Tags Posts tagged with "NBA"

NBA

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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.

Video

(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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Shaquille O'Neal, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudamire, NBA
Shaquille O'Neal is an American basketball player. Photo: shutterstock.com
Most of our shoot around practice this morning covered how we were going to contain Shaq, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire. The early part of this season was frustrating to say the least because we were ahead in many of our games going into the 4th quarter and then it seemed like somehow we disintegrated in the final minutes of the game. But finally a few days we had a breakout game in Detroit where our defense and our offense came together and we had a nice win.

People ask me about Shaq all the time and I just tell them that off the court, he’s one of the most community oriented and genuine people but on the court he has a “mean streak” (in the positive sense of the word) as some basketball executive types like to say, meaning that he takes the game very seriously and he’s going to do everything within the rules to dominate a game.

Of all the players in the NBA Shaq has a way of really being honest with reporters and connecting with the fans in a way that is rarely seen in any sport. Right now, Shaq’s coach, Terry Porter is limiting Shaq’s minutes right now to ease Shaq into their new offensive system. Here is Shaq’s quote:

“They (Suns athletic trainers) do a good job of massaging me and getting me ready,” O’Neal said recently. “Just the agility, the bones, the muscle. Terry does a good job of managing my minutes and how I practice and all that. But I’m ready to go. I just want people to know that and understand that.”

Tonight we have our chance to try to put a dent in the Suns record.

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Shaq, NBA, Mean Streak, Terry Porter, Minneapolis
Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal is an American basketball player,
Most of our shoot around practice this morning covered how we were going to contain Shaq, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire. The early part of this season was frustrating to say the least because we were ahead in many of our games going into the 4th quarter and then it seemed like somehow we disintegrated in the final minutes of the game. But finally a few days we had a breakout game in Detroit where our defense and our offense came together and we had a nice win.

People ask me about Shaq all the time and I just tell them that off the court, he’s one of the most community oriented and genuine people but on the court he has a “mean streak” (in the positive sense of the word) as some basketball executive types like to say, meaning that he takes the game very seriously and he’s going to do everything within the rules to dominate a game.

Of all the players in the NBA Shaq has a way of really being honest with reporters and connecting with the fans in a way that is rarely seen in any sport. Right now, Shaq’s coach, Terry Porter is limiting Shaq’s minutes right now to ease Shaq into their new offensive system. Here is Shaq’s quote:

“They (Suns athletic trainers) do a good job of massaging me and getting me ready,” O’Neal said recently. “Just the agility, the bones, the muscle. Terry does a good job of managing my minutes and how I practice and all that. But I’m ready to go. I just want people to know that and understand that.”

Tonight we have our chance to try to put a dent in the Suns record.

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Yotube, Video, Chris Paul, Basketball, ESPN
Chris Paul is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). This YouTube video about Chris Paul and his grandfather is one of the best features. Photo: shutterstock
This is why I love basketball. This YouTube video about Chris Paul and his grandfather is one of the best features I have ever seen in my life. I watched this on ESPN a few months ago when Chris Paul’s team was in the NBA playoffs. This story transcends the game of basketball.

Chris Paul is someone who has totally changed the face and the style of the NBA game. It is amazing the way that a player who is about 6 feet tall can totally dominate the NBA game the way he does. In fact, Chris Paul has a dribble move that no one in the NBA was doing as recently as four years ago where he puts a reverse spin on the ball moving from right to left. Off the court, CP3 (his nickname) is a complete gentleman and a total class act. On the court he is one of the most fierce competitors in the NBA. He’s not afraid to throw elbows at 7-footers and he has an ongoing dialogue with the referees the entire game……he just talks to the refs every possession trying to win them over to his point of view. That’s what a great point guard does, even if you think he’s working the refs too much!

Here is the video. (click on the link below)

Chris Paul Video

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Lakers, Championship, Celtics, Timberwolf, Phil Jackson, Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders, Fired
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo: 360b/shutterstock
The other day someone said to me, “Who do you want to win the championship…the lakers or the celtics?” That’s one of the hardest questions I could answer, but the truth is that I want the Lakers to win. I am a Timberwolf first and foremost, but I gave three years of blood sweat and tears to Phil Jackson and the Lakers. I have to pull for my old team even though I do want Kevin Garnett to get a ring.

I cannot believe that Flip Saunders was fired. I cannot believe it. This man can flat out coach and while I hope that the Pistons have success in the future, let’s not forget that Flips tenure as head coach of Detroit took the Pistons deep into the playoffs every year. Coaching is not an exact science and it’s not easy at the NBA level with mature and grown men all of whom have strong competitive natures. I wish Detroit well, but they lost a gem with Flip.

My summer is going well. I enjoyed watching Kobe tonight. It’s nice when you see someone care so much about what they do as Kobe cares about his profession. Phil Jackson used to put us in the video room and show us film. “Fellas…like it or not, what you see on the game film is what the fans see….this is your livelihood. It should be important to you.”

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Trent Johnson, Stanford Assistant Coach, NBA, New Job
Trent Johnson is an American college basketball coach and the head coach of the LSU Tigers basketball Team. Photo: shutterstock.com
I just sent a congratulatory text message to Trent Johnson….. I heard from an ex-Stanford basketball player who told me the news: Trent Johnson now appears headed to LSU as their new coach! Not many coaches have done what Trent has done in a few short years. He’s secured multiple Sweet 16 performaces, a huge recruiting pipeline into Los Angeles, Oakland and throughout the East Coast, as well as one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the nation. Coaches like Trent Johnson do not come around very often and if LSU really did sign him, then the whole state down there should be cheering.

I can attest to the fact that all of us who played under Trent (when he was a Stanford Assistant Coach) are mourning if he’s really gone, but at the same time we are happy for him. I am happy for Trent and his family. This man deserves the very best because he is a first class individual and one of the best basketball minds in the business. In the same way that there is a business side to the NBA, there is a business side to being a college coach. I wish somehow we could have kept Trent at Stanford, but it looks like he’s taken another great opportunity. I think what LSU fans and players can expect is a man who combines a disciplinarian approach with someone you can talk to as a mentor and role model figure. Another few words come to mind about Trent: work ethic, intensity and fire.

The new wave of the basketball world will embrace coaches who can communicate with today’s athletes. Trent Johnson is one of the best communicators in the basketball world. When he was an assistant coach at Stanford, he ALWAYS stayed after practice and played one-on-one with guys who weren’t getting the reps they wanted. He talked with them and built them up and made them ready for when the opportunity which one day would come. He put in the time and work that a lot of people never saw, but earned the undying respect from the players by doing the “little things” like this. But, his knowledge and feel for the game of basketball are what puts Trent into the category of “elite” when it comes to coaching.

I was surprised by the news of Trent Johnson’s departure and wish he was still at my alma mater of Stanford. But, at the same time I’m incredibly happy for him. Today is now a day of reflection for me with regards to Trent and the good times we had together on “The Farm.”

I can tell you for a fact I know someone who has a big smile on his face right now and he’s one of the most illustrious graduates of LSU: The Big Aristotle–Shaquille O’Neal!

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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.

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NBA, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul P., Detroit Pistons, coaches
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. Photo: 360b/shutterstock
I knew the Boston Celtics were going to be good this season, but we haven’t seen an NBA team go 20-2 for a very long time. Tonight Kevin Garnett and Paul P. and the rest of the Celtics play against another great team in the Detroit Pistons. If I didn’t have a game of my own tonight, I would be watching the Detroit vs. Boston game. Flip Saunders knows Kevin as well as anyone in the league and Kevin Garnett may know most of Detroit’s offense like the back of his hand. Needless to say, it’s going to be a great matchup.

I guess they are putting microphones on NBA coaches for nationally televised games. That is the buzz I’ve been hearing around the league. I am really surprised the networks and the coaches decided to do this. I just want to know who at the TV network has the job of listening in to the coach the whole game and trying to figure out what they can put on the air and what they can’t play. In addition, most coaches have their right hand man that they talk to privately back and forth during the game. To draw some sort of parallel, think about someone having your family miked up for a week. To me it’s tough to imagine that. In fairness, the leauge does promise that it won’t use material that is too over the top, but that means the only thing they’ll be able to play on TV is the real generic stuff which isn’t too interesting anyway.

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Minnesota, Win, Rashad McCants, Al Jefferson, Turkey , training camp
We win our first game in front of our home fans in Minnesota. Photo: Brocreative
We finally won our first game and it happened to come in front of our home fans in Minnesota. We had a lot of guys step up in the win. Rashad McCants had 30 points, Al Jefferson had his normal dominant performance and Antoine Walker had a huge game in crunch time to put us over the top. Marko Jaric made a ton of hussle plays. I wanted to talk a little bit about the game.

We were in Turkey for training camp which was going long and hard. Late in one practice session, Rashad McCants stole the ball and then took off down court for a dunk. All of a sudden, he stopped dribbling and staggered off the court in obvious pain. He strained his hamstring and then was on the injured list for a few days. Even earlier this season, he tweaked his ankle and had to sit out. I watched Rashad work tirelessly in the training room to get healthy to come back ASAP to help the team. Rashad is mentally tough and has a huge heart and he showed that once again tonight. Rashad is a team player first whose intelligence about the game reminds me of my old Lakers teammate Robert Horry.

In all my years of playing basketball you’re always taught not to go for pump fakes of opposing players. Especially when an opponent is trying to post you up, you never want to jump in the air to block the shot. It just puts you too much at risk for a foul. I’ve only been on the same team with Al Jefferson for two months, but I have never seen a post player get so many of his defenders up in the air and then just drive past them. Each game, I know it’s going to happen that he gets his post defender jumping in the air like a pogo-stick. The other day in practice I told Al, that I’ve never seen a player get so many defenders to go for his fake as does. Al told me that he learned his fake from Paul Pierce and their years together in Boston. Tonight was no different as Al got people in the air and utilized his signature, go-to move of the soft jump hook that seemed to be unstoppable.

Another old Celtic really stole the show in tonight’s game. We got Antoine Walker in a trade from the Heat and he was huge for us. I’ve enjoyed practicing with and against Antoine in practice every day. Antoine Walker is a three time all-star in the NBA and he gives so much energy and attention in practice every day that it’s kind of revitalizing to everyone on the team. I knew Antoine Walker the three point shooter, rebounder, great post up player and ball-handler, but the Antoine Walker I didn’t know is the player who knows every defensive rotation like the back of his hand. In the fourth quarter tonight Antoine floated a difficult 10 foot floater over the Sacramento defense that brought the crowd to their feet in the Target Center. When he came to the bench a fan yelled out, “Antoine, let’s see the shimmie!” I looked over and I saw Antoine smile and then just chill. I think he’s saving the shimmie for bigger and better things for the Timberwolves this season. Having a true veteran like Antoine on our team helps everyone from 1 to 15.

For a little more background on Antoine, (and the origin of the shimmie), you can go to his official website at

Well, that’s all here. I should receive the medical clearance soon to play. When I get it, I hope to earn my way back onto the court to help my team in any way possible.