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Doug Gottlieb: Kobe Bryant Told Me LeBron ‘Is Not Built For L.A.’

“LeBron does not get, know, or understand L.A. He’s not built for it the way I’m built for it.'”

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Coming out of the NBA All-Star break, a lot of speculation circled LeBron James and whether or not he might leave the Los Angeles Lakers after his contract runs out after next season. (A possible return to the Cleveland Cavaliers has been part of that conjecture.)

Much of the rumor and innuendo surrounding Lebron and the Lakers is the team’s disappointing performance this season. The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference going into Tuesday (March 1) night’s play and a match-up versus the Dallas Mavericks at home.

The team has lost its past five games and first two since the All-Star break. On Sunday, they were demolished at home by the New Orleans Pelicans, 123-95. The Pelicans, by the way, are behind the Lakers in the West standings.

Understandably, the home fans at Crypto.com Arena showed their unhappiness with their team’s poor performance by booing and heckling the players. Showing that the losing and failure to meet expectations is getting to them, LeBron and Trevor Ariza exchanged insults and profanities with fans behind the Lakers’ bench.

That entire spectacle compelled Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb to say that the Lakers “hit rock bottom” Sunday night and led him to recall a conversation he had years ago with the late Kobe Bryant. This was after Bryant retired and he knew Gottlieb through the youth basketball teams they both coached.

The two finally met for drinks the night shortly after LeBron and the Cavaliers visited Los Angeles to play the Lakers and Kobe had opinions he needed to share.

“He said to me — unequivocally — ‘LeBron does not get, know, or understand L.A.,'” Gottlieb recalled. “‘He’s not built for it the way I’m built for it.'”

Gottlieb then asked Bryant to explain what he meant by that.

“He’s like, ‘Look, man — I shot those two airballs when I was 17 and I thought the world came crashing down,'” said Gottlieb. “‘And my reaction to it was, I lived in the gym all summer. The way in which people reacted to those airballs — shots that I shouldn’t have shot, they were bad shots, but I missed by a mile — fueled me. Fueled me my whole career.

“‘I took negativity and it fueled me. That’s not what fuels LeBron. He’s just built different. He’s not the savage competitor that me and Mike are. I’m the type of killer that wants to kill you and your whole family. LeBron just wants to be loved, wants to play ball, wants to win games. But he is not the killer that me and Mike are.'”

Gottlieb’s overall point, emphasized by the Bryant story, is that Los Angeles and the Lakers fans have never embraced LeBron. And maybe he hasn’t embraced L.A. either. If the Lakers miss the playoffs this season, has LeBron’s tenure with the team been a success? They won the NBA championship in 2019-20, so the answer is surely yes.

Yet that title was won in the Orlando bubble. Lakers fans didn’t celebrate it with their team. (And COVID probably would’ve prevented them from fully doing so anyway.) The Lakers have fallen short of expectations in three of his four seasons. And his fifth season could be a disappointment as well unless general manager Rob Pelinka is able to make impact changes to the roster.

LeBron might leave town after that, and maybe Bryant will have been right about whether or not he was built for Los Angeles and the heavy expectations put on the Lakers.

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Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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