Tags Posts tagged with "friendship"


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Shaq, Flop, Fake, Floppers, Flopping, Los Angeles, NBA, Timberwolves
Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal, Ed.D., nicknamed Shaq, is an American basketball player of the NBA. Photo: shutterstock.com
There is a term in the National Basketball Association that some more casual fans do not know. The term is “flop” and some NBA players have perfected the skill into an art form. Some of the old battles between two great players (Shaq and Vlade Divac) included some pretty convincing flops by Vlade.

Now, the first time I ever heard this term, I was at an athletic club in Northern California called “ClubSport.” I was on the court and NBA player David Wood (experienced NBA veteran and very involved with ‘Athletes in Action’) was on the court too working out with his trainer. We struck up a friendship and he gave me a lot of advice on how to play the game as I was heading to Stanford as a freshman to begin playing basketball and going to school.

He told me I needed to learn how to ‘flop.’ I had never heard of the term ‘flop.’ He explained that “flopping” is when you basically fake getting hit really hard so that the referee calls a foul on the other player. Nobody does this too much in high school because ironically most high school refs don’t call it a lot. But a lot of players do it in college and in the NBA and refs in college and the NBA sometimes do call flops.

This past week, there was an incident when Stan Van Gundy (Orlando Magic Coach) called out Shaq for flopping. The incident was all over ESPN. Let’s take a look at the play first on Youtube.

Shaq and Dwight Howard (video)

So Shaq tries to take the charge/flop and he doesn’t get the call from the ref, and Dwight Howard gets the two points on the dunk.

Now in the next video Shaq comments on the play and gives more insight and basically says it might have been a flop but that he was trying to take a charge.


(Fast forward to 2:00 out of the 4:23 minute long youtube.com video.)

Now, I played with Shaq for three years in Los Angeles and while I did see the big fella sacrifice his body and step in and take charges, I never once saw him flop in those three years. And the funny thing is that almost every team in the NBA tries to flop against Shaq. There are probably even coaches that teach their centers and forwards to try to flop on Shaq. So, this whole commotion about whether or not Shaq’s play against Dwight Howard was a flop is so funny because everyone in the league tries to flop on Shaq and Shaq never flops back.

The funny thing about this is the way the game is called on this type of play at the NBA and college level. Every year, an NBA official comes in and talks to every NBA team at the beginning of the season. One year, we were in this meeting and a Timberwolves player made the point that NBA players are strong and have good balance and that for an NBA player to fly backwards after getting hit is actually almost “impossible” without the player faking it. The referee disagreed, but hey, I can tell you it’s true.

In some ways, the art of the flop makes the game fun because fans get so riled up over it. In another way it takes away from the game because it’s purely acting and it takes away from the athletic skill of other players. Last summer the NBA was thinking about imposing a $10,000.00 fine for every flop attempt. (That would be hard to enforce).

Some of the great floppers around the NBA let out a scream when they get hit and then when they eventually get themselves up off the ground they squint their eyes a lot and rub their eyes and forehead and act like they’re dizzy.

To help illustrate this art, here are some examples of “successful” flops. (These videos below are *great!).

Carlos Boozer (video)
Pau Gasol (video)
Bonzi Wells (video)
Tribute to Vlade Divac’s flopping ability(and speculation that Del Harris taught Vlade how to flop. Del refutes this and says that Vlade brought the art over from Europe and taught the entire NBA how to flop.)

Lastly, and Shaquille touched on this, there is a dramatic difference between “taking a charge” and “flopping.” Taking a charge is when a player is coming at you full speed and out of control and you step outside of the charge cirlce and sacrifice your body and fall backwards. This hurts, it takes skill, and you might really get hit hard by the fast moving player. Most NBA players respect “taking a charge.” A “flop” is when you barely get touched and fall to the ground or flail uncontrollably. Comments from the readers?

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Ron Artest, Best Defender, Freindship, NBA, Madison Square Garden, Minnesota
Ron Artest is an American professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association. Photo: shutterstock.com
Ron Artest is known around the NBA as one of the best, if not the very best defender in the entire NBA. He recently emerged as one of the Houston Rockets go to guys (along with Yao Ming) and is helping them to a great record in the past few weeks. We’ve played them at home twice now and after our first game when I bumped into Ron, one of the first things he said to me was “How’s Corey Brewer doing?” Corey had just suffered a season ending injury and Ron wanted me to pass along to Corey that he hoped Corey’s recovery went well.

Then two nights ago in Minnesota some friends of mine came to the game and wanted to the chance to meet Artest and take some pictures with him. (and Yao Ming of course also). While Ron was shaking hands and meeting my friends his main focus at first was asking me how Al Jefferson was holding up after Al’s own season ending knee injury.

To me it just kind of shows what’s inside of Ron. On both ocasions, the first thoughts Ron is having are about other people and what they are going through. And it makes it all the more unique given that Ron is one of the most intense, tough and respected players throughout the NBA. I first played againt Ron Artest in college in 1999 in New York City in a tournament at Madison Square Garden. A year or two later, Artest had an injury and my older brother who was doing his orthopedic surgery residency in New York City was one of the doctors that initially met with him. All my brother could say was how cool of a guy Ron was. Over the years, we’ve developed a friendship through the bustle of the seasons. I guess I just hope that fans can get to know Artest for the community service he does and for his very real and down to earth self that he is.


On a sidenote, we lost to the warriors tonight at home. It probably wasn’t our best game, but aftewards I was talking with some fans who had come out and one of them said, “This is the best ticket in town.” Our owner just lowered season ticket prices for next season and now there are actually $5 dollar tickets at the Target Center in some sections! Another fan said to me, “We just renewed our season tickets for next season tonight!” It made me happy that even though some of our best players are injured, the fans appreciate the hard work and intensity that our team is showing. I guess that’s one thing that the Timberwolves can offer every single night: 100% Intensity and Effort!

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Valentine's day, Surprise, Campus, Freindship, NBA All star, Timberwolves, Stanford, Weekend
Valentine's memory from my freshman year of college, when I got a surprise gift from a friend. Photo: Jim Larkin/shutterstock.com

This week there are two major events that aren’t totally related to our team. First is Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and the other one is the NBA All-Star Weekend (Feb. 17-19). I’m kind of shy when it comes to talking about the former in this diary, but the media people upstairs tell me that fans like to read this kind of stuff, so I’ve given in.

Let me share one Valentine’s memory from my freshman year of college, when I got a surprise gift from a friend. I was in the middle of practices, conditioning, weightlifting and just generally trying to stay afloat at Stanford. I came back to the dorm room and I found a Valentine taped to my door with Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare included. I saw that it was from this girl named Kate, who my best friend on the team liked a little bit too. I know that he thought she was cool. I had just met her the week before.

I was pretty stoked that she had given me a Valentine, and I began to think about the possibility of dating her. As surprised as I was to get the card, I was equally stunned to find out that she had given out 20-30 of them around campus. She was just a thoughtful girl who cared about making people feel special. Man, I tried to get to know her better, but the competition was pretty stiff. With all the traveling we were doing, and the fact that she had some other guys after her, the best I could do was build a good friendship. To this day, I think she’s great just because she took the time to write me that note. I think the next year I tried to give out Christmas or Valentine’s cards to a bunch of people, remembering how nice Kate’s note had made me feel.

The other big event this week is the All-Star Game on Sunday and the break in the schedule that goes with it. The weekend off will give every player some much needed rest to regain strength and to take care of some aches and pains. Sometimes I wish that Kevin Garnett wasn’t an All-Star, so that he could have some time to rest his body. He plays so hard all the time dishing punishment on his defenders, but he also takes a lot of bumps and hacks from the opponents. I know that all of the other All-Stars will love seeing KG down for the game in Houston. He is one of those guys that everyone in the NBA respects and looks up to. I listened to him address the media the other day and you could just hear in his voice the pride he takes in being named an All-Star and the fact that he will do all he can to represent his family, teammates, organization and Minnesota.

A number of fans have been asking me about Fred Hoiberg’s status, so I thought that I would share a little bit of what’s going on with him. Fred is in great health and in phenomenal shape. He has been working out with the team and on his own to keep his jump shot and his basketball timing at a high level. As I understand Fred’s situation (we talk a lot about different things), he has had a strong recovery from his open-heart surgery. I know of several teams in the last few months that have expressed serious interest in trying to get Fred to play for them yet this season. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves cannot re-sign him this season, after waiving him last summer.

Without saying too much, I can state that Fred has spent a lot of time meeting with experts and deliberating over the pros and cons of his course of action. On the one hand, he loves to play the game and he’s one of the best outside shooters in the N. Conversely, there is the miniscule statistical risk that during a game, something might happen to dislodge or interrupt the pacemaker and the associated hardware he has in his chest. I think sometime in the near future we’ll hear his plans. One of the good things about Fred, is that in addition to what he does on the court, he has the abilities and the relationships to be a professional or collegiate head coach or a general manager. I think his decision-making process is looking at all the options and weighing each very carefully.

Have a great week