NBA training camps will open in the next few days, meaning you’re about to become experts on the tendo calcaneus (Achilles tendon) without even staying in a Holiday Inn Express.
Kobe Bryant’s return from the injury figures to be a prominent storyline entering the season, along with others in our Top 10:
10. Ambassador Dennis Rodman? Who knows what peace-keeping mission The Worm will explore next? He has amused Kim Jong-un to the point that North Korea’s communist leader seems harmless. Imagine Rodman — once suspended for head-butting a ref — as the voice of diplomacy.
9. Adam Silver, anyone? Anyone? Silver is the obscure commissioner-in-waiting, set to replace David Stern just before the all-star break. Obviously, Stern is heading to a bunker after 30 years, fearful Rodman will eventually drive a world leader to push the red button.
8. Derrick Rose knows. The Chicago Bulls star is back after missing last season with a torn ACL. He endured unwarranted criticism for his slowpoke recovery, but he can blame Adrian Peterson for that. Rose’s return is great news for the Bulls. The bad news? LeBron is perfectly healthy.
7. Doc Hollywood. Who would have ever dreamed rival city Los Angeles would steal Boston’s star coach ... and Doc Rivers would wind up with the Clippers, not the Lakers?
6. The Jay Z Watch. The rapper/sports agent now represents Kevin Durant. If the folks in small-market Oklahoma City aren’t nervous about losing KD, they should be. Jay Z’s ominous line from his album, American Gangsta: “Ain’t nothing wrong with the aim, just gotta change the target.”
5. Dwight At The End of the Tunnel. After his false start in L.A., the clock is ticking on Dwight Howard’s legacy. The former Magic star either makes the most of it in Houston or he’ll squander his prime. I think he’ll challenge LeBron for MVP ... if baby-mama dramas don’t weigh him down.
4. Brooklyn...or Crooklyn? The league cleared the Nets of suspicions that they basically paid Andrei Kirilenko under the table after signing him on the cheap. The more telling storyline for Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s all-star team: the inevitable in-house strife between teammates who focus on getting stops (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) vs. those who focus on getting shots (everyone else).
3. Tank you very much. It should be some race. Not for first, but for worst. Several teams will lose as much as possible, jockeying for lottery prize Andrew Wiggins in a star-studded draft. While some media express righteous indignation, Silver will follow Stern’s script on tanking: Publicly feign concern and privately root for Wiggins to save basketball in Charlotte.
2. Kobe’s Comeback. The background: Before Achilles fought in the Trojan War, his mother dipped him into the River Styx to protect him from harm. She kept hold of his heel so he wouldn’t drown, meaning the magical waters did not touch this part of his body, leaving it vulnerable. Achilles died after being struck in the heel by an arrow ... or so goes the story of the Lakers’ season.
1. Groundhog Day: Decision II for LeBron. Oh, not again. Yes, LeBron can become a free agent after the season (and the next two seasons). Much to the chagrin of everyone who owns a TV, he’s already said he can’t guarantee he’ll stay in Miami. Look for ESPN — the LeBron Lifetime Channel — to double its staff and hire Woodward and Bernstein.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
I doubt he’ll make the Magic’s roster, but camp invitee Corperryale L’Adorable “Manny” Harris has the NBA’s most unique name.
Manny is the easy part. His father named him after Manny Ribera, Tony Montana’s gangster sidekick, in “Scarface.”
As for Corperryale, it is derived from a combination of names of his cousin (Corrine), his uncle (Perry) and the “ale” from siblings Janelle, Jerrelle and Al. As for L’Adorable, well, he must have been a sweetheart of a baby.
Equally as difficult to explain is the reason Cleveland released him in the 2011: freezer burn.
Harris suffered the burns to his left foot in a cooling chamber at the Nike facility in Oregon. The chamber is designed to promote faster healing, but Harris, a shooting guard out of Michigan, couldn’t recover in time to make the Cavs’ preseason cuts.
Harris turns 24 on Saturday. Happy Birthday, Corperryale L’Adorable “Manny” Harris, and good luck.
THIS ‘N’ THAT
A video recently surfaced showing former Magic PG Steve Francis being choked during a nightclub scuffle by Stephen Jackson, who played with the Spurs last season. Jackson told ESPN that Francis was bumping him from behind with his “belt buckle” while Jackson was rapping on stage. Police removed Francis from the club. ... Former Magic G Gilbert Arenas still has a pulse and might get invited to the L.A. Clippers’ camp, according to Hoops World. Signing goofball Gilbert would have been a typically laughable Clippers’ move in 2003, but we’re taking them seriously in 2013....The local team’s financials appear to be sound. Magic owner Rich DeVos is the second-richest owner in the NBA behind Paul Allen of the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Forbes Magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, owns the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks. He is listed 26th overall and worth $15.8 billion. DeVos, the Amway co-founder who has owned the Magic since 1991, is listed 60th and worth $6.8 billion. ... New York Knicks G J.R. Smith and Brooklyn Nets F Paul Pierce have been arguing through the media about which team now “runs” New York. When Nets PG Deron Williams was asked who runs The City, he quipped, “Mayor Bloomberg.”