<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:37:59 -0800 Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:37:59 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Watch Live: Going Roggin]]> Sun, 27 Sep 2015 22:52:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fred+Roggin+16x9.jpg

The debate rages on! If it’s a hot topic in LA sports, it’s on Going Roggin. 

Every week, Fred Roggin hosts the fastest half hour in Southern California sports. Whether it’s Lakers, Clippers, UCLA, USC, Kings or Ducks, local experts argue the pressing questions. Plus, features on some of the area’s biggest names and best stories.

Click here to watch a live stream of Going Roggin, Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at midnight.


<![CDATA[Challenge Spotlight: Matt Fink]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:21:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CHALLENGE_SPOTLIGHT_-_MATT_FINK_1200x675_576438339934.jpg Several USC commits attended the big game against UCLA. Among them was an incoming quarterback who'll be competing to succeed Cody Kessler. In the challenge spotlight, presented by Jeep Renegade, Mario Solis introduces us to the dual-threat kid who came out of nowhere.]]> <![CDATA[USC Hires Clay Helton as Head Football Coach]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:47:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-498202904-2.jpg

The University of Southern California announced Monday it has hired Clay Helton as permanent head coach of the football team.

The 24th-ranked Trojans (8-4, 5-3 Pac-12) beat archrival UCLA 40-21 to win the Pac-12 South title on Saturday, capping a seven-week surge under Helton, their interim head coach, with their first victory in the crosstown showdown since 2011.

USC advanced to the conference championship game against No. 7 Stanford and the chance to contend for a Rose Bowl berth — something that seemed highly improbable last month when athletic director Pat Haden fired Steve Sarkisian and promoted Helton to finish up a turbulent season for the second time in three years.

"After weeks of searching the collegiate and pro ranks, interviewing candidates, and speaking with head coaches, athletic directors, NFL executives, and very knowledgeable football people, and after observing Clay in action the past seven weeks, it became abundantly clear that what we were searching for in a coach was right here in front of us," USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. "Clay Helton is the right man at the right time for the USC football program."

Haden said Helton signed a multiyear deal, and beating UCLA was not the reason he was hired.

"He was not hired because many current and former players voiced their support for him. And he was not hired because he is a Trojan. He is our choice because we believe he can win Pac-12 and national championships here. Clay Helton is the right man at the right time for the USC football program," Haden said.

Helton, 43, was named USC's interim head coach on Oct. 12 after serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Helton has been at USC since 2010. Previously, he was an assistant coach at Memphis for 10 seasons.

"During my six years here, I have learned the standard of excellence that it takes to be a Trojan. I understand the expectations of this great university and welcome the challenge. I am so proud to have the chance to lead what I feel is the pinnacle of college football and to represent our Trojan Family," Helton said.

The move and the timing were surprising, but not a total shock.

There had been rumors and speculation that USC would make an attempt to lure Eagles coach Chip Kelly back to the Pac-12. Kelly helped turn USC rival Oregon into a national power before leaving for the NFL three years ago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[The 2015 Dodgers Postseason Walk Up Songs]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 05:22:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Dodgers+2015+Postseason.png

Before the MLB season began back in April we wrote about the Los Angeles Dodgers walk up songs. The music that the players select as they walk up to the plate before an at-bat has been the topic of debate as well as praise from the millions of Dodger fans that flock through Chavez Ravine throughout the summer.

While Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," seems like an obvious favorite, the sounds of summer are ever changing, even throughout the season. For many players, their tastes change, a new hot song is released, or they simply get bored.

The revolving door that is the MLB trade deadline saw new additions to the 2015 Dodgers roster and mid-season injuries saw us wave goodbye to our favorite players as we formed new relationships with rookies and September call-ups like Corey Seager.

Regardless, with the 2015 season come and gone, we thought we would look back and see the final list of walk up songs used by the Boys in Blue as the won their third consecutive NL West Division title.

Cue the music, here's the complete list:

Chase Utley: "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin

Austin Barnes: "Alive" by Kid Cudi

Justin Ruggiano: "Sabatoge" by Beastie Boys

Corey Seager: "U-Turn" by Chase Rice

Jimmy Rollins: "Boys in the Hood" by NWA
"Don't Play" by Travi$ Scott
"Blasé" by Ty Dolla $ign
"U Mad?" by Vic Mensa
"Flex" by Rich Homie Quan

Howie Kendrick: "Dey Know" by Shawty Lo

Joc Pederson: "White Iverson" by Post Malone
"Hit the Quan" by iLoveMemphis
"What Do You Mean?" by Justin Bieber

Adrian Gonzalez: "El Mariachi Loco" by El Mariachi Loco
"Seis Pies Abajo" by Banda El Recordo

Joel Peralta: "El Que No Aguanta La Presion" by Secreto "El Famoso" Biberon
Chris Hatcher: "Let Me Clear My Throat" by DJ Kool

Yasmani Grandal: "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap
"Miami S***" by Pitbull

Brett Anderson: "Throne" by Bring Me The Horizon

Clayton Kershaw: "We are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe)" by FUN
"Pump Up The Jam" by Technotronic

A.J. Ellis: "Long Cool Woman" by The Hollies

Zack Greinke: "Anywhere With You" by Jake Owen
"Careless Whisper" by George Michael
"No Leaf Clover" by Metallica

Kenley Jansen: "California Love" by 2Pac, Roger and Dr. Dre

Carl Crawford: "Burial (feat. Pusha T and Skrillex)" by Yogi
"Been That (feat. Rick Ross)" by Meek Mill
"Check" by Meek Mill

Yasiel Puig: "I Don't Get Tired" by Kevin Gates
"La Gozadera" by Gente de Zona and Marc Anthony

Scott Van Slyke: "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin

Andre Ethier: "Zero" by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Self Esteem" by Offspring
"Slop John B" by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Justin Turner: "Turn Down For What" by DJ Snake and Lil Jon

Kiké Hernandez: "El Perdón" by Nicky Jam and Enrique Iglesias
"Pony" by Ginuwine

Carlos Frias: "Pa'Que Retozen" by Tego Calderon

Mike Bolsinger: "I'm To Blame" by Kip Moore

Check out all these songs and more on Apple Music, Spotify and your iTunes store.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Makes Farewell Tour Official]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:52:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Kobe-Bryant-retirement-press-conference.png

"So, what's new?" Kobe Bryant greeted a packed room of reporters quickly assembled to greet the NBA's biggest traveling superstar of the past two decades. His straight face immediately cracked, and the room joined him in a quick chuckle.

On Sunday, Bryant finally ended the unofficial farewell tour to launch the official farewell tour. Was Sunday the end? What it the beginning of the end? No, Sunday night still looked to be about 66 games shy of Kobe Bryant's end goal, and most of those games (like Sunday's game) expect to be losses. But, Bryant finally publicly shared that 2015-16 would be his final lap on the NBA tour.

"I had to accept the fact that I don't want to do this anymore," Bryant told an overcrowded assembly of television and newspaper men and women. "And I'm okay with that. Once I accepted that, then it became time to let everybody know. It takes a load off my shoulders and everybody else's."

Why break the news now? In Spanish, Bryant said that he knew in his "corazón" (heart). Could he possibly see a future outside the NBA, perhaps in Italy? Bryant spoke about his body and said, in Italian, "non posso" (I cannot).

In English, Bryant pointed to meditation as the driving factor in revealing his need to shift forward to the next chapter. Simply, his mind did not gravitate to basketball with nearly as much obsession as it had in year's past.

This is the final season. Bryant made it official, and the Lakers will be a traveling circus of no. 24 shooting often and playing as many minutes as his body allows. Why? If Bryant cannot go out shooting and missing, then who can? He won five titles making impossible shots, so now he gets the privilege of shooting air balls if he wants to. Sunday's loss to the Indiana Pacers provided the best example of what the final 66 games promise: Bryant hit a late three to give the Lakers a chance at tying the game with the clock running down. One air ball later, reality sunk in, the Lakers lost and the need for the post-game press conference became all the more apparent.

According to no. 24, Michael Jordan had been one of the first people he spoke with over the summer. What advice did no. 23 offer? "Just enjoy it. No matter what, just enjoy it. Don't let anybody take that away from you. No matter what happens: good or bad. Enjoy it."

The Lakers are 2-14 and Bryant is shooting 30.5 percent from the field and 20.2 percent from beyond the three-point line. So far, it's been bad significantly more than it's been good. However, the "triple O.G." tends to answer questions graciously, entertains nostalgia and even acts jovial with the media. When Bryant is on the road, that acceptance of historical perspective over the sad present state of the Lakers' roster exponentially increases, as he is friendlier and more available than even at Staples Center. That graciousness goes double with the road fans.

In New York, Bryant felt the "MVP" chants and heard the arena begging him to shoot every time he touched the ball. In the two Florida cities, Bryant didn't play due to a bad back. Still, the fans that came out did not jeer or berate the star for sitting out. Instead, they cheered him into and out of the arena. In a slightly surprising post-game press conference for a game in which he did not play, Bryant tried to keep a straight face when he explained that he had missed the game in Miami because, well, he's old and his back hurts. He chuckled slightly as he delivered the punch line on that occasion, too.

In Dallas, Bryant got a line of handshakes and hugs as he left the court for the last time. Now, Philadelphia is next. As much as he claimed to love being a villain and wished to avoid the farewell tour, Bryant understands that the farewell is more for the fans than it is for him. In Spanish, Bryant answered a question about the timing of the announcement by stating, "I want to play in Philadelphia and other cities with much love. I want to say thanks for everything."

While Bryant spoke of internal meditation providing the first sign that it was time to move on, he could not altogether ignore the external factors, i.e. the fans. Seemingly, the fans knew before Bryant made it official. With crowd acknowledgments on his way off the court in seemingly every city, Bryant making his retirement timeline official paved the way for the upcoming eight-game road trip to become a celebrated affair, rather than the reality that the Lakers expect to lose the majority of games--conceivably all of them.

If the Lakers don't beat the Philadelphia 76ers, this team could well return to Los Angeles in mid-December with a record of 2-22. Starting Tuesday, the Lakers play eight games in 12 days. Including the back-to-back that Bryant completed on Sunday, those numbers total to 10 games in 15 days. Knowing Bryant, he'll try to play in every game.

"There's so much beauty in the pain of this thing," Bryant philosophized at the podium. "It sounds really weird to say that. I appreciate the really, really rough times as much as I appreciate the great times, and it's important to go through that progression. I think that's where you really learn about the self. "

Yup, a 37-year-old Bryant sounds like he wants to play every possible game. Likely, he'll miss a couple, but if he can lace up his shoes, he's going to try and play. And, miss or make, he's going to keep shooting because he sees the beauty in the pain. Fans of the team probably see a bit less beauty in the missed shots, but hey, the guy did go to seven finals and win five titles. Also, he scored 81 points in a game once, so he's entitled to take a few bad shoots in his last season, right?

"There's nothing I love more than being able to play this entire season, to go through all of these tough, tough times, to be able to suit up and play on the road and play in these building for the last time," Bryant confirmed. "I'm looking forward to that."

Asked what Tuesday in his hometown of Philadelphia would feel like, Bryant said with a grinning smile, "It's going to be beautiful."

Clearly, Bryant is talking about his experience with the fans, not the basketball on the court. Seeing as the Philadelphia 76ers are 0-18 and the only team worse than the Lakers, Tuesday's game could be the least watchable game of the NBA season.

Like a child lost in a daydream about going home for Christmas, Bryant repeated, "It's going to be beautiful."

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Cody Kessler Posts Heartfelt Message to Fans]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:55:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/USC+QB+Cody+Kessler+Final+Home+Game.png

Cody Kessler finally got the UCLA monkey off his back. After three consecutive defeats as starting quarterback for the University of Southern California, Kessler finally thwarted the cross-town rivals 40-21 on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The victory secured the Pac-12 South title for the Trojans, and a birth in the conference championship game on Saturday Dec. 5 against the Stanford Cardinal.

The game also marked Kessler's final home game as quarterback of USC, a career punctuated by sanctions, coaching changes, and under-achievement. For the Bakersfield-born QB, the victory was extra sweet as he finally vanquished the Bruins. The only team in the Pac-12 Kessler had not beaten.

Less than 24 hours after the emotional victory, Kessler took to social media to send a heartfelt message to the fans and "Fight On" faithful:


A photo posted by Cody Kessler (@ckessler6) on

The touching Instagram caption reads: "Last time running up the tunnel from the Coliseum floor. Thanks for all the memories, it's been real. Fight On!"

The Trojans record-holder for most touchdowns in a single season (39) is a fifth-year senior who attends Graduate School in his spare time at USC. He is more than likely headed to the NFL, but first, he has some unfinished business as Kessler looks to continue his "never been done" accomplishments by leading the Trojans to the Rose Bowl, a feat that would be his first as quarterback of Southern Cal.

The Trojans highly anticipated rematch with the Stanford Cardinal for the Pac-12 Crown and a birth to the "Granddaddy of Them All" kicks off on Saturday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. The game will air live on ESPN at 4:45 PM PST.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Beat Wolves for 13th Consecutive Time]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:20:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/ClippersBeatWolves.png

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Clippers love seeing the Timberwolves. Blake Griffin scored 26 points and Lob City defeated Minnesota 107-99 on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center for their 13th consecutive victory against the team from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Griffin and Chris Paul led the team to the finish line as they continually made big play after big play despite the tenacious young T-Wolves giving Lob City everything they had.

The Clippers shot well, over 52 percent for the game from the field and never trailed after ending the first quarter up 23-19.

Los Angeles stretched their lead to 11 points at the half and were able to hold off the Wolves down the stretch despite Minnesota getting within five points with just over four minutes remaining in the game.

Led by Griffin and Paul, the team down the stretch with assists and points, scoring the final six of the game to give the Clippers their second consecutive victory for the first time since they started the season 4-0.

"I don't like to know that two games is a win streak," said Doc Rivers. "That's a sad statement to be honest, let's keep this streak going."

Kevin Garnett went to the Minnesota bench with 5:37 left in the first quarter. It was early, but at the time, the Wolves were up 15-9 and seemed to have stifled the Clippers. By the time Garnett returned to the court, Los Angeles had taken a 36-30 lead and never looked back.

Luc Mbah a Moute. The former Minnesota small forward started for the first time this season. He only scored seven points, but his defense was stellar on sophomore Andrew Wiggins and he played crucial minutes down the stretch locking down the 2014-2015 NBA Rookie of the Year.

"Whatever's asked of me – whether I come in for 5 minutes or start, I try and defend the other team's best offensive player," a Moute said after the game. "Andrew's a really good player, I just tried to make it tough on him."

Thanks to Friday's victory over the New Orleans Pelicans and tonight's over the Timberwolves, the Clippers have won consecutive games for the first time since they started the season on a four-game winning streak.


Minnesota Timberwolves Twitter account is one of the best in the NBA.


Later that night, Big Chris and Lil' Chris took in the Michigan State game at the Honda Center.

"Lance is as good as there is pushing the ball coast-to-coast. When he comes down and make's decisions like a 'Magic,' then he's really good. By the way, I said 'like a Magic' just to be clear… I probably shouldn't have said that." – LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers when he realized he compared Lance Stephenson to Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

The last time the Timberwolves beat the Clippers was on March 5, 2012 in Minnesota. Kevin Love led the Wolves with 39 points and 17 rebounds in a close 95-94 victory at Target Center.

Ricky Rubio missed the game for Minnesota. The Timberwolves are 7-4 this season when Rubio is on the floor.

Minnesota Timberwolves (8-9, 6-3 on the road) 3rd in Northwest Division

Los Angeles Clippers (9-8, 7-4 at home) 2nd in the Pacific Division

The Timberwolves return home after a quick two-game California road trip where they will host the Orlando Magic on Tuesday at Target Center in Minnesota.

The Clippers will have no time to rest or reflect as they host the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night at Staples Center.

Photo Credit: Twitter / @LAClippers]]>
<![CDATA[NBA Reacts to Kobe's Retirement Announcement]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 02:11:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Kobe+Bryant+Announces+Retirment.png

It may have not been the most shocking news out of the NBA, but Kobe Bryant's retirement announcement on Sunday afternoon suddenly made the understanding that we may not see the "Black Mamba" on the floor anymore a sad and bittersweet reality.

After this season, we will no longer see the pump fakes followed by a sweet jump shot, the thunderous dunks over the NBA's elite, the buzzer-beaters or one of the greatest scorers ever to play the game again.

The announcement sent ripple effects throughout the league, as players, both past and present, legends, rookies, and former teammates all weighed in on No. 24's decision to hang it up after 20 unforgettable seasons.

Wayne Ellington: "It meant a lot to play alongside him. He's a guy that inspired me, honestly. As a young kid, I used to be out there on the court trying to be Kobe. He's the best player in our generation."

Pau Gasol: "We have lived incredible moments together on and off the court. Thanks for everything brother!"

Paul George: "I told him I was going to cherish this moment. What a feeling to play against your idol.

Magic Johnson: "He's the closest thing we've seen to Michael Jordan. He'll probably go down as the second-greatest scoring guard. You couldn't stop him. His will to win was incredible and he stayed in the gym like no other."

Wilson Chandler: "Bean has always been my favorite player since I was a kid. One of the best to ever do it!"

Kristaps Porzingis: "Kobe's a legend. It's sad. He's had an amazing career. He's played in this league more than half of his life. The things that he did – he's one of the best players ever to play the game."

C.J. McCollum: "I've been watching you since I was a kid. I appreciate your game. Coming back from all those injuries it takes a special kind of person to mental refocus and play at that high a level."

Jamal Crawford: "To me, he's the best player I've ever played against. He's the Michael Jordon of his era. The game won't be the same once Kobe is gone…"

Dwight Howard: "Oh, man. Kobe is one of the greatest to ever play the game. He had an amazing career… it all comes to an end for all of us. He was somebody we all grew up watching. Seeing him go from the Afro to changing to another number to all that stuff…81 points, he just had a very good career."

James Harden: "He's a legend. I grew up watching him. He was my 'MJ.' Just for him to be done, for his last go-round, it's sad. That's the end of a dynasty. He had a really good run, but it comes to an end. He's a monster. He's a beast."

Rick Fox: "I'm sad. You loved the game and the game loved you back. I'm proud to know you and honored to have represented the Purple and Gold together!"

Phil Jackson: "Break the season up into sections. Take it one chunk at a time and try and get through it." – via Kobe Bryant.

Michael Jordan: "Just enjoy it. No matter what. Just enjoy it. Don't let anybody take that away from you no matter what happens good or bad, just enjoy it, man!" – via Kobe Bryant.

J.R. Smith: "One of the most under appreciated players to ever play is saying goodbye to the game he gave his all! Goes without saying 1 of the GREATEST TO EVER DO IT! Thank you Kobe."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: "Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an emotional love for the game. I join Kobe's millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and think him for so many thrilling memories."

Ron Artest (AKA Metta World Peace): "I'm so happy I got a chance to witness this."

D'Angelo Russell: "I'm sad. He's my idol."

Scottie Pippen: "Hard to believe Kobe Bryant is finally going to hang it up. One of the NBA's great champions. Enjoy the rest of the season my friend."

Shane Battier: "Kobe is the greatest competitor I have ever faced. I am glad he's found peace, I don't know if we'll see another like him. Enjoy the last 66."

Jordan Clarkson: "I'm going to soak up as much from him as I can. Stay around him. Wath him. Just try to take whatever he has to give.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Talks About Retirement]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 22:55:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-announces-retirement_1200x675_576115267659.jpg Kobe Bryant talked about the announcement of his upcoming retirement after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday]]> <![CDATA[Kobe, Lakers Lose to Pacers]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 21:18:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-lose-to-Pacers_Kobe-Bryant.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night, but that hardly mattered after Kobe Bryant dropped the massive news that 2015-16 would be his final season in the NBA.

With Byron Scott's pregame press conference turning into a recap of how he learned the news and his favorite memories of the 37-year-old over two decades in the NBA, Sunday's game hardly mattered. Following Scott's press conference, the Lakers managed to make general manager Mitch Kupchak available to answer questions before tip-off.

In the first quarter, Bryant shot the ball more than twice as often as any other Lakers' player. He made one of eight shots in nearly 10 minutes of first quarter play. As a team, the Lakers shot 10 percent from the field and trailed by 16 points after the first quarter.

The Lakers would improve in the second quarter, but the home team still trailed by 13 points at the intermission. Bryant's shooting woes continued, as no. 24 missed 13 of his 15 shot attempts in the first half.

The third quarter played out relatively evenly with the Lakers scoring 30 points and shooting 47.8 percent from the field. Bryant did not shoot in the third period, and the Lakers still trailed by 15 points entering the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Lakers' second unit combined with Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle to erase the deficit and cut the game to four points with about four minutes to play. Bryant would return to close out the game, and the Lakers managed to cut the lead to two points with 22.1 seconds remaining after Metta World Peace hit a three-pointer.

Paul George of the Pacers would make four clutch free throws down the stretch to keep the Lakers four points down. Then, Bryant stepped up and hit an incredible shot that brought the Lakers within one point with 12 seconds to play.

George would shoot two more free throws to put the Lakers down three points. Bryant got another shot to tie the game, and this time, reality set in. He shot up an air-ball, and the Lakers lost 107-103.

The Lakers lost and fell to 2-14 on the season.

Notes: Clarkson finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Nick Young finished with 22 points off the bench. George finished with a game-high 39 points.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Look Back At Kobe Bryant's Career]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 19:59:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-announces-retirement.jpg

Into his 20th season, Kobe Bryant penned a letter titled "Dear Basketball" that served to effectively announce that he would not be returning to the NBA or the Los Angeles Lakers after year No. 20. However, Bryant has put together a two-decade long career that has made him stand apart from the crowd.


Bryant spent his youth in Italy, where his father professionally played basketball at the tail-end of his career. However, the Bryant family relocated to Philadelphia, where Bryant attended Lower Marion High School and began to spark interest from universities and professional teams, alike.

The 17-year-old would jump straight from High School to the NBA when the Charlotte Hornets picked Bryant with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 draft. Shortly after, Bryant would come to the Lakers in a trade that involved Vlade Divac.

Bryant rarely played early in his rookie season, but his acrobatic abilities earned him the honor of the 1997 Slam Dunk champion, and ultimately, the Lakers allowed their young rookie to air-ball them out of the playoffs in Utah.


With Shaquille O'Neal, who had joined the Lakers in the same year as Bryant, and coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers managed to win three titles between 2000 and 2002. The Lakers would also return to the final in 2004, but the Detroit Pistons ended the Lakers' dynasty with O'Neal being traded over that summer.

Without O'Neal and suddenly surrounded by a weak roster, Bryant rattled off a couple scoring titles and also managed to put together one of the greatest scoring performances of all time. Bryant scored 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center, which stands as the highest scoring performance apart from Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game.


In 2008, the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol, and Bryant led the purple and gold to three straight NBA Finals. 2008 would also mark Bryant's only Most Valuable Player award. After losing to the hated Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in 2009 and managed to earn revenge over the Celtics in 2010. With the win over the Celtics, Bryant collected his fifth NBA title.


The 17-time NBA all-star continued to perform at a high level in the years that followed, but a torn Achilles tendon in April of 2013 would begin a downward spiral for the superstar. Bryant would only appear in six games the following season and fail to last even half a season in the year that followed.


Struggling in his 20th season in the NBA, Bryant announced on Sunday night that year No. 20 would be his final season. Perhaps, the decision to go public at this point in time had to do with the Lakers playing in his hometown of Philadelphia on Tuesday. Now, it's official that Tuesday will be the last time Bryant plays in Philadelphia.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Dear Basketball': Kobe Bryant Announces Retirement]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:26:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-Madison-Square-Garden.jpg

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers has decided to retire after this season.

The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players' Tribune on Sunday. The decision was not totally unexpected, given that Bryant has said many times in recent weeks that he was considering making his 20th NBA season his last.

There's no more wondering now.

After two decades, two Olympic gold medals, five championship rings, 17 All-Star selections, an 81-point game that ranks as the second-best in NBA history and more than 32,000 points, Bryant's career is officially winding down.

"This season is all I have left to give," Bryant said in what he called a letter entitled "Dear Basketball."

Bryant said in an interview on Sirius XM Radio just last week that "if something changes," he would come back and play next season. Only a few days later, that's apparently no longer an option.

"My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it's time to say goodbye," Bryant wrote in the post. "And that's OK. I'm ready to let you go. I want you to know now. So we both can savor every moment we have left together. The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have."

Bryant ranks third on the NBA's career scoring list, and only 13 players in league history played on more championship teams. Bryant helped the Lakers to titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.

This season has been a struggle for the five-time champion, whose young and rebuilding Lakers are mired at the bottom of the Western Conference standings while he's shooting a career-worst 32 percent. Injuries have dogged him in recent years as well, limiting him to 41 of a possible 164 games in the previous two seasons. And even this season, back issues have kept him from playing as much as he would like.

"It's tough to see one of the absolute greatest competitors go through this," Miami guard Dwyane Wade told The Associated Press on Sunday, prior to Bryant making his announcement. "You can put a team around a guy to help a guy, especially late in his career. They're just not in position right now to do that. He's won five championships, so no one feels bad for him from that standpoint. But from a standpoint of seeing one of this era's greatest players go out in a rebuilding process, it's tough."

The Lakers have 66 games remaining after Sunday and it will likely turn into a adoration tour of sorts for Bryant, who has already gotten long ovations from normally hostile fans on road trips this season, particularly in places like New York and Miami where crowds sensed that they might be seeing him as an opponent for the final time.

The Lakers' next road game is, perhaps not coincidentally given the timing of Bryant's announcement, on Tuesday in Philadelphia -- his hometown.

"Philly is where I grew up," Bryant told AP in an interview in Miami earlier this month. "It's always a different emotion there than anywhere else."

Bryant came into the NBA straight out of high school, won the dunk contest at All-Star weekend as a rookie, played in the All-Star game for the first time the following year and a star was fast born. The 81 points he scored against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006, are second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in NBA history, and he's the only player to spend 20 consecutive seasons with the same team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Kings Comeback to Beat Blackhawks 3-2 in OT]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 23:19:04 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/LA+Kings+comeback+to+beat+Blackhawks.png

LOS ANGELES – Marian Gaborik scored the final two goals of the game, including the game-winner in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings came from behind to defeat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Saturday night at Staples Center.

The defending Stanley Cup Champions proved why they're the best team in the NHL as they opened up the scoring 11:10 into the game. Patrick Kane scored the goal for the Blackhawks, his 19th consecutive game scoring at least a point.

Chicago went up 2-0 when Niklas Hjalmarsson's slap shot from just in front of the blue line sailed over Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick's glove and into the back of the net. Once again, it was Kane who was recorded another point as he was credited with the assist.

The Kings wasted no time getting back in the game in the third and final period. Jeff Carter scored his 10th goal of the season on the Kings first shot, just one-minute into the final frame and the Kings trailed by just a goal.

The Kings clawed all the way back when Anze Kopitar put a pass on plate for Marian Gaborik with just over five minutes remaining in the game. It was Gaborik's fourth and most important goal of the season as it tied the game at 2-2.

"Goal scorers build confidence by scoring goals," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said of Gaborik. "Hopefully this is a jump start."

The game would go to overtime as the NHL's ever-exciting 3-on-3 format took over in thrilling fashion. Gaborik sent the crowd into a frenzy when he buried the puck into the back of the net off a breakaway and the Kings took out their Western Conference rivals and Stanley Cup Champions to complete the comeback.

"We never quit," Gaborik said after the game. "That team over there on the other side is a great team. We came up short in their buidling and we are happy to redeem ourselves in this building."

Jeff Carter's goal on the first shot of the third period put the belief in the Kings that they could come back.

Patrick Kane. On the night he set the American record for consecutive games with a point, the Blackhawks right-winger added a goal and an assist to his 2015-2016 campaign.

Patrick Kane set the NHL record for consecutive games with a point scored by an American born player (19) when his power play goal got past Jonathan Quick in the first period.

"It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers," said Kane of this milestone. "It's pretty cool right now but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss."


A simple typo can change everything.


"Oh, you almost had it. You've got to be Quick-er than that."

"No, means no!" –shouted by LA Kings fans every time Patrick Kane touched the puck.

The Kings are now 1-4 against the Blackhawks since winning the 2014 Stanley Cup.

Derek Forbot was scratched before the game.

Staples Center and the Los Angeles Kings put in a bid to host the 2017 NHL All-Star Game.

Chicago Blackhawks (13-8-3, 29 points) 3rd in Central Division

Los Angeles Kings (14-8-1, 29 points) 1st in Pacific Division

The Blackhawks return home to Chicago where they will host the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The Kings remain in Los Angeles where they will hos the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blazers Beat Lakers 108-96]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 22:05:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-lose-to-Blazers-11-28-15.jpg

The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 108-96 at Moda Center with Damian Lillard scoring 29 points for game-high honors, narrowly edging teammate C.J. McCollum's 28 points. For the visiting Lakers, Kobe Bryant led the way with 21 points on 7-20 shooting, but the night featured an optimistic oulook on the young trio of D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.

"Lillard and McCollum--both of those guys are good," Lakers coach Byron Scott said on TWC SportsNet after the game.

At home, the Blazers came out shooting hot from the opening tip. Portland led by as many as 17 points after shooting 72.2 percent in the opening 12 minutes. McCollum and Lillard combined for 24 points in the opening quarter and looked altogether unstoppable.

For the Lakers, Clarkson and Randle found their shots early, as the two second-year players combined for score 12 points on 6-9 shooting in the opening period. However, Bryant started 2-7 in the opening quarter which combined with the Blazers' hot start to sink the Lakers.

To the credit of the coaching staff and the visiting players, the Lakers did not roll over and play dead for the remaining three quarters. LA cut the Blazers' lead down to seven points with 2:47 to play in the opening half. Unfortunately, that lead would double before the halftime halftime buzzer sounded and the score read "60-46."

In the second half, the Lakers cut the deficit to five points with 5:43 to play in the third quarter. Clarkson, Bryant and Russell all shot better than 50 perfent for the quarter and helped trim Portland's lead.

Every time the Lakers cut the lead, the Blazers' back court responded. Lillard would score 12 points in the quarter and extend the lead by for 14 points with 55.4 seconds to play in the quarter. Nick Young quickly came to life and hit a couple timely three-pointers to keep Lakers' hopes alive and draw LA within eight points entering the fourth quarter.

In the second half and particularly early in the fourth quarter, the young Lakers continued to show signs of maturation. The Lakers would claw to within six points before falling back down by 12 points only two minutes later. The young Lakers continued to fight and cut the lead to eight points on three separate occations before the final buzzer, but they would get no closer.

Randle finished with 16 points, four assists and six rebounds on 8-13 shooting, Russell finished with 16 points, five assists and four rebounds on 6-11 shooting and Clarkson finished with 19 points, four assists and three rebounds on 8-15 shooting.

"I though all three of those guys played pretty well," Scott would say about Clarkson, Russell and Randle after the game. "One thing that was different than the last time we played them was our effort. Our focus was better."

Despite the strong showing and heavy minutes by the young core, the Lakers dropped to 2-13 on the season. Porland's win moved the Blazers to 7-10.

Notes: Scott said Bryant's involvement in Sunday's home game against Indiana would be determined via conversations that take place between the player and the coach on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Crushes Rival UCLA 40-21]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 17:37:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/USC+defeats+UCLA.png

LOS ANGELES – The Trojans defense dominated the second half and USC claimed the Victory Bell by defeating cross-town rivals UCLA 40-21 for the first time in four years on Saturday at the LA Coliseum.

After back-to-back three-and-outs by both teams, the Trojans got on the board first thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Alex Wood.

UCLA would answer with a six-play, 52-yard touchdown drive. The Bruins went for it on fourth-and-one, and Perkins picked up the first down, nearly fell to the ground, but was able to keep himself up as he scampered to the end zone.

The Trojans answered to open the second quarter when senior quarterback Cody Kessler called his own number on a QB keeper to give USC back the lead.

The lead was short-lived as the Bruins came right back down the field and scored on a great throw by Josh Rosen to Thomas Duarte.

After a field goal cut the Bruins lead to one, Adoree' Jackson returned a punt all the way to the house for the second consecutive game, and the Trojans went into the half with a 20-14 lead.

UCLA opened up the third quarter with an 11 play, 78-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by Perkins. The junior tailback punched the ball in from one-yard out for his second score of the game.

The Trojans defense dominated the game from there. After USC's offense stalled, Trojans defensive end Claude Pelon sacked Rosen, forcing a fumble that was recovered by freshman Rasheem Green who ran it all the way back for the defensive touchdown.

On the Bruins next possession, Rosen was intercepted by Iman Marshall, setting up Cody Kessler's first passing touchdown of the game, a 20-yard strike to Darreus Rogers who reached across the goal line for the score.

The Trojans capped off the game with another touchdown pass from Kessler, this time to tight end Taylor McNamara to put the Trojans up 40-21. 

Another interception by Iman Marshall with less than five minutes left to play in the game sealed the deal for USC, as the Trojans punched their ticket to the Pac 12 Championship game on Dec. 5 in Santa Clara, California against Stanford.

The Bruins were leading 21-20 midway through the third quarter, and had just forced the Trojans to punt on a three-and-out. Momentum was on the side of UCLA when Claude Pelon sacked Josh Rosen, stripping the football. Rasheem Green picked the ball up and ran it 31-yards for the touchdown, changing the score, the momentum and the game to the USC side.

The Trojans defense. USC forced three turnovers and converted two of them into touchdowns and the final one into the final drive of the game. Iman Marshall had two of those interceptions and Pelon's sack, fumble on Josh Rosen turned the tide.

Ronald Jones II passed Charles White for the all-time rushing yard record by a freshman (859).


Dodgers' third baseman Justin Turner shows his support for the cardinal and gold.


Needless to say, these teams don't like each other.

"The next stop is Stanford. We ready. Tell them we coming." – USC Wide Receiver Darreus Rogers.

Josh Rosen's third quarter interception was his first in his last 246 pass attempts. The 246 throws without an INT is a new UCLA Bruins record.

UCLA Bruins (8-4, 5-4 in Conference) 2nd in Pac 12 South Division

USC Trojans (8-4, 6-3 in Conference) 1st in Pac 12 South Division

The Trojans will face Stanford in the Pac12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.

UCLA's next game will be in a bowl game either the Royal Purple Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Defeats UCLA at Coliseum 40-21]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 23:11:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/175*120/USC+v+UCLA+2014.jpg

Cross-town rivals UCLA and USC went head-to-head Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with USC defeating UCLA 40 to 21.

For the first time since 2012, USC will move on to the Pac 12 Championship Game where they will meet the Stanford Cardinal on Dec. 5 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The champion will also be awarded the Victory Bell, according to the Bruins' website. The bell -- which originally hung atop a Southern Pacific freight locomotive -- has been passed back and forth between the two Los Angeles schools since 1942.

Senior quarterback, Cody Kessler, played his final game in the rivalry, whereas UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen, is playing in his first game in the rivalry. 

The Trojans have been under new leadership for the past month and a half, after their coach, Steve Sarkisian, was placed on indefinite leave on Oct. 11 and fired a day later. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton was appointed as interim coach.

UCLA has won the game for the last three years under coach Jim Mora.

Kickoff took place at 12:30PM PST and is airing live on ABC. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe, Lakers Play Blazers on Saturday]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 17:46:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-at-Blazers-Kobe-Bryant-starting.jpg

Kobe Bryant did not go to morning shootaround in Oregon, as the Los Angeles Lakers prepared to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Bryant skipping shootaround is not especially alarming considering the 37-year-old completed about 75 percent of Monday's practice. Bryant has missed three games and several more practices due to rest. Prior to taking off on the trip, Scott said that he intended to tweak minutes for several guys, but the coach remained staunch in his conviction that Bryant's minutes did not require tampering.

Likely in his final season, Bryant is off to a slower start than anyone could have ever imagined. Out of 121 players that qualify for NBA league leader statistical rankings, Bryant is dead last in the NBA by shooting 31.1 percent from the field. Meanwhile, he ranks 21st in the NBA in field goal attempts, so the five-time champion is shooting often and missing more often than, literally, the next 100 closest players in terms of shot attempts.

A major contributor to Bryant's poor shooting start is his inability to hit the three-point shot. Of the 16.4 field goal attempts per game the 37-year-old launches nightly, 7.0 of them come from beyond the arc. Why does that matter? Well, Bryant ranks 104 out of 104 players that qualify for three-point shooting percentage. He only hits the long bomb at a rate of 19.5 percent, which is cemented to the bottom of the NBA rankings.

Nearly half of Bryant's field goal attempts come from deep, 42.8 percent to be exact. Effectively. Bryant would be only a slightly below average shooter if he did not jack up an abnormal number of three-pointers. Bryant is shooting 39.8 percent from inside the three-point line. 

To be fair to the future Hall of Fame guard, the Lakers' offense often hands him the ball late in the shot clock and forces him to shoot up a three-point shot. Also, he's been open on a significant number of those missed shots. And while speaking positively of Lakers coach Byron Scott is approaching blasphemy in several Lakers' circles, the misses have come early in games, so his tired legs are hard to blame for the abysmal shooting

While watching Bryant hurts the eyes and is gruesomely painful these days, he truly could be jacking up more shots and make this into a new level of bad. Bryant's 16.4 shot attempts are the lowest they've been since the 19-year veteran's first year as a starter, back in 1998-99 (excludes season where Bryant only played six games in 2013-14).

Even if Bryant is back hitting at full blast or catches fire for a quarter, the Lakers have dysfunctions on both sides of the ball that trump any single misfiring offensive player. After all, this team is dead last in the Western Conference, and only 0-17 Philadelphia can claim to be worse. Lucky for everyone, the 76ers and Lakers play in early December. Fortunately, Bryant's probable farewell to Philadelphia off the court should overshadow the (punch yourself in the face) brand of basketball on display on Dec. 1 in Pennsylvania.

Prior to Saturday's game in Oregon, the Lakers and Blazers played six days earlier in California. The Blazers won 107-93 with Damian Lillard scoring 30 points and passing off 13 assists at Staples Center. On that day, Bryant shot 6-22 from the field and 0-5 from three-point land.

Trying to see the forest from the blindingly dark trees, Julius Randle appears ready to break into  his second stride in what is effectively his rookie season, though not officially. Meanwhile, rookie D'Angelo Russell is beginning to settle into finding his scoring spots. Jordan Clarkson should continue to get minutes, and the 23-year-old has been the Lakers' most consistent player thus far.

With Williams out, Clarkson and Russell should get more minutes with the second unit, but Marcelo Huertas could also be utilized to fill the minutes.

Lakers and Blazers tip-off at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redick Leads Clippers Over Pelicans]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 22:42:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/J.J.+Redick+Clippers+.png

LOS ANGELES – J.J. Redick had his best game since returning from injury last week and the Los Angeles Clippers blew out the New Orleans Hornets 111-90 on Friday night at Staples Center.

The Clippers finally played the brand of basketball they've wanted to play all season in their blowout victory over the Pelicans.

The Clippers attempted 19 three-pointers, making seven of them, three times as many as they did in their loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. They rebounded better and got a better shooting performance from their bench as well.

Los Angeles jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, and pushed it to 21 points at halftime. The Pelicans made a run to start the second half, but once Anthony Davis went down with a knee injury, the run stopped and the Clippers cruised from there.

Davis led New Orleans with 17 points and six rebounds before being carried to the locker room.

J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin each scored 20 points for the Clippers and Austin Rivers contributed 17 points off the bench.

The Pelicans cut the lead to 14 points late in the third quarter, but tragedy struck when Chris Paul collided into the knee of Anthony Davis. Davis could not walk on his own power and had to be carried into the visitor's locker room.


J.J. Redick. The Clippers two-guard had his best performance since returning from a back injury last week. Redick scored 20 points, including 15 in the first quarter to get the Clippers out to a hot start. 

"He creates havoc in the first quarter," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. "Defensively the opposing teams have to change coverage and it creates chaos."

Clippers' guard Jamal Crawford passed Juwan Howard for 100th on the NBA's all-time leading scorers list.

"That's pretty cool," Crawford said of the milestone. "I haven't had a chance to digest that just yet. But one day, I'll look back at it say 'that's pretty cool.'"


You'd be deflated too if you just watched your MVP get carried off the court.


Longtime Clippers play-by-play announcer, Ralph Lawler, showing us is view courtside.

"I wasn't sure what to expect when I first met Lance. He's the best rapper on the team though." – Clippers forward Blake Griffin on teammate Lance Stephenson.

The Clippers sold out Staples Center for the 200th consecutive game.

New Orleans Pelicans (4-12, 1-2 on the road) last in the Southwest Division

Los Angeles Clippers (8-8, 6-4 at home) 2nd in the Pacific Division

The Pelicans take the court again tomorrow in Utah on the second night of a back-to-back against the Jazz.

The Clippers return to the court on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center where they will host the Minnesota Timberwolves at 12:30 PM PST.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Yasiel Puig Involved in Fight at Miami Nightclub]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 23:21:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Yasiel+Puig+brawl.png

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a fight at a Miami nightclub on Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press.

A representative for the Miami Police Department says that Puig suffered a swollen left eye and facial lacerations in the incident, after he was asked to leave the club by security.

Reportedly, Puig sucker punched a bouncer and busted his lip before being restrained by numerous security guards outside the club.

The incident occurred at Blue Martini nightclub in Miami where Puig was having a drink with his sister on Wednesday night, the eve of Thanksgiving. Witnesses claim that Puig got into a verbal argument with his sister and things escalated to the point where he pushed her.

Once Puig made contact with his sister, security rushed over and asked Puig to leave the premises. That's when things got violent as Puig refused to leave and was dragged out by multiple security guards before he punched one of them, setting off the melee.

Cops were called to the scene, but neither side wanted to press charges. The MLB is currently investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have not released a statement on the incident and calls placed to Puig and his representatives have not been returned.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Tom Brady Dresses Up for Turkey Day Surprise]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:47:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tom+Brady+102915.jpg

Looks like the New England Patriots' star quarterback couldn't resist having a little bit of fun on Thanksgiving.

Tom Brady posted a funny video of him hiding in a pile of leaves in a turkey costume, and then popping out to surprise his young children.

We can't decide what's more precious: his children's reactions or the fact that Brady goes "gobble gobble." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[A's Pitcher Hosts Syrian Refugees]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:09:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/172*120/DSC_15321.jpg

Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle and his activist girlfriend Eireann Dolan, both natives of Illinois, hosted 17 Syrian refugee families for a Thanksgiving meal in Chicago on Wednesday night with Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a special guest.

The idea of whether to accept Syrian refugees has become controversial as of late, as some critics fear that terrorists could slip in as desperate families seek safe shelter from their war-torn homeland.

But the couple shunned those worries, and instead decided to act how they think all Americans should.

“Chicago is so lucky to have 17 Syrian refugee families now officially calling it home,” Dolan wrote on Instagram. “We thought we'd officially welcome them with one of our greatest American traditions, Thanksgiving.”

Her photo shows women in hijabs and a young boy wearing a Cubs baseball cap seated around a festive table, dotted with Pepsi, flowers and cranberry sauce.

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A’s spokesman Ken Pries told NBC Bay Area on Friday the power couple hosted the dinner on Wednesday and have no personal connection with the refugees. The city of Chicago and the mayor helped put them in contact with the group, he said.

“It was obviously a very nice gesture," he said.

The couple has made nice gestures before.

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The A’s kicked off LGBT Pride Night in June, which sparked some homophobic reaction, such as season ticket holders indicating they wanted to sell their tickets.

Dolan, who said she has two “super gay” moms, and Doolittle offered to buy any unwanted tickets up to $3,000, and donate the tickets to the Bay Area Youth Center’s Our Space community for LGBTQ youth.

Photo Credit: Walter Mitchell, City of Chicago
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<![CDATA[Great-Grandma, 102, Plays Baseball]]> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:33:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/102-year-old-grandma-baseball.gif

“Keep your eye on the ball.”

A San Diego cul-de-sac has been transformed into a concrete baseball diamond, home to the Zimmer family’s annual Thanksgiving game for about 22 years.

The instruction comes from the team’s oldest and feistiest player, 102-year-old Ann Sellaro.

But she’s not satisfied with acting as batting coach. Putting aside her walker, the great-grandmother steps up to the imaginary plate with a blue, plastic bat in hand.

One, two, three swings at bright yellow wiffle balls and Sellaro strikes out. But for her family, the misses don’t detract from her baseball chops and a love of the game that helped inspire two of her great-grandsons to become Major League Baseball players.

"I taught them everything they know," Sellaro says.

Kyle and Bradley Zimmer, La Jolla High School graduates, were both first-round draft picks out of the University of San Francisco. Kyle now pitches for the Kansas City Royals, and Bradley plays center field for the Cleveland Indians.

But long before they were playing in the big leagues, their training began in a quiet La Jolla cul-de-sac. Sellaro was there dealing out advice “since the first time we picked up a bat, I think,” said Bradley.

“I think that was about two days after we started walking,” quipped Kyle. "It’s been a long time."

Back then, the Zimmers and their friends would keep the wiffle balls within easy reach. However, as they grew, the balls soon started flying across streets, over fences and into neighbor’s yards.

“We've had to extend the home run line,” said Eric Zimmer, the players’ dad. “It used to be the curb, and then it was the sidewalk, then it was the neighbor’s roof.”

The annual Thanksgiving game has become less competitive with fewer rules, but their favorite part remains the same.

“Anytime you can say you have a grandma who's 102 years old and showing you how to hit a wiffle ball in the backyard, it's pretty special,” said Bradley. “So having her down here has been awesome. It's something that we really cherish and look forward to every year."

Sellaro used to travel long distances to watch her great-grandsons play, but as traveling becomes harder, she shows her support by watching their games on TV or online.

In person, though, the batting coach instincts kick back in.

“Keep your eye on the ball,” she says, pointing at Kyle. “And that goes for you, too.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Brett Favre’s Number Retired]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 19:37:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-56396130+%281%29.jpg

The Chicago Bears will head into a hostile Lambeau Field Thursday night to face the Green Bay Packers, and even though they won’t have to face Brett Favre, the legendary quarterback’s presence will still be a big part of the evening.

That’s because the Packers are retiring Favre’s jersey at halftime of the Thanksgiving showdown.

The honor has been a long time coming for Favre, who spent the vast majority of his Hall of Fame-caliber career wearing the green and gold, and it’s especially appropriate that he is receiving the distinction during a game against a Bears team that he routinely tortured in his NFL career.

In 36 career starts against the Bears, Favre racked up a 23-13 record and some incredible passing numbers. He threw for 8606 yards in those 36 games, tossing 60 touchdowns and rushing for three more against Chicago during his career. Those 60 touchdowns are the most he threw against any team, and even though he did throw 42 interceptions against the Bears (also the most he’s thrown against any team), he still represented the Bears’ ultimate nemesis during his time in Green Bay.

The list of Favre’s best games against the Bears is a long one, but there are a few that certainly stand out.

Few will forget the masterful performance he had at Soldier Field in a November 1995 game, where he threw five touchdowns and racked up 336 passing yards despite playing the game with a severely sprained ankle.

A 2002 tilt against the Bears in Champaign was another Favre classic as he threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in an emphatic 34-21 victory.

Unfortunately for Chicago, Favre’s replacement in Green Bay hasn’t been an easier opponent, as Aaron Rodgers holds a 12-3 record and throws for an average of 242.5 yards per game against the Bears in his career. Oh, and he’s thrown 34 touchdowns and just eight interceptions too.

<![CDATA[Clippers Crushed by Jazz ]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 22:36:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Clippers+Crushed+by+Jazz.png

LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin had a team-high 40 points, but got no help from his teammates as the Utah Jazz destroyed a discombobulated Clippers team 102-91 on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Blake Griffin had 40 points, but nobody else on the Clippers had a pulse as the Clippers laid an egg against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

The two teams were deadlocked at 45 at halftime before the Jazz opened up a 12 point lead throughout the fourth quarter.

The Clippers looked like a team that did not know what they were doing on offense throughout the game.

Rudy Gobert was heading down the court for a fast break dunk when he was fouled from behind by DeAndre Jordan on an obvious clear path foul in the third quarter. Gobert made one of two free throws and the Jazz got the ball out of bounds and scored on the next possession turning an 11-point lead into a 14-point lead.

Gordon Hayward. The small forward out of Butler University led the Jazz with

Blake Griffin earned his 37th career 30-point, 10 rebound game on Wednesday, ranking him third among active players (Kevin Love -52, Kevin Durant 38)




One of the only highlights of the night for the Clippers.

"If I knew I would tell you. We just have to keep working." Head coach Doc Rivers when asked what is wrong with the Clippers.

Trey Burke left the game in the first half with back spasms and did not return. 

Utah Jazz (7-7, 5-5 on the road)

Los Angeles Clippers (7-8, 5-4) at home.

Utah returns home for Thanksgiving where they will have two days off before hosting the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday at 9:00PM EST.

The Clippers return to Staples Center on Friday night with a Thanksgiving hangover as they host the New Orleans Pelicans at 10:30PM EST.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Practice: Byron Talks Kobe's Role]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:55:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-has-privileges.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers met in El Segundo following a long night in Golden State, where the Warriors blew out the Lakers and led by over 40 points at one point. Less than 12 hours after returning to LA, the Lakers practiced hard, but the topic of the day still centered on Kobe Bryant and his abysmal shooting performance the night before: 1-14.

Watching the Lakers is not easy, which is confirmed by the 2-12 start to the season, and Bryant is shouldering a large chunk of the blame following an air-ball filled performance in Oakland the night before.

"Obviously, he's struggling with his shot," Lakers coach Byron Scott said about Bryant on Wednesday. "I don't think it's a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired, I think it's a matter of his timing just being a little off."

Scott pointed to spacing and execution as being a primary factor in getting better shots and allowing for easier offensive opportunities. However, Scott remained adamant that he had not considered reducing the 37-year-old's minutes or possibly even benching the five-time champion, citing that Bryant did not seem tired and that it was "too early in the season."

When asked how much input and guidance he provided Bryant through his current struggles, Scott said, "I'm trying to let him find it on himself. He's been doing it for a long time. Again, I'm not so much worried about Kobe. I am concerned about his shooting percentage and the shots so far."

So far, Bryant is shooting 31 percent from the field and 19.5 percent from three-point land. Bryant is averaging 7.0 three-point attempts per game, so those three-pointers play a massive role in the future Hall of Fame Laker's horrific start to the season. On a related note, the Lakers have started the season 2-12.

Scott added, "As far as knowing him the way I know him and how long as he's played in this league, I'm not worried about him finding it."

On Wednesday, Scott clearly stated that he had not even considered reducing Bryant's role or attempting to cut minutes.

Scott concluded, "I know (Bryant's) mentality is that he still feels that he can still play in this league, and we feel the same way."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 01:08:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Germany-Boxing-AP_11982943034.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Roggins Heroes: Dancing and Dessert]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 21:06:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Thanksgiving_4_2_1200x675_574295619853.jpg It's time for the final course of Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving. One of the country’s top prep prospects shows off his moves while another has a slice of fumble pie. Originally aired as part of Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving, November 26, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Football, Family and Freedom]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 21:07:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Thanksgiving_3_1200x675_574284868000.jpg For two young men, the dream to play in the NFL takes very different shapes. Michael Pittman Jr grew up in a football family while Oluwole Betiku made a way out of Africa in hopes of building a better life for his family. They come from vastly different places but their goals are the same. Originally aired as part of Roggin’s Heroes Thanksgiving special, November 26, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Oluwole Betiku: From Nigeria to the NFL?]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:28:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Betiku_Hero_2_1200x675_574263363554.jpg Growing up in Nigeria, Oluwole Betiku had a dream: to escape the harsh conditions in his homeland and make a better life for his family. Two years into his new life in America, he's well on his way. Football is helping write the ticket for one of the top prep prospects in the country. Originally aired as part of Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving on November 26, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Michael Pittman: All in the Family]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:27:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Michael_Pittman_1200x675_574253123715.jpg Michael Pittman is one of the best prep receivers in the country. That's nice yet he's not even the best football player in his household. He's doing all he can to live up to the family name. Originally aired as part of Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving on November 26, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[KJ and Cade: A Special Connection]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 23:37:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Costello_1200x675_574253123698.jpg KJ Costello is the top-ranked high school quarterback in the country, yet his top priority is helping others. The Santa Margarita High School star has developed a special connection with one young man battling cancer. KJ and Cade Spinello shared their inspiring story as part of Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving special, originally aired on November 26, 2015. Some video clips courtesy Student Sports and the Spinello Family.]]> <![CDATA[Roggins Heroes: KJ and Cade Can't Be Stopped]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 21:07:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Thanksgiving_2_1200x675_574252611921.jpg KJ Costello shows he has a full stomach and an equally full heart. One of the country's best quarterbacks has developed a special connection with a young boy battling cancer. Originally aired as part of Roggin’s Heroes Thanksgiving, November 26, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Roggins Heroes: Lights, Camera Action]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 21:07:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Thanksgiving_Part_1_1200x675_573926467707.jpg They dance, they sing, the show off for the camera. The new crop of Roggin's Heroes can do it all. Zion Echols shines for the camera and we look back at some of our most successful Roggin's Heroes.]]> <![CDATA[Roggins Heroes: Marching to Zion]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 23:36:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Zion_Echols_1200x675_574246979885.jpg Imagine having camera crews follow you around for a couple months. Charter Oak Running Back Zion Echols had that privilege as part of an instructional assembly program running in schools throughout Southern California. Oh, and he just happens to be one of best athletes in the area. Originally aired as part of Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving on November 26, 2015. Some video courtesy Camfel Productions.]]> <![CDATA[From Nigeria to the White House]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:26:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Betiku_President_1200x675_574238787595.jpg Roggin's Hero and Nigerian national Oluwole Betiku from Serra High in Gardena talks about the time he met President Obama. Betiku was a guest of former linebacker LaVar Arrington at the White House last May.]]> <![CDATA[Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving 2015]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:52:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/roggins+heroes+logo+challenge.jpg

Thanksgiving is all about family, food and football.

For the fourth straight year, Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving brought the three together for an annual holiday tradition.

Southern California's best high school football players gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village to share in the fun and to feast on the biggest meal of their lives.

They are some of the most sought after prep prospects in the nation. Some will attend USC, others UCLA, others Stanford. But they'll all sit around our table for Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving.

While we count the many blessings they display on the field, we also share the stories of the family connections that have helped them along the way while driving them to reach their goals.

You'll hear the heartwarming story of KJ Costello, one of the country's top quarterbacks who draws inspiration from a young friend battling cancer.

Then there's Michael Pittman who, based on his family name, has a lot to live up to and so far he's doing just that.

And, unexpected future star Oluwole Betiku. He's spent just two years in this country, coming to America to play football in hopes the sport can secure a better life for his family back in Nigeria.

They have lots to be thankful this Thanksgiving. And you'll be thankful you watched.

Note: Originally aired on November 26, 2015.

<![CDATA[Thankful for Roggin's Heroes]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:40:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TG_WEB_THANKFULS_1200x675_573532227734.jpg Our Roggin's Heroes have plenty to be thankful for. Hear them share their holiday wishes as part of the fourth annual Roggin's Heroes Thanksgiving special, originally aired November 26, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Durant's New Sneaker Is Taboo to Some in Prince George's]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:09:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/KD8+PG+County.jpg

With his latest Nike sneaker, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant attempted to pay homage to the Maryland county where his journey to NBA all-star and MVP began, but some find it offensive.

The $180 sneaker, which goes on sale Wednesday, is called the KD8 ‘P.G. County,’ and that abbreviation of “Prince George’s” upsets some in the county. For years, using “PG” has been considered taboo.

“We would certainly prefer that it was ‘Prince George’s County,’” said Barry Hudson, the county executive’s spokesman.

The county reached out to Nike when it learned of the name.

“Actually sent a letter to Nike kind of giving them some idea of the nature of the term ‘Prince George’s County’ versus ‘PG County’ just to let them know that it is, to many in the county, a pejorative,” Hudson said.

Melvin McCray, who once coached Durant at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center, said the name of the shoe makes perfect sense. Durant has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the facility where a room is named in his honor.

“Whether it’s ‘PG County,’ whether it’s ‘Prince George’s County,’ I just think we all should just enjoy the moment and just embrace it,” McCray said.

Photo Credit: Nike]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Beat Lakers to Set NBA Record]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:44:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/Lakers-lose-to-Warriors-record-nba.jpg

The Golden State Warriors made history against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. The Warriors went to 16-0 with the 111- 77 win is an old-fashioned game of blowout basketball, which marked the best ever start to an NBA season. Previously, the 1993-94 Houston Rockets held the record at 15-0.

Surprisingly, the Warriors came out shooting cold against the visiting Lakers. Not so surprisingly, the Warriors still managed to take a massive lead on a Lakers team that has the habit of falling flat on its face. For the 12th time in 14 games, the Lakers lost. This time, though, the purple and gold trailed by 19 points before the first quarter was up.

Kobe Bryant had had an awful night. He shot up air balls, he shot up bricks and he even shot up one thud-worthy attempt that stuck in between the backboard and the rim. The 37-year-old shot 1-14 from the field and looked worse than he has all season, and Bryant has not looked good this season.

No Laker scored over 10 points, so Bryant can hardly take all the credit in the loss. Jordan Clarkson went 2-11, Nick Young shot 3-10 and Roy Hibbert went 0-4. This was a game where the Lakers' best punch would possibly give them a chance against the world champs, but the Lakers seemingly slipped and fell as the opening bell rang out.

"They're a better team than we are," Lakers coach Byron Scott said on TWC SportsNet after the game. "It's pretty much that simple."

The Warriors only needed one quarter to decide the outcome, so the game never looked in doubt. However, the Lakers did show positive signs in the second period. Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell and almost-rookie Julius Randle combined to help cut the 22-point lead down to only 16 points by halftime. Russell hit shots, while Randle bruised his way to buckets. Both players shot 50 percent from the field for the night.

Along with the other starters, Russell and Randle did not play in the fourth quarter because the Warriors led by 34 points after three quarters. Stephen Curry had already received his sendoff ovation at that stage, and the game called for emptying the bench for guys like Tarik Black and Larry Nance Jr. to get extra minutes.

Curry finished with 24 points and nine assists on 10-21 shooting. By his standards, he had a bad night in that the league's Most Valuable Player only hit four of his 12 attempts from beyond the three-point line. However, Curry sat the whole fourth quarter because the game was simply not competitive. The Warriors' largest lead on the night was 41 points.

Draymond Green also had a positive night in more ways than one. Green had a +/- of 36, which tied Curry for the best net-positive players on the team. Green finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal in 30 active minutes on the court.

"It's just another loss for us, another win for them," Scott said. "That's how I kind of look at it and just go back to the drawing board."

Next, the Warriors look to extend their record to 17 games in Phoenix on Friday night. The Lakers look to snap a four-game losing streak in Portland on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers at Warriors: History Will Be Made]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 04:43:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Lakers-Warriors-preview-11-24-2015.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers will make history on Tuesday night in Oakland.

The world champion Golden State Warriors have started the season 15-0, which is tied for the best ever start to an NBA season with the 1993-94 Houston Rockets. The Atlanta Hawks ended the Rockets' streak in December of 1993, but Atlanta extended its own winning streak to 10 games with the victory.

The Lakers are not entering Tuesday's contest on a nine-game winning streak. The Lakers have lost seven of their last eight games and three in a row. A national audience expects to tune in to watch the champs toy with their sacrificial lamb before pleasing the audience with a swift stroke, which is what the masses came to see.

The stroke, in this case, belongs to Stephen Curry. The league's reigning Most Valuable Player is far away the best player in the league and on the best team in the Association through the first 20 percent of the season. Curry's stroke is averaging 32.7 points on 21.1 shots per game with 11.3 of those attempts coming from beyond the arc. Curry is shooting 43.8 percent from distance, which is in line with his career average of 44.0 percent, but the former Davidson Wildcat has attempted slightly more than three extra three-point attempts per game.

Already making an argument for being the best shooter of all time, the 27-year-old point guard is shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three-point land this season. From the foul line, Curry shoots a cool 93.8 percent on the season and 90.2 percent for his career.

It's been a tough week for the Lakers' young backcourt of rookie D'Angelo Russell and second-year Jordan Clarkson. On Monday, Brandon Knight recorded a triple double as his backcourt partner Eric Bledsoe helped the Suns burn the Lakers in Phoenix. Then, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen combined to give Toronto a victory on Friday night. Finally, the nightmare week ended with Damian Lillard dropping 30 points and 13 assists and C.J. McCollum doing his part with 19 points and five assists in the Blazers' victory on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Lakers' young backcourt continues getting punched in the face when it matches up against the top backcourt in the NBA. Joining Curry, Klay Thompson's points have dropped slightly, but the 25-year-old is attempting about three fewer shots per game. And Thompson is the only player in the league that can hold a candle to Curry from shooting beyond the arc.

A season ago, Thompson hit 239 threes in a season to rank no. 9 for the record of most three-pointers made in an NBA season. Curry has had seasons that rank at no. 5, no. 2 and no. 1 on that list. A season ago, Curry set the record with 286 three-pointers in a season to shatter his own previous mark of 272. Thompson may be holding the candle, but Curry is on his own planet.

Through 15 games, Curry has already made an astounding 74 three-pointers. If he continues at his current pace, the kid from Akron will finish with 330 three-pointers, which would shatter Curry's other top two seasons.

On Tuesday, however, the Lakers arrive in Oakland to make history. If the purple and gold lose, Golden State will set a new record for most wins to ever start a season. If the Warriors miraculously lose, the Lakers could well be pulling off the greatest regular season upset in NBA history.

Entering Tuesday, most Las Vegas casinos peg the Lakers as 17 or 18-point underdogs. Yes, the Warriors are that good. Lakers at Warriors tips-off at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coach: Kobe Bryant Has Earned Privilege ]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:49:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-has-privileges.jpg

On Monday, Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott caused a bit of a national basketball media stir when answering questions on the topic of Kobe Bryant after practice. Several highly reputable basketball writers took note of the quotes accumulated and tweeted by Serena Winters of LakersNation.com.

Fortunately, NBCLA.com stood present to further provide context as the Los Angeles Lakers' coach answered a couple questions administered by Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.

Oram asked, "Going back to talking about isolation being a problem, Kobe came out and got a lot of shots early last night, talking about wanting to shoot you guys off to a good start, does that kind of set the tone for other guys going 'iso' and the ball sticking?"

Earlier in the practice, Scott had previously spoken about losing patience and possibly benching young players for a variety of offenses, including failing to follow the defensive game plan, failing to hustle back on defense in transition, playing one-on-one basketball and holding the ball for too long.

"It could," Scott responded by saying Bryant's early shooting could have set an unwanted isolation mentality at the start of the game.

"First of all, he's had 20 year in this league," Scott said about Bryant, who is likely in his final season in the NBA. "We might not have six players that have 20 years in this league combined. So, he has that privilege, basically."

Scott is considered an "old school" coach, and earning playing time, privileges and the concept of seniority are the language of the older style of basketball. To his credit, though, Scott has seemingly embraced new school concepts like small ball (to a fault, probably).

However, Scott continued to expand and attempted to explain how he coaches Bryant with a different philosophy than the other members of his team.

"From a coaching standpoint, I want Kobe to be Kobe," Scott said about the 37-year-old, who attempted and missed more shots than any other Laker in Sunday's loss. "Other guys haven't earned that right yet. When it gets to their hands and it's sticking, and you're a first, second, or third-year player, you haven't earned that right yet."

Then, Scott completed his answer by rehashing the lessons he is teaching the Lakers' young group.

"So we're going to keep talking about that on the offensive end as far as moving the ball and moving our bodies and sharing the ball and being a little bit more unselfishness as a basketball team because I don't think we're doing it maliciously," Scott said, returning to his overall positive outlook with his 2-11 team. "I think guys want to win and they want to do the right things, but they just don't know how to go about it."

At this point, Oram asked a follow-up question: "Is that something that you've had to talk to (the team) about, that that privilege is not extended to them as yet?"

The voice of the "old school" responded again, "No, I haven't had to talk to them about it. And I don't think I still have to talk to them about it yet."

Obviously, the team understands that Bryant has special privileges. They see them regularly on the court and off it. On this particular Monday, Bryant did not have to report to practice after playing 31 minutes on Sunday. Instead, he met the team at the airport (after taking a helicopter, apparently), where the Lakers took off for Northern California for a game the next day.

On Tuesday, the 15-0 Golden State Warriors, a near impossible task, a national audience and history await the Lakers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frustrated Lakers Coach Not Satisfied With Development]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 15:01:40 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Byron-Scott-practice-11-23-15.jpg

"I woke up like I had a hangover, and I didn't drink, seriously," Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott stood in front of reporters on Monday morning. His team had fallen to 2-11 after suffering a home defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night, and watching the game back late at night did not help Scott sleep at night.

Scott did not seem content with the development process and specifically called out his players.

Scott said, "When I watched the game, basically on both ends, defensively we just didn't do the things that we talked about doing: trying to affect Damian (Lillard) as much as possible. We didn't do that, and I just thought we were just really, really soft defensively as the way we were trying to guard him. We weren't aggressive enough ."

The coach's criticism continued, "And then offensively, it was basically the same thing I've been seeing: our spacing. Guys are gravitating toward the ball, guys doing that 1-on-1. And we just don't have that type of team. We got to play together."

While Scott has sounded alarm bells and pointed out these types of criticisms in the month since the season started, Monday saw the coach approaching his boiling point. And he shared his frustrations with the team.

"Some of it is getting redundant," Scott told reporters. "I told them today, 'my patience has run thin.'"

What does that mean exactly? What can a coach of a 2-11 team that is full of developing NBA talent say or do at this point?

"So defensively, if you're not doing the things that I need you to do, if you're not getting back in transition, if we say that we're going to 'red' on pick-and-roll, which means we're going to trap, if you don't do that, then I'm just going to start taking guys out because they got to start getting it," Scott said. "That's just the bottom line."

The 54-year-old continued, "Same thing offensively, if you're not setting screen, keeping spacing and rolling to the basket, if you're just holding the basketball, I just got to start making some changes as far as that's concerned."

Scott said that he would not hold a full unit accountable for the poor actions of one or two guys that he does not think are performing up to standard.

"If one or two guys make a mistake on a particular play, I'll take those two guys out," Scott promised. "This is all based on individuals."

After Sunday's loss, Scott had harped on a missed defensive assignment on the first play of the game. On Monday, the coach expanded on that thought as he sent his hard hitting message.

"First play of the game they run, Jordan goes under (the screen), and that's not our game plan," Scott continued. "Like I told them, that's a lack of focus. Things like that are the things that are really, really hurting us. D'Angelo did the same thing in the fourth quarter."

Calling out second-year Jordan Clarkson and rookie D'Angelo Russell by name sent a clear message that none of the young players have a pass. If the no. 2 pick and the Lakers' most consistent young player got called out for mistakes by name, Scott in effect singled out two of his young leaders as prime candidates for benching.

"I think guys are maybe getting a little too comfortable," he said. "They got to be held a little bit more accountable for their actions out there. Like I said, I've been lenient because they are young and they're learning, but it's that time that you got to start getting it."

Scott did not appear to be interested in waiting any longer and promised to have a quicker trigger finger against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

Scott continued, "It's that point in time for me to start saying, 'alright guys, I've given you a lot of leeway, and you make mistakes. We show you over and over again on tape, we talk about it, but you continue to make those same mistakes, then I got to do something about it. And that is take you time away."

He added with a wry smile, "They were all shaking their heads like they understood, so we'll see if they do."

Scott has previously made similar threats, and a reporter perked up to ask why this occasion would be received as anything other than an idle threat.

Scott responded sternly, "I'm telling you right now that if I said it earlier and didn't hold their feet to the fire, I'm holding their feet to the fire now."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Roggin's Heroes: Week 11]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:17:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Roggins_Heroes_Week_11_1200x675_572668483674.jpg The best of the best in high school football for Week 11. ]]> <![CDATA[Challenge Spotlight: Erik Diaz]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:14:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Soccer_Player_Football_Star_1200x675_572667459606.jpg In sports, we often use the phrase "being in the right place at the right time." In this week's Challenge Spotlight, Mario Solis introduces us to a player who became the star of Belmont High School.]]>