Monthly Archives: September 2008

Shaq Rested and Ready

He described head coach Terry Porter as “a nice guy,” and jokingly recalled that when he faced off with assistant coach Bill Cartwright more than a decade ago, “I used to kill him, too.”

But when Shaquille O’Neal was quizzed on how the new coaching staff and changes in style will affect the Phoenix Suns and his pursuit of another championship in his career’s twilight years – well, your guess is as good as his for right now.

“Training camp starts (today),” O’Neal said. “(Porter is) the newly appointed president of the team, and as vice president/general manager of the team, whatever orders come down from the Pentagon … I haven’t seen the new orders yet, but I’ll have my eyes and ears open and we’ll see what’s going on.”

From their end, the Suns were happy to see the 36-year-old O’Neal come back for his first full season with them in good shape and, by his own estimate, at the same weight (between 330 and 335) he was at when he led the Lakers to the first of three straight championships. And while he was disappointed that his first run with the Suns ended in April, the extra time for recuperation might help him avoid adding heavily to the 221 games he’s lost to injury over his 16-year career – 86 of those in the last three years.

The Suns trainers made a few trips to his home in Florida during the summer, and he returned the favor with a handful of stops in Phoenix for workouts and treatment on his problematic left hip. He also worked out 4-5 days a week with Ultimate Fighting Championship legend turned gym owner Royce Gracie, making for a trim figure as he posed for pictures in his home white uniform Monday.

Suns management expected a little more after he vowed a strict offseason regimen in the Valley, but felt he not only passed the eye test, but also looked good in recent workouts and medical testing.

“I look great and I feel great and I feel ready to go because of all the rest I got with the longer summer,” he said. “All I’ve really ever had in my career are knick-knack injuries, which are something you can’t prevent – like the weather. I don’t miss games on purpose; things happen.

“In Miami, I had (trainers) who weren’t familiar with my injuries, but the staff here can fix all the knick-knack stuff. I’ll be tired and sore after two days or camp, but that’s normal and I’ll get past it.”

General manager Steve Kerr looks at the double-double Shaq produced in 28 minutes a night (12.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 61 percent shooting from the floor) over 28 games with the Suns, and couldn’t be more pleased with the output. Fouls and free-throw shooting were issues in the playoffs, as was trying to immerse the big man into the team on the run.

“A full camp and preseason and the opportunity to be on the same page from the outset will mean a lot,” Kerr said. “And we also plan to do more things that will play to his strengths.”

On offense, Porter sees more set plays and longer possessions, resulting in more touches. On defense, it means pushing the ball toward the sidelines instead of funneling it to the middle and leaving O’Neal or other post players to be the last line of defense.

But instead of trying to integrate Shaq on the run, something that proved too daunting last year, the Suns will be adjusting together.

“It would have been a Cinderella story for us to come together in 30 games and get it done. But when it comes to championships, it really doesn’t work like that,” Shaq said. “What Boston (winning the title) showed last year is that if you put a talented group together and go through the whole year uninterrupted, anything is possible. We’re starting from scratch. Hopefully I’ll stay injury free and we can take it from there.”

Weekend Retro Ad: Shaq’s Taco Neck (PAUSE)

NOTE: Volume’s a little low on this one.

Blink and you’ll miss Eddie Jones and Derrick Fisher as “Teammates.”  And doesn’t Jerry West look young?  And when did it no longer become okay for NBA players to endorse fast food?  So many questions, so little answers.

Shaquille O’Neal Slapped with Restraining Order Against Singer MaryJane

Hip-hop artist MaryJane, whose real name is Alexis Miller, has successfully filed a restraining order against basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, after she she made allegations that he has threatened to hurt her and has been harrassing her on the phone.

The court filing makes the claim that O’Neal specifically threatened to have her blackballed from the music industry by paying off musicians $50,000 each if they agreed not to perform or record with MaryJane. O’Neal was also alleged to have sent MaryJane “an unsolicited vulgar and offensive illustration of a man physically restraining a woman”.

O’Neal will appear in court on September 4th.

Snow Patrol Return With ‘A Hundred Million Suns’ Oct. 28

Snow PatrolSnow Patrol will release A Hundred Million Suns (Polydor/Fiction/Geffen Records) on October 28th 2008. The album is preceded by the fantastic single “Take Back The City”, which comes with a video shot in East London

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Chris Kattan’s Wife Files For Divorce

Chris KattanComedian Chris Kattan has been slapped with divorce papers from his estranged wife Sunshine Tutt; just weeks after his publicist insisted they had “no plans for divorce”.

=> Read more!

Kick, Push, Coast

Skateboarding has struggled for years to be accepted as a legitimate sport. It has a long history of being regarded as an activity for stoners and burnouts but this is hardly the case. Over the years the sport has grown and has moved on from running from security guards and draining back yard pools to massive events like the X Games.

Clicking around the internets (yeah I said Internets) I stumbled upon a video of Riley Hawk, 15 year old son of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. Check this out.


What do you think Shaq?

When most dads were going out to play catch with their sons Riley’s was teaching him to drop in on a quarter pipe. This kid is unbelievable.
I guess when your dad is/was a giant in the sport you’re bound to be at least proficient at it.
Right Jeff?

For once it’s good to see the child of a celebrity doing it for him/herself. He has been skating for his fathers company for a while but it’s well deserved. This kid is out there at 15 skating at a level way beyond his age and he could very well be the future of skateboarding. Could he be bigger than his dad? I submit that he could be.
He’s out there tearing it up at age 15 just like his dad was but the sport was just at it’s infancy when Tony was at his age. Skateboarding has come so far since Tony started to ride. There are so many more opportunities for young skaters like Riley. I think that with his talent level and connections in the skateboarding industry Riley Hawk could be the future of the sport.

This brings up a pretty good question. What is the future of the sport? Will society ever fully accept skateboarding as a sport or is it destined to shown only once a year on ESPN 2 during the X games? The sport is always evolving. People are always coming up with bigger ramps, longer rails, and more flip tricks than a 13 year old Chinese gymnast (we all know how old they were, stop living a lie China) and with this constant evolution I think society will come to accept skateboarding.  I don’t see it being in the Olympics anytime soon but it will definitely become more common to see a group of kids skating to the park instead of running with their baseball gloves to the sand lot (Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous what up).

Lets review
1.    Riley Hawk and Skateboarding stay winning
2.    Chinese put toddlers in the Olympics
3.    The Sandlot is probably one of the best movies ever made.

09.15.08 Regarding Shaq

As I’m sure most of you have heard Shaquille O’Neal set his retirement deadline for when his current contract with the Phoenix Suns is up in two years. I personally believe that it might have been a good idea for Shaq to retire a few years ago, but you can’t blame the guy. He would’ve been leaving a big deal of money on the table. Who cares about a legacy when money’s involved?

The facts about Shaquille O’Neal’s career are pretty clear. He was one of the most physically gifted players of all time, with an ability to overwhelm his opponents with his size and strength. There’s no question that Shaq was one of the all-time great creators of mismatches. Though, along with his gift, came an arrogance that few could ever match. Throughout Shaq’s career he’s shown a great interest in being highly regarded as a player, but what it takes to maintain that regard was something he didn’t think applied to him.

When Shaq entered the league after being drafted by the Orlando Magic I think many people thought he had the opportunity to be the most dominant player ever. There had never been a player with so much size and power, but who also had the speed and basketball IQ to match. After two seasons in the NBA Shaq had carried the Magic to the NBA Finals, passing Michael Jordan and the Bulls along the way.

We all obviously know that Shaq jumped ship from Orlando to go play for the Lakers in Los Angeles. It was Shaq’s years with the Lakers that he will undoubtedly be most remembered for. Shaq did it all in Los Angeles. He won an MVP trophy, three championships and had a drama filled feud with Kobe Bryant that would make daytime soap operas jealous. In his prime, Shaq wasn’t only a winner, but he was also a star. Some would argue that being a star might be better than being a winner. Either way, Shaq was both.

It was his level of stardom that made him a very expensive talent to have on a team’s roster. In 2004, after the Lakers got spanked by the Pistons in five games, Shaq’s fate came down to the biggest decision Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak will probably ever make. I think everyone had seen that Shaq’s best days were behind him, but he was still the best center in the NBA at the time.

The choice to trade Shaq to Miami will always be a controversial decision. There’s two ways to look at it. One, the Lakers made a big mistake in that Shaq gave Miami two highly competitive years, one ending in a championship. Two, the Lakers saved themselves some money and were able to plan for a future that seems to paying off now. I tend to think it was a good idea not to pay Shaq the kind of money that he was asking, but I also think that the Lakers are just plain lucky with how things have turned out.

Shaquille O’Neal is never going to go down in history as he would’ve liked to. He never stayed in shape and he’s paying the price of those sins now. Like Hakeem and Ewing before him, Shaq has learned the pain of staying in the game too long. We tend to remember the best days of Hakeem and Ewing, and maybe that will be how we remember Shaq after he’s retired. I can’t predict the future. I do know that, right now, it seems like a million years since Shaq was one of the best players in the league. In a little over 700 days Shaq’s story as an NBA player will have come to a close. It may be a little past due, but I’m not looking forward to writing about it.

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