.

"I'm excited about everything. I'm prepared to help the young guys grow. To play, everything," he said.

After playing in China in 2014, World Peace returned to the NBA last season, appearing in 35 games and averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in limited action. Much like last season, the Lakers added the popular veteran to their training camp roster to provide leadership with their young players, whom he'd been working out with at their facility over the summer.

World Peace, 36, is also a former teammate of new Lakers coach Luke Walton.

"Luke's always been like a coach, even when he was playing," World Peace said.

The Lakers already have 14 guaranteed contracts, not including the partially guaranteed contract they have out to Yi Jianlian, the 7-foot star of the China's national team. World Peace said his deal was "the same as last year," when he played his way onto the roster with an non-guaranteed contract.

The agreement was first reported by TheLead Sports.


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Yi Jianlian on NBA re-entry: I think I’ll have no problem with that

September, 16, 2016
Sep 16
4:25
PM PT
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- So much unknown surrounds Yi Jianlian as the former lottery pick prepares to return to the NBA following a four-year absence.

It's unclear exactly what the 7-footer's role with the Los Angeles Lakers will be in first-year head coach Luke Walton's new system.

It's undecided what position Yi will play.

And, above all else, it remains to be seen just how effective Yi will be, especially after playing with the Guandong Southern Tigers from 2012 to '16 following brief but lackluster stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks.

Yi JianlianFrederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty ImagesYi Jianlian met the media Friday in what he hopes will be a triumphant return to the NBA.

But if Friday proved anything, it's that there is plenty of interest and intrigue in the 28-year-old, who was surrounded by about three dozen media members –- local and international –- after his workout at the Lakers' training facility.

Yi, a former No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Bucks, expressed confidence about the upcoming season after playing in the Chinese Basketball Association, and after averaging 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds for China in its five games in the Rio Olympics.

He also said he felt that the Lakers were a "good opportunity" and that the "timing" was right for an NBA return.

"I think I played a lot of games in China, in Asia, Olympics," said Yi, who joined the Lakers on a one-year deal worth about $8 million, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein. "It's a lot of experience. For me I probably got stronger and more confidence."

He also recognized that the Lakers have a "huge" fan base in China -– thanks largely to Kobe Bryant –- as well as all over the world.

"I feel pressure, but I feel very excited for that," Yi said.

He couldn't offer up much in the way of specifics about what the coming season has in store for him, as much of that is still to be determined, but Yi did say that he likes to shoot 3-pointers, and that he believes he can space the floor.

Yi added that he never felt frustration about his first NBA go-around not having worked out so well. Instead, he said he just told himself to focus on working hard and playing hard. "That's all I can do," he said.

He also said he's not worried about re-adjusting to the NBA after his time away.

"I think I'll have no problem with that," he said. "I can do it."

Go to: Starters | Reserves

How will D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and the Los Angeles Lakers do in 2016-17?

Here are our player scouting reports and analysis.

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On September 17, 2016, Phil Jackson celebrates his 71st birthday. Take a look back at the 13-time NBA champion as a player on the Knicks and the head coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Shaq-spiration for Yasiel Puig?

September, 13, 2016
Sep 13
3:05
PM PT
By One Nación
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Yasiel Puig has been making the most of his return from the minors late in the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a single at-bat against the New York Yankees as a pinch hitter, Puig hit a home run.

So in this series, Puig's current average against the Yankees is 1.000, the proverbial "batting a thousand."

Perhaps the Cuban player was inspired by a fortuitous meeting with former Los Angeles icon, basketball great Shaquille O'Neal. Puig certainly seemed excited about seeing O'Neal, who was recently inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame.

Click here to follow all the latest information on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'NealAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Time to take a trip down Memory Lane.

For you Taco Bell fans, the double decker might be a household favorite by now. But in 1995 it was fresh on the market, and it debuted with an unforgettable double-decker duo headlining the campaign.

Feast your eyes on Shaquille O'Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon on a bicycle built for two riding through Central Park. When the ad campaign was released, Olajuwon's Houston Rockets had just swept Shaq's Orlando Magic in the 1995 NBA Finals to repeat as champions.

Later, Shaq would have "Taco neck syndrome" in Taco Bell ads when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers.

-- Courtney Schellin


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Coby Karl to be coach of Lakers' D-League team

September, 12, 2016
Sep 12
1:34
PM PT

Coby Karl  and George KarlAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesGeorge Karl, then the coach of the Nuggets, greets his son Coby after the Lakers played Denver in January 2008.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced Monday that 33-year-old Coby Karl, the son of veteran NBA head coach George Karl, will be the new coach of their NBA D-League affiliate team, the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

Karl began his coaching career last season as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks' D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks, after playing eight years professionally.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard played for the D-Fenders during the 2007-08 season, appearing in 17 games. He has also appeared in games with the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, while also playing overseas.

"It is an honor to be back with the Lakers organization, the team that gave me my first job and allowed me to realize my dream of playing in the NBA," Karl said in a statement released by the team. "My goal going forward will be to foster an environment and culture that permits our players and staff to fulfill their dreams. Our pursuit will focus on excellence, both as individuals and as members of the Los Angeles D-Fenders organization."

Like his father, Karl is a cancer survivor in addition to a coach. He was treated for thyroid cancer in 2006-07.


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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Only Allen Iverson could deliver a Hall of Fame speech that name-checked '90s rappers, referenced "Chappelle's Show" and thanked just about every person he met along his basketball journey. Only Shaquille O'Neal could follow that act with what amounted to a half-hour comedy routine that needled former coaches and teammates and included a soap-opera shout-out.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 lived up to its lofty billing with an epic three-hour induction ceremony Friday night at Springfield's Symphony Hall, with Iverson and O'Neal stealing the show.

Iverson delivered a captivating 31-minute speech in which he overcame initial jitters during a memorable address that featured multiple standing ovations. Fans with No. 3 Iverson jerseys in the balcony cheered throughout.

Dressed in a black suit with a black shirt and tie, Iverson paused repeatedly to collect himself at the start of his speech while thanking his three presenters -- Larry Brown, Julius Erving and John Thompson -- as well as members of his family.

Fighting tears throughout, Iverson thanked former Georgetown coach Thompson "for saving my life."

"[After] the incident happened in high school and all that was taken away ... no other schools would recruit me anymore," Iverson recalled, referencing a racial brawl at a bowling alley that landed him in jail. His conviction in the case was later overturned. "My mom went to Georgetown and begged [Thompson] to give me a chance. And he did."

He said he later left Georgetown only as "an OK basketball player."

"But once I started to listen to Larry Brown and take constructive criticism, I learned how much of a great, great coach that he really is. ... That's when I became an MVP," Iverson said.

In maybe the most memorable moment of his address, Iverson recalled his first time playing against his idol, Michael Jordan.

"Man, I wanted to be like Mike," Iverson said. "I remember the first time I played against him. I walked out on the court and I looked at him. And, for the first time in my life, a human being didn't really look real to me. You know what I mean? I don't know if you all watch the 'Chappelle Show,' but he talked about a certain incident where somebody's seeing Rick James. Like I literally seen his aura. It looked like he was glowing.

"I'm sitting there, and I'm saying, 'Man, that's Michael.' And I'm looking at him. I can't stop looking at him. I'm looking at his shoes, and I'm like, man, he's got on the Jordans! It was my Mike. It was my idol, my hero."

After the Jordan story, Iverson seemed to settle in. Nervously rocking at the start of his speech, he confidently thanked a Rolodex of coaches, owners, teammates and rappers.

"I want to thank Biggie Smalls, Redman, Jadakiss, Tupac and Michael Jackson for being my theme music throughout my career," Iverson said.

Twenty-two minutes into his speech, Iverson said, "The Philly fans," and that elicited a monster reaction from the balcony, which immediately engaged in an "MVP" chant.

Added Iverson: "My relationship with the fans in Philadelphia is like no other. I thank you all for the support over the years. ... You never jumped off the bandwagon, continued to support me like true fans are supposed to."

Iverson also paid tribute to "the ones that stuck by me throughout my journey." He cited "all the barbershop talk that my family had and all the arguments my friends had with people in the barbershop and hair salon.

"Now you can say: 'Well, look, my man is solidified.'"

Iverson closed his speech with a nod to the "guys who are not my friends anymore."

"I'm glad that you blew your cover for me to recognize that you [weren't] any good to my family or me. And I appreciate y'all for that. So if I make any more new friends, I know the signs," he said.

Not to be outdone, O'Neal took the stage for a punchline-filled speech as the final inductee of the night.

O'Neal referenced Luke and Laura from "General Hospital" and joked about his commercial endeavors, including how he sat in a "Buick I knew I couldn't fit in." Drawing laughter, O'Neal added, "Hey, they paid me $3 million. What did you want me to say, no?"

His speech had serious moments, like when he thanked his parents, Phil Harrison and Lucille O'Neal, for giving him the discipline and drive that drove his NBA dream.

"If I know my father, he's up there arguing with Wilt [Chamberlain] that his son is the best big man in the game," O'Neal said.

"One day when some father quizzes his sons on the greats of the game, I hope Shaquille O'Neal will be the answer,'' he later added.

Maybe O'Neal's most memorable line came when he thanked former Los Angeles Lakers


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As they enter the Hall of Fame together, take a look back at Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson going head-to-head in the 2001 NBA Finals.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
17.6 2.8 0.9 28.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Randle 10.2
AssistsM. Huertas 3.4
StealsD. Russell 1.2
BlocksT. Black 0.5