Tag:Shaquille O'Neal
Posted on: July 21, 2009 5:09 pm
 

What has the world come to?

Can you remember when athletes were just athletes? Before all the movie star, celebrity athletes when all they cared about was traing hard and doing their best at their sport. Now I'm not talking about way back when athletes weren't paid millions of dollars and they had to have other jobs to survive. I'm about since athletes started making the big bucks. Can you remember back when there wasn't any star athlete in any sport that was looking improve their image or make even more ridiculous money by staring in a movie or doing some other form of entertainment?

I bring this up of course because it seems to be worse now than ever. Athletes are no longer looking to star in movies or get big time endorsement deals anymore, but no that's not enough for them. Now they want their own "reality TV” shows that are all about them. It's one thing to have an athlete play a role in a movie, which forces them to miss some training time, but it's another thing when that athlete plays a huge part or is the star of a movie. But it's plain our ridiculous for any athlete to have their own TV show. Why I ask? What's the need for it? What good can it do? It can't be about the money because they have plenty already.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I'm talking about Terrell Owens and Shaquille O'Neal. Of course if anyone would do it, it would be T.O. so that comes as no surprise to me. It's still ridiculous because he's wasting his time participating in the "Superstars" challenges (where he could very well injury himself and really screw himself and his team over) instead of practicing and preparing for his up coming debut with his team, the Buffalo Bills. If that's not enough, he also has to have a "reality" TV show, "The TO Show" to have people watch him and his entourage in their "real lives." Like we haven't seen enough of the "The TO Show" when he was with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys. Shouldn't TO be worried about actually contributing to a team and be a team player for once; he has yet to win the ultimate prize in the NFL: The Super Bowl. Shouldn't that be his main concern, and not reality TV shows?

Then there is Shaq. Now it's really not that surprising that Shaq is doing his own TV show as well because he can never be out done by anyone (he won't let TO get all the lime light). His makes a little more sense (but that's not saying much) than "The TO Show," because he's actually competing in athletic events and will be training before each show. However, he is not like Shaq is some young guy here. He is 37 years old and his body is not near what it use to be. He could very well get injured in one of these events, especially since he has a very competitive nature and will be going up against the best players at their respective sports (who are also very competitive and could get very carried away, especially if it looks like Shaq could beat them). You'd think with all the time he wastes on movies (Kazaam) and TV shows that he could have very well used that time to improve his game? I bet if he had practiced free throws instead he'd be able to make more the 50% of his FTs. He says this is a new way to help him train in the off-season, but why wouldn't you train practice with your Cavaliers teammates and train for basketball instead of training for different sports?

I really don't want to see this become a trend, but know today's culture which is driven and ruled by the media and "reality TV shows." I wouldn't be surprised to see more athletes follow suit; especially someone like LeBron James. "The King" doesn't want to be out done by anyone either, and will have to come up with some reality TV show in order to remain "on top" in the public eye. I've got a good suggestion for a show he should do: "I Dunked on LeBron James." Xavier's Jordan Crawford could be the guy who introduces each new player that will get a shot at dunking on LBJ. I'm sure Nike would walk right into MTV's station and ask for their tapes of the show so we'd never be able to see it.

It's a sad sad thing to watch great athletes do things like this. If this is a sign of things to come and is the future of entertainment, maybe Mike Judge got things right when he made the film "Idiocracy."

Posted on: May 31, 2009 9:54 pm
 

Will history continue to repeat itself?

History tends to repeat itself a lot; not only in sports but in all of life. However, here we're only interested in the sports history. One such thing that has been consistent in NBA history is defense winning championships. Almost every time, one of the best defensive teams will win the championship. Now of course there are a few exceptions here and there, but you have to look at the overall picture. This, however, is not about defense in NBA history, but instead great big men winning championships. The majority of NBA championships have been won by teams who are lead by a great big man (almost always one who has very good defense, if not great defense). You can go all the way back to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to see that great big men have always been able to win championships with their great post play on both offense and defense (mainly defense though).

I only bring this up of course because of this year's NBA Finals matchup: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic . Now Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are both very good big men, but neither one could come close to being consider one of the best big men in the game (on both ends of the court). Of course I am talking about Dwight Howard , who most would agree is the best big man in the NBA right now. Howard has proved very worthy of that title thus far leading his Magic to the 3rd seed in the East, being a Top 5 defense in the NBA, winning the DPOY (well deserved), and getting his team past the favorites, the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James . Without a shadow of a doubt he has been the main reason for what has got the Magic into this year's NBA Finals. Of course there are always very important role players for every great team, so Rashard Lewis , Hedo Turkoglu , Rafer Alston , Courtney Lee , Mickael Pietrus , etc. have all contributed to the team's success as well.

The last 10 years in the NBA has been dominated by big men - as far as championships go. Shaquille O'Neal has four NBA titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006), Tim Duncan has four titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007), Ben Wallace has a championship ((2004), and Kevin Garnett has a championships (2008). You can argue the Pistons were led by Chauncey Billups (but he couldn't get them one after Big Ben left) and Paul Pierce led the Celtics (although he couldn't get the Celtics one without KG), but regardless the last ten years of NBA champions have been dominated by big men (Shaq & Duncan combine for 8). Will Dwight Howard be next on the list of great big men to lead his team to a championship? Or will Kobe Bryant and the Lakers break the cycle?

There are some things to point toward a break in the dominance of big men. Howard is still very young and has never been in a situation like this before. Can he step up and rise above the pressure to prove he has what it takes at this young age to win his team a title? Kobe Bryant has contributed to three championships himself (although Shaq was with him too), and is the best player in the game. He has always been a great closer and clutch player that has gotten his teams deep into the playoffs almost every year. Phil Jackson is one of the all-time great coaches who knows them game just as good as anyone. Also, even when Shaq was young and first with the Magic, he led them to the only other Finals appearance for the Magic. He was swept 4-0 by the Rockets . However, they also had one of the best big men in the game with Hakeem Olajuwon (so Hakeem was just a better big man at that point in their careers).

There have been two all-time great players who have risen above dominate big men and led their team to championships: Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Yes, both did have very good defensive big men who contributed to their teams' success, but it goes without saying that MJ and Bird were the ones who led the teams to the championships. Now Kobe has been an all time great player, but he is not in the class yet of MJ and Bird. However, if he can led his team this year and win a championships without any dominate big man (like Shaq), then I believe he could be entered into that group of the NBA's greatest wingmen (although it doesn't mean he is just as good or better). He might need to win another one to really solidify that, but I would be satisfied with just this year (but that's just me).

So this is definitely something to think about when watching this year's NBA Finals. Will we see history repeat itself again? Or will we see one of those exceptions when a great player rises above it? Will Dwight Howard be able to handle the pressure and be good enough to lead his team to the championship, or is he still too young and not enough developed offensive game? Can Kobe finally win a championship without Shaq and thus solidify his name on the list of the NBA's greatest wingmen? For me, I've always been a fan of defense and will always root for defense to come out on top. I'm a big Howard fan, but I also remain in a pact between Pistons and Lakers so I cannot officially root against the Lakers. I will be happy with who ever wins the championship this year to be honest, so I will just sit back and enjoy the NBA Finals while the rest of you argue over who is better and who will win. I just figured I'd give you all something more to add to your discussions.


Posted on: March 18, 2009 11:48 pm
 

NBA's Greatest Defenders in History

Here is my list of the Top 10 Greatest Defenders in NBA History:

 1) Bill Russell - This only needs one explanation: 11 championship rings. It was his defense that anchored every last one of those 11 titles he won with the Boston Celtics. They didn't keep track of blocks, steals, or even All NBA Defensive teams in his days, until the end of his career where he was on the very first NBA All Defensive First Team in history. He is the proof that defense is what wins championships, and he will always be remembered for that. He will go down as the greatest defender in history.

2) Hakeem Olajuwon
- "The Dream" was so good on offense that it made you forget how great his defense was. He was such a good offensive player that people tend to forget the best part of his game was his defense. He was the most athletic center in NBA history and used this too his advantage; most notably being one of only 4 players to record a quadruple-double. He is the 7th all time leader in steals, the highest of any center in history. His defense contributed to two titles for the Rockets. He won the DPOY twice, made 5 NBA All Defensive First teams, and is the only player in history to make the Top 10 in blocks, steals, rebounds, and scoring.

3) Ben Wallace - There has never been a better reason to "Fear the Fro" when Big B was anchoring the great Pistons defense. He made everyone fear coming into the lane and trying to score. He was small in height (6'7"-6'9" not counting the fro), but made up for it with his athleticism and leaping ability. He is probably the 2nd most athletic center in history behind the Dream. He made it to 6 All-NBA Defensive Teams, and won 4 DPOYs (should have been 5, he was robbed by Ron Artest), tied for the most in NBA history. His great defense allowed the Pistons to make 5 straight ECFs, 2 straight NBA Finals, and winning the NBA title in 2004. His defense presence made the Pistons D the best in the league (one of the best all time defense). He is the only player in NBA history to record 1,000 rebounds, 100 blocks, and 100 steals in 4 consecutive seasons. He is also the only player to be able to slow down the great Shaquille O'Neal on a regular basis. If you need proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWo-VA1mf6Y

4) Michael Jordan - MJ was not just one of the great scorers of all time; his defense is what made him into the greatest player of all time. We all see the highlights on ESPN of his great dunks, his flashy layups, his great jump shooting, etc., but what you never see is his great defense. For awhile, his haters tried to say he was only a scorer and not a good defender. What does his Airness do in response? Goes and wins the 1988 DPOY that's what. He has made 9 NBA All-Defensive Teams over his career. If you know you're history, the Bulls great defense was their main contribution to their 6 titles and you know MJ was their leader on D as well as on offense.

5) Tim Duncan - Timmy D is truly one of the best post players we've ever seen. His inside presence in the post is not only seen on offense, but on defense as well. He has anchored 4 championship teams now with the Spurs and his post defense is every much a part of it as anything. He doesn't have to put up the flashy defensive stats that many other good defenders do, but if you ever have seen the great defense the Spurs play you will see that it all comes down to Timmy's D. Without him down low, their defense wouldn't be special at all. He has made 11 All-Defensive Teams. The Big Fundamental is a perfect nickname for him because he is better at the fundamentals of basketball than anyone.

6) Dennis Rodman - The dude may have been crazy, possibly even needing to be institutionalized, off the court, but on the court he was one of the greatest defenders this league has ever seen. He started out on the great defensive Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys." He won both is DPOYs with them and helped them achieve two NBA titles with his great defense. He also won 3 titles with Chicago Bulls (along side MJ) playing a huge part in their strong defense. He became known over the entire league as a great defense player, and some even said he "could shut down any opposing player, from point guard to center." He wasn't very tall, but made up for that with athleticism, strength, and leaping ability. For his size, he is one of the best rebounders in history. He was able to average over 18 rpg in back to back season (91-92 to 92-93) as well as averaging over 17 rpg the following year. He finished with 13.1 rpg over his entire career which puts him in the Top 10 all time rebounders per average. He may have been a psycho, but he was a great NBA defensive psycho.

7) Kevin Garnett - KG is the perfect player you'd want to anchor your defense. This wasn't as evident when he was on the Timberwolves (although he was great with them as well), but became even more noticeable when he joined the Boston Celtics last year. Their defense went from an average (middle of the league) defense to the NBA's best defense in 2007-2008. He is such an athletic player that he can be everywhere in the paint playing help defense as well as stopping the toughest post threat for his opponents. His leadership is the key to his game because he is able to motivate and lead his teammates to play much better defense than they would without him. He has so much passion and love for this game, and uses that to motivate himself and his team on defense (as well as offense). He has made 5 All-NBA-Defensive Teams as well as winning his first and only DPOY last season.

8) Kareem Abul-Jabbar - Like Jordan, he is known for being one of the greatest scorers in history, but also like Mike his defense was just as important in helping his team succeed. His made his presence felt in the post on defense making it very hard for teams to get points at the rim. He knew how to use his size to his advantage by using his height and long arms to keep a hand in players’ faces and swat their shot if they dared going up against him. His defense was more noticeable when he was younger (with the Milwaukee Bucks), but he still maintained his great D for his entire career helping to be the anchor of 6 NBA titles. He made 11 NBA All-Defensive First Teams over his career.

9) David Robinson - The Admiral was truly a force to be reckoned with on defense. He was a dominating presence in the post making it very difficult for opposing teams to scoring in the paint. He was great at all aspects of defense: rebounding, blocking, stealing, post defense, etc. You name it, Robinson could do it all. His great defensive efforts won him 8 All-NBA-Defensive Teams, a DPOY, and 2 NBA championships. He wasn't flashy or super athletic, but he commanded respect in the post, and lead his team on defense.

10) Nate Thurmond - The famous "Wilt Stopper" was known throughout history as a great defender. Anyone that could stop the dominating force known as Wilt Chamberlain had to be great. He was tall and used his height advantage over many smaller players to become a great rebounder and defender. Again, most of his career he played in the times before blocks and steals so who knows how many of those he had, but later in his career they counted the stats and he averaged 2.1 bpg in his final 6 seasons. He never won championships or tons of awards (always being left as the odd guy out behind Russell and Wilt), but he was still a great defender that was able to do toe-to-toe with two of the greatest big men the NBA has ever seen.

Honorable Mention: Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Sidney Moncreif

Feel free to comment and even make your own list if you wish.

 

Posted on: February 7, 2008 9:15 pm
 

Sorry Lakers and Suns; the East will still Win!

I am sorry to rain on your parade Lakers and Suns fans, but even though you guys just got done pulling off some major blockbuster deals; you still won't win the Title this year! Okay, before you get all bent out of shape on me let me explain myself.

Yes, we all know the West is much better than the East. Yes, the Lakers just got a heck of a lot better after trading Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, two 1st Round picks, and rights to Marc Gasol to the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol, and this definately makes you much better of a team. Most likely contenders for the championship as well. The Suns....well some people thinks it makes them better trading Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for Shaquille O'Neal. I think they are kidding themselves. Of course the Suns will no longer be able to run their "run n gun" style of offense with Shaq. Any other style won't work for them. They don't have a whole lot of defense, and they don't have the rebounding to run any type of slower offense. It just won't work. Plus, no matter how much Shaq wants to win another title, it won't make up for the fact that he is not even close to being able to dominate again. He can be a good guy to plug up the middle with his size, and give you a little offense but nothing that's going to put you "over the edge" to win a championship. The Suns will become worse with this trade, but believe what you want you will see soon enough.

Now, the East may be weak and only have a few teams that can contend for the title, but this year they are the best in my opinion. The Celtics have been one of the favorites since they aquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the offseason. They still have the best record in the league, and still are allowing the fewest points per game in the league as well. This team can be dangerous. Yes, they are not the deepest team, and yes without KG or Paul Pierce they would be in a lot of trouble (see the recent games since KG has been out). As long as they have those guys though, then they could be in this years NBA Finals.

Now, onto my favorite team, the Detroit Pistons. Of course I expect them to go to the Finals and win it all this year (what other Pistons fan doesn't?). I have good reason though to believe it; not just my homer opinion. They are still one of the best, if no the best, defenses this year. They are currently 2nd in fewest points allowed per game (to the Celtics). They are have the 2nd best record in the East, and one of the top records in the entire NBA. Chauncey, Rip, Rasheed, Tay, McDyess, etc. are all playing great and just as good as usual. Their bench continues to shine with Jason Maxiell playing big this year. Also, rookies Aaron Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey are given some good production off the bench.

The reason why the Pistons and Celtics have a better chance to win than the Lakers, Suns, Spurs, etc. is because of what everyone already knows: the East is weaker than the West. The Pistons and Celtics don't have much other competition besides each other. The Cavaliers and Magic look like the only two other "real" threats in the East. I don't believe any other team will give either one much trouble. One of these two teams will be in the Finals. Once they get there, whatever Western team makes it will be so tired from fighting their way through the other teams that they won't be able to handle either the Pistons or Celtics.

Not to mention that I believe these two teams are still the best two teams in the league, but that's just my opinion; I'm bringing you the facts on this. People continue to say how weak the East is, but that will be the reason why either Celtics or Pistons (Pistons of course) will win the 2007-2008 NBA Finals. Sorry to break the bad news to you guys, but it's gonna happen. Maybe next year Western fans, but this year is the year of the EAST!

Posted on: January 26, 2008 7:12 pm
 

Wilt Chamberlain or Shaquille O'Neal?

Who was a better player? Everyone sees these two guys as the 2 most dominate big men in history. While most of you might be quick to say Wilt, I think you should take a closer look and see why a case can be made for The Big Diesel as well.

If you look at the numbers, it's overwhelmingly in Wilt's favor:

Wilt Chamberlain: 30.1 ppg  22.9 rpg  54% FG 1,045 GP

Shaquille O'Neal: 25.6 ppg  11.5 rpg  58% FG 1,013 GP

But as most NBA fans should know (or at least any that know their history) in Wilt's time there was no where near the competition that Shaq has had to face. Wilt's toughest competition was Bill Russell, one of the greatest if not the greatest defender of all time, but other than Russell the rest of the competition was either a foot shorter or not even half as good.

Shaq has gone up against some of the best big men and defenders the NBA has ever seen: Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, Ben Wallace () etc. He has a lot more tougher competition than Wilt ever did. Plus, the game has changed a lot as well. Shaq dominated in a lot tougher time then Wilt. Therefore, I think Shaq was a better player. He was still able to destroy his competition even though they were a lot tougher than Wilt.

No, Shaq wasn't able to get 100 points or 50 rebounds in a game, but he was still able to get 40+ points in 47 regular season games in his career. Of course no where near Wilt's 271, but I want to keep emphasizing how little competition he had in his time.

If Shaq and Wilt had been in the same time period as each other, Shaq would have put up better numbers. Shaq has had to face a lot more tough defenders and great defenders than Wilt, so he would be able to have a lot more success IMO.

 
 
 
 
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