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ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reacts to TNT analyst Charles Barkley's claim that LeBron James will surpass Kobe Bryant among the NBA's greatest players if he wins another title over the formidable Warriors.
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Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley explains why a win against the Warriors for another title would prompt him to consider putting LeBron James at Kobe Bryant's level.

When it comes to passing a class, there isn't anything much more stressful than having to take a final exam at the end of the semester.

That's why one young student recently sought help from someone who made a living off succeeding in high-leverage situations -- former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Prior to the test, a high school senior in Indiana named William Pate took to Twitter with a long-shot request. A pair of photos that accompanied the tweet showed Pate's teacher shaking on the deal.

With 11.5 million Twitter followers, Bryant receives hundreds of mentions each day -- many of which probably never get read by the future Hall of Famer.

But Thursday was different. The Black Mamba seemingly slithered up out of nowhere and responded to Pate with a retweet and message.

Although Bryant was never known for passing, he really came through with a nice assist on this one.

-- Nick Ostiller


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Stephen A. Smith explains why Lonzo Ball belongs in Lakers purple and gold.
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Michael Smith and Jemele Hill debate whether Lonzo Ball is a lock to become a Laker after Los Angeles secured the No. 2 selection in the NBA draft.
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Lonzo Ball and his family react to the Lakers' getting the second pick in the draft lottery. LaVar Ball, Lonzo's father, encourages the Celtics to use the No. 1 pick on Markelle Fultz.
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NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar answers who his NBA "Big 3" would be, how fast he's thrown a baseball, and the style of martial arts he studied under Bruce Lee.
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David Ortiz and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar join OTL to discuss leadership and issues of race in America.
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and David Ortiz join OTL to talk about their early days playing the other's sport and their new books.
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Max Kellerman loves Lonzo Ball's apparent decision to only work out for the Lakers, but Stephen A. Smith thinks this is all LaVar Ball's idea.
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The Ball family is putting its faith that Lonzo Ball's showcase with the Los Angeles Lakers will convince his hometown team to draft him No. 2 overall.

Ball will participate in a pre-draft workout with the Lakers only, his father, LaVar, told Lakers Nation on Tuesday.

"That's all we working out for is the Lakers," LaVar Ball said. "Just the Lakers. There's nobody else that we need to work out for."

A source close to Lonzo Ball had told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that it's been "clear from the start our desired destination is Los Angeles."

Ball starred in his only season at nearby UCLA. He also played high school ball at Chino Hills.

LaVar Ball is convinced that adding his son will return the Lakers to the postseason, which they haven't reached since 2012-13.

"The Lakers make the playoffs as soon as my boy gets there," Ball told Lakers Nation.

Lonzo Ball's decision to skip a workout with the Boston Celtics, who hold the No. 1 pick, could have major financial implications. The difference on a guaranteed rookie wage scale contract between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks is $2,202,900, according to the collective bargaining agreement. The difference could be more striking if taxes are considered; California has the highest state taxes in the United States at 13.3 percent, while Massachusetts' taxes are 5.1 percent.

A Lakers source says the team will look at dozens of players with the second and 28th picks. The players under the strongest consideration at No. 2 right now are Markelle Fultz


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Joel Embiid represented the 76ers at the NBA draft lottery in stylish gold shoes and went through quite the rollercoaster of emotions.

And with the first pick in the 2017 NBA draft ... let the speculation begin!

The NBA draft lottery was full of tension, but ultimately the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers came away as big winners Tuesday night, landing the top two picks and the chance to select a franchise-changing player.

Boston became the first team since the 1981-82 Lakers to finish with the top record in a conference and pick first overall. Will the Celtics choose Washington point guard Markelle Fultz?

LaVar Ball has said repeatedly that his son, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, will be drafted by the Lakers. Will his prophecy come true?

What about the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3? Joel Embiid could use a point guard to round out the Sixers' young and talented squad.

Weigh in on all the potential scenarios we could see unfold during the NBA draft by casting your vote below.


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Ryen Russillo doesn't think things will go well for LaVar Ball if he openly criticizes Magic Johnson in Los Angeles.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
D'Angelo Russell
PTS AST STL MIN
15.6 4.8 1.4 28.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.6
AssistsD. Russell 4.8
StealsD. Russell 1.4
BlocksI. Zubac 0.9