Friday, January 28, 2011

Shaquille O'Neal: Rare Athlete To Respect



 When one thinks of basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, the image of the big "Shaq" pops into the mind. A dominant player for years, the 7 foot 1, 330-pound mountain is a nightmare to play against for opposing teams. He has been voted into the top 50 players of all time. He will certainly go to the Hall-of-Fame.
He has made an outlandish amount of money in the sport he loves. Millions upon millions of dollars to play a game, Shaq has everything a man can want in terms of property and possessions.

Superman Shaq and Dwight
O'Neal is interesting for other reasons, though. Despite all of his wealth, he has a desire to do good in life. Perhaps it is due to his mother and stepfather, a military man named Phil Harrison, that have guided him. Shaq always refers to Harrison as his father without a blink. In reality that is so since Harrison did all the heavy-lifting in terms of raising a family.

Shaquille married his longtime girlfriend with whom he has children. That may not sound like a big deal but it sends a message. This is particularly true for the black community since the out-of-wedlock birthrate is an astounding 70%. Marriage sends a positive message instead of the view of another athlete just running around impregnating anything that moves.
O'Neal also went back and got his college degree. A cynic would say, "Why bother?" but it is an accomplishment for him and a promise to his mother. It also says college is important since virtually nobody will become an NBA player despite the marketing of it everywhere. You have a better chance of getting hit by lightning.

Monster block on Kobe
Most interesting is his interest in police work. Shaq is already a reserve officer for Miami Beach paid $1 a year. He holds a similar title for Bedford County, Virginia. He is also a U.S Deputy Marshal where his focus is preventing predators of children.
When legendary basketball player George Mikan passed-away recently, O'Neal stepped-up and paid the funeral expenses since Mikan received just a $1,400-a-month pension from the NBA. Money-wise, Mikan came at the wrong time and O'Neal stepped into a windfall, right or wrong. But Shaq's decency is what this is all about.
In an era of absurdly paid athletes, greed, thuggish behavior, etc., Shaquille O'Neal sends the right message in most cases. He is even liked by the media and often plays around with them. Compare that to the often brooding athlete who can't handle talking to the media to answer questions about hitting or bouncing a ball. Boy, what tough questions to answer!

No athlete should ever be viewed as a hero because it simply is not true. They are just men and women who do one particular thing better than most people and that's it. However, with so much media attention focused on these people, it is great to see someone doing the right thing on several fronts. Shaquille O'Neal is a guy most fans can appreciate and look at with respect.
Robert Carberry is a freelance writer from New York



Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - NBA's Greatest Center




  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, (born April 16, 1e947 Fredrick Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr.) An American NBA All-Star basketball player considered one of the best players of all time. His career spanned over 20 years from 1969-1989. His incredible 7 ft 2 in height made him a force to deal with. His record breaking 38,387 points made him the highest total scorer of any player in the league. Kareem was known for his famous skyhook shot and was awarded six Most Valuable Player Awards.

Kareem was picked for the 1969 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Karem remained a dominant force for the Bucks scoring 38 points per game and helping the Bucks to division leaders for four straight years. By 1973, Kareem had won three MVP Awards and one of the top NBA players in scoring.
In 1975 Abdul-Jabbar was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he had a dominant season averaging 27 points per game and leading the league in blocked shots and rebounds. He still holds the NBA single season record for 1,111 defensive rebounds. Kareem continued to play strong during his next two seasons and named to the All-NBA Second Team twice and the All-Defensive Team once. The Lakers went on to become the most dominant team in the 1980's with the winning combination of Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to win five NBA Championships.

Kareem announced his retirement in 1989 after 20 years of professional seasons. The Lakers made the NBA Finals in each of Abdul-Jabbar's final three seasons, defeating Boston in 1987 and Detroit in 1988. His athletic honors include; Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame in 1995, Rookie of the Year in 1970, six time NBA champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988), MVP (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980), Final MVP (1971, 1985), One of the fifty greatest players in NBA history, and first player in NBA history to play a total of 20 seasons.
About the Author: Eddie Delgado is the owner and writer for [http://www.VintageSportsCardMemorabilia.com] VSCM is the ultimate NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL sports card and memorabilia site for serious collectors.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NBA Entertainment Vs NBA Basketball - What Good is the All-Star Game?



  Since its apex in the 90s, the NBA has since its popularity rise to a global scale that helped propelled Basketball as one of the most popular sport in the world. Spearheaded by the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and its iconic Dream Team composed of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and many other stars, NBA Basketball took the world by storm.
From there on, it was just going up, fused with the invasion of Hip Hop culture in mainstream media, Basketball and Hip hop became a marriage to be reckoned with.

  The NBA was cool, its merchandise was awesome, and Michael Jordan had just been crowned King of the empire. Jordan's style with baggy shorts, air Jordan sneakers and shaved heads would become like a required uniform to any serious Basketball players, while kids would spend more time practicing their circus shots than their free throws. The 90s were the NBA glory days, and the NBA was proud of its product.
With increased revenues, and popularity, the league kept expanding, branching out and perfecting its successful formula. By the late 90s, a new breed of players was emerging, and the NBA was witnessing a new type of mentality. By the time the time the 21 century was unveiled, playing in the NBA was like stepping in a studio to record a Rap album. Hip Hop was the NBA's soundtrack, and it became increasingly hard to differentiate between the music artist and the ball players. It was after all, the same culture, the same age groups, and the same type of fun. NBA players loved Hip Hop music, and Hip Hop artists enjoyed playing Basketball. Shaquille O'Neal had already released, Allen Iverson came with a style only seen so far in playgrounds, while dunks were starting to defy reality and look a lot more like video games. By that time the NBA had reached new heights, and was a prolific business with revenues that transcended the field of Basketball.
 While the NBA money machine was in full force, there were also some troubling signs; there was an increasingly number of fights on court, games were becoming more aggressive, and outbursts of violence became more frequent. Now Basketball is a physical game, so one is expected to see temper flare, plus there was nothing that a fine or a suspension would solve.
 As the year 2000 progressed, the NBA came into the limelight for many other reasons; on one side there was the extension of its market base propelled by the rise of China, which accelerated the momentum of the NBA desire to go global, and plan more NBA games overseas. On the other side there were the social movements that saw the rise of High school kids jumping straight to the NBA and the ever rising mixture of NBA players into popular culture. The issue became that NBA players, Hip Hop and Entertainment was bound to bring the remaining element always attached to them: Scandal.
From frequent arrests, questionable entourage, reports of improper conduct that included several traffic offenses, NBA players were getting a bad rap; granted it was not just the NBA players, but let's stick to the subject at hand.
It didn't take long before NBA players reputation began to be negatively portrayed by the media were many will present them as spoiled ingrate millionaires who do not value their opportunities. Players cited for DUI, drug related charges or weapon possession became somehow like a norm; there were even several cases of domestic violent disputes and sexual assault. Increasingly for many, there were no big difference between the lives of NBA athletes and the universe of gangsta rap.
There was nonetheless hope in the horizon with the arrival of High school phenom Lebron James, the one man show produced by Kobe Bryant who offered the best incarnation of Michael Jordan, and the confirmation of China as one of NBA most lucrative markets. All this however would not eliminate the decline in ratings capped by the Spurs-Cavaliers finals, and the ongoing battle between the NBA and its workforce in terms of Identity.
  On November 19, 2004, a brawl erupted during the game between the Indian Pacers and The Detroit Pistons in Detroit. During the commotion, Pacers Ron Artest was hit with a cup of drink by a fan, and responded by going into the stand to discipline the culprit. The incident drew massive criticism from every side, from fans to media, to politicians, etc...The palace brawl as it is known today is still the NBA biggest black eye.
The NBA response was swift and clear; putting aside the heavy punishments to all involved in the brawl, the league was determined to redefine its product and eliminate any association with Hip Hop culture and the categorization of its players as Thugs and immature.
First came the dress code, the NBA was set on sending a message to all that playing in the NBA is first and foremost an employment opportunity, and therefore Athletes when not on the court should adopt and present themselves in a professional manner. The age limit was next, where the NBA eliminated the possibility for High school graduates to jump directly in the NBA; a move the league hoped would better prepare kids to the rigor and professionalism of the higher level.
  In 2006, another brawl took place in New York during a game between the Knicks and the Nuggets; then there was the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal that ignited controversies regarding the fairness of the game.
It doesn't matter that the NBA has put in place several rules such a video replay to increase fairness, and a team bench clarification rule to prevent the escalation of fights. The truth is that the NBA has done a very poor job in defining its product, and often either enjoys toying with the line of ambiguity, or is simply reactionary.
The recent near controversy regarding Tracy McGrady selection among the starters of the Western Squad at the 2010 all-star game in 2010 without a question caused a few sleepless nights to David Stern. Tracy McGrady has played less than 10 games in during the 2009/2010 season, has been persona non grata to his team the Houston Rockets, and yet was almost voted into the all-star game. Allen Iverson who has played a few more games than McGrady however was voted in as a starter for the East team.
There are many calls from both players and the media to reform the All-star game voting procedure because of cases such as McGrady and Iverson selection. The problem does not lie with the All-Star game voting system; the problem lies with the definition of the "All-Star game".
The NBA needs to seriously reevaluate many of its parameters, and probably tone down its zealous desire to include or involve both the media and the fans.
  Along with the bench clearing rule, the NBA has also instituted a "No tolerance rule", which allows a referee to give a technical foul to a player who complains too hard about a call. Those who criticize the rule remind us that Basketball is a physical emotional game, and preventing players to release those emotions is unfair.
The NBA prides itself on having fans so close to the game as what defines the NBA experience, the players are accessible.
Now something got to give, if players are into that emotional, physical and high stake game is it reasonable to allow so close to them people who will curse, insult and heckle them?

  On the other hand, wouldn't be more successful to contain those emotions if they're not accentuated by fans that have the complete freedom to raise signs and chants of provocation that far surpass the level of cheering for your own team?
The whole thing is a bad combination, if players and fans are to be this close, to ensure a great experience for all; the NBA ought to moderate both the court and the stand.
Additionally, if the NBA wants its players to act and dress properly, as well as regulate their off court offenses; the league better increase the level of protection on the court and in the arena. If the league wishes its player to seriously consider their Basketball careers as a job, then the league must push the envelope of rules on the field as well. A fight on the court should be considered an assault or violence in the workplace, and treated according to the law governing such acts. The league should be liable for event like the Brawl in the palace, as Artest could rightfully claim that it was the result of an unsafe work environment. Furthermore, shouldn't some players feel endangered by the league allowing former convict in their workplace, after all should any be safe if that situation was in an office?
  Finally, that All-Star game system is a fraud. On one side, the media complains that the fans got it wrong by voting some players into the all-Star game; yet, the media use those same selections to define a player as an "All-Star". So tell me, what is an all-Star, someone with incredible skills, or incredible popularity? What to make of players who sign or request big contracts? you often hear general managers refer to those big amounts as "All-Star contracts". So if I get it right, a player receives big contracts because they are popular? If it wasn't the case, so there will be no shame giving a player a max contract although they have never been in the all-star game.
The question is "who is the all-star game for?" you often hear the media praise some players as a "2 time all-star" or "5 time all-star"; what this tells me is no more than "2 times among the most popular players, or like by the coaches". The issue becomes when those "All-star" selections are used to define the elite in the game. The truth is that at this time, being in the all-star game has absolutely no bearing as far as how good a player you are among your peer, but more on how good your agent, sponsor and commercials are.
To offer a certain amount of money to a player based on all-star selections simply says that the team who signs the check is investing more on the potential merchandise sold, rather than on court performances.
  If the All-Star Game is for the fans, then there shouldn't be any controversies whether T-mac, Iverson or even the 12th man on the New Jersey Nets squad is voted; it should be all about the fans, therefore statistics, team record shouldn't be taken in consideration. If however, the all-star game is meant to offer a spectacle of the best in the league of a given year, then maybe only experts, fellow players and the media who eventually vote for the MVP should participate in the selection process.
When all is said, it is the NBA's role to clearly explain what and who is the All-Star game for. If it is for the fans, then let the fans select, and keep the numbers sealed so the media would not influence the voting process as they probably did in the McGrady case. If however, it is to showcase the best in the league, then let the players, coaches and media vote for the starters. If all this is done, the reserves selection probably should be reviewed, otherwise how to explain that a McGrady who was almost voted by the fans, is shunned by the coaches? It almost looks like the All-star game is composed of two teams, The Fans team, and the coaches' team.
So far, the NBA has enjoyed playing along the line of entertainment and professional sport in its marriage with Hip Hop culture without setting effective boundaries
It will be pointless to even go into the season MVP requirement, but what is important is for the NBA to clearly define its product, because failure to do so will only create cracks in the structure that in the long run will increase the ambiguity and the perception of unfairness. With each controversy and the NBA effort to do some damage control, the game suffers. Until the league soundly decides if it wants to be an entertainment organization or a sport organization, it will someday look like the WWE, and others like the FIBA; however playing both is bound to create problems in the long run.
Regis Zoula is an independent writer and author whose experience growing up 18 years in Africa's diplomatic capital, Addis-Abeba shaped his views on African politics, society and culture. His 11 years living in the united States where he obtained a degree in International Business cemented his understanding of the marriage between global market and International affairs. Added to the package is an avid passion for International music and Sport, that led a devotion to expressing in writing opinion and analysis that focuses on Africa, Culture, Politics and Sport.



Sunday, January 23, 2011

10 Best Leapers the in NBA History

 These are the stats measured in player's primes. This list could be quite good for motivation!


1. Spud Webb - 46 inches (118cm)
2. Michael Jordan - 44 inches (113cm)
2. Lebron James - 44 inches
2. Dee Brown - 44 inches
2. Harold Miner - 44 inches
2. Shawn Kemp - 44 inches
2. Shannon Brown - 44 inches
3. Vince Carter - 43 inches (110cm)
3. Steve Francis - 43 inches
3. Nate Robinson - 43 inches
4. Dominque Wilkins - 42 inches (107.5cm)
4. Jordan Farmar - 42 inches
5. Dr J. Erving - 41 inches (105cm)
6. Rudy Gay - 40 inches (102.5cm)
6. Larry Nance - 40 inches
7. Josh Smith - 39.5 inches (101cm)
8. Gerald Green - 39 inches (100cm)
9. Kobe Bryant - 38 inches (97.5cm)
10. Desmond Mason - 37.5 inches (96cm)




others

Dwight Howard - 39 inches
Ralph Sampson - 36 inches
Shaq - 32 inches
Magic Johnson - 30 inches
Karl Malone - 28 inches

Two Stand out Basketball Icons who have changed Basketball Fashion



There are two stand out personalities when it comes to game changing practical fashion on the basketball court.

The first is John Havlicek. Havlicek played for the Boston Celtics in the 1960s. At this time all NBA players were wearing high top shoes. Havlicek decided to buck the trend based on theory that the lighter shoe would give him greater agility and speed on the court. In a short period of time the low cut basketball shoe became the cool choice of the day for shoes.
As always with fashion what was old is now new again and the high tops are all the rage. The moral to the shoe story is anything goes!

On a serious note though if you are going to buy a new pair of slam shoes makes sure you try on plenty of different pairs to make sure you get the right pair for your feet. Make sure you are wearing a pair of socks that are similar to what you will play in. It is critical that you ensure that you have ample support for your ankles. The last thing you want is to pull off a super slam only to lay yourself out on the floor due to rolling an ankle when gravity kicks in!

The other big name in practical game changing basketball fashion has to be Michael Jordan. When Jordan joined the ranks of the NBA he had an almost overnight impact on fashion. He moved away from the high and tight cut shorts and basketball jersey to a looser longer fitting type of shorts and jersey. While there has been some transition back and forth with the jerseys over the years in relation to tighter and looser fitting styles, for the most part the shorts have remained looser fitting since Jordan went with this style.

There is an also practical benefit to the looser fitting shorts. Shorts provide greater grip for players that choose to lean over for a rest during free throws.

Of course there have been many more changes in later in relation to basketball uniform designs but with the advent of technology and marketing more players seem to bringing new fashion to the court at the same time. An example of this is Wide Cut Jerseys, Compression wear and Sublimated uniforms. It is difficult to credit on player with these advances in fashion but they all no doubt have had an impact.

On a practical note most reputable custom basketball uniform suppliers will be able to assist with designing new styles of basketball uniforms and can be found online.

The most important thing regardless of your preferred basketball fashion for the court is to get out and have fun and be comfortable while you do it.
Let’s be real though, it doesn’t hurt to look good off court as well! Court Cred in relation to uniform fashion can go a long way to getting the upper hand on your opponents.

The writer of this article has an established company of basketball uniforms and basketball jersey outfits. Being a great fan of basketball himself, he closely follows and enjoys all aspects of the game.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shaq's Quotes #2

“If you go 72-11 and don’t win (the championship), it doesn’t mean anything. Actually it does. It means you’ve cheated and played an extra regular-season game.”

“Their unselfishness, the way they play and their poise factor.  When you never panic, that’s a great sign.”

“Every time that I’ve won a championship I’ve looked at my guys around me and looked at their work ethic and said ‘You know what, I’m going to win it this year.  I feel that way now.”

REPORTER: Shaq, do you have a special routine before the playoffs?
SHAQ: Yeah, I let your mother rub my feet.

“They say things happen in three.  I won with the great Kobe, the great D-Wade and now it’s my job to win one with the great LeBron James. We have everything in place. We just got to get it done.”

“My thing back then was, it was always gonna be my fault if we don’t win, so we’re gonna have to do shit my way. When I was with Orlando, we was doing it everybody else’s way — and I always got blamed. So I just got it in my head, Fuck it, if I’m gonna get blamed, I’m gonna do it my way. Period, point-blank.”

“In the seven or eight years we were together, we were never together.”  (On Kobe Bryant.)

“I’m not the one buying love.  He’s the one buying love.”  (On a ring – reportedly costing several million dollars – that Kobe Bryant bought for his wife, Vanessa, after he was charged with felony sexual assault.)

“If you’ve got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what’s going to happen.  He’s a Corvette.  I’m a brick wall.”  (When asked how he might react if Kobe comes barreling down the lane in the Heat-Lakers game.)

“Let’s put it in old movie Mafia terms.  There are guys that are in position to get by but they didn’t wait their turn. They back-doored the top guy to get the power.  For example, Sonny Corleone (from ‘The Godfather’) went up there, and he wanted to be the top guy. And the Godfather said, ‘You know what dude, I’m a star.’ That’s what I’m doing now, and that’s what I was trying to do with what’s-his-name.”  (Referring to Bryant.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shaq's Quotes #1


“I’ve won at every level, except college and pro.”

“I’ve succeeded at every level, except high school and college.”


After winning the state high school basketball championship:

REPORTER: Shaquille, what do you attribute your team’s success to?
SHAQ: I attribute it to me.


CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: You can count?

“Phil took us to the finals three out of the five years and you want to fire him and want to bring in Mike Krzyzewski? Come on, man. That’s like being married to J-Lo, then dropping J-Lo for a girl that’s 5-10, 480 (pounds).”

(After Game 3 of the 2004 NBA Finals, when the Lakers lost to the Pistons 88-68)


REPORTER: There was a certain part of the game when you were getting the ball down low and you were scoring every time, and then it seemed like you guys went away from that.
SHAQ: Yeah. The story of my life, buddy.

“Remember this—I’m going to bring a championship to Miami.  I promise.”  (In July 2004, right after he joined the Heat.)

“Stay out of the gentlemen’s clubs. Get a lot of rest. Just have fun and relax and stay focused.”  (O’Neal’s secret to road wins.)

“I’ll take 14 out of 15 any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year, any year of the century. I don’t know what comes after century.”  (On having the Heat’s 14-game winning streak snapped.)

“I respect the older guys.”

“If I don’t get five [titles], I won’t be happy with myself as a basketball player.  I don’t know how you guys will feel about me.”

“Our offense is like the Pythagorean Theorem.  There is no answer.”

“We’re focusing on the whole pie, not a slice. A slice is good, but it’s not good enough to get you fat. We’re trying to get fat.”  (Probably referring to winning the title.)

“It’s sort of like in the movie The Karate Kid when Daniel said he needed Mr. Miyagi.  And Mr. Miyagi gave him that confidence to believe he really didn’t. These guys think they really need me right now, but they don’t. When I come back, we’ll all need each other to step up our games and do what needs to be done.”  (When asked how his return from injury will boost the confidence of the Miami Heat team.)

“The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning.”

“Stats don’t matter. I care about winning, not stats. If I score 0 points and we win I’m happy. If I score 50, 60 points, break the records, and we lose, I’m pissed off. ‘Cause I knew I did something wrong. I’ll have a hell of a season if I win the championship and average 20 points a game.”

“The stats win nothing.  I’m still sexy. I’m still great.”

On his first championship:
“Why did it happen?  The big dog got fed.  And when the big dog was fed, the little dog even got some meat in there, too.  Big dog owns the domain, but the little dog can go wherever he wants.”

“I’m not worried about facing the Sacramento Queens. Write it down. Take a picture. I’m not going to talk about this all year. When I get back, there’s going to be trouble.”  (Before a game against the Sacramento Kings.)

REPORTER: Let’s just say that a snake bit your mom right here, right in the chest area. Would you be willing to suck the venom out to win the title?
SHAQ: No, but I would with your wife.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Top 10 NBA Point Guards in 2011 and Beyond



 It's the summer of 2011 and the CBA is having a collapse of biblical proportions, creating a scenario where every player in the NBA becomes a Free Agent. Who do you go after to run the point for your franchise in the coming years? Sorry Nash, Kidd and Billups but your services are no longer required here. We're looking into the future to find the best at the point position for years to come.

10) Raymond Felton--Who would have thought Raymond Felton would round out this list a year ago? Apparently Donnie Walsh, Mike D'Antoni and company did when they signed him to a two-year 15.8 million dollar contract over this past summer. Felton leads all point guards in MPG (6th overall) logging an impressive 38.9. What makes it even more impressive is that he's doing it running D'Antoni's uptempo, NBA Points Per Game leading offense. Averaging 18.2 and 8.7 to go along with almost 2 steals a game he seems to be a perfect fit in New York and on my fantasy team. However, his inability to finish around the basket and shoot at a high percentage from deep is what separates him from the top of the class.

9) Tyreke Evans--One of only four players in history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in his rookie campaign (Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James were the other three). Easy to see why he grabbed rookie of the year honors in the 2009-2010 season. Gets to the rim at will with a quick first step and finishes. The tallest of all the guards on this list at 6'6, he can cause fits on the defensive end, when he wants to. His inability to shoot the basketball consistently hurts him at times. Evans can also tend to lack of effort on the court and maturity off of it, dropping him to the 9 spot.


8) Stephen Curry--Flat out the best shooting point guard in the NBA. Hands down, period. With a quick trigger and money off the dribble he's deadly from downtown, at 44%, and the line where he's likely to be a career 90% shooter. But, it's his under-rated ability to see the floor and play the pick and roll that makes him so special. Where it normally takes years to master, Curry stepped right in like he had been running the pick and roll his whole life. His lack of size and ability to get to the line is the only thing keeping him from rising on this list.


7) Tony Parker--At number 7 on our list is Tony Parker. As long as your name isn't Eva Longoria or Brent Barry, you would love to have this guy running the show. Three time NBA Champion and 2007 Finals MVP, Parker proved to us he can play the point at a Championship level. He has an extra gear, getting him into the paint, where he can score with the best of them. His shooting ability is a little below average and at 28 years of age he's the senior citizen of this list.

6) Russell Westbrook--Freakishly athletic with loads of upside. Couple his athleticism with great size and you can see why he's leading all point guards in rebounding, at a shade under five a game. The only thing holding Westbrook back from being one of the greats in the NBA right now is his jump shot. His shooting percentage,.436, is much too low for someone that gets to the rim as often as Westbrook. That said, we saw glimpses of greatness in the World Championships this past summer. Westbrook took over for periods of time on a team filled with perennial All-Stars.

5) John Wall--Another super-athletic point guard with upside through the roof. At 6'4 with lightning quickness and jump out of the gym ability, Wall should live at the line. These abilities should also turn him into a shut down defender. However, his jump shot is still very raw and he's been known to turn the ball over at extremely high rates in the past. Even so, Wall should probably be higher on this list with his talent level but we'll let him prove it to us first.

4) Rajon Rondo--Rondo leads the league with 14 Assists Per Game. That's three more per game than the next closest player, Steve Nash. He loves to get his teammates involved and is great at finishing around the rim. He's a great rebounder, making him a triple double threat every time he steps on the court. Rondo's huge wing span turns him into a disruptive beast on the defensive end. His shot, however, is almost laughable. Defenders dare him to shoot at times. Even with this lack of a jump shot, he was still the MVP of the Celtics championship run last season.

3) Derrick Rose--Another ultra-athletic point guard with great speed and strength. Rose is great at finishing in the paint, using his patented floater to his advantage. He's been on an offensive tear this year, leading both the Bulls and all point guards scoring around 24 a game. Rose is still a little weak shooting from long range but his mid-range game and athletic ability trump his inability to shoot the long ball.


2) Chris Paul--This guy is a fantasy owners dream. CP3 possesses one of the best handles and passing abilities in the NBA. He runs the pick and roll to perfection and can blow by defenders with lightning quick speed. He's also a menace on the defensive end, averaging almost 3 steals a game in the 2010 season. It was tough not to put Paul at number one on our list but there is one big concern. He's coming off surgery for a torn meniscus removing the torn portion entirely. This scares some into thinking microfracture surgery may be coming sometime in the future.


1) Deron Williams--The point guard we covet most of all, Deron Williams. He can do it all; score, pass, rebound and he's a great leader on the floor. It always seems as if Williams knows exactly what his team needs. He's a very strong guard with great finishing ability. Just like Paul, Williams runs the pick and roll to perfection. Jerry Sloan couldn't find a better player to run his offense, and neither could we.

This is our list and we're sticking to it. Get more great information like this on our sports blog.











Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kevin McHale Interesting Facts and NBA Biography

By Jeff Sullivan


 With astoundingly long arms tacked onto a awkward 6'10" frame, Kevin McHale was one of basketball's strangest physical specimens. Yet, it was this body that provided him with one of the most devastating low post games in NBA history.
While most front court players relied on brute force, Kevin McHale's game was pure artistry. When he got the ball near the basket, he could take it in for a layup or shoot over the tallest men in the NBA. With his wide assortment of moves and lightning quickness, McHale had endless options. It didn't matter that his game looked funny, winning basketball games gave him the last laugh.

Winning meant everything to Kevin McHale. He once broke a bone in his foot in March of 1987. After missing five games, he came back but sprained both his ankles in the following weeks. Despite the excruciating pain, he played right through the playoffs, averaging 21.1 points per game. Former Celtics coach once said, "Winning meant more to McHale than getting credit for it."
McHale weighed less than many of the men who guarded him, but he managed to get good position on offense. His secret was to back into his man, staying down and keeping his rear end below his defenders' thighs. The lower center gravity gave him the leverage to move at will against heavier men and put him in a position to make a strong move when he got the ball.
Originally a sixth man off the Celtics bench, Kevin Mchale and his Celtic teammates Larry Bird and Robert Parish formed one of the most dominating front courts ever in the NBA. Kevin was one of the "fearsome threesome" that formed one of the most storied dynasty teams in basketball.
Read Kevin McHales biography Interesting facts about his career. Celtics Throwback Jerseys

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Story of Rajon Rondo



Many of today's top athletes were born in 1986. Rafael Nadal, Tim Lincecum, and others come to mind. Many more big names will soon emerge.

Rajon Rondo was born in this year too, on the 22nd day of February in the city of Louisville, KY. His mother, Amber, raised Rondo without a father by her side, in addition to two siblings, William and Dymon.

Rajon attended Eastern High School in Louisville for three years. In his junior year, Rondo averaged 27.6 ppg, 10 rpg, and 7.5 apg. He and high school coach and mentor Doug Bibby still have a very close relationship. For Rajon Rondo's senior year, Coach Bibby sent him to Oak Hill Academy so that Rajon could play against a better competition.

Nearing the end of Rondo's high school career, he was named to the McDonald's All-American team in 2004. He also participated in the 2004 Jordan Capital Classic Game where he put up 12 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. However, one of Rondo's greatest games was when he dished out 31 assists in one game which is two shy of the all time national record.

Rondo was forced to choose between Louisville and Kentucky for college, and eventually opted to be a Wildcat. This proved to be a wise decision.

He also set the school record in steals in one season with 87 in his freshman year at Kentucky. The scrappy point guard set another UK record by grabbing 19 boards in one game. Watch out Patrick Ewing! After two years, Rajon Rondo declared for the 2006 NBA Draft. While at the University of Kentucky, Rajon averaged 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 4.9 apg. He also averaged 2.1 steals per game.

Rajon Rondo was selected 21 overall by the Phoenix Suns. He finished off his rookie campaign by being selected to the NBA All Rookie Second Team. He was then traded to the Boston Celtics along with Brian Grant. Rajon is now starting at point guard along with two all stars and an MVP. Not intimidated by this, Rondo is thriving and delivering almost on a day-to-day basis. He had 16 assists against th Bobcats on February 28, 2008 which was his career high. He pulled down 14 rebounds against the heavy rebounding spurs. The numbers go on.

Rondo's defensive abilities, his rebounding, and his overall maturity are all rivaled by very few NBA point guards. As he matures and develops some more, there is no doubt that Rajon Rondo will prove to be one of the better point guards in the history of the league.



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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hakeem The Dream - A Short Lifestory

The Greatest of All Time?

"Hakeem has to be ranked with the all-time greats," says Coach Rudy Tomjanovich , nicknamed Rudy T.
 I agree. Although there were and are so many great players in the NBA, there are always the greater ones. Maybe a fifty players up to this moment. Among them are for sure: Mikan , Russel , Chamberlain , West , Jordan , Magic , Ewing , Barkley.... and Hakeem for sure.

 "He blocks shots like Bill Russell, has the power of Wilt Chamberlain, runs like David Robinson, and can pass like Bill Walton. He is courageous and determined to win. To top it off he's a considerate and wonderful person who is a dream to coach", said Tomjanovich also.
 Youtube gives us a chance to see every great game move, dunk, assist or buzzer-beater shot. I love to compare NBA basketball then and now. After hours and hours of watching and comparing centers, I can conclude that twenty years ago there were more skilled centers with a great clutch shot technique, dominant back-down style and today are bodybuilder-like players who know just to dunk the ball and nothing else. Too bad.
 Hakeem is just perfect example of ideal center. He was so unique in 80's and 90's ,and may I say, virtually unstoppable. Just look at this videos and you will see!


Hakeem's First Basketball Steps


  Hakeem Olajuwon was born on January 21, 1963, in Lagos, Nigeria. His parents, Salaam and Abike Olajuwon, owners of a concrete business, raised Olajuwon along with his four brothers and one sister in a one-story, three-bedroom red concrete house in a neighborhood inhabited by Nigeria's relatively small middle class.

During his childhood, Olajuwon played soccer as a goalie and excelled as a team handball player. He did not play basketball until he was a high school senior at Moslem Teacher College, after a Nigerian basketball coach spotted the six-foot-nine-inch, 170-pound Olajuwon on the soccer field and talked him into trying the game.

Although Olajuwon instantly loved basketball, learning to play was difficult because basketball games were not televised in Nigeria, and soccer dominated the nation's sports news. Nonetheless, under the tutelage of coach Richard Mills, 17-year-old Olajuwon quickly became a leader on the Nigeria national basketball team, which took third place in the All-African tournament in 1979. 
The following year Olajuwon traveled to the United States to visit colleges. Disdaining the cold wind that greeted him when he arrived in New York in October of 1980, Olajuwon enrolled in the University of Houston, which offered him both a place on the basketball team and a much more familiar climate.







Here is Hakeem's career top 10:

Shaquille O'Neal calls Chris Bosh 'the RuPaul of big men'

  Here is the evidence that Big Shaq was and is a big gangsta. He just likes to be provocative and rude although he's doing it stylish.The next on his list was Chris Bosh. 

vma-1993-rupaul.jpgNever one to give an uninteresting quote, Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal likened the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh to America's most famous drag queen.

In responding to comments that Shaq had benefited from the officials not calling three seconds on him, O'Neal had this to say:

"I heard what Chris Bosh said, and that's strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men," O'Neal said. "I'm going to do the same thing (in their next meeting) I did before - make him quit. Make 'em quit and complain. It's what I do."
See, a comment like this can be taken a couple of ways. I'm sure O'Neal was implying that Bosh was soft and effeminate, but -- according to Wikipedia -- Hunter S. Thompson once described RuPaul as "unshakable and magnanimous."

So, there's that.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sportsprose/2009/03/shaquille_oneal_calls_chris_bo.html

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jerry West - The Strory of the Logo


Jerry West college basketball and NBA career were only the beginning in his long and eventful life. It could be said that no other NBA figure had more impact on the sport of professional basketball than Jerry West.
Jerry West's career spanned from his college days in West Virginia, his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers as an NBA legend and then to the front office. West is also considered the best NBA GM of all time.
Jerry West began his career playing for the West Virginia Mountaineers in 1957. West led the team to the NCAA Finals, losing to the University of California. In the NCAA Tournament he scored a total of 160 points in five games.
West was the dominant player in the tournament and ended his college career with a 24.8 point average and two selections as an All-American. West also played in the 1960 Summer Olympics along with Oscar Robertson, winning the gold medal.
Drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1960, soon to become the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry West was the symbol of grit and tenacity for his new team. When anyone gave an example of what could be accomplished through hard work and fortitude, Jerry West was the first example given.
He was chosen to be the white silhouette on the NBA logo because the NBA considered West the symbol of perfection as a basketball player.

Known as "Mr Clutch," Jerry West had a habit of hitting the last shot in amazing walk off fashion. The 1969 NBA Finals were lost by the Lakers to the Boston Celtics but West was named the NBA Finals MVP.
His NBA career was full of accomplishments including 14 NBA All-Star appearances, an NBA title and 25,192 points in 932 games. West also averaged 27 points per game, one of the greatest accomplishments of any NBA player.
West career in the front office was equally incredible. The Los Angeles Lakers hired him as the general manager in 1982 and West wasted no time in assembling a team that won three consecutive NBA Championships with Pat Riley as head coach.
West presided over "Showtime" a nickname of the 80s Lakers team and his first NBA Draft pick was James Worthy, a critical component in the success of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Other pieces to the puzzle added by West were Jamaal Wilkes, Michael Cooper and Byron Scott.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Magic Johnson

  Earvin Johnson grew up in Lansing, Michigan and was a standout player at Michigan State University, leading them to a national championship in 1979 when he was a sophomore. He turned pro the next year and spent his entire career with the Lakers. During the 1980s the rivalry between Magic's Lakers and Larry Bird's Boston Celtics helped make the NBA a worldwide success.  

  The Lakers won championships in 1980, '82, '85, '87 and '88. Magic was most important part of "Showtime" Lakers, with his unexpected assists, impossible shots and quick transition game. Johnson played in 12 All-Star Games, was the league's MVP three times (1987, '89 and '90) and was a member of the USA's "Dream Team," gold medalists in the 1992 Olympics (after he'd announced his retirement). His enthusiasm for basketball and flashy play made him a crowd favorite and one of the most popular faces of the NBA. 

  Now he's occasionally on TV as a sports analyst and busy running Magic Johnson Enterprises, a collection of business interests that includes movie theaters, restaurants and fitness centers.
"Magic" Johnson (Earvin Johnson, Jr.) led the Los Angeles Lakers to five national championships, then retired from basketball in 1991 upon discovering he had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


 
Johnson, at 6' 9" (206cm), was also the biggest point guard in the NBA... 
In his career he scored 17,707 points, retrieved 6,559 rebounds and made 10,141 assists... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
 

Blake Griffin - A Superstar at the Horizon

Blake Griffin appears to be a flat-out certainty for NBA Rookie of the Year honours this season, assuming of course that the status quo remains for the remainder of the long season ahead. The main question is where is his limit? No one knows that now...

Averaging 20.7ppg and 11.6rpg whilst shooting 53.1% from the field, the only flaws you could point out in his game would be his sub-par free throw shooting (58.1%) and lack of shot-blocking prowess despite amazing athleticism. On a nightly basis he is the focus of opposing defences -- and most have yet to find a way to slow him down.
 
Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin told NBA.com that if the league wants him in this year's dunk contest, he'll participate.In addition to a stellar all-around season, Griffin has routinely made highlight reels for his athletic jams.
I hope so!

Jerry West "Mr Clutch"

 Jerry West ,also known as "Mr Clutch" was born in1938 and he is considered one of the best shooting guards in NBA history. He excited fans during his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and later enjoyed great success as an executive for the team.
 He was an automatic scorer, lethal on defense, and could pass, rebound-whatever his team required. 
  West's NBA.com biography noted that he was a small and shy boy, who did not make any of his junior high sports teams. He began a regimen to improve his basketball skills. West practiced in the rain, mud, and snow. He would forget to go home to eat dinner, and would practice shooting until his fingers bled. Eventually, West's hard work paid off. He made the varsity team at East Bank High School, and excelled in his senior year, becoming the first high school player in state history to score 900 points in a season. West then led his team to a state championship. In his book Basketball Superstars-Three Great Pros, Les Etter added, "In his honor, East Bank High School changed its name to West Bank for one week."

 Although recruited by many schools, West opted to attend and play basketball for West Virginia University.  As a West Virginia Mountaineer, West was twice named an All-American. In 1959, he led his team to the NCAA basketball tournament championship game. Even though they lost, West was selected the MVP for the tournament. In 1960, as co-captain of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, he won a gold medal. Reflecting back, West shared with Scharpling: "Winning a gold medal was a watershed moment for me. None of the players today would understand, but to win the Olympics as an amateur was an incredible thrill."

  Writing for Sports Illustrated, Richard Hoffer noted that after West won an Olympic gold medal, he "was astonished when the Lakers, just then picking up to move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, drafted him in the first round in 1960." West recalled, "I didn't think I was good enough to play in the NBA." He signed a $15,000 contract with the Lakers. However, West did not have an overly impressive rookie season. In "The NBA at 50," a May 1996 interview for NBA.com, West recalled, "I was like a fish out of water."

  West's second year went much better. Scharpling noted, "West nearly doubled his scoring output, pumping in 30.8 points per game (ppg), and adding 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists a game. West and Elgin Baylor became the Lakers' dynamic duo." That season, West played in his first NBA finals. The Lakers played the Celtics, but lost.

  Not blessed with great size, strength or dribbling ability, West made up for these deficiencies with pure hustle and an apparent lack of regard for his body. He broke his nose at least nine times." biography, West called the loss "particularly heartbreaking." West's strong ethic and dedication were legendary around the league. Etter observed, "He was always the first player out to practice and the last to leave." There is also stated, "Equally legendary was West's tolerance for pain.

 

Is Kobe The Greatest Ever?

by Denise I Smithson

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is named after the Japanese beef. He is an All-Star player who along with fellow Laker Shaquille O'Neal led the team to three consecutive NBA Championships between 2000-2002.

With the departure of O'Neal in 2003, Bryant became the team's star player, leading the league in scoring in the 2005-2006 and 206-2007 seasons. He is an 11 time NBA All-Star, 2008's NBA MVP and 3 time NBA Champion, along with having won a gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics as part of the US Olympic Men's Basketball team.

Kobe is no stranger to basketball, his father played for the Philadelphia 76'ers and coached the Los Angeles Sparks until Kobe was six years old. The family moved to Italy, where Kobe actually became interested in soccer, which he would have pursued had they stayed in Italy.

When they moved back to the States in 1991, he gained recognition during his high school years with his basketball career. He earned a SAT score of 1080, but decided to go directly into the NBA at the age of 17, having his parent co-sign his contract with the Lakers since he could not sign on his own until he turned 18. He became the youngest player to play and start in an NBA game.

In his first year, he earned a spot on the NBA All Rookie second team and gained recognition by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest. By 1998-99, he was a premiere guard in the league and being compared to basketball greats like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. In 1999, with new coach of the Lakers, Phil Jackson, he started his rise to the elite class as one of the best shooting guards in the league.

During the 2002-2003 season, Bryant averaged 30 points per game, posting 40 or more in nine games in a row! He was also voted to the All Defensive 1st Team and the All NBA team in this season. However, his reputation was badly tarnished before the following season due to his arrest for sexual assault.

In the 2003-2004 season, Bryant was criticized by many, including his coach who complained in writing that he was becoming uncoachable. He suffered another hit to his reputation with the Lakers first failure to make it to the NBA playoffs in more than ten years.



His next two seasons were not among his best; however, this was until breaking a Lakers record by scoring 81 points in a single game and amassing the second highest point total in the history of the NBA. His jersey became the top selling jersey in the US and China during the 2006-2007 season. He became the youngest player to ever reach a career total of 20,000 points in December 2007, when he was 29.
Bryant's appearance in the 2008 Olympics cemented his status as an international star. It was his first appearance in the Olympic Games, but Bryant was hardly a rookie when he became a gold medalist. Bryant has set and broken several records in his career.



 

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James "The Big Game" Worthy

   A quick 6'9"(206cm) , 225pound (102kg) forward, Worthy played a dozen seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers when they were the dominant team of the 1980s. Worthy was important part of the famous trio with Kareem and Magic- his willingness to sublimate his ego was seen as a blessing. He didn't want to be a star.     Swooping drives to the basket were Worthy's trademark, made possible by his lightning first step and huge stride.He was an accurate shooter from 15-20 feet and a strong defender at small forward.







  Born February 27, 1961, in Gastonia, North Carolina, Worthy attended the University of North Carolina, where he was coached by Dean Smith and played alongside Jordan and future Lakers teammate Sam Perkins. According to myth, Jordan was the star of the 1982 NCAA Tournament, clinching the national championship with a last-gasp shot against Georgetown, but it was Worthy who scored 28 points in that game and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
  Worthy joined the Lakers as the first pick in the 1982 NBA draft and was a unanimous choice for the NBA All-Rookie Team. The Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in the 1985 NBA Finals, which Worthy later called his greatest moment as a pro, and followed with back-to-back titles in 1987 (over the Celtics) and 1988 (over Detroit). He was brilliant against the Pistons, amassing 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in Game 7 of the Finals for his first triple-double as a professional. In 1992-93, he joined Kareem, Magic, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor as the only Lakers with 15,000 points.

The last link to the Lakers' championship era, Worthy played through 1994 before retiring because of arthritic knees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

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