HIS KIND OF TOWN
Unless he changes his mind (and this time supposedly it's 100 percent stone cold certain he won't) or the Wizards and Bulls meet in this season's playoffs, Michael Jordan will play his final game in Chicago as the Wizards meet the Bulls this Friday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
When Jordan last took the United Center floor on Jan. 2, Bulls fans applauded him for 2 minutes and 10 seconds after he was introduced and tears filled his eyes. (Chicago Sun-Times)
How long will the ovation be this time? Considering Jordan won 10 scoring titles, six NBA titles, five NBA MVP awards and became one of the world's most popular athletes while wearing Bulls red and black, expect it to be long, heartfelt and well-deserved.
Much has been written about Jordan's glorious career, so for me to tell you he's the greatest player of all time would be nothing new. My advice: just watch.
Meanwhile, the defending Eastern Conference champion Nets head west for a grueling eight-day, five-game trip that includes stops in Utah on Monday, Sacramento on Tuesday and Los Angeles on Friday, where the Nets will meet the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Trips like these can test even the best team's will. Forward Kenyon Martin, however, is unfazed. He believed 5-0 was a suitable goal:
"Told that Byron Scott often acknowledges that, say, a 3-2 or 4-1 mark on a road trip would be satisfactory, Martin scoffed.
'I'm not Byron. I'm Kenyon,' he said. 'I think I can win every game. I am not going to say we want to split this road trip. That is not my goal. My goal is to win every game that I step on the floor.'" (New York Post)
While the goal is admirable, it'll will be more difficult without Rodney Rogers, who is nursing a calf injury. And who better to replace someone with a calf injury than a guy whose nickname is "Veal."
Thank you, I'll be here all week.
THEY CLEARED THE LANE
To commemorate the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday, "a living, breathing history of players and coaches who cleared the path for African-American success in the National Basketball Association" were in Memphis this past weekend to participate in the "They Cleared the Lane" symposium. (Memphis Commercial Appeal, NBA.com photo gallery).
Included in that illustrious group was Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to appear in an NBA game.(Memphis Commercial Appeal).
For those in Memphis, the NBA has brought together a community: "More than any other pro sport, an NBA team might help break down some of the racial barriers in this city." (Memphis Commercial Appeal).
GAME OF THE CENTURY
While it was billed as a clash of an NBA dynasty vs. The Dynasty, it was the Franchise who boosted the Rockets past the Lakers last Friday.
In one of the greater performances in one of the greater games in recent memory, Steve Francis poured in 44 points, including a three-pointer to send the game into OT, and 11 assists.
And while Yao Ming acquitted himself well with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, including Shaquille O'Neal's first three shots, Shaq triumphed in the battle of the numbers by getting 31 and 13.
Still, it was a classic and the Rockets, who won four consecutive games (before losing on Monday), must get their bearings again. Dallas is in town on Tuesday. (Houston Chronicle)
GAME OF THE CENTURY, PART II
Yet, the Kings have followed those monumental wins with losses, albeit with two coming in overtime. The latest, a 112-107 stumble to the Clippers in Los Angeles, puts Sacramento's quest for 70 in jeopardy (see table) and prompted Vlade Divac to note that the Kings need to get their heads on straight after big wins. (Sacramento Bee).
Last week, we asked if Kings fans cared ("Where's the passion? Where's the desire?") that we focused on the prediction. This week, we've witnessed the passion.
Janice of Roseville, Calif.:
(Click and Roll's response: I agree. Injuries have hurt, so to speak. And the Kings are good. They've proven that. We also love their offensive philosophies. But right now, 70 looks tough.)
Heather of Sacramento:
(Click and Roll's response: You go, Heather.)
Chris of Sacramento:
So let's compare that to other trash talking teams who are doing horrible considering they only had one guy sit out and yes you had better know who I'm talking about!
(Click and Roll's response: I do know who you're talking about and I will give the Kings a break: what they've accomplished in the face of all those injuries is amazing!)
Cigars for everyone. Kobe's a dad! (L.A. Times)
What does it mean when Darius Miles cups his fists to his forehead? You got me. He won't tell anyone. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Rookies earn their stripes, not in games, but in practice. Also, take a look at the Grant Long tidbit. Interesting. (Detroit News)
As some of you know, Greg Ostertag became the first active NBA player to donate an organ when he donated his kidney to his sister in the offseason. Read about his selfless decision. (Seattle Times)
The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at what's happened to the Sixers. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
In the immortal words of Clubber Lang in Rocky III, this is what'll take for anyone to win the NBA title: Pain! (Dallas Morning News)
Tracy McGrady is worried about his cousin, Vince Carter. (Orlando Sentinel)
Meanwhile, it looks like Grant Hill's ankle problem is more serious than first assessed. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
David Robinson is retiring this year. Doesn't he deserve some love? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Rob Peterson, NBA.com