Two-time NBA champion, Josh Powell, in an exclusive interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson while promoting his new book, “I Wish I Knew,” shared his thoughts on the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers erecting a statue in honor of LeBron James outside Crypto.com Arena.
Powell, a former member of the championship Lakers, reminisced about the team’s engagement with Phil Jackson’s recommended reading materials, highlighting the strategic coaching style of the legendary figure.
“I definitely read the books that he gave because there was always something really intriguing about Phil. He is one of the greatest ever to do it rightfully so, you know?” he said.
Reflecting on the 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic, Powell emphasized the team’s hunger for redemption after a previous loss to the Boston Celtics.
“That loss they took to the Boston Celtics… it was like a hunger; it was this energy in the building, and those guys were just EXTREMELY thirsty to wanting to get back,” Powell said.
Powell addressed the misconception surrounding Andrew Bynum’s commitment to basketball, highlighting Bynum’s dominance when healthy.
“He was averaging between 22 and 25 points per game and 13 rebounds. That man was dominant. He was DOMINANT!” he said.
Comparing Pau Gasol to past legends, Powell mentioned similarities to David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Hakeem Olajuwon, adding a modern touch with a likeness to LaMarcus Aldridge.
“Pau had footwork, great touch, smart — his basketball IQ level was very high… Pau could get it done on both ends,” Powell said.
When asked about Pau Gasol in today’s NBA, Powell paused, considering the shift in the game’s dynamics.
“Pau can play in ANY system first of all, respectfully. But this game now is so different,” he noted.
Powell discussed the evolution of big men, acknowledging the unique skills of modern giants like Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Bol Bol, and Victor Wembanyama.
“Pau was a good ball handler, but those guys you mentioned are ELITE going into their package,” he said.
In a contemplative moment, Powell identified Tyrese Haliburton as a contemporary player with similarities to the multi-faceted game of Rajon Rondo.
“Tyrese Haliburton, maybe? Without the 3-ball but he can still hit the three. Because he will get you 30, but he’s STILL gonna get you 10-12 assists,” Powell shared.
As the interview shifted to Kobe Bryant’s upcoming statue ceremony in 2024, Powell expressed the beauty of witnessing former teammates receive acknowledgment for their contributions to the game.
“I think that it’s beautiful to watch guys you played with or against receive their flowers,” Powell said.
On the prospect of LeBron James getting a statue, Powell commended LeBron’s impact on the city, highlighting his championship win and resilience during challenging times.
“LeBron brought a ‘chip to the city AND he did it when the situation happened,” he noted.