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A Kobe Bryant Tribute: Two Years Later

Remembering the late NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant

A KOBE BRYANT TRIBUTE: TWO YEARS LATER

January 26th 2020 began as most days do. But, by the time it ended, it would be one of the saddest for the basketball community. There was a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in the late hours of the morning, and there would not be any survivors. Among the eight people aboard were John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, Gianna and Kobe Bryant.

Kobe had been in Philadelphia the prior evening, watching LeBron James pass him on the NBA's all-time scoring list. And less than 24 hours later, he and his basketball-obsessed daughter, along with seven other folks, had perished.

In the aftermath of Kobe's passing, 10 NBA players changed their number from 8 (and 24) to a different one, while then-Jazz forward Miye Oni switched from 24 to 81, Bryant's single-game career-high. In addition to this, various star players around the league wore either #8 or #24 for their first games after his passing.

The impact Bryant had on basketball cannot be measured. During his playing days, he was one of the toughest to guard, and to stop. He won five rings with the Lakers. And in his retired years, he could be seen mentoring the young stars of today's game and heavily promoting the WNBA.

Passing away at such a young age, we were robbed of seeing so many more years of Kobe. Him continuing to help the young stars. Growing the popularity of women's basketball in America. And just being a tremendous ambassador for the game. Most importantly though, we saw a family lose their hero.

Kobe's daughter Gianna was an incredible young basketball player, who seemed to have a very bright future in the game. Her favorite team, UConn, kept an open seat on the bench for their first game after the tragic passing, with a #2 (her number on the court) jersey and a bouquet of roses.

We will never forget Kobe Bryant and his impact on the game of basketball. His daughter and the great things she will never get to do. The games John Altobelli won't get to coach, and the loss of a family. The Chesters. Ara Zobayan, who can never fly another helicopter. And Christina Mauser, an incredible basketball mind.

One last time, Kobe Bryant, we thank you. I thank you. A joy to watch on the court, and forever a basketball icon. The number of polarizing players like you have been few and far between. Thank you for an incredible career.

Two years later. We haven't forgotten.

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THE INSIDE EDGE

by Danny Scaramella - Tipico

BETFTW! On Site Divisional Round

Lorenzo's Locks: Divisional Round Games

The Green Bay Packers are coming off their first round bye and are the healthiest they have been all season long. Aaron Rodgers is surgical at home, especially when coming off a bye. Now although the 49ers have been red-hot in recent play, their two best defenders, Bosa and Warner, were injured vs the Cowboys and may be slowed down against Green Bay. The Packers also went 7-1 against the spread this season at home. Lorenzo is locking in the Packers and the spread. Onto the AFC, Lorenzo likes the Buffalo Bills in an upset. Buffalo played their most complete game of the entire season last week against New England. The Bills have been clicking on all cylinders and are 4-1 against the spread over their last five. Their offense is comparable with Kansas City's and Buffalo has the edge on defense. The Chiefs have been unreliable at home, while the Bills excel on the road as underdogs. Lorenzo is locking int the Bills to win and to cover the spread. The Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers has everything in the making for an offensive showdown. Tom Brady knows how to pick apart defenses and with the Rams electric offense, Lorenzo sees this game as a shootout. In week 3, the Rams beat the Bucs and 58 points were scored. Although Lorenzo likes the Bucs in this matchup, he is locking in the OVER in total points scored.

BETFTW! On Site Wild Card Weekend

The AFC Wild Card game on Saturday, January 8th features the New England Patriots traveling to Buffalo to take on the Bills. We all remember what happened the last time these two faced off in Buffalo. New England has cooled down after their mid-season hot streak, winning only one of their last four, including a Week 18 loss to the Miami Dolphins. This season, New Englands holds a better record against the spread than the Buffalo Bills. Bills beat reporter Sal Maiorana highlights the rubber match and game three between these two teams this weekend. Weather will continue to be a factor in their matchups. This has the chance to be one of the coldest games in Bills and Patriots history, and even close to league history. Wind chills are expected to be 10 to 15 degrees below zero. So who will this favor? The Patriots took advantage of the wind in their first matchup against Buffalo and pulled off the win. Then Buffalo's offense took control and came out with a win in Foxboro. If the wind is manageable, Maiorana expects a great game for Josh Allen. Josh Allen is the X-factor. The last time these two teams faced, Allen lit up the Patriots for three touchdowns and over 300 yards. If the Bills can contain the running game and make Mac Jones be a true quarterback, Maiorana thinks Buffalo can handle their business and move on to the divisional round.

By Danny Scaramella - Tipico

Lorenzo's Locks: Wild Card Weekend

The Playoffs are here and Lorenzo isn't taking any chances against Tom Brady. The Bucs continue to have one of the top scoring offenses in the NFL, with Tom Brady locked in. The Eagles have also been hot as of late, closing out the season winning six of their final eight games, but the competition they played was incredibly weak. Some of their wins came against the Jets, Giants, and two against Washington. The Eagles secondary is also weak and Tom Brady will look to expose their defense. Since Brady joined Tampa Bay, the Bucs are 9-5 against the spread at home. Lorenzo likes the Bucs winning and covering the spread. The hottest team in the NFC down the stretch, may have been the 49ers. In their final 11 games, San Francisco went post an 8-3 record in wins and against the spread. Although Dallas likes to establish the run early, the 49ers are built to stop the run. Their pass-rush generated 24 sacks in the last six games of the season and will look to pressure Dak Prescott early. If the 49ers can avoid turnovers, Lorenzo sees them covering the spread and upsetting the Cowboys in Dallas. Finally, a divisional matchup to play each other for the third time this season. The Rams face the Cardinals with two electric offenses taking the field. The Rams have showed inconsistencies with their superstar lineup and haven't lived up to their expectations. The Cardinals are great on the road as underdogs and Lorenzo sees this game coming down to the wire and decided by less than a field goal. He predicts the Rams to win, but the Cardinals to cover.

By Danny Scaramella - Tipico

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