Lakers Will Be Hard to Hate with Three Kentucky Favorites in the Lineup

The Lakers have always been one of the more hatable teams in the NBA. Add LeBron James to it and now you have a squad that people not only despise, but actively root against. As a lifelong Celtics fan, the Lakers are my least favorite team by default, but as a lifelong Kentucky fan, it is going to be hard to hate them this season and here’s why:

The team most likely to win the title in the NBA has three of the most beloved Kentucky players of all time on it. Of course, the team that we all wanted to fail has made it very hard to root against them. Rajon Rondo was the best Kentucky player in years at the time he arrived, Demarcus Cousins was an irreplaceable piece in Cal’s first team at UK and Anthony Davis brought the NCAA title back to its rightful home for the first time in 14 years. Truly unforgettable players.

See if you can still hate the Lakers after watching their highlights as Wildcats.

Couldn’t find any Rondo Kentucky highlights without a Creed song in the background so hopefully his Louisville games suffice.

I wrote yesterday about how other NBA teams are jumping on the BBNBA backwagon and I can’t tell if it is because Kentucky players are taking prominent positions in NBA rosters or if there are just so many of them that it is unavoidable having 3-5 Wildcats on a team. Either way, we really should have seen AD and Boogie teaming up with LeBron coming.

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If Boston Can’t Keep Kyrie, Then I.T. May Be Time for a Homecoming

For the entire year of 2019, Kyrie Irving has been playing basketball, the media and with all of our hearts. Let’s face it, we will never know how he truly feels about Boston until the offseason and he either re-signs or explores other options.

A very underwhelming Playoff performance has left many Celtics fans with an indifferent opinion of Kyrie. After shooting 8/22 in Game 3 of the Bucks series, he promised that he would never shoot 8/22 ever again. Kyrie is a lot of things, but a liar is not one of them. The next two games he shot 7/22 and 6/21. Worse, but technically living up to his promise. Regardless of how the season ended, he is still a top 3 point guard in the league and we should want a superstar like Uncle Drew back. But, if he decided not to re-sign, these are two options that should keep everyone happy.

If you couldn’t tell from my ever so clever headline, Isaiah Thomas would be an excellent player to fill in the point guard vacancy. I.T. is the epitome of a player that can thrive in the Brad Stevens coaching system. He’s a proven winner and now that LeBron is out of the East, he can lead Boston to the title series. On top of how great of a player he was in Boston, he won every Celtics fans’ heart. Being under 6 foot and still balling out, dropping 28.9 points per game, and of course, the game he played for his sister that brought us all to tears. There is not a single Boston fan that wouldn’t want him back in the green and white.

While we are on the subject of homecomings, Rondo would also be a great addition if we were to lose Terry Rozier. I know “Danny won’t trade me”, but that doesn’t mean he won’t walk away in free agency. Rondo is timeless. During the 2018 championship run, he was a triple-double MACHINE. He’s a champion that would really help a young team with 3 new first round draft picks navigate the Playoffs. He could come off the bench and still contribute his classic Rondo stat line of 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 22 assists.

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The best case scenario for this offseason would be to have a great Draft and hopefully re-sign Kyrie and convince Anthony Davis to join him. But, if that doesn’t work out, I would happily take I.T. or Rondo as a replacement.

Best Elite 8 Game Ever

In honor of the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and one the best weeks of sports all year, I wanted to look back and remember the best Elite 8 game and possibly one of the craziest NCAA Tournament games of all time.

This game was so emotional for me, not only as a Kentucky fan, but also as a young sports fan. It was one of the very rare games that you knew was a timeless classic while it was still happening. The game I am speaking of is the March 27, 2005, matchup of Kentucky and Michigan State.

The setting: Austin, Texas. The stakes: a trip to the Final Four. The beer: I wouldn’t know; I was 9. I sat in my neighbor’s living room in my #10 Keith Bogans jersey that I converted into an Lukasz Obrzut kit since Bogans went pro. Surprisingly, I actually worried about what was going to happen in the game instead of worrying what a redshirt junior was going to wear.

This was Tubby Smith’s best team he had had since he won the title in 1998. Rajon Rondo, Kelenna Azubuike, Patrick Sparks, Chuck Hayes and Randolph Morris made up the starting line up. Probably the most impressive team Kentucky would have until John Calipari arrived. On the other side was Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad. Consisting of future NBA players like Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager and other names you haven’t heard in years, it easy to tell this was going to come down to the wire.

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And that it did. It was back and forth all game. No team pulling too far ahead before the other came storming back. It was going to come down to one team making an unbelievable shot at the buzzer. And Kentucky did just that.

Not only did the shot feel like it took a couple years for it to finally fall, but the replay review afterwards took an eternity. I have cheered louder very few times in my life then when they finally made the right call and sent the game to overtime.

It took two OT periods to decide a winner. Michigan State ended up the winner, 94-88. This was the first heartbreak I experienced as a Kentucky fan and it was certainly not the last.

Of course, Michigan State did not go on to win the NCAA Championship, because they were and still are coached by Tom Izzo. Titles just aren’t his thing.