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Local stars reminisce on Kobe Bryant's legendary NBA career


Local stars reminisce on Kobe Bryant's legendary NBA career

Kobe Bryant's 19-year NBA career is coming to an end. On Wednesday night, Bryant will take the floor for the very last time when the Lakers take the Jazz at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Regardless of the end result, when the game clock reaches double-zeros the book will finally close on a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, one of the best in NBA history.

Bryant entered the NBA in 1996, when the Hornets selected him with the No. 13 overall pick out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, Pa. He was then dealt to the Lakers for Vlade Divac in a draft night trade and went on to become an american sports icon. For players like Bryant, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson served as inspiration. But for current NBA players, it was Bryant who inspired them to achieve their dreams.

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John Wall was one of many athletes with local ties to weigh in on Kobe's legendary career.

Thanks KB for showing us what true dedication, commitment and LOVE for the Game is all about. It has been a dream and honor to compete against you these past 6 years, your grit and toughness is unmatchable. #MAMBADAY #ThankyouKobe #LEGEND #SALUTE !!

A photo posted by johnwall (@johnwall) on Apr 13, 2016 at 12:05pm PDT

DeSean Jackson was born and raised in south central Los Angeles, played college football at Cal Berkley. He grew up idolizing Bryant.

Didn't think this day would come but what I will say is growin up in #Southcentral LA and being a laker fan u showed me the way it's suppose to be done at a high level !! This where I get that dog in me that competitive nature !! I can easily say your One of the greatest I've saw play in person for our generation !! Salute big homie One hell of a career #HOF #Mambaday

A photo posted by Desean Jackson (@0ne0fone) on Apr 13, 2016 at 11:54am PDT

Steve Blake, who was a key cog on Maryland's 2002 national championship team, played in Los Angeles with Bryant from 2010 until 2014.

Going to miss you out there @kobebryant ! Feel blessed to call you a friend, teammate, and opponent! #MambaDay pic.twitter.com/5eNB3yztu0

— Steve Blake (@SteveBlake5) April 13, 2016

Orioles' outfielder Adam Jones was a high school basketball standout in San Diego, Calif. and has been a fan of Bryant for a long time.

KOBE I LOVE U MAN. WHAT A GREAT CAREER. Glad I was able to watch u from so close. @kobebryant you're a LEGEND. As A Fan THANKS.

— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) April 13, 2016

Bryce Harper, from one MVP to another.

Thank you for the memories @kobebryant! #MambaDay pic.twitter.com/deSgXYsljq

— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) April 13, 2016

Alex Ovechkin, from one legend to another.

gr8 to watch u play @kobebryant will miss it. u the best!!! #MambaDay pic.twitter.com/kbMMtw9tji

— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) April 13, 2016

Bryant and the Lakers faced off against the Wizards 32 times over the course of his 19-year career. The Lakers were victorious in 21 of the 32 games.

#ThankYouKobe #MambaDay pic.twitter.com/dFiwrOkeyA

— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) April 13, 2016

Redskins linebacker Junior Galette remembers Kobe for video game reasons

NBA 2k10 still the greatest 2k because #Kobe was literally Unstoppable

— Junior Galette (@JovaisG) April 13, 2016

Galette's teammate Niles Paul is celebrating #MambaDay as well.

Vintage Bean #MambaDay pic.twitter.com/DZ4eS8oUx8

— Rambo (@Niles_Paul84) April 13, 2016

It's clear that Bryant had an impact on not just the basketball community, but all of sports in general

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

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