Tags Posts tagged with "Steve Nash"

Steve Nash

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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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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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Steve Nash, The Phoenix Suns, Mike D'Antoni, Kevin Garnett, UCLA Bruins
The Phoenix Suns are a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the only team in their division not to be based in California. Photo: Debby Wong
Tonight we played against one of the best teams in the NBA–The Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash finished his normal “day at the office” with 20 points and 18 assists. Kevin Garnett was dominant on offense and defense and finished with 44 points, a load of rebounds, and a lot of defensive plays that won’t show up on the stat sheet. Every starter for Phoenix was in double figures. It was a great game to play in and a great game to watch.

Mike D’Antoni has changed the way basketball is played in the NBA. (On a side note: He and I jawed a little bit during the game during a stretch when I was pushing for a technical foul for the Phoenix bench when they really protested a call. He heard me calling out to the officials: “Give them a technical” and then he yelled at me to “just play basketball.” It was a little heated for a second then it just died down. I got his point and he was probably right.)

But Phoenix’s new style has impacted everyone from the refs to NBA coaches all the way to professional scouts. The big bruising players are still effective in the NBA, but speed and shooting are at a premium now because of the success of the Suns and the way they have shown you can win with leaner, faster players with high skill levels. I think D’Antoni’s style is showing the pros and colleges a new and exciting way to play the game. I can tell you firsthand that playing against the Suns is fun for us as NBA players, win or lose, because you know it’s going to be uptempo and there’s going to be a lot of scoring. You know you’ll be playing against one of the best teams in this league.

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I had a huge celebration when I watched the Stanford men’s basketball team knock off the top ranked UCLA Bruins yesterday. This year, all the national experts are saying that the Pac-10 is the top conference in college basketball. Even though Fred Hoiberg likes to mess with me about how he doesn’t like Stanford’s mascot–The Tree–our mascot was out there dancing around Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto after our big win. I think I will get some video footage of it and email it to Freddie. The funny thing is that everywhere I go people ask me about the Tree. “Hey is it true that the Tree got suspended for two games a few years ago for yelling at a ref.” I hear questions about that all the time. I’m not even totally sure what the right answer is. Well, all I can say is that the Tree is doing something right because everyone’s talking about him/her and the on-court exploits of the tree are taking on an almost mythical status.

On a more serious note, I think that Stanford’s Coach Trent Johnson is showing why he should be a leading candidate for coach of the year. He has dealt with some tough injuries this season but has done a great job of developing his young players like Brook and Robin Lopez. It was special to watch such a well coached team two nights ago. It was nice to see Lawrence Hill take over that game in the second half along with Anthony Goods and the Lopez’s controlling that paint.

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First Win, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Jason Terry, Arizona Wildcats Men's Basketball Team, TNT
Watching the Phoenix Suns game vs. the Dallas Mavericks Photo: shutterstock.com
I just finished watching the Phoenix Suns game vs. the Dallas Mavericks. They interviewed Jason Terry at the end of the game on TNT and he talked about how he was literally “on his knees praying” for Dallas to get their first win of the season which they finally got tonight. At the end of the interview Jason talked about how the Arizona Wildcats Men’s basketball team (his alma mater) would be #1 in the country by the end of the year! It was fun to hear that. Jason and I competed together against each other in college. One time, in a game at U. of Arizona, (Back when I played college for Stanford) both Jason and I got hurt and needed stitches after the game. We were both sitting in the training room for about two hours after the game and we really got to know each other. I remember that my parents were at that game and a lot of Jason’s family was there too. So there were basically two families in the training room at 11pm at night and we’ve been friends ever since. Jason is a class act who is really leading the Dallas Mavericks this season and last season.

We practiced today here at the Target Center in MN, and we are all upset with our slow start. Today’s workout session was very heated which is great because it shows how much all of the guys care about winning. I think we are beginning to see the emergence of Randy Foye. Randy Foye is one of the few players in the NBA who seems to be able to get to the Free throw line at will. It helps because he is a 90% free throw shooter also. Looking forward to seeing you guys at the Target Center soon!

Lastly, a few of the guys on our team have been frustrated with the fact that the NBA has given the refs a mandate to call technical fouls on a “zero tolerance” pollicy. Because of this, great players are getting thrown out of games all around the league. From Carmello, to Rasheed, to Mike Bibby, players in the NBA are getting tossed from arenas really fast. I’m not in favor of berating officials under any circumstances, but players must be allowed to speak to refs in heated moments without fear of getting tossed. I think in the end, the fans are getting the short end of the stick. Fans come to games to be able to see passionate basketball played very hard. Kevin Garnett is an emotional player; Rasheed Wallace is emotional; Sam Cassell is the most emotional player I’ve ever played with. I really believe that fans enjoy the passion and emotion that these players have. I know that when I’m around town here in Minneapolis, fans always talk about how much they love the emotion and passion of KG…..I think that the old system was pretty good. When a player got out of hand he was ejected. The new system is that if a player shows any sort of abrupt emotional/angry body language at a call he could be at risk to himself and his team. But I’m not a fan paying for the seats……..if any of you could give me feedback to pass on to the Union and eventually the NBA, please post in the comments section below what your honest thoughts are. Do you want to see NBA players not to be able to react much after a bad call? Or do you like it when the emotion is shown? I do think that the NBA officials are the best in the world, but it would be nice if they had a little bit more leeway from their own set of rules so less technicals are called.

ON Wednesday we are meeting with Billy Hunter (He’s with the Players Union) and I’m sure we will be talking about the issue of technical fouls. We’ll also be discussing the new nba ball and the slippery surface when wet. One reader of this blog sent a link to a published physicist who did a study on the new NBA ball—A PHYSICST

Even LeBron James (early in the season he said he could play with any ball) came out publicly AGAINST the ball recently. I mean when Shaq, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, leBron etc. voice concerns over the ball, there might be something to it. We don’t care if it’s synthetic. Just make it so that it’s not so slippery when it gets wet. I’m sure with today’s technology this is possible.

Ultimately, I think some sort of compromise will take place with both issues so that all sides involved will be happy. If we do get to go back to leather as the NBA has indicated publicly is a possibility, we must ensure that the leather used is only from trusted sources that do not employ harsh or cruel treatment to the animals providing the leather. In my opinion the only leather that should be used is leather from an approved list of ethical beef producing companies/entities. Most of those would probably be domestic where stricter policies are in place. It think this was one of PETA.org’s concerns with the old ball and the use of international leather sources where bad treatment of animals is prevalent. I think we should open a dialogue with PETA also to ensure that we get this right.

Stay tuned for the article from the Physicist about the NBA ball. I am going to contact him personally and hopefully link him up with the Player’s Union so that we can get his feedback and article dissmenated throughout the NBA players so they can say “Yea, or Nay”. If we’re lucky, I might be able to interview him in addition to publishing his scholarly piece here on this blog. It would be interesting to hear what a real Physicist says about the new NBA ball who has already written a paper on it after exhaustive testing comparisions to the older ball.

I feel like this has become part of my role as the player rep for my team. Fans ask me about the new ball in differnet places. One bagger in a grocery store was asking me all about it. My neigbor and former President of my homeowner’s association in Eden Prairie was asking me why the ball was changed in the first place at a Halloween Party. ON a flight after a game last month, Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis basically came up with the idea to contact all of the other player reps directly around the league to band together to get some momentum going to give the NBA feedback on the new synthetic ball. Ricky kind of asked me to spearhead this. Unfortunately with my knee injury I haven’t gotten as much done as I should. Hopefully we can begin this in the next few days after talking it over with Billy.

I may get in touch with my alma Mater and see if the Stanford Econ Department has any undergrad or grad students willing to do a statistical analysis on turnovers, shooting percentages this season as compared to last season. It would be a nice senior project for a thesis that would be passed on to other players. Shaq felt that turnovers would go up and shooting percentages would go down. Hey he might be right, he might be wrong……It would be interesting to quantify this mathematically and see if there is any sort of correlation or not. Maybe Mark CUban has already done it…..have you done it yet Cube? I actually suspect that shooting percentages might go up b/c the ball has a softer bounce. BUt unfortunately I predict turnovers to go up due to the slick nature of the ball. Steve Nash one of the best ballhandlers in the world had 10 turnovers tonight in the game. I think fans like more scoring but I think they hate turnovers as much as my coach does! The NBA always does things for a good reason and I do agree the new synthetic balls are more consistent across the entire league when they are new so that is a positive.

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Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakes, Phoenix Suns, NBA
Kobe Bryant is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
I watched the Lakers vs. Suns first round playoff series faithfully and thought it was one of the best first round matchups in recent history. I was extra interested given that I used to play for the Lakers and since two of my high school teammates played college basketball with Steve Nash at Santa Clara University. Kevin Dunne and Randy Winn were seniors when I was a sophomore at San Ramon Valley High School. The next year I watched them a lot at Santa Clara where along with Steve Nash they all helped Santa Clara’s team to several years of greatness and some amazing upsets. I would have never thought at that time that I was watching one of the greatest point guards who would ever play in the NBA. It is amazing what hard work and perserverance can do and how Steve Nash’s passing and shooting ability has changed the fortunes of an entire NBA franchise.

It was also great to see a couple of old friends play for the Lakers. Notably, it was a lot of fun to watch Kobe Bryant, Devean George, and Luke Walton make big plays for the Lakers and almost pull off a huge first round upset. Kobe Bryant never ceases to amaze me. Amost everywhere I go, people ask me what it was like to play with Kobe Bryant. Random people I have never met ask me the question. I thought that now would be a good time to talk about my interactions with Kobe on and off the court. When I first got to LA, I remember meeting Kobe in the training room. Kobe was there with his personal trainer and the first thing I thought in my mind is “Wow, Kobe must really be 6’7″!” You never really know how tall people are until you’re next to them. Shaq is definitely 7’1″ and Kevin Garnett is definitely taller than 6’11”. Kobe is easily 6’7″ and it’s crazy because I play center in the NBA sometimes and I’m about 6’8″ and Kobe can play point guard and he’s basically the same height. The first year I was there, I can’t tell you how many times I came into the game and Kobe tried to get me a dunk or a wide open layup to help me build some confidence. One time after a tough game at Memphis he invited me to meet up with him and his high school buddy for a steak dinner. Another time he stayed around after a game to meet up with the ten year old daughter of a buddy of mine for an autograph and a photo. Still another time when I was upset about a certain on-court team issue, Kobe took the time to listen to everything I was going through and tried to help the situation. Kobe Bryant went out of his way a lot when I was just figuring out what it was like to play in the NBA.

I felt badly after the game 7 loss that some members of the media tried to criticize Kobe for not shooting enough in the loss to the Suns. It’s extra interesting to me, because I watched that game very closely and analyzed the Suns’ defensive schemes against Kobe. In the first half it seemed like Suns threw a “soft double team” at Kobe whereas in the second half they trapped Kobe aggresively with two men and forced him to throw the ball out of the double team. I actually thought that Kobe was doing a good job of trying to hit his open teammates but their shots weren’t falling. I guess if you are Kobe Bryant and you get 81 points you get criticized for shooting too much and if you only score 20-25 points then people say you are not shooting enough. I thoroughly enjoyed the series and watching my old teammate Kobe play so well. I think that the Lakers are back on the map. I hope I get to see Deaven George this summer in Minnesota and maybe I’ll see Luke Walton at some Pac-10 reunion. (We never really had the Answer for Arizona basketball when I was at Stanford). At any rate, I still hope we go 4-0 against the Lakers next season and 4-0 against the Suns.

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Golden State Warriors, Loosing Streak, Phoenix, Amare Stoudemire, Minnesota
We have been struggling a little bit and really need to win this one tonight to snap a three-game losing streak. Photo: shutterstock.com

Today we are in Phoenix getting ready for what should be a very big game against the Pacific Division leading Suns this evening. They have an outstanding team this year, despite losing Amare Stoudemire to an injury early in the preseason. That just goes to show you what a great player Steve Nash has become while making his case for back-to-back MVP awards.

As you know, lately we have been struggling a little bit and really need to win this one tonight to snap a three-game losing streak and get the ship righted. If we get a win in the desert, we will have some momentum going back to Minnesota for a five-game home stand prior to the All-Star break. I can’t put a finger on it exactly, but I think we are struggling some because we just don’t know each other as players yet. We’ve added four new dynamic players to the team during the middle of the season, and I believe we’re still trying to get integrated with each other. I really think that as we get more games and practices under our belts, that eventually you are going to see a well-oiled machine emerge.

Our loss at Golden State was pretty tough on everyone, but the positive thing is what happened the next day. Everyone came to practice in Phoenix and went so hard, that it felt like a playoff game. I would be worried about us if everyone came to practice depressed and sad but it was just the opposite. Guys came in ready to play as hard as they possibly could.

On a personal note, it was interesting to be back in my homeland of the San Francisco Bay Area over the weekend. I grew up going to Golden State Warriors games and lived about 30 minutes from the Oakland Coliseum. Then I was at Stanford for four years, which is about 45 minutes from Oakland. After the game Saturday, one of the guys who did construction on my parents’ house growing up came out of the stands to say hello. His name is Rod, and it was just really great to see him. I left some tickets for a few of my college teammates who are still in the area. It was fun to hear about what they are each doing professionally. One of them is the head coach at a local private high school and another one started up his own brokerage business for Internet domain names, which is a booming industry. A third teammate started a clothing line. It was a blast to see old friends and to hear about the great things that they are doing.

Right now I’m about ready to order room service and then take my pregame nap. Did you all enjoy watching the Super Bowl? I thought the game was pretty entertaining, and turned on a few big Pittsburgh plays. I would assume that I’m like a lot of people who watch the game partly because the commercials will be entertaining, even if the game isn’t. I would say my favorite ad was the FedEx commercial with the cavemen trying to deliver the package with the pterodactyl and then getting stomped by a dinosaur outside the cave. Write me and let me know what your favorite ads were.

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.