Tags Posts tagged with "Shaq"

Shaq

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Jerry Buss
Dr. Jerry Buss was the ultimate NBA owner and brought numerous championships to the city of Los Angeles. Photo By: S. Bukley / Shutterstock.com

I was sitting here in the Stanford Mens basketball office preparing for a coaches meeting when our Video Coordinator shared with me the news:  Dr. Jerry Buss had just died of cancer in Los Angeles.

Dr. Buss, Shaq, LA
Dr. Buss brought an exciting style of basketball and professionalism to the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles.

I had the great privilege of playing for Dr. Buss’ Lakers team from 2001-2003 and cannot say enough about the first class nature of the organization or of the loyalty of Dr. Buss.  I will never forget after I had a major wrist surgery after my first year in Los Angeles Jerry Buss called me the next day on the phone. Jerry had a great way with people.  He called to wish me a speedy recovery and then said, “At first I thought you had the surgery in June so you could get out of playing in the summer league.”  We both laughed.  I could barely catch or pass the ball with my left hand that first season.  And in the triangle offense Phil Jackson literally had us practice left handed passes throughout the year in order to run the offense properly.  But Dr. Buss’ comment did two things.  It made me laugh (which I needed the day after surgery) and it made me also realize that he did care very much about role players competing in the summer league at Long Beach State. (Which I did the next year).  He built his teams around superstars, but he cared about every single person on the team all the way down to the last man.

Another memory of Dr. Buss happened during the playoffs of my first year in LA.  Rick Fox always planned a dinner together with the team at a happening location in the greater Los Angeles area which nearly almost had perfect attendance of the team.  One time Rick planned a get together and an evening out in the Hollywood Area.  I think I arrived at about 9pm and walked in and one of the first people I saw was Dr. Buss.  He was there with a group of his friends enjoying the evening and I felt nervous because typically the dinners/evening were more of a players only event.  I didn’t really know what to say to our owner.  He just broke the ice and called me over, introduced me to his friends and made me feel 100% comfortable despite him being the owner of the World championship team.

The thing that sticks out to me most is the loyalty of Dr. Buss.  Of all the organizations I’ve ever been part of whether a professional team, or any other entity, I have never seen more loyalty than with the Lakers.  While Dr. Buss was owner, there were countless people who had been with the team for 25 years or more.  From Bill Bertka (longtime coach), to Gary Vitti (Head Trainer), to our equipment manager Rudy Garciduenas, Jerry Buss had the philosophy, “If someone is doing a good job I am going to stick with them.”  In an era when consultants (often rightfully so), need to come in and “clean house,” Jerry Buss showed us that there are other ways to do business that can also yield amazing results.

I just read the LA Times article talking about how Jerry Buss built the Lakers, his family life, and his career.  I am grateful for the opportunity that he gave me and for the 3 great years with the Lakers.  I wish all the best to the entire Buss Family during this difficult time.

(For more information here is the official statement released by the Lakers).

 

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It’s been over 7 years since I left the Los Angeles Lakers and one of the most frequent questions people ask me is:

“Is it true that Shaquille O’Neal bought you a car when you showed up at training camp the first year?”

When I think of Shaquille I think about so many things and I wanted to share my top ten Shaq Stories from everything I know about him.

10) One year we were in Florida on an East Coast trip for Thanksgiving. The entire team was stuck in Florida with nothing to do so Shaq invited all the players, coaches, trainers, etc. over to his home and had an amazing Thanksgiving catered in.  The food was awesome and after the meal, he gave us a tour of his house.

When he showed us his room, he showed us a nice flat panel TV and then said, “I used to have all the latest electronics, remotes, and everything in this room….now instead of the electronics, I’ve got diapers for my little ones.”   He was beaming, has always loved his family, and frequently brought his wife and kids to the Staples Center to share the experience.  He continued on the tour and showed us a new addition he was putting on his house.  Samaki Walker asked “How many square feet are you adding?” Shaq answered with “10,000 square feet.” Samaki was amazed and said “Are you serious?”  Shaq’s reply was “Hey man, you only live once.”

9) Before one of my last regular season games as a Laker on the road in Memphis, I was sitting in the locker room trying to get ready for the game mentally.  All of a sudden, I look up and before I know it Shaq wants to wrestle.  Next thing I knew we were in a full out wrestling match.  Imagine trying to push around a 335 pound 7 foot man around who wasn’t even trying very hard to pin you.  All I know is that after a minute or two I had given it may all and I was exhausted.  Shaq let up but everyone in the locker room was loose an relaxed after the moment of fun.  I’m not sure how I had the energy left to play the game, but I ended up playing one my better games and had 10 points which almost never happened.  After the game Shaq said, “Nice game Mark, now I see that I need to wrestle you every game.”

8) Sitting in the locker room before a game in Milwaukee Shaq said something like “Anybody here know what the Pythagorean Theroem is?”  Brian Shaw at that point was saying something like “What are you talking about Shaq?”   [content_ads float=”left”]
(Those were great friends from their Orlando days and they always messed with each other). Then Shaq went on to compare himself to the Pythagorean Thereom and said, “The Pythagorean Theorem is complicated, tough to figure out and I’m the same way. By the time the other team starts to figure me out [each game] I’ve got 29 [points] 13 [rebounds] and 5 [assists] and it’s too late.”

7) There was a cute flight attendant on one of the Lakers charters and I happened to be sitting next to Shaq.  He looked right at her and said to her “Are you a mormon?”  He knew I was mormon and single and next thing you know he’s asking a flight attendant if she happened to be mormon and if she was, that she should meet me.  All this happened with me sitting right there.  She happened to be of another religious faith, but trust me I will never forget that!!  THEN, a few weeks later, a single member of the Lakers front office came up to me at the Staples Center and said “The most interesting thing happened last night….I’m sitting in a restaurant in Redondo Beach and Shaq was in there asking some of the girls if they were mormon because if they were, he wanted to set them up with you.”

The last three times I’ve seen Shaq the first question he asks me is “Are you married or engaged yet?”  I’ve told him I’m “still working on it,” and he then always says, you better let me know when it happens because we’re coming to the wedding.

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Brian Shaw
Oakland is the hometown of Brian Shaw, along with many other NBA players such as Greg Foster, Isaiah Rider, Jason Kidd, and others.

My old teammate and fellow Bay Area native Brian Shaw is rumored to become the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the current Cleveland Cavaliers owner (Dan Gilbert) does sign Brian Shaw then I believe the chances of LeBron James staying in Cleveland will go up dramatically. Brian Shaw has instant credibility having played in the NBA for years and as a basketball mind he’s not only a point guard but he’s either played in the triangle offense or coached it for much of the past decade. When I was on the Lakers B. Shaw was one of the few players that had the complete respect of Shaq and Kobe both. Most importantly he has not only NBA playing experience, but championship experience as a player and as a coach.

When there were problems in the locker room it was Shaw who was able to communicate with everyone on the team from the best player all the way down to the 15th man. Sometimes he would reason with Phil Jackson in team meetings about strategy or different things going on with the team. One day during such a time, Phil Jackson laughed and told Brian that “he should really consider going to law school when he was finished with his playing career.” Obviously Phil respected Brian’s basketball mind so much he didn’t give Brian time to take the LSAT and brought him directly into the Lakers fold.

My prediction is that the new credibility that Shaw brings will absolutely play a factor in increased odds that LeBron James stays in Cleveland. With the mayor of NYC making overtures to LeBron and practically every other team in the NBA trying to woo him, things seem to be getting a little bit brighter in Ohio.

If he does NOT stay in Cleveland, how can he turn Chicago down. It’s a large media market with a great young nucleus of talent with Rose, Noah, and Deng. But my prediction is that he’s going to stay in Cleveland and a few years from now a newly minted banner will be hanging from the rafters.

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Twitter, NBA Players, Expression, It's Public, Communicate with people
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". Photo: shutterstock
Last weekend I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal talking all about the new website: Twitter.com. NBA players are constantly in hotel rooms resting and sometimes watching CNN, Foxnews, or NBC. As a group, I must say that NBA players are *extremely up on current events and what’s going on in the world. Even in the training room, it seems like CNN is always on! So recently, on a lot of these news shows, there’s been mentions about Twitter.com. For example, after a feature about foreclosures or something there might be three websites listed on TV, including a Facebook page, a MySpace page and now a Twitter.com page!

 

I had no idea what Twitter was and so I decided to do some research and really figure it out. As I was checking on it I found someone’s blog who pointed out that a bunch of NBA players have Twitter accounts. Then on my own I found some other NBA players with accounts. Some of the players are listed below.

Rashad McCants
Fabricio Oberto
Brian Cardinal
Chris Bosh
Andrew Bogut
Danny Granger
Steve Nash
Shaq
Charlie Villanueva
Tyson Chandler
Jalen Rose @jalen rose
Dwight Howard @dwight_howard
Baron Davis @baron_davis
Alvin Gentry @alvingentry
Jason Richardson
Troy Murphy
Mark Cuban

So I signed up for Twitter myself to try to figure it out. After about three weeks of trial and error I feel that I finally understand what Twitter is all about. Here are some of the things Twitter is good for:

1) Expression: Twitter is a way for people to express themselves in 140 characters or less. For those of us that use Facebook, it’s almost like a Facebook ‘status update.’ For example, I just looked at Tyson Chandler’s Twitter account: Click Here, and it says: “Time 2 run off another 7.8.9.10.11 in a row.” This message is broadcast to anyone who is “following” Tyson Chandler on Twitter.

2) It’s Public: You can request that your Twitter updates are only shared with people approved by you. But most athletes have their Twitter accounts open to the public so that anyone can see what is going on with them. Not only are these Twitter.com pages public, but they also are indexed by the Google bots, which effectively open up their posts to the Google search engine as well.

3) Communicate with People: Through Twitter, if I am “following” someone, then that someone is able to send me a direct “private message” or basically an email that is 140 characters or less. If they are “following” me, then I can also send that person a private message.

4) You know what people are seeing and thinking around the world: This is probably the coolest thing that I like about Twitter. As the Wall Street journal article points out,

“During the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November, people scoured Twitter for postings from eye witnesses. When US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River, one of the first pictures was posted as a link on Twitter.”

So basically Twitter is a great way to get up to the minute info on events and ideas that are out there.

So basically you can search all of these public 140 character mini blogs to see what is going on in the world. I tried to figure out how to do this, but I couldn’t figure out how to search Twitter.com. Then on an obscure blog, someone indicated that there appears to be a “beta” search page that is not very well known to the general public. It is www.search.twitter.com.
For example, try going to the search.twitter.com page and typing in “stimulus package.” You can then see what other twitter users around the country are thinking, wondering, and talking about as it relates to the stimulus package.

As far as the NBA players listed above, it’s unclear to me if the athletes themselves are updating their status or if they have a friend doing it for them. I update my own twitter page: www.twitter.com/madsen_mark, but I also know of another player who has an account, but his agent or someone else updates his status for him.

I think Shaq writes his own Tweets personally, but I haven’t asked him about it yet. Twitter allows you to write a brief bio about yourself on your Twitter page as well so that people can figure out a little bit about who you are. Andrew Bogut’s Bio reads: Pro Athlete Living in Milwauke,WI. Grew up in Melbourne,Australia!

Here is what Shaq’s Bio read: VERY QUOTATIOUS, I PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF SHAQNESS.

I’d be interested to know if MLB or if the NHL or even the NFL players are out there on Twitter the same way some of the NBA players are! We’ve got Steve Nash and Shaq on Twitter. Between the two of them, that’s several MVP awards and four championship rings, and these guys are out there sharing their NBA experiences with fans and supporters on Twitter.com. How many other professional athlete blogs can rival the creativity and fearlessness of the Gilbert Arenas blog?

There’s been a lot of talk about the new collective bargaining agreement coming up for negotiation in two years time in the NBA. When I see players like Charlie Villanueva and retired players like Jalen Rose reaching out to the fans via Twitter.com, it tells me that guys in the NBA are out there wanting to connect with fans. These players love the game of basketball and want to continue to make our league one of the most fan friendly leagues in the world. Remember Chris Bosh posting his video on Youtube campaigning for him to be sent to the All-Star game? That was a classic! As the playoff inch closer, I’m amazed by how great and passionate NBA fans are. And at the same time, you gotta love they way great players like Shaq, Steve Nash and others are out there sharing their personality and their thoughts about this game we all love.

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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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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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Timberwolves, Kevin Love, UCLA, stitches , tooth popped, Shaq, Shaq
The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Photo: Werner Muenzker/shutterstock
This past monday we had a bunch of the Timberwolves players in town all together to finally play some pickup ball together with a lot of the new guys. Yes, this was the first time that I got to meet Kevin Love. The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Well, on the last play of the day, Kevin Love went up for a dunk. I tried to block it and the next thing I knew I was making two unexpected trips after practice.

1) To team physician Sheldon Burns (he is also the USA Basketball head physician) to get 12 stitches in my chin,

2) To visit Matthew Alm of Brookside Dental (Minneapolis), to get my front tooth popped back into place.

Thanks Kev. 🙂

I’ve played with two big men in my career whose passing skill is off the charts: Shaq, and Shaq. People don’t realize it, but Shaq has a lot of games where he gets five or six assists. And I personally used to watch Oliver Miller whip behind the back passes FROM THE POST to our shooter on the three point line. I predict Kevin Love to be in this group in terms of making other people around him better. Despite being very close to giving me a new gold tooth in my smile, I saw some impressive things from K. Love in just our first day. He shoots, he’s very athletic, and he rebounds….and he’s unselfish. That’s a very nice combo for a big man in today’s game. He’s going to make a serious run at rookie of the year in my opinion. Kevin also gets something that he didn’t get in college playing here in MN. He gets to play alongside a budding all star in Al Jefferson who along wth Tim Duncan and Shaq are probably the 3 best pure post players in the league.

Just over one week until training camp, and I’m excited. My stitches are almost out, my tooth is almost in place, and I’m ready to get some wins this year. Maybe I will see some of you guys out around Lake Calhoun or something.

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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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Derek Fisher, Don Nelson Basketball Camp, Injury, Lakers, Utah Jazz, Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Oakland
Derek Lamar Fisher is an American basketball player. He spent his first eight seasons with the franchise, winning three consecutive league championships (2000–2002) with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Photo: shutterstock.com
Warriors versus Utah Jazz Playoff Series I played with Derek Fisher for three years while playing for the Lakers and he is one of the most professional people I have ever met in any field. When I got to the Lakers Derek was going through a very serious foot injury and was on the injured list for some time. One time while he was injured we as a team were playing terribly. Before one of the games, Derek gave an impassioned speech while in street clothes and really tried to encourage the guys to take up their level of play a notch. Everyone in the locker room from Shaq to Kobe to Slava Medvedenko was all ears. Afterwards, Phil Jackson referred back to Derek as the emotional leader of our group.

Derek was always working on his jump shot. There were so many days when Derek would be there early at the gym with his brother feeding him passes and giving him feedback on fine-tuning aspects of his jumper.

Later that same season in the playoffs Derek had a monster game against the San Antonio Spurs and hit something like seven or eight three pointers in a blowout win for us. A few days later when we were watching the game film in our “warrior room,” Phil Jackson commented on how Derek had played so very well, and yet Derek did not get involved in any kind of self-promotion, or on-court antics that are so popular in the game today. Phil Jackson rarely was impressed with individual accomplishments, but he was keenly appreciative not only for how well Derek played, but how Derek Fisher carried himself while playing so well.

The Warriors vs. Jazz series is a great one. I was so happy for how well Derek played tonight for his team. I actually want the Warriors to win because I grew up about 30 minutes from Oakland and I know the Warriors team pretty well. Don Nelson was the coach of the warriors when I was in high school and I even worked at the “Don Nelson Basketball camp.” But above all, I’m just so happy that Derek Fisher’s daughter is doing well after her surgery. I hope that Dee Brown’s injury is okay and I hope that he’s able to make a full recovery. Detroit is my favorite to win the title.