Lakers’ Andrew Bynum says he’ll work harder
Back when Ron Artest was still introducing himself to his new teammates several months ago, Andrew Bynum declared a personal goal. He wanted to make the All-Star team this season.
It didn’t happen, which disappointed the 22-year-old, but perhaps led to some resolve.
“I’m going to go out there and keep balling the way I am,” Bynum said Friday. “It’s just given me the same goal to strive for next year and something else to push for this summer when I’m working on my game.”
Earlier this week, Bynum was worried there wouldn’t be a true center on the Western Conference team, a possibility that became reality when the reserves were announced.
Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire was voted to start at center by the fans, and Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan are power forwards who probably will play some center at the Feb. 14 game.
“I pretty much knew what was going on,” said Bynum, who earlier called the process of selecting reserves “political.”
Each of the 30 NBA coaches voted for seven players in his own conference. Coaches could not vote for their own players.
Bynum was averaging 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds a game before Friday’s game against Philadelphia. He wasn’t sharp against the 76ers, getting only six points and three rebounds in 25 minutes.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, an avowed detractor of All-Star weekend, didn’t seem concerned that Bynum was not an All-Star.
“When I mentioned it to him and told him he’d avoided that rat race over there, he laughed and said, ‘Well, maybe next year,’ ” Jackson said. “He would have liked to have been recognized and I understand that entirely. We’re extremely pleased with how Andrew plays. We think he’s got a lot of room for improvement, but he’s come a long way.”
Controversial Kobe advertisement
In the same week that two NBA players were suspended for the season for taking guns into the locker room, Kobe Bryant took some heat for a Nike advertisement in some national sports magazines.
Bryant appeared in a two-page ad with Cleveland forward LeBron James under the slogan “Prepare For Combat.”
A quote was attributed to each player in an effort to demonstrate toughness. Bryant’s quote: “I’ll do whatever it takes to win games. I don’t leave anything in the chamber.”
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league had no advance knowledge of the advertisement and called it “inappropriate.”
Bryant seemed to agree.
“That ad was done months ago, prior to anything that came out,” he said. “Obviously, we’re very sensitive toward that, considering the current time and everything that happened since then. It’s definitely inappropriate and I advised my business partners of that.”
Nike issued a statement to the Associated Press, saying the ad was intended to convey Bryant’s “all-out play and commitment on the basketball court. It is a commonly used reference for shooting the basketball and no offense was intended.”
Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were suspended by the league for the rest of the season for bringing guns into the locker room.
Life of Phil
Jackson has 532 victories with the Lakers and needs two more to pass Pat Riley for the most in franchise history.
Jackson has spent more time coaching the Lakers (this is his 10th season) than the Chicago Bulls (nine), but is he known more as the Lakers’ coach or the Bulls’ coach?
“I’m sure there’s a whole generation of kids that see me only as a Laker coach,” he said. “They’re not familiar with the Bulls and Chicago at all.”
What if he had been forced to wear a team jacket when inducted into the Hall of Fame a few years ago?
“I’d have made the jacket with both sides -- one side the Lakers, one side the Bulls,” Jackson said, smiling.