TSL CHRISTMAS LIST: Da Gambler’s 5 Gifts From Santa To the NBA 

TSL has made it through another year. Some may call it a miracle. Some just call it natural evolution. Others might say it’s a gift from Santa Claus. No matter what, we're here, full throttle on the path of success and we're not stepping off the gas pedal. With that in mind, and being in the Christmas spirit, I thought of some things that would help improve the NBA. If Santa was really interested in the long-term health of one of the most lucrative pro sports kingdoms in history, he would grant the following five gifts to the following heads.


1. A job for Mark Jackson coaching an NBA powerhouse.

In a perfect world, Santa would give former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson the OKC job and get rid of Scotty Brooks who just isn’t a prime time, championship-caliber coach. Young players in need of championship guidance have been carrying Brooks through the wars like tissue in their back pockets for a runny nose. Jackson’s a far superior coach in my opinion and would take OKC to the next level. It would also keep him in the West and able to put a spanking on his sons (The Splash Brothers) a couple of times a season.

Jackson went 121-109 in three seasons with the Warriors, a stint that will be remembered for the way he helped turn a perennially losing franchise into a consistent winner. The Warriors had not made the playoffs in consecutive years since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. They had made the playoffs once in 17 years before Jackson did it in his last two years as coach.

There were philosophical differences, personality conflicts, and clashes concerning certain “beliefs” Jackson held as a devoutly religious person. In short, his dismissal from the Golden State Warriors was pretty lame. The reasons are still very vague, but obviously it was strong enough to cause Jackson to be accused of promoting an atmosphere of dysfunction. Now, instead of being at the helm of this breakout season for Golden State—a team that he molded, shaped and prepared for the primetime—Steve Kerr is reaping the fruits of Jackson's labor and the former Knicks point guard is doing NBA cable commentary. Instead of pacing the sidelines with his “boisterous personality,” borderline “cockiness” and “confidence” (as one ESPN reporter so revealingly put it.), he’s obviously been blackballed.

Santa needs to step in and make something happen for Action Jackson.


2. Bionic knees and/or Rolando Blackman’s jump shot for Derrick Rose.

No matter how well or often D Rose plays, the fact that his bum knees have slowed his game a bit is irrefutable. The hops will eventually diminish, but the aspect of his game that he can still master—a la MJ and Kobe when their physical athleticism deteriorated—is his jump-shooting. Rose will always have a quick enough first step and decent enough handle to get some space to shoot. And if he can become as good a jump shooter as Rolando Blackman was, then he can play another 15 years on bum knees (a la Grant Hill). If Santa wants to be over-the-top generous, then just get D Rose two bionic knees so that he can be even better than he was before his wheels got busted. Get him the bionic knees and we can forget about the jumper, but moving forward he’s going to need one or the other from Santa.


3. New “White Boys Gone Wild” NBA Basketball DVD, hosted by Tom Chambers and a hologram of Pistol Pete Maravich.

There’s some young, lethal white boyz on the NBA scene and these band of ballhards are creating some skylights of their own. The Zeller Brothers are proving that their high school and college careers were no fluke. In fact, Cody has become a high-flying dunk machine. With Kemba Walker dishing dimes like Father Time, Zeller is starting to regularly posterize cats for the young Charlotte Hornets. 


Brother Tyler got busy last night going for 22 points and 10 boards. That comes off the heels of a career-high 24 points on December 5th. Rajon Rondo makes it so easy for cats though, so Tyler will have to work much harder to acquire the easy looks he’s been getting. Santa could package that right up and put it under Iggy Azalea's tree. 



Mason Plumlee is banging on cats too in BK. The 6-10, Fort Wayne Indiana product had 19 points and 13 boards in a 102-96 Nets win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. He’s the real deal.

Throw Kelly Olynyk in there too. He’s super cool and his game is recognizable. Nuff' moves to the hole.


4. The No. 1 overall pick for the next four years for the NY Knicks.

The Knicks need a facelift and a complete body overhaul for the Holidays. If Santa could bestow upon these guys the greatest gift, it would be four consecutive No.1 overall picks without having to totally suck for a half decade and be luckier than Eli Manning in a Super Bowl for the lottery balls to fall in their favor. Rebuilding through draft picks is something the Knicks haven’t accomplished since the 80s when Patrick Ewing, Mark Jackson, Gerald Wilkins and eventually Rod Strickland, were cutting up The Garden floor. They’ve given up so many potential first-rounders in foolish trades that the fan base is elated to even have a first-rounder this season. If 15 win-seasons is what it takes to start infusing the organization with young talent, then so be it. The team isn’t even watchable anymore. But a gift from Santa akin to a miracle from the basketball gods, would be even better.


5. Give Kobe another 5 years at 30 years old.

At the age of 30 Kobe Bryant was averaging close to 30 points a clip and winning his second round of back-to-back c’hips with a Shaq-less Lakers team. It was Kobe’s chance to show that haters that he could lead a team to immortality without the assistance of  "The Diesel". He was at the top of his game then and just becoming saddled with the injuries that have slowed him in recent years. You don’t really see it in his scoring averages because he is still a machine and he gets it like old, fat, bald dudes at the local park killing young, cut, wanna-be college basketball stars. But these days, even Kobe won't hesitate to tell any reporter with a mic in his face that he's physically beat up. 


With the Lakers burgeoning nucleus of ballers such as Swaggy P and the crew, a 30-year-old Kobe would boost them to an entirely different level. If Santa could grant Kobe that gift, then Black Mamba would probably retire as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. I’d like to see him stick around for a couple of more years. If anything, as Michael Jordan becomes more and more of an untouchable myth to younger basketball fans; sort of how Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell were to Generation Xers, Kobe is the last link to the realness of MJ.

Think about that Santa.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From The Entire TSL Family. Thanks for continuing to read, tweet, and share our unique content and give us a face, voice and influential platform in this very crowded world of digital media. Peace !

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.