Thursday, May 24, 2018

Last Wednesday was Kobe Bryant’s 39th birthday. The day after that was “Mamba Day” which celebrated the incomparable career of Kobe cleverly in the month of August (8) and on the 24th day (24).

How did Kobe himself celebrate this?

He issued 5 challenges to a variety of athletes via Twitter and Instagram. As expected it went viral. Many fans were speculating what it meant for their favorite athlete to get challenged by Kobe Bryant. It turns out its promotion for his new shoes at Nike and each of the words in the posts represents a colorway. The challenges are inspiring and it makes everyone ready for the upcoming season, but let’s face it, all of these aren’t going to be completed. So who’s actually going to achieve to #MambaMentality Challenges?

None of them

The Mamba has always been used as motivations for many different athletes, and artists, but none of them are the Mamba. Given the current situations of these players, it would take an act of God to complete their challenge.

Disclaimer: This list is strictly for the challenges that have to do with sports, which doesn’t include Kendrick Lamar, DeMar DeRozan, and Allyson Felix. Their challenges are bigger than sports. It is only right to assume they will achieve them. 

Optimism: Richard Sherman

Image result for Richard Sherman hd

Challenge: Break the Seahawks single season interception record

Most likely not

Although this is a very do-able task to achieve from arguably, the greatest CB in Seahawks history, it is unlikely that he will break the record. Currently, the Single Season Interception record is held by Kenny Easley (’84) and John Harris (’81) at 10 INTs. Sherman has been very close to tying the record with two 8 INT seasons but that was in 2012 and 2013. Last year he had 4 Interceptions so there’s little chance he’ll make that big of a jump from a tweet from Kobe.

On the bright side, his 4 Interceptions were against mediocre teams with even more mediocre Quarterbacks like the Jets and the Bills. This year the Jaguars, and their division rivals Rams and 49ers, teams who have no identity when it comes to Quarterbacks. Getting 5 to 6 INTs may be more realistic for Richard Sherman to achieve. Even if he doesn’t get 10 Interceptions, it is always cool being pushed by Kobe Bryant.


John Wall

Image result for john wall playing defense

Challenge: Make 1st team all defense

Sorry, but no

John Wall’s challenge was not directly given to him like the others. A Wizards fan page mentioned Kobe to give the All-Star something to strive for this season. As expected Wall is looking forward to destroying his challenge. Most likely more than his other fellow athletes.

This is possibly the most realistic challenge for Wall because he has already been on the All-Defensive team before (’15).

John Wall’s drive and competitive nature already have him proclaiming himself as the best two-way guard in the league. And he’s probably right. The Wizards’ star was a monster last season when he averaged career highs of 23.1 points, 10.7 assists and 2.0 steals to become All-NBA Third Team honors.  It’s safe to say he has officially reached his prime.

So why wasn’t he selected for an All-Defensive team last year?

Despite his league-leading 157 steals and 49 blocks, the rest of his teammates’ defense has a lot of room for improvement.

The Wizards had a positive net rating (plus-3.9 points per 100 possessions) with Wall on the floor, however, their defensive rating increased to 107.3 during those same minutes. They’re ranked 20th in defensive efficiency and they made no improvements this offseason.

This makes it more difficult for Wall to make the 1st team All-Defense, let alone the 3rd team.

John is one of the most confident players in the league so if they were anybody to prove something wrong, it would be him.


Fearless: Isaiah Thomas

Image result for isaiah thomas cavs sweatshirt

Challenge: Make the All-NBA 1st team

…NO!

The last season was the perfect year to challenge Isaiah Thomas to make All-NBA. Leading the Celtics to the Conference Finals while averaging 29 points on 46% shooting was a huge deal last season.

But that was last season.

Thomas thrived under Brad Steven’s system by being the focal point of the offense and hidden on defense. Not to mention he had a healthy hip up until the playoffs.

Isaiah Thomas will not make the All-NBA 1st team because of he physically can’t. IT suffered a hip injury during the playoff series against the Cavs and his timetable to return may be around the All-Star break. Which will make it impossible to make any All-NBA team.

Also this summer Isaiah was traded to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. Which will make it even harder for him to make All-NBA as a banged up second option. Under the spotlight of Lebron.

Kyrie should have been given this challenge. the 25-year-old is going to be the star in Boston, along side a strong supporting cast featuring Gordon Hayward, and one of the best coaches in basketball. He may have an Isaiah Thomas type of year. This is a potential MVP season for Irving and we may have already seen the best of IT.


Giannis Antetokounmpo

Image result for giannis antetokounmpo 2017 hd

Challenge: MVP

In due time…

It is common knowledge to assume that Giannis will run the NBA in the near future. At 22 he is already unguardable being 6’11 with a 7’0 wingspan. Everybody knows that he is destined for greatness and he will most likely win multiple MVPs in the near future. Just not next season.

There is still a long line of Superstars that could possibly become the MVP.

Lebron now has to take even more of an offensive workload in the post-Kyrie era. Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury may motivate him to have another MVP season if he wants to. Also, it is Lebron James so he’s always on the MVP watch.

The reigning MVP, Mr. Triple Double, Russell Westbrook is in the midst of his prime. After coming back from his historic revenge season, why wouldn’t he be in the MVP conversation again? Even with the addition of Paul George, he is still a top 5 player.

Kawhi Leonard has made it clear that he is an offensive juggernaut. The silent killer finished third in MVP voting and he will be back. Many experts predict Leonard should be the 2018 MVP favorite. All of the MVP candidates share a superstar teammate… Except for Kawhi. Which will have his spotlight on offensive become even brighter while still being the defensive centerpiece.

Not to mention former MVPs like Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, MVP snub James Harden, and even Kyrie Irving and John Wall could possibly win the award. The bottom line is, the list is too long and Giannis is too young. His supporting cast isn’t deep enough and he is in the Eastern Conference. A Conference that isn’t deep but still too deep for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Maybe in a couple of years, but not this year.

 

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