Posted tagged ‘Kobe Bryant’

Michael Jackson Memorial Today

July 7, 2009

Unless you are a fan of the late Michael Jackson, you might want to avoid downtown Los Angeles today. The public memorial service for Jackson will take place at the  Staples Center today and fans have been lining up since early this morning.

The “King of Pop” died on June 25 at the age of 50 after going into sudden cardiac arrest.

From the New York Times:

Michael Jackson’s body will be taken to the Staples Center this morning for a memorial service that is expected to be watched by millions on live television, the Los Angeles police chief said Tuesday morning.

Chief William J. Bratton said on KNX radio in Los Angeles that the police were prepared for huge throngs of people to make their way to the arena and the surrounding area when Mr. Jackson’s body is transported there. In an interview on CNN on Tuesday morning, Chief Bratton said the gathering expected for the memorial service could rival the crowds at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Early this morning, several vehicles were seen coming and going from the Jackson family compound in Encino, and large numbers of police vehicles had gathered at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, a San Fernando Valley cemetery studded with celebrity graves, where Mr. Jackson’s private burial service is expected.

Late Monday night, local television broadcast live images of Jackson family members and others arriving and departing from the Forest Lawn cemetery. A hearse was seen driving from one building to another, backing nearly into it through a large entrance way where men then removed a coffin covered by a dark cloth.

Shaq Traded to Cavaliers

June 25, 2009

The much hyped trade appears to have become reality, according to sources at ESPN.

From Bloomberg:

The Phoenix Suns agreed to trade center Shaquille O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the 15-time All-Star will team with National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player LeBron James, ESPN reported on its Web site.

The 7-foot-1 O’Neal will add a dominating presence inside for Cleveland. The Cavaliers had the NBA’s best record last season, then lost to Orlando in the Eastern Conference final as Magic center Dwight Howard averaged 25.8 points and 13 rebounds.

O’Neal, 37, has averaged 24.7 points and 11.2 rebounds over his 17-year career. He won three NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat, and was the league MVP in 2000.

Cleveland will send Ben Wallace and Aleksandar Pavlovic, a second-round pick in tonight’s NBA draft and $500,000 to Phoenix for O’Neal, the fifth-leading scorer in league history, ESPN said, citing sources it didn’t identify. The trade is expected to be completed today, the sports network said.

Magic Knock Off LeBron James and Cavs; Go Up 3 Games to 1

May 27, 2009

Maybe it’s not time for King James’ coronation, just yet afterall!

Dwight Howard scored 10 points in overtime and Orlando withstood 44 points and a last second shot by LeBron James for a 116-114 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are also having a difficult time with the Denver Nuggets. That series is tied 2-2.

From the Associated Press:

The resilient Magic, who have overcome injuries, double-digit deficits and a spat between their star and coach, are one win from their first trip to the NBA finals since 1995.

“You can almost taste it,” said Orlando’s Rafer Alston, who scored 26 points. “We’ve got to win one more game and it’s not going to be easy.”

The Magic, who won a Game 7 in Boston in the last round, can close out the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Thursday night.

Howard finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and again made his free throws — 7 of 9 — and the Magic made a team playoff record 17 3-pointers. Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus had 17 points each for Orlando.

“We just have to keep fighting,” Howard said. “We have an excellent opportunity in front of us. We can’t think that anything’s going to be easy. As a team, we believe that anytime we step on the floor and play our brand of basketball we can win.”

Legendary NBA Coach Chuck Daly Dies

May 9, 2009

Former basketball coach Chuck Daly, who led the U.S. Dream Team to a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, and the Detroit Pistons to two NBA championships, died today at the age of 78.

From Reuters:

The Hall of Fame coach had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February. He died in Jupiter, Florida, with his family at his side.

Daly coached the Pistons to NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. Two years later he directed the Dream Team led by Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley to the gold medal in Barcelona.

The team, which also included Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Scott Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton, is considered by many the greatest basketball team ever assembled.

Daly, affectionately nicknamed “Daddy Rich” by his Pistons players for his dapper suits, compiled a 638-437 record in 14 NBA seasons and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.

AP: LeBron James Wins NBA MVP

May 4, 2009

According to the Associated Press, LeBron James, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a team-record 66 regular-season wins and the top overall seed in the playoffs this season, will receive the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award this afternoon.

From the Associated Press:

The Cavaliers announced a “major” news conference for 4 p.m. at the school, but did not give the reason.

James is the first Cavaliers player to win the award. He averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists this season, his sixth as a pro. He also finished second in voting for defensive player of the year, making him perhaps the league’s most dominant two-way player since Michael Jordan.

At 24 years, 106 days on the final day of the regular season, James is the youngest player to win the award since Moses Malone (24 years, 16 days) in 1978-79. Wes Unseld was 23 when he won it in 1968-69.

James vied all season for MVP honors with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Miami’s Dwyane Wade. The three played on the U.S. gold medalist Olympic team last summer and seemed to upstage each other nightly.

“He deserved it,” Wade said. ” I said all year, I thought LeBron was the MVP of this league. He’s a guy who every year is going to be in that conversation. … He showed it all year, especially with his team’s success.”

Focused right from the start, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound James sharpened his already formidable skills this season.

He started a career-high 81 games and set personal bests in field-goal (49) and free-throw (79) percentages as well as blocks (93). James became the second player to post five straight seasons of at least 27 points, six rebounds and six assists. The other is Oscar Robertson, whose extraordinarily versatile game is the one James’ is most often compared.

Marketers View Viral Videos as a Brand Conversation Starter

December 15, 2008

Nike, Activision and other marketers creating unbranded, viral videos, see the clips as an effective tool to build buzz, even if some viewers object when they find out they’re professionally made.

From AdWeek:

The video uploaded by “madflux” in mid-November begins with a fumbled camera. What follows is nearly unreal: a video of a guy on a bike re-creating the experience of the video game Guitar Hero by following markers set on the pavement of a suburban neighborhood. Madflux gives a “shoutout” to “Lars and the rest of the Brierwood Vandals.” “Bike Hero” immediately became a YouTube hit, garnering over 1.7 million views, along with hundreds of thousands elsewhere online.

Soon, it emerged the video actually was unreal. It was constructed with the help of computer graphics by independent shop Droga5 on behalf of Guitar Hero maker Activision, which saw the video as a way to connect with its audience and promo the release of the new version. The buzz it generated was substantial on gaming blogs, YouTube and elsewhere.

“We didn’t want to be deceptive,” said Brad Jakeman, chief creative officer at Activision. “It was a more positive reaction than traditional advertising elicits among consumers these days.”

At a time when “authenticity” is an overused marketing buzzword, consumers paradoxically seem increasingly comfortable with advertisers creating smart, entertaining content that playfully stretches the truth. Brands like Nike, Gatorade and Levi’s have found success imitating the YouTube style of amateur filmmaking, while adding in the “is it real?” twist that taps into the site’s combative comment culture. The advantages of this approach: unbranded videos typically fare better than run-of-the-mill TV commercials. The back-and-forth over authenticity fuels interest, particularly among media-savvy young consumers steeped in gaming culture.

“They know when something is real and not real,” said Doug Sweeney, director of brand marketing at Levi’s, which saw its Cutwater-created videos of men seemingly jumping into jeans go viral. “They are much more savvy than we give them credit for.”

To be sure, there continues to be a fine line between fooling with consumers and simply fooling them. Like much in viral marketing, it remains unclear how much an advertiser should reveal during campaigns.

Unilever’s Sunsilk, for instance, backed away from a viral campaign this summer that purported to show a crazed bride chopping off her hair on her wedding day. “Bike Hero” elicited some negative feedback of its own. “What’s up, viral marketing douchebags?” Freddie Wong begins in a reply video on YouTube before showing himself actually playing the game while riding a bike. Gaming blog Kotaku and others also decried the marketing push.

“It was awesome only because we thought there were creative kids doing this in their free time,” noted a commenter on game blog GameCyte. “Now, it’s just a good commercial.”

The Activision approach is hardly revolutionary. Droga5 pulled off a similar trick in 2006 for Marc Ecko. The “Still Free” video seemingly showing Air Force One “tagged” with the designer’s mantra made the rounds online and generated enough buzz that the brand asserts the Pentagon had to deny the incident took place. (The video garnered Droga5 a Grand Prix at Cannes.) Indeed, the first runaway advertiser video hit on YouTube was “Touch of Gold,” a Nike-produced video purporting to show Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho repeatedly kicking a ball off the crossbar from over 100 feet away. Nike ignited a small “is-it-real?” controversy with an April video of Kobe Bryant supposedly jumping over a car to dunk a basketball. Over 2,300 comments were tallied with 1.4 million YouTube views.

US Men’s Basketball Team Defeats Australia 116-85

August 20, 2008

The US Men’s “Redeem Team” is now just one win away from the gold medal game after defeating Australia 116-85.

From the Associated Press:

Kobe Bryant scored 25 points in his best game in Beijing, and the men’s U.S. Olympic team advanced to the semifinals by beating Australia 116-85 on Wednesday night.

The United States will play defending champion Argentina or Greece on Friday night for a spot in Sunday’s gold medal game.

Locked in what looked like another tough game with Australia, the Americans sent the Aussies’ upset hopes down under with a 14-0 burst to open the second half, featuring nine points from Bryant.

LeBron James added 16 points for the Americans, who are guaranteed a chance to play for a medal. They need two more wins for their first gold medal in a major international competition since the 2000 Sydney Games.

It appears that the US team may in fact be destined for gold. The team has not won the gold just yet but it appears imminent. The toughest challenges are ahead and there are still a few hurdles left to get past. Thoughts?