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Chopper luxury a necessity for Kobe

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant takes issue with

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant takes issue with officiating during NBA action against the Indiana Pacers. (March 2, 2010) Photo Credit: MCT/Gina Ferazzi

GET TO THE CHOPPAH!

Consider this while you're sitting in traffic during your commute to work tomorrow morning: Kobe Bryant's mode of transportation from Orange County to downtown Los Angeles to Lakers games are done in the air. A 44-mile drive by car - which at any time of the day can be as maddening and unpredictable as a jaunt of the same distance on the L.I.E. from Smithtown to Manhattan - takes Kobe less than 20 minutes.

Yes, Kobe wins again.

At $23 million a year, he can afford such a luxury. But, as outlined in a cover feature in this month's GQ magazine, the 31-year-old Bryant considers it a necessary business expense to spare his battered body. Just think about how you feel after sitting bumper-to-bumper for a solid hour or more. Hardly ready to take on Shane Battier, that's for sure.

Bryant doesn't have to live in Orange County. He has, however, because of its distance away from the madness - and congestion - that is L.A.

Oh yes, you can expect that to be on the table as the Knicks negotiate with LeBron James. Helicopter? Perhaps they might need to consider a Learjet, which would allow LeBron to still live in his beloved Akron, Ohio, while playing in New York.

 

STUCKEY SITUATION

The good news is that Rodney Stucky is, according to Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander, "doing well" and has been released from a Cleveland hospital after he collapsed on the Pistons bench Friday night during a loss to the Cavaliers. But the Pistons - and the NBA - needs to be definitive in its evaluation before they let Stuckey back on the court.

The horrifying scene, which took place on ESPN's national broadcast of the game, happened just one day more than exactly 20 years after Hank Gathers' death in a college game for Loyola Marymount. An autopsy found that Gathers suffered from the heart disorder, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Gathers collapsed during a game earlier that season and after an evaluation he was prescribed medication and cleared to play.

Stuckey hasn't had a previous episode, but did miss two games in 2008 after he felt dizzy and lightheaded in the first half of a game.

 

SKILES SCOLDS JENNINGS

Brandon Jennings hasn't just hit the rookie wall, he slammed into it. The emotional Bucks point guard had grown so frustrated with his slumping game that after a 2-for-12, six turnover performance Wednesday against the Wizards, Jennings said, "I don't even know if I want to shoot the ball."

Scott Skiles, who is a Coach of the Year candidate for just having the Bucks in playoff contention, didn't want to hear that kind of self-pity. "We're not fond of that kind of statement," Skiles said on Friday. "He's too important to our team and our franchise to have any sort of defeatist-type mindset right now. And he doesn't really."

Skiles believes it was a "heat of the moment" reaction by Jennings. "We know where his heart lies," he added. "He's a really good person, he's hardworking and he loves the game."

Jennings exploded on the scene in November with a 55-point game against Golden state on Nov. 19 and earned Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors for the first three months of the season. Since then, however, his game has tailed off dramatically. His assists-to-turnovers ratio (2.46) ranks 22nd among NBA guards and his shooting percentage (36.5) is among the worst of starting point guards.

 

LEBRON COUNTDOWN

116 days until July 1, when LeBron James can become a free agent.

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