Saturday, June 25, 2011
Showtime by way of Byron.
By Tim David Harvey.
Eighties babies let's take it back. Back to when Gordon Gekko ruled Wall Street and Will Smith was the freshest prince in Bel-Air. Back when the only big three belonged to the high and rising, De La Soul hit 'The Magic Number'. Back when the tricks of Earvin Johnson's trade redefined basketball and gave it a new, world-wider audience. Back when Showtime was Hollywood's main attraction, started by Magic and ended by Los Angeles Laker legend Byron Scott.
Recently Byron Scott was loosely linked with the Lakers head coaching job vacated by legend Phil Jackson and now taken up by former Cleveland Cavalier leader Mike Brown. Cleveland's Scott's team nowadays and as head coach he hopes to blend this years top draft pick Kyle Erving and Los Angeles, local legend Baron Davis into a winner. Now he may not be running things for the Lake Show but he'll always remain Laker family through and through. From the above the rim, high-top fade playing days, to whenever his crouched-down to the hardwood coaching visits STAPLES. Whether wowing Jack Nicholson with his dunks, or sharing laughs with him courtside, this great Scott will always be painted with purple and gold. A brush above the rest, when Byron's fast-paced energy game helped put the 'show' in Showtime he soon filled the sneakers of the departed, nice Norm Nixon, despite some unwelcome, early difficulty.
In the end, it didn't take too long for this incredible Inglewood native to feel right at home in the fabulous Forum, not far from where he grew up. This local hero became a California king during his Los Angeles times. From Morningside High to Arizona Stare college Scott was always moulded to be great. The 6 foot 3 Shooting Guard, selected 4th overall was never meant for the Clippers, or their former home of San Diego. So as Byron changed hands and draft caps from the Clippers to the Lakers he embarked on a dominant decade with L.A's first team before closing out his career in Indiana, Canada and Greece. On his way to starting a successful ten-year plus career on the bench with those New Jersey and Orleans cities and now the Cavs out in Cleveland.
His career amounted to more then just his impressive numbers of 14.1 points, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steal per game. How's three gold championship rings for your inspiration? Now Byron who hit middle-age this year may not make the NBA's top 50 list, but he'd sure round out the first century list of all-time players. Keeping it 100, Scott gave his utmost percentage every game. His energy plays and showmanship helped make Los Angeles basketball the most entertaining brand. No wonder every Hollywood star from Nicholson to movie stuntmen knew what the real show in town was. Going on and on, Scott's dynamo play was the perfect picture for L.A. Just think of Shannon Brown today. Behind the stars, but the most screen-worthy with his highlight plays.
From the dunks to the dimes and the big smiles to the laughs, Byron formed the perfect perimeter and formidable friendship trio with Magic and defensive specialist Michael Cooper. Coop's blocks would give L.A. possession and then Magic would start the Showtime fast break that Scott usually finished...strong. His Dr. J impression being just as good as his Eddie Murphy or Richard Pryor one. Simply put Byron was one of the most refreshing players the league had seen and this underrated legend was also one of it's first most entertaining and exciting, no joke. After Julius, but before Blake, Vince, Kobe or even Michael. Byron made the dunk and energy plays his own, warming up his team before microwaves really hit the market and from Vinnie Johnson and his 'Bad Boy' Pistons to the Larry Bird led Boston Celtics, the friendly Scottie had the power to face all of his foes.
It was criminal that Byron was never selected to an All-Star team, because even on the greatest Laker team of all-time, this cult favourite shone next to all the stars. Sure the Lakers had Magic, Coop the wonderful James Worthy and the all-leading scorer and legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but Scott was a big part of the development of the Showtime's dynasty too. The 1980's Lakers would have been nothing without Magic's passes, Cooper's 'D', Worthy's 'Big Game' or cap's Sky-Hook to match, but they'd wouldn't have been much without Scott's play showing up on time either. Byron even returned to L.A. as a veteran in the 1996-97 season, backing up and mentoring Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and the other Laker role legends like any great team-mate would.
Today Byron has gone from one of the association's most underrated players to one of it's leading coaches. From reaching the Finals twice with Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets (to only be beaten by his old-friend Lakers once), to putting the buzz in the Hornets in New Orleans and Oklahoma. Last year Byron received the hardest coaching job in history, taking on the LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers and he was also a front-runner for this years hardest job, almost taking his talents back to Los Angeles to calm down the Lakers loss of Zen. Still, however the man Byron Scott succeeded in Cleveland now has STAPLES marked on his envelopes. Mike Brown is the right man for the Lakers new coaching gig and as Scott looks to take the Cavs from the basement to the spotlights he's used to, one way or another this L.A. legend will always be linked with the Lakers.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Three hands the Lakers shouldn't be so quick to deal.
By Tim David Harvey
Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Andre Igudola. These are all incredible talents and players that could take the Lake Show in a new direction but still with all the trade talk, rumour and speculation the Laker players linked with a move seem to be too good to lose. Despite some problems this year the Lakers frontcourt tandem of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom remain some of the best, most gifted players the league has to offer. So why are Los Angeles so eager to pack their bags and send them on their way to LAX, hitting the road like Ray Charles or fouled out Jack's at STAPLES? Sure the loss to this years champion Dallas revealed some difficulties but putting these players on the block, even two at a time for potential new players (no matter how good they are) just doesn't seem right. The punishment doesn't fit the crime. Lets investigate why.
EXHIBIT A: PAU GASOL
The player that the Lakers fans seem most eager to get rid of is the one guy that took the Lakers from the basement to the high-rises of back-to-back championships. Now you don't have to be called Alanis to know that that's ironic. Pau Gasol is arguably the most important Laker of the last five years. Don't you think? Sure this years Pau's play in the Western semi's was not on full but he was riddled with personal trouble. Now I know that these matters should be left at the door with basketball, as he should have been leaving it all on the floor but still sometimes things are too much and get the better of even the strongest minds.
That's a key word right there, 'strong'. Pau's other 'problem' is that he's been labelled 'soft' for years. The matter of this fiction however is that just because he's European and skilled doesn't make him less able to bang inside with the leagues best bigs. SLAM magazine said it best in a feature titled 'Soft As A Rock'. After his first Laker year loss to Boston Pau toughened up to the level of guys like Kevin Garnett and he can more then hold his own against hulking Adonis' like Dwight Howard...just not in the trade market it seems.
It's also Gasol's serious skill-set that helps him gas up the Lakers offence. Back in the day Shaq was renowned for his perfect passing (probably because it seemed unusual coming from such a big), but Pau's precision is taken at read and even ignored. Plus from Olive Oil armed post-moves (those biceps have some Popeye spinach) to fancy footwork and a never back-down, post-championship attitude this guy has it all. Plus from strong dunks, stares and screams to a nice shot, Pau's unpredictable game is what gives the Lakers offence it's most potency and power. How could you even trade the guy that helped the Lakers almost three-peat? Without him forget about starting a new one.
EXHIBIT B: LAMAR ODOM
The Lakers most dynamic and versatile all-round player was also L.A.'s most consistent performer in last years up and down season...and the Lakers want to trade him? This is the NBA's current 'Sixth Man Of The Year'. A player so good he should start, a player so good he can cover all positions, lead and/or follow...and Minnesota have apparently rejected a package deal with him as part? They can count on another early vacation next season.
Still it's key that the Lakers keep their love for Lamar and not Kevin. For example looking at another special K, the Lakers once went after Kevin Garnett only to be beaten by Boston. Now who would you rather have today K.G. or L.O.? See right now the reality is that there is no one in the league quite like Mr. Kardashian. Sure he's not a top scorer, (he's not even close on his own team) but he can put up big numbers all over the board, at any position, pick your poison. Just imagine if more plays where ran for him on the white board.
Sure his selfless attitude is his gift and his curse. He may be even more of a Hollywood star these days if he swore by being all-for-self, but it's his giving, team-first nature that have helped the Lakers receive a one-of-a-kind player. Sure he's not the best player his city or league has to offer, but so what, that's not up for debate here. Besides he's probably the most skilled Laker since Magic. From the D, to the showtime break, the passes to the finishes, this is no trick. Just ask Pat Riley. Now if the Lakers want to stay all-round. They got to keep their all-time guy. Not only should this guy (finally) be an All-Star next year. He should be a Laker too.
EXHIBIT C: ANDREW BYNUM
The way Andrew Bynum tore off his jersey following the Lakers sweep out the playoffs this year you'd be forgiven if you thought that maybe he didn't want to be a Laker anymore. Still this young big and his team would do good by each other to find the kid a new jersey that still reads 'Lakers'. Sure Bynum is prone to going down on one knee, but his incredible talent has been groomed for years and is now in a perfect matrimony of the numbers 20 and 10. So let's not make this guy an outcast via a Hollywood divorce.
'Drew is not just one of the West's best, he's one of the leagues greatest centre's, even if Yao and Oden are healthy. He's also one of the association's last 'true' centres. He eased Los Angeles' 'Shaqless' pain and now as the former strongest position in basketball is dying off. The Lakers shouldn't kill the purple and gold reign of one of this generations best breeds. Even Kobe knows the Lakers shouldn't ship Bynum out.
Not when a healthy Andrew can help them set sail and get back on the right championship course. Right now Andrew's still a young gun and for a couple of seasons and a few more now he's been sunk by injury, but still when he's returned he's really shown he's back in more ways then one. The numbers just add up. Now imagine if he could play a full season healthy, because it's coming. Without 'Drew sometimes the Lakers are overdrawn, having to be in debt to Gasol playing centre, but with him their more then out the red. They've even overcome the green of Boston for the championship gold with Bynum's inside knowledge. Bynum puts the colour back into the purples reign. Without him this contender may see even darker days.
I know they say if it's broke don't fix it, but in this case the Lakers repair should come from within and without a wrecking ball, even if the experts think a demolition is in order. Although their frontcourt trio had their troubles that led to the Lakers falling apart, they still shouldn't be considered 'damaged goods'. These iron men shouldn't even be considered dented tins as they really have made their mark on this franchise in the form of engravings with previous championship engagements. Without these guys the Lakers probably wouldn't be where they are now and even though it's not the best place, it's one not far removed from Larry O'Brien territory.
Sometimes change isn't the best thing. Sometimes it's better if things stay the same. It's better to re-group, re-tool and most importantly get together. Pau, Lamar and Andrew are the parts that will help the Lakers do this. This frontcourt tandem is formidable, consistent and proven and before all that they work hard and never give up, quietly going about their business. As everyone else continues to talk trash, these guys games speak louder volumes. Check the books, before the Lakers put them on the block they should think of the 'chips they've brought. These championship certified veterans need fresh legs in the form of rest and not new sneaker fillers. This Laker dynasty is not dead yet.
Friday, June 10, 2011
A coach who has found his soul.
By Tim David Harvey.
"Basketball, unlike football with its prescribed routes, is an improvisational game, similar to jazz. If someone drops a note, someone else must step into the vacuum and drive the beat that sustains the team." PHIL JACKSON, 'The Last Season'.
This is it, no album, no movie. The greatest figure in the game during the 90's not named M.J. has hung up his smart shoes and dry erase board. No more smells of incense in the locker room, no more meditation at half-time. Next season in locker-rooms everywhere in the NBA, from the STAPLES centre to the staples of other teams, a calm will have left the building. We aren't talking about the lockout, but the retirement of the greatest coach in NBA history after the cigar smoke had cleared out gardens and arenas in the United States. Phil Jackson in a chilled out press conference said farewell to 'The Last Season'. Autobiography or no autobiography, it was written.
Here's hoping you appreciated him while he was in sync because the truth remains he's gone. There was no honour rolls throughout the league, there wasn't even one in Chicago. There will be no Jerry West press conferences either, despite the mid-season jokes. This enigmatic man who loves the game, but doesn't suffer fools wasn't one for the hoopla surrounding hoops. He sure appreciated his time more then any of us probably will ever know, but believe it or not he has slowly and calmly gone on his way. He already had his Jordan moment, coming out of retirement. He's not going to do it again, he knows better and we all better believe it and put it to rest even if it was for the Lakers and league best if he returned (no offence Mike Brown). Besides do you want to be the one to disturb this man while he's in the middle of nowhere, finding peace love and understanding?
So let's celebrate and look back now as Jax looks forward to no press conferences and basketball politics as usual. The Zen is what has given the association it's spirit for the last two decades. From the eccentric to the sarcastic, the candour to the calm. He's the master who has taught two of the greatest students of all-time. Turned the "uncoachable" into the untouchable. Taking care of Chicago like Elliott Ness, guarding L.A's Hollywood stars like Kevin Costner. Blowing his way through the wind with a longevity like Dylan, walking his own way to fame.
Jackson has had a lot of different shapes to deal with in his time and he's turned them all into a beautiful triangle, whether you understand or not. From M.J. to Kobe, Scottie to Lamar, Rodman to Artest, Kukoc to Gasol, Kerr to Fisher and...erm, Longley to Shaq. No matter the talent Phil has made sure each man brought the best out of himself, whatever the frustration. Now that and the Zen calm is what made P.J. the best coach ever, day or night. Besides Phil saw Red and raised him a championship. Now that's a 10 out of 10 career.
Kobe may have promised one more championship to show his appreciation and send his coach out the right way but the Lakers broke. Still, these two guys have had an incredible journey together, with all the peaks, valleys, vestibules and alleys that you'd expect...and then some. When we all thought Phil was done-in more ways then one in 2006- it wasn't hinted at, it was stated in his best-selling, all-telling book ('The Last Season: A Team In Search Of A Soul') that his relationship with Bryant was in a state of disrepair. You would never believe in a million years that back then in just a couple of 365's these two would repair, lick their wounds, heal and at the start of this year be on the verge of a possible second three-peat and Jax's fourth overall. Sure it wasn't to be, but one thing was clear to see; Phil and Kobe's redemption was. It was all good in the end.
Whatever went on between them since the death of a dynasty has rocked every critics argument that both men and their teams had seen their best days. Whatever was said will remain between Kobe, Phil and the bait when they go fly-fishing together and reminisce down the line in years time. Still whatever was done renders his last book forgotten and somewhat obsolete (it's still a great read though). 2010 to 2011 was the 'real' last season and by changing his mind and Kobe as a player, Phil successfully re-wrote his own and his basketball second sons history. They really got it together. Thank God for the dream of Jeanie.
Jackson has proved that you can catch lightening in a bottle twice, and almost did it three times over. Decades after Kob' unlaces them one last time, the debate will rage over who was better; him or Mike. Still no one will quite know both men and have quite the qualified gospel to speak on them like Phil Jackson. He truly brought the best out of them and helped them both become the icons they are. Now that's influence, now that's inspirational. Jordan was trying to dig his way out the East with Coach Collins but he didn't win anything until he was 'Dougless'. No offence to Doug Collins, but Jackson truly understood Jordan and together they made history, season after season, after championship, after championship. You know the rest.
No man has ever been synonymous with two teams, but still regarded in his own legend like Phil Jackson. A legend on two coaches and a great role player in his on-court days for New York, Phil's always been reliable. They say the worst players make the best coaches but Coach Jackson is no average man, he's played his role to a tee as Basketballs true iron man in stark contrasts. Speaking of reliable, it looked like Jackson was moulding a successor in the form of assistant and former three-peat champion role-player Brian Shaw. Normally an inexperienced coach would raise doubts but not when he comes with the tutoring and endorsement of a sheer legend of strategy. Even though the Lakers contender reigns have been given to the greatest young coach in the game; Mike Brown, Brian Shaw and his teachings from the Zen would make a great coach there or anywhere.
Still there is no doubt there is commiseration aplenty because between the Windy City and the Californian sun, the calm and the storm, the red, purple and championship gold, the Eastern philosophy and promise and the triangle and the shape of things to come, there is, hasn't been and won't be anyone quite like Phil Jackson. Just like Shaquille O'Neal it's hard to say goodbye to such a unique and original legend-but just like the daddy in Los Angeles and all over the league-the father of coaching's legacy is set in stone and that's greater then one more 'chip. Phil Jackson may have not met Larry O'Brien this year, but he'll meet Red in the halls as a true champion.
"Since the early 1960's, I've played or coached in more than two thousand games, and I can say safely there is nothing I've experienced outside of basketball that can match its intensity, its highs and lows, its feeling of fulfilment or failure. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without it." PHIL JACKSON, 'The Last Season'.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Which of big daddy’s homes will retire his jersey?
By Tim David Harvey
On Wednesday the biggest, funniest, most enjoyable, entertaining and dominant NBA player ever called it a one-of-a-kind career. It is a sad day in the NBA now one of the associations most unique and charismatic players ever has said his goodbye. There truly is no one like Shaquille O’Neal. No one can question his heart, his talent or his sheer dominance of the game that he has re-defined along the way. The one question that does arise about this mans 18 year career is which team is most deserving of retiring his jersey?
Although any of his teams could claim reason to retire one of his multiple jersey numbers in the 30’s, which team is Shaq most identifiable with? Which team most represents Shaq at his very best and most defining? Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Cleveland or Boston? Let’s take a look.
ORLANDO MAGIC: (Number 32, 1992-1996): Best Season: 29.3ppg, 13.2rpg, 59.9 FG%.
Fresh out of LSU with the number one pick in the 1992 Draft (complete with smile and disbelief (“Me?”)) the most dynamic NBA player ever entered the league. From his Rookie of the Year season Shaq proved to be a legit, dominant 20 and 10 guy and this was just the tip of this very big iceberg. At certain points at his time with the Magic ‘Shaq Daddy’ was almost a 30 and 15 guy. The league had not seen dominance like this since a certain tall man named Wilt was doing his thing. From the dipper to the daddy the league was about to get fathered again.
It only became better for Orlando when O’Neal was joined by Penny Hardaway in his sophomore season. This was the first of many partnerships formed with shooting guards/small forwards that have defined Shaq’s career. With the most exciting guard/forward not named Michael Jordan and Shaq throwing bodies around in the paint the future looked as bright as the Florida weather. Sometimes in life however things take a turn for a worse, sometimes thing stop you from achieving what you want. Things like injury. Things like Hakeem Olajuwon.
Shaq may have not claimed his first championship with the Magic but his time in Orlando was great and he did obtain a Olympic Gold Medal and a platinum rap album in the process. This may have only been the beginning of better things to come but Orlando is where it all started for Shaquille. It represents arguably his most exciting time in the league. He was playing like a man possessed and the hype was immense, he was outstanding. Orlando would never garner as much interest until a young heir to the superman throne named Dwight Howard was drafted. Notice the similarities?
LOS ANGELES LAKERS: (Number 34, 1996-2004): Best Season: 29.7ppg, 13.6rpg, 57.4 FG%.
The diesel's longest, most successful and most turbulent time came with the Los Angeles Lakers. Winning three back to back rings with the most exciting guard/forward the league has seen since Michael Jordan. The Lakers could easily be anybody's clear choice for the team most likely to retire his jersey if it wasn’t for the way things where left. The Lakers represent both Shaquille in his prime and the time were O’Neal garnered the most newspaper headlines for all the right reasons… and all the wrong reasons.
When the basketball/movie/rap star moved to LA he showcased some award winning performances. Shaq won titles and MVP’s with the Lakers. This felt like home for the biggest personality in the NBA. Just like it did for Wilt and just like it did for Magic. I tell you Jack, Hollywood was watching like Nicholson.
Just as things couldn’t get any better…they didn’t. Shaq and Kobe may have been the most dominant partnership in the league, ruling the paint and the perimeter but they had a beef as high-profile as Jay-Z and Nas. When they got it together they were arguably the greatest one-two punch in NBA history but when they fell apart they contributed to the death of a dynasty.
Things are better nowadays for Shaq and Kobe. A couple of seasons back they shared MVP honours at the All-Star game and they played together like it was old times. Some Laker fans even hoped that maybe LA could bring back Shaq for one last title run. It seems that you can’t think of one of these guys without thinking about the other. Shaq may be more identifiable with Kobe then he is with the Lakers but if this franchise doesn’t retire his jersey after everything he’s done for them it’ll be an injustice.
MIAMI HEAT: (Number 32, 2004-2008): Best Season: 22.9ppg, 10.4rpg, 60.1 FG%.
Shaquille O’Neal’s first years in Miami were his redemption. Soured by the way things ended up in Los Angeles, Shaq was excited from day one down in South Beach armed with his super soaker. It was fun for the Miami Heat too. Sophomore sensation Dwyane Wade was poised to be one of the most exciting talents in the league and all he needed was a partner in crime. In came Shaquille O’Neal and there was the third partnership. The partnership between Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade was the most compatible and friendly, the pair was exactly what each other needed. When they won their championship together they were dominant. If Kobe wasn’t as talented as he is he would have probably looked like the bitter ex because this new partnership was getting all the headlines for all the right reasons.
So Shaquille’s time in Miami could have been personally his best time. He made his way out of a bad break-up and helped form an exciting and successful team. This team however did not last too long either, but it could of. There was no dynasty in Miami, key guys got injured and other significant pieces left or retired. Times were good in Miami, but they were short.
Shaq may have reached milestones in his time with Miami but in his last season injuries and fouls became the better of him. He was still a force but when he was traded to Phoenix that was it. Shaq didn’t leave things on the best note with Miami. Some words were exchanged about Pat Riley through the press (and nobody was singing anybodies praises) but that being said it was nothing like the fallout in Los Angeles. The ‘Big Aristotle’s’ time in Miami will always be looked at as a happy and successful one.
PHOENIX SUNS: (Number 32, 2008-2009): Best Season: 17.8ppg, 8.4rpg, 60.9 FG%.
OK so clearly Shaquille’s season and a bit in Phoenix wasn’t as career defining as his time in Orlando, Los Angeles or Miami but it was nothing to turn your nose up at. With an eye still intact for passing and a feel for offence Shaq was still Shaq. When O' Neal came in critics wrote him off as finished and fans were scared the fast-breaking Suns would be slowed down. Only one of these things happened but to Shaq’s credit, the Mike D’Antoni era Suns had come to an end long before ‘the Diesel’ came to re-fuel Arizona. The Suns may have been slower but they had a force in the middle with ‘The Big Cactus’ ready to prick critics.
Shaquille has always faced criticism about his weight and conditioning but during his time in Phoenix he stepped in the rejuvenating machine. O’Neal proved again that the one who would have the last word (or in his case words) would be him. Shaq was drop stepping, slam dunking and baby hooking his way through the west like he was in L.A. again. He even had a 45 and 11 night against Toronto. The Shaq of old was back and his famous one liner's had the goods to back them up.
Although in his full season with the Suns Shaq didn’t make the playoffs for the first time in his career, his time in Phoenix was clearly a success. His tenure may not go down in history or measure up to the feats he has achieved with his other teams but it still holds something special. Shaquille’s time with Phoenix showed his detractors that he could still play like an All-Star and give a half decent team a legitimate shot. Shaq proved that as a veteran he could still play like a young buck. Shaquille proved everybody wrong in the biggest way he has done in his whole career.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: (Number 33, 2009-2010): Best (Only) Season: 12.0ppg, 6.7rpg, 56.6 FG%.
After playing with Penny, Kobe and Dwyane, Superman’s next rescue mission was to ‘Win a Ring for the King’. Although he was unsuccessful in turning this motto into a declaration he still had a solid year. Solid players however don’t get their jerseys retired but then again Shaq isn’t just any other ‘solid’ player. It’s safe to say though after only logging one season as a Cavalier the number 32 will still be available for Cleveland players in the future.
If O’Neal had turned the Cleveland ‘Wine and Gold’ into champagne and championship gold then maybe Shaq’s status and jersey in LeBron’s former home would have ‘risen’. With that being said however reputation doesn’t always count for everything, especially in LeBron’s case. It’s not like Cleveland fans will be happy to plan a retirement ceremony for anybody’s jersey number at the moment anyway.
BOSTON CELTICS: (Number 36, 2010-2011): Best (Only) Season: 9.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 66.7 FG%.
At the press conference in New England Shaq looked as dapper as an old English gentleman, decked out in a suit and bow tie. The reason for his attire? He felt like he is joining an executive club...and he was. So many legends have played for the Celtics that one of the only jersey numbers available in the 30’s for O’Neal was the number 36. This jersey number probably won't join the other Celtic greats amongst the banners but still the 'bballfather' is still passed through the biggest organisation for ballplayers and big men as one of the biggest players ever. Shaquille may be a larger than life super player but his stats are smaller than his reputation, but still that doesn't matter one iota next to the one thing that should be read; 'legend'.
Maybe his time at Boston may be remembered more like Hakeem Olajuwon’s time at Toronto then Karl Malone’s time at the Lakers but that doesn't mean either guys last years where bad, they where just different. Plus even if it was in less minutes Shaquille recorded a career high field-goal percentage in a career of leading statistics in that category. Who knows if it wasn't for injuries and Nate Robinson pranks (as hilarious as they where) all Boston may have needed was a little bit of ‘Diesel’ to taste champagne again.
Still it wasn't to be. You best believe Shaq is a man of his word and would have honoured his contract and played a year if it wasn't for the irritation of injury and the irregularity it does to ones intentions. Someone must have had to literally drag the big fella away for the court...now would you want to be the one to have to do that? Still, when Shaq was on the floor for Boston he was his old, 'young' self being a big factor for the Shamrock green Celtics. Plus how fitting that Shaquille said goodbye to the game in the same year as his championship mentor Phil Jackson? This former Laker also did something most other purple and gold legends (apart from Rick Fox) in history couldn't; he extended his iconic reach and popularity to Boston.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Career Averages: 23.7ppg, 10.9rpg, 58.2 FG%.
Shaquille may not have the luxury that the John Stockton’s, Larry Bird’s and the Magic Johnson’s of the league had. Shaquille may not have had one franchise to call his home for his career but at the same time he is no journeyman. Shaquille is larger than life and greater than any one portion of his career. He has had defining moments with each of the six teams he has played for. The Magic, the Lakers and the Heat can all claim that Shaquille had his best times while with them. Plus with more career jersey numbers then Rodman requested (that's the fault of the Lakers and Celtics tradition for legendary bigs) if all the teams Shaq has played for threw him a retirement ceremony then what would be so wrong with that (maybe the state of Florida should do a dual tribute)? After all Shaquille has given the league more years on top, dominance, entertainment and laughs then anybody else has. Every one of those six teams should have been proud to have given him their jersey. From the baby hooks to the dunks and the passes to the shattering of backboard glasses. It's hard to say goodbye to someone so great but what an iconic and incredible run. From one form of entertainment he may be retired but believe me...he aint done.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
"We want to be at the top forever." A bold statement from the man at the centre of a bold move. The Lakers held a presser yesterday to introduce impressive, new Head Coach Mike Brown. Although the triangle offence goes with Jackson, Brown made it clear that the team would still be shaped by franchise man Kobe Bryant. After a meeting with his top man Brown told the media at the press conference, "This is still his team. We'll make sure that he'll have the ball in the sweet spots that he likes," adding, "he has a great understanding of my vision and he's onboard." Although critical opinion has been mixed it hasn't fazed Coach Mike. "Everybody is entitled to their opinion, I respect that, winning will cure all of that," the new Lakers leader stated. His time is now and if you dont think he's the face for the future, you better check your watch because this guy ticks. Let's get it started. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
It started with a smile, it ended with a Twit. The NBA's most enjoyable and entertaining players and personalities has hung up the super size sneakers. Shaquille O'Neal the larger then his size and most dominant/funniest ever will truly be missed by fans, critics and players alike. From big deals and rings with the Lakers to still having what it takes with the Celtics Shaq's lasting legacy is one of profound power and natural talent. There was, is and will never be anyone like him. we thought this day would never come and he refused it but eventually injuries took their final toll. Standby for a tribute update of our 'Six Degrees Of Separation' article and let the jersey retirement debate go on. We'll miss you Big Daddy thanks for the memories and rings. You'll always be a Laker for life. TIM DAVID HARVEY.