Archive for basketball

Shaq needs Kobe Now!

Posted in NBA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Rick

Let me just state for the record that I am a Lakers fan, I am a Kobe fan and self-appointed apologist. I am a Shaq fan and apologist but less so since he abandoned the tantalizing-tinge of Tinsel Town for the sun-soaked sands of South Beach in unceremonious fashion. Much of the NBA Finals build up will include numerous thoughts and theories on Kobe’s need to exorcise the demon of LA hitching their proverbial wagon to him instead of the former most dominant player in the league. There will, no doubt, be pontification over Kobe’s need to match O’Neal title-for-title and prove that he can win it all without the Diesel Daddy. What will be swept under the rug, is the fact that Shaq’s legacy hangs in the balance in a series he can do nothing more than stand helplessly by and  hope that Kobe & Co. bail him out…AGAIN (2002 playoffs: Kobe (vs. SAN) and Horry (vs. SAC)) . This may be blasphemy to some, but consider these facts.


Shaquille O’Neal is no fan of Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy. He has publicly acknowledged as much. Stan, O’Neal’s former Miami Heat head coach, has found new life in the NBA elite, coaching one of the best young rosters in recent history which boasts the games most powerful and entertaining athlete in Dwight Howard. Freshen up on the Van Gundy O’Neal story here. The sports world has been enamored with a tall, hulking, fleet-of-foot big-man with a toothy grin and playful spirit for nearly 18 years. They are even used to seeing that guy play on the NBA’s finest stage wearing Magic Kingdom blue, white and silver. He used to wear number 32, now it’s a sleeker number 12 and, man, does he make it look good!?

'93 Dream Teamer stepping out of a London phone booth.

'93 Dream Teamer stepping out of a London phone booth.

Shaq dreams about being this chistled.

Shaq dreams about being this chiseled.

Dwight Howard didn’t enter the NBA with the same brash bravado that O’Neal did in 1992 but his last three years in the league have seen him steadily emerge as a lost post headache offensively and, most prominently, a defensive nightmare. Howard’s rise has coincided with the setting of Shaquille’s 12-year reign of dominance (he’s played 17 seasons and “dominated” for about 12 of them). To add insult to injury, Dwight’s antics during the 2008 Sprite Slam Dunk competition earned him the nickname Superman, a moniker O’Neal wielded without challenge to that point. Howard stole more than a name from O’Neal with that performance, he also swiped the affections of NBA fans everywhere. Fan-voters were so entertained by Dwight’s flying feats that he received the highest number of All-Star votes of any individual player…ever (3.1 million)! Shaq has refused to acknowledge Dwight’s dominance and even his presence at times, but that was when his trademark smile and “Shaq-attack” dunk were the only things at stake. Now, Howard threatens the very legacy O’Neal worked so hard to build and that sends chills up the very long spine of the giant formerly known as Superman.

How does Dwight threaten Shaq’s legacy and what, if anything, does this have to do with Kobe saving Shaq? It’s coming! Shaq has won four championship titles now age and attrition indicate he may not win another ring. If Dwight wins this year…

-Dwight gives Orlando the ring that Shaq couldn’t deliver. Shaq took Orlando to the Finals in 1995 to get swept by Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

-Dwight wins a title without another future Hall of Famer playing a significant role. Shaq’s rings included major contributions from Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade. and Robert Horry, all likely Hall of Fame candidates.

-Dwight wins his first title at age 23, 5 years earlier than Shaq. Shaq won 4 rings in a 7 year span.

Dwight is a fitness freak! Barring injury, it’s likely that he will play for another 15 seasons or more and win more rings. Plenty of time to eclipse Shaq’s four rings. O’Neal’s conditioning and commitment to staying in top condition has always haunted him and likely cost him a ring or two.

With these things in mind, Shaq has tweeted “thats right i am saying it today and today only, i want kobe bryant to get number 4, spread da word” I believe Shaq needs Kobe to beat this young upstart so his legacy’s only contemporary will remain Tim Duncan with his 4 titles and nothing more. At this point, O’Neal and Duncan are arguably tied as the most decorated NBA post players behind George Mikan (5), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), and Bill Russell (11). It’s early, but if Howard secures this one, he inaugurates a journey to be listted among the leagues greatest. The question is will he finish his career looking up at O’Neal or down?

Can Kobe borrow Nate Robinson’s green Krypto-nikes?

"Kobe! You might need deez!"

"Kobe! You might need deez!"


Wayman Tisdale: You will be missed!

Posted in Life, Music, NBA, people, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Rick

R.I.P. to Wayman Tisdale. One of the few professional athletes that finish a very respectable career in sports and move on to equal or greater success in other areas. I enjoyed him as a basketball player but I laughed when I first learned that Wayman was a jazz bassist. I was too young and naive to believe an athlete could be great at something other than sports. That was probably my way of dealing with being good at music and bad at sports. Wayman was one of the guys that first alerted me to the simple reality that people often have more than one talent/gift and can be successful at various things with talent and hard work. He played the game of basketball and displayed his musical art with so much passion and integrity that many people will never know him (tragic truth of our society). We share a mutual friend and acquaintance and I hoped to have the chance to share with him how he inspired me. Alas, cancer claimed his leg and now his life. Thank you Wayman, for loving your wife and children with integrity and sharing your passion for the game and for music with a crazy mix-up kid and the rest of the world! God bless the Tisdale family as they grieve and bask in the afterglow of a strong legacy and a life well lived.

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more about “Wayman Tisdale: You will be missed!“, posted with vodpod

Chinese Basketball…They Don’t Play!!! the follow up.

Posted in ESPN, NBA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2009 by Rick

After posting a a brief story about, what I thought, was a fluke in the Chinese Basketball Association, ESPN reports this story about escalating violence in the CBA and how fines are being levied to discourage on and off the court skirmishes.

A commenter thought the publicity of the far East physicality was overdone. I wonder if he still stands by these words?

guest Says: in response to my original post
December 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm e

“Actually this is very rare in China, they play a lot less physical and fight a lot less than in the US and other places. Actually the basketball is normally very passive and not at all physical. It’s hard to say why this happened, what led up to it…”

Chinese Basketball…They don’t PLAY!!!

Posted in NBA, people, Random Violence, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2008 by Rick

You may not hear this story because it doesn’t involve a multi-millionaire NBA player and it happened half-way around the world. Thanks for continuing to read. There’s nothing new about basketball players scuffling in the heat of play on the court, but after a November 28th game, former NBAer and current Yunnan Running Bull Gabe Muoneke (or as his momma calls him Nnadubem Gabriel Enyinaya Muoneke) was confronted with his wife, mother-in-law and three kids in tow, by members of the Sharks. Not the finger snappin’ thugs from Westside Story Sharks but the Shanghai Sharks Chinese basketball team. Gabe clashed with Chinese player Cai Liang on the court after they wrestled for a loose ball. After the game Liang, team captain Liu Wei and several others chased Muoneke into the corner of the arena parking lot and surrounded him. He was hit with a water bottle but was not assaulted any further. The entire incident was caught on a security camera. The team was fined and the instigators were fined and suspended ten games. This should serve as motivation for Gabe to sharpen his skills so he can get NBA attention again. At least in the US our athletes keep the violence to the court…and occasionally the stands…and sometimes night clubs…

"I hope he didn't take that personally."

"I hope he didn't take that personally."

alternate post title: When Sharks Attack

Just Joshin’?!

Posted in Life, NBA, people, Sports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2008 by Rick
Where's Manu when you need him?

Where was Manu when Josh NEEDED his shot blocked?

Note to Josh Howard, please don’t apologize for the idiotic comment you made on some dude’s cellphone camera. You should own your words and the ridicule that accompany them. You deserve the boos you will inevitably face at home in the American Airlines Center as well as the ones you will likely hear at the 41 road games you will play this season. You’ve earned the cold stares you will feel as 14,000 pair of eyes burn holes in your back as they listen to a pregame anthem, remembering how much they appreciate this country and how much you disrespect it. They’ll remember the gross millions of dollars you’re paid and will despise you even further with each missed jump shot, free throw and turnover. Sure you’ll laugh it off or light a joint and smoke away the shame but your words will ring in your ears every time a jerk reporter asks you about it instead of the 25 points you just scored or when the Dallas morning d-jays refer to bone-headed actions as “pulling a Josh”.  You see Josh, many of us don’t have the luxury of spouting off embarrassingly mindless statements only to have our boss run interference. Most of us understand that we are privileged to live in a country that allows you the freedom to speak and upload foolishness like that. Most of us respect the fact that, while this country is built on a horrific foundation, we enjoy freedoms and amenities that others in the world covet. Oddly enough, we respect that without earning an eight figure salary like yours. This will surely blow over and you will be forgiven or forgotten, as America is wont to do, but I hope this lesson does not go unlearned in your mind. I hope you look back at the missteps you’ve taken and purpose to demolish the Josh Howard many have grown disappointed in over the past 6 months and present yourself anew. Do that for your family, your children and for yourself. But please! Whatever you do don’t open a fresh can of apology and patronize the public with insincerity. Spare us that. AND STAY AWAY FROM THE CAMERA PHONES!!!

…and just like that!

Posted in NBA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2008 by Rick

Well…? What did you expect to happen? I’ll blog later about why, though this digs the knife of disappointment in a bit deeper, I’m still with my young hawks to end…or something less dramatic.

Positive Take-Aways from Today’s 34 point Beat-down:

-No animals were harmed in the completion of this playoff series (which may seem insignificant but I’m a Falcons Fan).

-We have a proven “take-over”-type player in Joe Johnson.

-Josh Smith gave Garnett fits and he is a restricted free agent.

-Rajon Rondo did not die. Thank you God. That was a bone-headed move on Marvin Williams’ part. He’s lucky he’ll only be serving a suspension at the start of next season.

-We gave the NBA world something to talk about…even if this game was something to forget about.

WARNING to the Celtics:

You’ve been exposed! Pound your chest and chant “We want Cleveland!” but keep in mind that the only first round game 7 in 2008 was played on YOUR FLOOR! It should never have happened. People will conclude that the Hawks didn’t show up in the last game. I wonder why Boston didn’t show up three times in Atlanta. The Hawks fought tooth and nail to scratch out some tough wins in Atlanta. Boston’s wins were miles more definitive. I contend that the Celtics had the abilty to smack the Hawks down at will but where was the fire? The Boston Hawks didn’t deserve to be on the same court with the Boston Celtics. Someone forgot to memo the Atlanta Celtics (You may have to read that again).

I Drank the Green Kool-aid!

Posted in NBA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2008 by Rick

Let me open this log with a sincere apology to my hometown Atlanta Hawks who are on the brink of a huge game seven showdown in the first round of the NBA playoffs with the league’s best team (statistically). I have been painfully loyal to the Hawks since 1985 when Jaques Dominique Wilkins won the Slam Dunk Contest. I stayed on board when Larry “Legend” Bird killed my dreams in 1988, I dug-in when Lenny Wilkens came to town and set my hero ‘Nique packing for NBA-obscurity, I followed blindly as ownership said Christian Laettner would lead us to playoff gold and I have taken emotional punches year after year as general management has slaughtered progress with amateurish selections in the draft. The last time we were in the playoffs we beat a poor Pistons team 3 games to 2 only to be choked 0-4 by Latrell Sprewell and the eventual Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks. So here we are, nine years later, squeaking into the playoffs with the worst record of all the playoff teams facing the Voltron of the NBA. Touting three All-Stars, the most wins on the season, and the winningest franchise in history, The Boston Celtics were guaranteed to win! I gave my home boys (not the slang colloquialism) no hope to win one solitary game. I WAS WRONG, and I’m happy to say so. I believe now! For better or worse, I’m resold! I will either be elated and on top of the world Sunday evening, or I will be broken and down-trodden. It’s kind of my way with sports. But that’s fuel for another post. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!


“Don’t let statistics and history compromise your fanhood.”

-With Apologies, Rick