Tags Posts tagged with "Miami Heat"

Miami Heat

0 4459
Lebron James is said by many to be the best player in the game of basketball. -Photo by: Domenic Gareri / Shutterstock.com

I was in the Stanford Basketball office last week and Brian Eskildsen, (our director of scouting and head video coordinator) was talking about a recent quote about LeBron James and his market value as a professional athlete. I looked up the ESPN article and here is an excerpt.

“What I do on the floor shows my value. At the end of the day, I don’t think my value on the floor can really be compensated for, anyways, because of the (collective bargaining agreement),….If you want the truth. If this was baseball, it’d be up, I mean way up there.”

The article went on to discuss that LeBron James has never had a “max contract”  in his entire professional basketball playing career.

I am absolutely astounded that LeBron James has never had a max deal.  It shows an incredible amount of unselfishness and commitment to the team.  Can you imagine the Miami Heat without Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, and so many other great players on the team?  This is all made possible by the fact that LeBron James was willing to accept less money in order for the team to be able to bring in excellent role players.

What’s even more interesting is the current collective bargaining agreement.  First of all, let’s be honest, fans go to NBA games to see the superstars.  People who are excited about basketball go to games to see LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and people like Shaq, Barley, etc.  But the current collective bargaining agreement lowered relative salary on the superstars while raising or keeping the salaries on the role players roughly the same.  The NBA is a great league and it was a dream come true to play in the NBA.  But I do agree with LeBron in the sense that if the collective bargaining agreement mirrored the baseball model, his salary would be at least double his current level.  Just some food for thought as I warm my computer back up and try to become a more regular blogger in the future!

0 426
Shaq, Garnett, Miami Heat, Miami Uniform,, NBA
The Miami Heat are a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. Photo: shutterstock.com
Tonight we play against the Miami Heat once again here at home. They key to beating Miami is trying to find a way to slow down Shaq. I use the term “slow down” because there’s no way to stop Shaq from having an impact on the game. He is too talented of a player. Tonight you can expect us to double Shaq a lot with our smaller guards to make him throw it out and put someone else in a Miami uniform in a position to try to beat us.

Our last two games have left us with a bitter taste in our mouth. From blowing a huge lead against Seattle to losing in Utah, we really felt like we were in both of those games. We should have won against Seattle, and we had a real shot at spoiling Jerry Sloan’s 65th birthday when we played Utah a few nights ago.

If the MVP ballotiing were today and if I had a vote, I would have to go with Dirk Nowitzki. He’s just done so much this season and the Dallas Mavericks are the best team in the NBA. Although you have to give Kobe and Steve a look too. To me, no one else in the league has been as outstanding as those two. If you had to look at an impact player though, Chris Webber has been maybe the biggest difference maker in the league when he signed with the Pistons a few months ago. Chris Webber is one of the most skilled passers to ever put on a uniform in this league. When you play against him, he’s like Garnett. He boxes you out with his hands. Both those guys have the strength to hold people off with one hand and then be there for the rebounds.

0 537
John Amaechi, NBA, John Amaechi Book, Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers,
John Amaechi is an English retired basketball player. Photo: s_bukley/shutterstock.com
The purpose of this posting is to address a very talked about issue in the NBA as of today. I read some comments online recently that got me fired up and I felt that I wanted to write about the John Amaechi Book that just came out. I do not believe my blog is an appropriate forum for me to discuss my personal views on this issue in general and I have instructed my webmaster NOT to allow users’ comments either for or against the topic on this website. The issue I will address is the prospect of having a teammate like Amaechi.

When I played for the Lakers, Phil Jackson would get the team together after Sunday games and lead us in “The Lord’s Prayer” as found in the New Testament. During the prayer it was almost like a magnifying glass showed a huge range of differences in the room. Some prayed with Phil while others stayed on the side in a moment of silence. Others bowed their heads. Still others watched the scene in silence. Everyone probably did something slightly different but the prevailing feeling in the room was respect for each man’s own decision. There was no ridicule, coercion or pressure from anyone in the room for or against any particular action. When the prayer ended all of the differences faded away and we were back to one goal: winning.

I first met John Amaechi years ago when I was new with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers had just won the first championship and our power forward AC Green was off to the Miami Heat. We needed a veteran power forward to start alongside of Shaq and to give Robert Horry some rest.

Our General Manager, Mitch Kupchak brought Amaechi to Los Angeles and made him a big offer. (Which Amaechi eventually turned down to return to the Orlando Magic). I remember the day I met him. I was in the weight room and Mitch called me outside to the court. “Mark, meet John Amaechi.” We shook hands and exchanged a few words and that was it. Amaechi was 100% professional and 100% about basketball. I think that’s why he had such a successful basketball career over 8 years. His career was all about basketball and trying to help his team win games.

I still remember Rick Fox’s words in a team meeting where he explained that for young players in the NBA there are “certain rites of passage that must be met.” Clearly one of those is respect of the locker room. I have come to believe that if you have at least one dominant basketball skill and you respect the sanctity of the locker room you will play a long time in the NBA.

In a locker room there is only one goal and that is to win basketball games. If anyone does anything against that goal such as dividing the group, trying to push a personal agenda, or trying to get personal accolades they are essentially cut off from the group and sooner or later management will literally cut them off.

I don’t care if my teammate is green or purple. I don’t care if he is from the U.S., overseas, or Mars. If my teammate respects the space of every man in the locker room and keeps the locker room code, he will be welcomed by me.

0 474
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, Shaquille O'Neal, Bill, Tani Austin, Starkey Foundation
Dwyane Wade is an American professional basketball player who played for the Miami Heat of the NBA. Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Tonight’s game showed the wisdom of how Pat Riley has built the roster of the Miami Heat. Dwayne Wade was the man tonight, but without Gary Payton on the Miami Heat, it’s possible Dallas might already have won the series. Pat Riley built the Heat with veteran players and they have been coming through in this series.

We all remember Gary Payton’s big shot in game three along with the steal by Udonis Haslem which basically brought the Heat back into striking range. But tonight, it was Gary Payton’s left handed shot that went high off the glass late in the game to keep the Heat around.

During the season I am a basketball player so I basically feel like Dallas and Miami are the enemy. But now, because we didn’t make the playoffs, I have reverted back into “fan mode” and I am definitely a Miami Heat fan. First off, I would love to see Shaquille O’Neal get his fourth ring. When someone like Shaq gives so much in the community (with the cameras turned off) and when he cares so much about his teammates of course you want to see him do well. The funny thing is that people tell me all the time right now during this series, “I want the Heat to do well b/c I’m a Shaq fan.”

Jerry Stackhouse’s foul on Shaq was definitely a flagrant and uncecessary foul, but to suspend a key player like Stackhouse in game 5 of the NBA finals for something like that might be a little bit excessive. I’m still trying to figure out what I think about that foul. Still and all, there may not be another player in the NBA that has the self-restraint that Shaquille O’Neal has. Having played with Shaq as a teammate and against him, I can tell you that he doesn’t care about hard fouls as long as it’s a “clean” foul. He will shrug them off, play through them and basically play as if he’s got a few mosquitos swarming around him. But anyone in the NBA who is foolish enough to try to give Shaq a cheapshot might as well check himself out of the game because Shaq will come back and punish that opponent by scoring on him every time down the court in a very physical way. Those are the rules of the game.

I’ve been away fromt the blog for a while lately, but I’m now starting to get back into it. I did want to share a brief moment from the Annual Gala event that I attended last night in St. Paul which involved www.sotheworldmayhear.org

I have two friends (Justin Osmond and Heather Sauber) who work in Minneapolis for the Starkey foundation. They invited me to attend this year’s “Gala” event and it opened my eyes to the lives of the hearing impaired. Starkey Foundation takes hearing aids all across the world to donate them to those in third world countries that are hearing impaired. This year, the Gala event honored the Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor for his involvement in community and in helping the Starkey mission. Glenn and his family have an annual mission trip to build homes in south america and this next year they committed to go to Africa to help share hearing aids with those in need.

The greatest line from the evening came from Lou Ferrigno’s speech. (Lou used to play the Incredible Hulk in the TV series years ago and is slightly hearing impaired). He thanked Bill and Tani Austin (founders of Starkey) and said that this couple has helped promote “better relationships in the world” through their hearing aids and charitable giving of hearing aids because women “like to be listened to” and now “I can listen better to my wife!” Lou has been using the Starkey, cutting edge, hearing aids for some time now and they have changed his life. I have to say that I am a big fan of Lou. I’m not sure how old he is, (maybe 55 or 60) but he looks like he is still in good enough shape to enter a boxing ring for a prize fight. (I am dead serious). When I asked him what the secret to staying in shape was, he said the biggest thing is “consistency.” He was extremely personable.

Bill and Tani Austin put on an evening for charity I will never forget. In the past I’ve always been cynical and skeptical of celebrity charity events and I have never attended a single one. Bill and Tani Austin, you guys made me a believer and it was an honor to be an attendee and to be part of such an inspiriational cause. THANK YOU!!!

0 459
Lake Calhoun, Trenton Hassell, Memphis, Tria Medical Center, Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Kenyon Martin, Apologize
Lake Calhoun is the largest lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and part of the city's Chain of Lakes. Photo: shutterstock.com
Trenton Hassell Saves the Day Last Thursday, the day after our loss to Memphis, we had to report to the Tria Medical Center in Bloomington for our end-of-season physicals. It was probably the last time our entire team will be together until next fall. Trenton Hassell came to the 7:30 AM physicals and he was talking about how he was bummed out because he had to cut off his dream he was having that morning. When we asked him about the dream he said that in the dream he was on a plane that had been hijacked and he was in the middle of “saving everyone on the flight” when the alarm clock sounded. He’d be the right guy though in a situation like that–I can tell you that for sure.

Lake Calhoun

Today I decided it was time to do some long distance running so I went over to Lake Calhoun to see if I could run the entire lake. I did some sprinting and walking and finally finished running two thirds of the lake at a good pace. I was shocked at how many people were out there running and rollerblading. It was awesome to be out there doing something normal during the summer time. I’m glad to be here in MN for some of the warm months too. I really love it out here. If any of you readers are ever at the lake be sure to say hello. I’ll be the tall guy running on the dirt path getting passed by all of the marathon runner people with the heart rate monitors on. Hopefully by the end of the summer I’ll be one of those people and I’ll be going fast like them too. I’ll head to Nebraska soon to see my sister and her husband and four kids and then out west for a while, but I’m really looking forward to doing my kids basketball camp in Champlin in late June at Champlin High School.

Kevin Garnett

I think the question the media and fans ask the most is “does KG want to stay in Minnesota” and “How is KG doing?” Most of the questions I get from people are related to Kevin. Well, let me address both of those questions by saying that of all the teammates I’ve had, Kevin is one of the guys who always is going to speak from his heart whether he’s talking to us behind closed doors or whether he’s talking to reporters. So whatever he says to the media is a pretty accurate portrayal of what he’s thinking about because he’s upfront about things. I know that towards the end of the season he took some time to himself to focus on training and having a little bit of privacy, but the answer that I give people is to just let Kevin have a normal few months free from worrying about all this stuff. Until then, I think that he’s taking some much deserved time to spend with his loved ones and friends. Personally I think that there are a lot of national media members that like to stir up the pot and try to put words into the mouth of KG. Of course fans and media people in NYC, Chicago and L.A. are going to fill message boards and chat rooms with rumors about KG going each place because those markets would love to have him. Personally, I think that the mojave desert would freeze over for ten years straight before Mr. Taylor would trade Kevin Garnett. There is no trade that would give MN equal value for Kevin.

Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls

Just a little while ago I was watching the playoffs on TV. I have to admit that it’s very tough to watch other teams still playing. Two nights ago, I got so frustrated that I called one of my friends and we went up to Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie where he rebounded for me to help me work on my jump shot/set shot. But tonight I was able to see what was going on in the Bulls/Heat series. At halftime, Craig Sager highlighted the fact that In the first twelve posessions of the game, Shaq only touched the ball twice for the Miami Heat. That was the reason why they lost the game tonight. They never got Shaq involved. I still remember game seven against the Sacramento Kings a few years ago when I was with the Lakers. Before the game, Shaquile told everyone in the huddle to find him and to “give him the ball.” When you are the big man like shaq it is tough to watch your teammates hoist up a lot of threes without getting to touch the ball a lot. Sometimes he’d come to the huddle in LA and say, “Fellas, just let me touch it.” When we got him the ball it opened things up for everyone. If the Miami Heat will give Shaq more touches it will open everything else up for the rest of the team and Antoine Walker will be knocking down threes and Jayson Williams and Gary Payton will have a field day. If not, it’s going to be the Chicago Bulls getting long rebounds and turning the series into the proverbial “track meet” with all the runners they have on their team.

Kenyon Martin

Let’s start off by taking a look at the statement issued by Kenyon Martin. It’s refreshing when someone like Kenyon immediately comes out and apologizes for whatever happened. To me that shows he’s a man.

“First and foremost, I want to apologize to my teammates and coaching staff for my actions on Monday night,” Martin said in his statement. “There is nothing more important to me than being a good teammate and giving 110 per cent effort each and every day. Nothing will ever change that. I sincerely regret if this situation has been a distraction for the team, (Nuggets owner) Mr. Kroenke and the Denver Nuggets organization,” Martin said. “I take the responsibility of representing the Denver Nuggets very seriously and I truly hope that Nuggets fans understand that.”

I know Kenyon Martin as an opponent, but more importantly I know Kenyon as a friend. This man is warrior and a GREAT basketball player. He may be the quickest big man in the nba and one of the smartest players in the association. I roomed with Kenyon Martin on a World University Games USA college team and this man is a class act. I feel badly for what Kenyon is going through right now and I think his immediate statement that he issued shows he is very contrite. I also saw George Karl’s interview on SportsCenter and Coach Karl seemed to really show that he felt for what Kenyon was going through and seemed to express empathy for the tough knee injury that Kenyon has been fighting through.

As I’m sitting here watching the Denver/Clippers game the commentators are saying that Kenyon wants to talk to Coach Karl about the incident but Coach Karl does not want to talk about it right now with Kenyon because it’s the playoffs and it’s a busy/stressful time. Who knows if they really know what’s going on or not but having been through the playoffs I kind of understand where both sides are coming from. I remember two years ago Kevin Garnett telling Ndui Ebi something like “Just get prepared because things in this locker room are about to get really intense during the playoffs and just know that nothing said in this room is personal even though it might seem like a hostile place.”

Now, I wasn’t there for whatever incident took place, but the sooner the Denver staff can meet with Kenyon and the sooner they can crush whatever happened in the “incident” the sooner they will get one of the best players in the league back on the court as a contributor and a dominant force.

0 413
Miami Heat, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers, Jason Collier, NBA
Takling about upcoming games, old Freinds and Teammates. Photo: shutterstock.com

Before our game against the Miami Heat, I was stretching at mid-court and watched as Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal headed to the captain’s circle for the pre-game meeting with the referees. It struck me that here were two of the greatest basketball warriors on the planet. Each over seven feet tall and able to run, jump, catch, and do things that are simply amazing. Every time they see each other, they embrace and catch up on lost time. One of the funnier interactions that I witnessed between the two happened while I was with the Lakers. We were all on the court at the time and I was jogging back on defense. I didn’t catch the whole thing, but they were joking about how one of them hadn’t returned a call promptly. Shaq said something like, “I’ll call you soon, I need your new number,” and KG replying, “I already gave you my new number [last time].” I may have that slightly wrong, but it definitely happened and it was cool to see that little interaction between friends.

I am wondering if Latrell Sprewell is going to sign with someone this season. Right after my thumb surgery last year, I hobbled in late to practice the next day and Latrell came straight over to me with his arms outstretched and gave me a huge hug. I’m not much of a hugger at all, but I will never forget how nice it was to know how much he cared and that he was feeling my pain. I really hope to see him back in the NBA soon.

On New Year’s Eve a couple of teammates and I went out to dinner on South Beach to an Italian restaurant to celebrate the coming year. We had dinner from 6:00-7:30 p.m., got a fruit smoothie, and took the 30 minute cab ride back to our hotel. By the time we got to the hotel it was 9:30pm. I stayed in the rest of the night and mostly relaxed and then watched some fireworks from my fifth floor hotel room. Pretty exciting stuff for Miami, huh?

As the year came to a close I found myself thinking about the death of a good friend and teammate. A few months ago, Jason Collier (center for the Atlanta Hawks), died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Jason was a former teammate of mine and was a great friend. The reports I read indicated the death was both heart and asthma related.

My senior year of college, it seemed like both Jason and I tried out for all of the same NBA teams together. We worked out with the Lakers, Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns together. We went to dinner a lot during that time and when I ended up on the Lakers and Jason with the Houston Rockets, our friendship and association continued. Then, two years ago he was on the Timberwolves training camp roster. Flip Saunders had a hypnotist come to training camp and Jason was so good-natured he volunteered to be hypnotized.

Last year I saw Jason somewhere with Fred Hoiberg and the first thing Jason did was talk about his wife and his new baby and showed us a photo of his newborn while beaming. When Jason died, it was tragic. Here was a guy who played like an animal on the court, but was really a gentle giant off the court and a gem of a human being. I will miss Jason Collier and will always remember him as a superb human being and a great family man.

I am always open to suggestions as to what Timberwolves fans want me to write about. If you have a topic suggestion or a question you want me to answer, please feel free to drop me a note atmark@markmadsen.com. Have a great week.

– Mark

0 411
Blog, Football Pad, Nick Collison, Supersonics, NBA Players, Miami Heat, Kevin Mchale, Wally Szcerbaik, Fred Hoiberg, Kevin Garnett
It's been tough with losing lately and so tonight, now that we just won, I can be happy and return to the keyboard. Photo: Shutterstock.com
I’m sorry that I’ve been away from the typewriter for so long……it’s been tough with losing lately and so tonight, now that we just won, I can be happy and return to the keyboard. I played our game tonight with some sort of football pad on the right, lower part of my back. It’s a little strange to play a game so strapped up, but I had really bruised my back two days ago and I needed some kind of protection. The funny thing is that the opponent knows when you are hurt from their own scouting report and from the fact that when you’re on defense, you constantly touch your man’s back to feel where he is so that you can watch the ball. Tonight on the court, Nick Collison from the Supersonics asked me how my back was during the game. He said he had watched the tape and saw me fall. He was really nice about everything as most NBA players are.

I must say that two years ago I had a hurt back (broken bone) and I was playing with the injury and someone from another team purposely hit me there. (I’m not going to give a name). By and large, most NBA players don’t try to dirty stuff like that, but there is always a few people out there who try stunts like that.

If any of you have seen our schedule, you will know that we will be in Miami on Dec. 31st. We play the Heat on Jan 1. I’m hoping the Miami Heat players really enjoy the new year and stay out as late as they want! 🙂 I’m probably going to be in the room kind of early but let me let you guys in on a little secret. I have NEVER been on an NBA team with a curfew. That’s the honest truth. I think it may be against the collective bargaining agreement of the NBA or something. Actually I think most of the guys on our team are very responsible when it comes to getting enough rest and understanding that rest is important. Most of the guys on this team don’t really go out late at night and Coach Casey and Kevin McHale let us police ourselves as we’re all grown men.

Wally Szcerbiak has been on fire lately. It’s almost 1am and I just read the ESPN.com AP story on our game against Seattle. I always like to see the media’s perception of things and then compare it to the inside. When I read the article two quotes jumped out at me. The first quote came from Wally when he said:

“My philosophy is any open look is an open look.”

Comment: Anyone who watches our games knows this is true. If wally has even one inch to shoot, then the ball is going up. Wally and Fred Hoiberg are the two best shooters I have ever seen in my entire life.
Said Casey: “Kevin and Wally are playing at an All-Star level.”

Comment: I really believe that both Wally and KG deserve to be invited to the all-star game.
I thought I would just share a quick little update on Fred Hoiberg. I played a three-on-three game with Freddie last week and the guy looked great. He may be the first player ever to play in the NBA with a pacemaker. It’s a little unusual because when he does practice he’s got this protective cover he puts over the pacemaker that looks like a little box under his uniform. I truly believe that Fred will be back in the NBA as a player if that’s what he and his wife decide on and if the doctors give their OK. I know that Fred has a very important test coming up on Jan 3rd down in Rochester so let’s all pull for him!

0 490
Shaquille O'Neal, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Toyota Previa, Staples Center, Chevy Tahoe, Beverly Hills, Beverly Center, Rolax Store, California, Minnesota
In 2000, as a rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq told me he wanted me to be at his contract extension press conference. Afterwards he said to me, "Are you ready to go shopping?" I was a little shocked, because I really didn't know what was going on.

After playing against Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat last week, a lot of old memories came to mind and I’ll share a few. Back in 2000, as a rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq told me he wanted me to be at his contract extension press conference. Afterwards he said to me, “Are you ready to go shopping?” I was a little shocked, because I really didn’t know what was going on. When I arrived in L.A. a few months earlier, I came with the car that my parents gave me as a college graduation gift. The car was an old Toyota Previa and it even sported a nice little dent in the side that one of my older siblings left. One thing Shaq told me right at the start of training camp was, “You can’t be driving into the Staples Center in that thing.”

I went shopping with him and it was a pretty fun day. First he took me to a car dealership and marched right in to the CEO (whom he knew) and told him to give me a great deal on a Chevy Tahoe (that was the car I had mentioned I thought was nice). Then he offered to put a down payment down for me to lease the car. After that he drove us up to Beverly Hills and we went to a Big and Tall clothing store. I found a pair of jeans that fit and Shaq said to the store worker, “He’ll take eight of each color!” I said, “All I need is one of each color.” When Shaq kept piling on Italian sweaters, I told him I didn’t need all the stuff, but he told me it was a welcome gift and to relax while he paid the $2,500 bill.

Then we went to the Beverly Center (a big L.A. mall). First he took me to a trendy store that sold suits. He picked out a nice one and when I asked the store worker how it looked, the worker said it looked “really fly.” That was the first time I had ever heard the word fly in that context before. I took it to mean it looked good. The last stop was the Rolex store in the mall. Right before we walked in, we ran into our teammate J.R. Rider and his friend in the same mall. Shaq told J.R. to pick out a Rolex then he told me to pick one out as well. He then picked out about 20 more. The bill was about $75,000. The next day Shaq came in and gave a Rolex to each teammate, coach and staff member. He told the team thank you and that he wouldn’t be the player he was without their help. I still remember driving around L.A. that day with Shaq, everywhere he drove, people were honking at him and saying hi and stopping alongside to congratulate him.

I still remember when I drove my car out here from California. It was a little scary going from the state where I had lived my entire life and coming to a place where I hardly knew anyone. One of the stops I made along the way was Kearney, Nebraska, where my older sister and her husband and their kids live. The day I left for Minneapolis I woke up early and the thought that came into my mind was something like, “What have I gotten myself into?” After a year and a half of being here in Minneapolis I am so glad I made the decision to come to this awesome state. L.A. was a great three years, but coming to Minnesota has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ll talk to you next week.

— Mark Madsen