Once the Chinese fans texted Kobe Bryant‘s team a 29-point hole, it was go time. That’s not quite the scenario you expect when you think of Kobe coming to the rescue, or any of his biggest crunch-time exploits that required his saving. But Sunday in Shanghai, in a celebrity all-star game where most of the players were singers, Bryant went off like his 81-spot against Toronto in ’06. OK, some context for that first sentence: Bryant was taking in part a promotional game for one of his sponsors during his tour of China and enjoying himself, according to his Facebook post Sunday about the event. Then, through a fan engagement scenario that seems straight out of SlamBall, fans sent enough texts to put one team 29 points down instead of nine. The trouble was, there was only one, 15-minute half left for Bean Bryant to put in his work. No biggie. Against a cast of hopeless hoops novices (talented in their own field, as Kobe attested to, that they may be) Kobe dunked, stole, cajoled and shot his way to 68 points against a running clock in just 15 minutes. Forget that most of the opponents were giving him a lane to the hoop wider than L.A.’s 405, 68 in 15 minutes is pretty damn ridiculous. He said on his Facebook post that he viewed it as a training session for his stamina because he’d have to run back and forth like crazy to get his team out of that hole, but there’s a highlight tape floating around that looks like he’s basically a one-man trap in the backcourt. … Some superstars would be content to just sit back and watch it all finish in a game like that, or make a cameo at best. Not Kobe. Come on now, did you ever see any late-90s MLB stars take the MTV Rock ‘n’ Jock baseball game as a chance to work on their swing? Nope. Kobe’s still not many people’s cup of tea but you can’t knock his thirst for buckets — even when they come against overmatched Chinese pop stars. … We’re waiting for the U.S. government to warn these numbers are inflated just like China’s currency. … Halfway around the world from China, Michael Beasley was unloading all of his stuff from his house in Minnesota. Being that he’s no longer employed in Minnesota and moving to Phoenix, he had himself an estate sale this weekend. And you’d better believe people were eating up what he had for sale. Some rims, some screenplays by Ingmar Bergman, a book on primitive erotic art, a giant head of Buddha, more books, the whole house itself and much, much more were going hot. We already know that if we could buy one thing out of a NBA player’s house it would be the fingerprint-encoded shoe vault in Joe Johnson‘s Atlanta house but some of Beas’s stuff does make for intriguing ideas. One that doesn’t exactly scream, “Buy!” however is his old currency calculator. … LeBron James has “done the math” and has told the AP he wants to play for the U.S. in Rio de Janeiro. That math may involve that his Heat contract expires right before those Olympics and maybe his new employer would want a say in how the then-31-year-old treats his body. If he’s healthy and Team USA wants him (we can’t see his game dropping off a cliff anytime soon, so let’s assume that’s a “yes”) he said he “definitely” wants to play. He’d be the first four-time USA basketball Olympian, which is pretty cool. At that point you kind of have to call him Captain America right, America? … We’re not the only ones pretty impressed with the job Monty Williams has done in New Orleans given his circumstances and chaotic ownership the last two seasons. The Hornets new brass approved a four-year contract extension with their coach on Sunday. We wonder how his pep talks with Eric Gordon have gone this summer since they brought him back in restricted free agency against his will. … Warriors center Andrew Bogut said he is planning on being ready by the team’s first game after having ankle surgery in the spring. … We’re out like Beasley’s unwanted stuff.
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