Saturday, 25 June 2011
Showtime by way of Byron.
By Tim David Harvey.
Eighties babies let's take it back. Back to when Gordon Gekko ruled Wall Street and Will Smith was the freshest prince in Bel-Air. Back when the only big three belonged to the high and rising, De La Soul hit 'The Magic Number'. Back when the tricks of Earvin Johnson's trade redefined basketball and gave it a new, world-wider audience. Back when Showtime was Hollywood's main attraction, started by Magic and ended by Los Angeles Laker legend Byron Scott.
Recently Byron Scott was loosely linked with the Lakers head coaching job vacated by legend Phil Jackson and now taken up by former Cleveland Cavalier leader Mike Brown. Cleveland's Scott's team nowadays and as head coach he hopes to blend this years top draft pick Kyle Erving and Los Angeles, local legend Baron Davis into a winner. Now he may not be running things for the Lake Show but he'll always remain Laker family through and through. From the above the rim, high-top fade playing days, to whenever his crouched-down to the hardwood coaching visits STAPLES. Whether wowing Jack Nicholson with his dunks, or sharing laughs with him courtside, this great Scott will always be painted with purple and gold. A brush above the rest, when Byron's fast-paced energy game helped put the 'show' in Showtime he soon filled the sneakers of the departed, nice Norm Nixon, despite some unwelcome, early difficulty.
In the end, it didn't take too long for this incredible Inglewood native to feel right at home in the fabulous Forum, not far from where he grew up. This local hero became a California king during his Los Angeles times. From Morningside High to Arizona Stare college Scott was always moulded to be great. The 6 foot 3 Shooting Guard, selected 4th overall was never meant for the Clippers, or their former home of San Diego. So as Byron changed hands and draft caps from the Clippers to the Lakers he embarked on a dominant decade with L.A's first team before closing out his career in Indiana, Canada and Greece. On his way to starting a successful ten-year plus career on the bench with those New Jersey and Orleans cities and now the Cavs out in Cleveland.
His career amounted to more then just his impressive numbers of 14.1 points, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steal per game. How's three gold championship rings for your inspiration? Now Byron who hit middle-age this year may not make the NBA's top 50 list, but he'd sure round out the first century list of all-time players. Keeping it 100, Scott gave his utmost percentage every game. His energy plays and showmanship helped make Los Angeles basketball the most entertaining brand. No wonder every Hollywood star from Nicholson to movie stuntmen knew what the real show in town was. Going on and on, Scott's dynamo play was the perfect picture for L.A. Just think of Shannon Brown today. Behind the stars, but the most screen-worthy with his highlight plays.
From the dunks to the dimes and the big smiles to the laughs, Byron formed the perfect perimeter and formidable friendship trio with Magic and defensive specialist Michael Cooper. Coop's blocks would give L.A. possession and then Magic would start the Showtime fast break that Scott usually finished...strong. His Dr. J impression being just as good as his Eddie Murphy or Richard Pryor one. Simply put Byron was one of the most refreshing players the league had seen and this underrated legend was also one of it's first most entertaining and exciting, no joke. After Julius, but before Blake, Vince, Kobe or even Michael. Byron made the dunk and energy plays his own, warming up his team before microwaves really hit the market and from Vinnie Johnson and his 'Bad Boy' Pistons to the Larry Bird led Boston Celtics, the friendly Scottie had the power to face all of his foes.
It was criminal that Byron was never selected to an All-Star team, because even on the greatest Laker team of all-time, this cult favourite shone next to all the stars. Sure the Lakers had Magic, Coop the wonderful James Worthy and the all-leading scorer and legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but Scott was a big part of the development of the Showtime's dynasty too. The 1980's Lakers would have been nothing without Magic's passes, Cooper's 'D', Worthy's 'Big Game' or cap's Sky-Hook to match, but they'd wouldn't have been much without Scott's play showing up on time either. Byron even returned to L.A. as a veteran in the 1996-97 season, backing up and mentoring Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and the other Laker role legends like any great team-mate would.
Today Byron has gone from one of the association's most underrated players to one of it's leading coaches. From reaching the Finals twice with Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets (to only be beaten by his old-friend Lakers once), to putting the buzz in the Hornets in New Orleans and Oklahoma. Last year Byron received the hardest coaching job in history, taking on the LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers and he was also a front-runner for this years hardest job, almost taking his talents back to Los Angeles to calm down the Lakers loss of Zen. Still, however the man Byron Scott succeeded in Cleveland now has STAPLES marked on his envelopes. Mike Brown is the right man for the Lakers new coaching gig and as Scott looks to take the Cavs from the basement to the spotlights he's used to, one way or another this L.A. legend will always be linked with the Lakers.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Three hands the Lakers shouldn't be so quick to deal.
By Tim David Harvey
Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Andre Igudola. These are all incredible talents and players that could take the Lake Show in a new direction but still with all the trade talk, rumour and speculation the Laker players linked with a move seem to be too good to lose. Despite some problems this year the Lakers frontcourt tandem of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom remain some of the best, most gifted players the league has to offer. So why are Los Angeles so eager to pack their bags and send them on their way to LAX, hitting the road like Ray Charles or fouled out Jack's at STAPLES? Sure the loss to this years champion Dallas revealed some difficulties but putting these players on the block, even two at a time for potential new players (no matter how good they are) just doesn't seem right. The punishment doesn't fit the crime. Lets investigate why.
EXHIBIT A: PAU GASOL
The player that the Lakers fans seem most eager to get rid of is the one guy that took the Lakers from the basement to the high-rises of back-to-back championships. Now you don't have to be called Alanis to know that that's ironic. Pau Gasol is arguably the most important Laker of the last five years. Don't you think? Sure this years Pau's play in the Western semi's was not on full but he was riddled with personal trouble. Now I know that these matters should be left at the door with basketball, as he should have been leaving it all on the floor but still sometimes things are too much and get the better of even the strongest minds.
That's a key word right there, 'strong'. Pau's other 'problem' is that he's been labelled 'soft' for years. The matter of this fiction however is that just because he's European and skilled doesn't make him less able to bang inside with the leagues best bigs. SLAM magazine said it best in a feature titled 'Soft As A Rock'. After his first Laker year loss to Boston Pau toughened up to the level of guys like Kevin Garnett and he can more then hold his own against hulking Adonis' like Dwight Howard...just not in the trade market it seems.
It's also Gasol's serious skill-set that helps him gas up the Lakers offence. Back in the day Shaq was renowned for his perfect passing (probably because it seemed unusual coming from such a big), but Pau's precision is taken at read and even ignored. Plus from Olive Oil armed post-moves (those biceps have some Popeye spinach) to fancy footwork and a never back-down, post-championship attitude this guy has it all. Plus from strong dunks, stares and screams to a nice shot, Pau's unpredictable game is what gives the Lakers offence it's most potency and power. How could you even trade the guy that helped the Lakers almost three-peat? Without him forget about starting a new one.
EXHIBIT B: LAMAR ODOM
The Lakers most dynamic and versatile all-round player was also L.A.'s most consistent performer in last years up and down season...and the Lakers want to trade him? This is the NBA's current 'Sixth Man Of The Year'. A player so good he should start, a player so good he can cover all positions, lead and/or follow...and Minnesota have apparently rejected a package deal with him as part? They can count on another early vacation next season.
Still it's key that the Lakers keep their love for Lamar and not Kevin. For example looking at another special K, the Lakers once went after Kevin Garnett only to be beaten by Boston. Now who would you rather have today K.G. or L.O.? See right now the reality is that there is no one in the league quite like Mr. Kardashian. Sure he's not a top scorer, (he's not even close on his own team) but he can put up big numbers all over the board, at any position, pick your poison. Just imagine if more plays where ran for him on the white board.
Sure his selfless attitude is his gift and his curse. He may be even more of a Hollywood star these days if he swore by being all-for-self, but it's his giving, team-first nature that have helped the Lakers receive a one-of-a-kind player. Sure he's not the best player his city or league has to offer, but so what, that's not up for debate here. Besides he's probably the most skilled Laker since Magic. From the D, to the showtime break, the passes to the finishes, this is no trick. Just ask Pat Riley. Now if the Lakers want to stay all-round. They got to keep their all-time guy. Not only should this guy (finally) be an All-Star next year. He should be a Laker too.
EXHIBIT C: ANDREW BYNUM
The way Andrew Bynum tore off his jersey following the Lakers sweep out the playoffs this year you'd be forgiven if you thought that maybe he didn't want to be a Laker anymore. Still this young big and his team would do good by each other to find the kid a new jersey that still reads 'Lakers'. Sure Bynum is prone to going down on one knee, but his incredible talent has been groomed for years and is now in a perfect matrimony of the numbers 20 and 10. So let's not make this guy an outcast via a Hollywood divorce.
'Drew is not just one of the West's best, he's one of the leagues greatest centre's, even if Yao and Oden are healthy. He's also one of the association's last 'true' centres. He eased Los Angeles' 'Shaqless' pain and now as the former strongest position in basketball is dying off. The Lakers shouldn't kill the purple and gold reign of one of this generations best breeds. Even Kobe knows the Lakers shouldn't ship Bynum out.
Not when a healthy Andrew can help them set sail and get back on the right championship course. Right now Andrew's still a young gun and for a couple of seasons and a few more now he's been sunk by injury, but still when he's returned he's really shown he's back in more ways then one. The numbers just add up. Now imagine if he could play a full season healthy, because it's coming. Without 'Drew sometimes the Lakers are overdrawn, having to be in debt to Gasol playing centre, but with him their more then out the red. They've even overcome the green of Boston for the championship gold with Bynum's inside knowledge. Bynum puts the colour back into the purples reign. Without him this contender may see even darker days.
I know they say if it's broke don't fix it, but in this case the Lakers repair should come from within and without a wrecking ball, even if the experts think a demolition is in order. Although their frontcourt trio had their troubles that led to the Lakers falling apart, they still shouldn't be considered 'damaged goods'. These iron men shouldn't even be considered dented tins as they really have made their mark on this franchise in the form of engravings with previous championship engagements. Without these guys the Lakers probably wouldn't be where they are now and even though it's not the best place, it's one not far removed from Larry O'Brien territory.
Sometimes change isn't the best thing. Sometimes it's better if things stay the same. It's better to re-group, re-tool and most importantly get together. Pau, Lamar and Andrew are the parts that will help the Lakers do this. This frontcourt tandem is formidable, consistent and proven and before all that they work hard and never give up, quietly going about their business. As everyone else continues to talk trash, these guys games speak louder volumes. Check the books, before the Lakers put them on the block they should think of the 'chips they've brought. These championship certified veterans need fresh legs in the form of rest and not new sneaker fillers. This Laker dynasty is not dead yet.
Friday, 17 June 2011
Dirk's done it.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Back in the day, somewhere in Germany, players are being selected for a pick-up game about to take place.
It's the present day in America and the Dallas Mavericks are down two as Jason Kidd has possession, looking to make a play.
Back in Germany players are being picked left right and centre, except one shaggy-haired kid sitting in the back with his hand up begging to be acknowledged.
Meanwhile with Dallas at the brink, Jason Kidd has his namesake surnamed Terry to his left and an opening for himself, but the right choice is a seven-foot, surfer-haired blonde bomber with his hand up.
Now the pick-up selections wrap up as the shaggy-haired kid is picked last and only out of necessity. Everyone pays no mind and then he stands up.
Back in Dallas Jason Kidd kicks the ball out to the perimeter. Now it's win or go home. The ball lands in the hands of the same shaggy haired kid. All his opponent who ignored him can do is clutch at his man's number 41 and sigh as the kid rises, pops and hits as his opponent falls. A bucket and a Marv Albert 'yes' later and Dallas wins, thanks to their pick-up that no one else would take; Dirk Nowitzki.
Forget about it, the jokes that is because Nowitzki now has the last laugh on these 'fugazi' critics and the punch-line reads; 'Champion'. Dirk dethroned the purple reign with his Maverick men and down-sized the big-three with his own huge 3-ball, pop, drop and rolled. Yes sir he's no bust, the buzz is back. Forget those 'irks', 2006 demons or 2007 failures because Nowitzki has defended, exorcised and succeeded them all.
Move aside Kobe, there's a new champion MVP. Sorry Timmy but as far as Texas goes, there's a new sheriff in town. LeBron's decision will have to be determined next year because right now the biggest free-agent decision of 2010 was Dirk staying in Dallas and re-upping for the win. Still, nobody pays attention when everything stays the same, but they should. Consistency is key. It's all part of the plan.
You can forget about those 'irk's' or 'NoRingski' jokes, they have been answered. Now Dirk has something Iverson and LeBron don't...a ring. This championship makes Dirk Nowitzki more of a modern-day great then he already is. Shades of Larry Bird, (but with his own legend) a look of Bill Walton, the never-say-die, hard-working dominance of any top player, Bill Russell to M.J. With all this fire inside, Nowitzki is still his own man and player that changed the tone and temperature of the league. Like a Phoenix, Dirk rose from the ashes of best-buddy Steve Nash's departure to the Suns and the flames from the break-up of his own big-three (we see you Michael Finley). Coupled with critical doubt and playoff losses that would make even Tracy McGrady cry, Nowitzki soared above to help the Mavs fly.
The Miami Heat where great competitors but still Dirk cooled everyone in South Beach down. Sure he didn't do it on his own but nobody can these days, just ask LeBron. In beating all the kings men Dirk needed the grown-up, veteran play of Jason Kidd, the matrix of Shawn Marion, the bing of Tyson Chandler and the ping of microwave men and 'partners in pine' Jason Terry and Jose Barea. Still just like his coach Rick Carlisle, Dirk led his band of brothers into battle waving the Maverick flag as proud as a mascot. All of Dallas' squad played like Mavericks but it was their horsemen from Europe that led the charge. The German gunner hit so many big shots like his first name was Bob or his jersey read 'Horry'. Still Nowitzki, the Finals Most Valuable Player also channelled Michael Jordan and played through the pain of flu and shot down Miami cold. Now that's one hell of a recovery. Just like Eminem, Dirk was not afraid and on fire making the game his own.
Dirk Nowitzki is the best international player in the game right now and may be the best European player since Drazen Petrovic (rest peacefully), if not all-time. He's certainly one of the most iconic and ground-breaking. Truly changing the game with substance over style and jump shots over high socks. Dirk removed the 'strong-shot, but weak-game' stigma of European players and the one unfairly put on him in his early years. Nowitzki redefined the seven footer and even the basketball player, proving that you can still have an outside game above 6'11 without having to be forced into the centre position. Sprawling around the court with his lanky frame and 'Scooby Doo best-friend' hair Dirk certainly stands out and the way he throws up three's looks like garbage but it's all good as Dirk's shot is sick. Or should I say pure, the best in the league not hoisted by Ray and the best since Bird and Reggie Miller clutched on to wins and opponents hearts.
Dirk may be synonymous with the three but he can still narrow his range and play inside with the other big boys too. He's so versatile he can play both forward positions like a natural and even go front and centre, God and injuries forbid. He's simply that great, owning the frontcourt and front-line, come rain or shine, buzz-cut or 60's hippie-do. He can also rebound with the best of them, even when his lithe frame is put up next to the hulking structure of Dwight Howard. Dirk's also put the 'D' in his game and back in his name with great play on both ends of the floor. In the prime of his early 30's Nowitzki has really become the best-all round player he can be, but there's still more to come.
Some didn't believe but now they have no choice but to. Thank the basketball God's for Holger Geschwindner. One of the best today and of all-time right now is the leader of the pack and the new school of this generations basketball player (a generation he helped define). The seven time 'European Player Of The Year' (wonder if he'll get an eighth?) is now the world's greatest. The statistics for his career speak for themselves. 23 points, 8.4 points and 2.7 assists is more then just an average. Still there's only one record you have to read next to his name; NBA Champion. That's Dirk, a winner.
Monday, 13 June 2011
'Dear Dirk', you and Dallas are out 2011 NBA Champion. 'Congrats Mavs'. Your not just the top trends on Twitter, your also starting a new one in this league. Fashioning victory from the basic fabrics of a good all round team game. Now that's the way things should be. Now that's Basketball. It was a tightly crammed 6 games between the East and West's best teams in the NBA but I guess in the end Dallas studied harder for the Finals. Not that Miami's incredible team didn't work hard and play well together but in the end those Mavericks cooled down the Heat in their 'White Hot' American Airlines Arena. Finally exorcising their 2006 demons, the Mavericks avenged that years Finals loss to Wade and the Heat by flipping the script and writing them off, beating them five years later. "I really still can't believe it," the MVP of the Finals; Dirk Nowitzki told press as his 21 points helped his Texan team triumph. Jason Terry had a huge 27 points along with Dirk as the only surviving Maverick from the '06 heartbreak. "We got vindication," Terry remarked proving that revenge is a dish to him on the perimeter, best served with his hot, off the bench, microwave streak shooting. Following their respective performances, Dirk goes down as one of the NBA's best all-time players, now becoming a winner, while Jason will go down in history as a Playoff legend, a-la-Derek Fisher.
This meeting with the NBA's good Ol' friend Larry (O'Brien not Bird, (but Dirk's certainly familiar to the latter also)) marks and inscribes the first-time Dallas have had their names etched on an NBA Championship trophy. It also rings the first championship band for valuable veteran and star-player Jason Kidd, who has been so near but so far before and now has no intentions of retiring his big, amazing, 38 year old contributions. Miami however, have had a magnificent year as the boss of Florida-like Rick Ross-despite critical comments and falling short on their championship promise. In their last stand, LeBron James had 21 points, while Bosh had 19, Mario Chalmers 18 and D-Wade tallied 17 for the winding down East champs and Finals runner up. After his Cleveland chance in 2007, this Finals also registers the second time LeBron James reached the promised land only to break, but still there is no need to worry. Dirk and Dallas have been here before on the losing end, they know all too well what it's like. It just takes time and patience to grow a champion. This is only this new Heat teams first year of conception and they've already become a contender. As Lil' Wayne once said, "don't worry LeBron, get em' next year". This saying from Weezy's 2009 song about Kobe Bryant really has meaning now. Still despite Miami's best efforts it was the Mavericks who really "earned" this one as Heat coach Erik Spoelstra can attest. "We worked so hard and so long for it," Nowitzki added making it clear that he had a whole team full of MVP's, from Chandler to Barea.
The Maverick, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle also called his band of brothers "a true team", adding "This is an old bunch. We don't run fast or jump high. These guys had each other's backs. We played the right way. We trusted the pass. This is a phenomenal thing for the city of Dallas." Now this terrific, Texan town won't just be celebrated for Football. As this basketball team has really tipped their way to the top of this association ever since Mark Cuban came in and took the stetson off the team logo. Now the devout Maverick fan and outrageously dedicated owner can never be doubted for his heart and dedication to the team he supports and owns with everything he has. "I could care less about the Heat," Cuban told press ready to light up his own victory cigar. This year marked an incredible year for NBA Basketball with an incredible bunch of evenly matched teams. From last years champion Los Angeles Lakers to the regular season leading San Antonio Spurs. This was all capped off by a blood, for blood, bucket, for bucket, back-and-forth, evenly matched Finals. If some things went the other way it could have very well have been a Miami hot -streak, leading to a big-three championship parade, but alas as LeBron lamented, "right now isn't the time." Even Dallas coach Rick Carlisle knows how close it was and how competitive his competition was stating; "Their time will come." Still everyone knows that as Carlisle continued; "But now, it's our time". Dallas have set the clock and moved the hands of basketball time to their present direction. You know what time it is. Time to say congratulations to the champs. Well done 'Big D'. Dirk and Dallas have done it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 10 June 2011
A coach who has found his soul.
By Tim David Harvey.
"Basketball, unlike football with its prescribed routes, is an improvisational game, similar to jazz. If someone drops a note, someone else must step into the vacuum and drive the beat that sustains the team." PHIL JACKSON, 'The Last Season'.
This is it, no album, no movie. The greatest figure in the game during the 90's not named M.J. has hung up his smart shoes and dry erase board. No more smells of incense in the locker room, no more meditation at half-time. Next season in locker-rooms everywhere in the NBA, from the STAPLES centre to the staples of other teams, a calm will have left the building. We aren't talking about the lockout, but the retirement of the greatest coach in NBA history after the cigar smoke had cleared out gardens and arenas in the United States. Phil Jackson in a chilled out press conference said farewell to 'The Last Season'. Autobiography or no autobiography, it was written.
Here's hoping you appreciated him while he was in sync because the truth remains he's gone. There was no honour rolls throughout the league, there wasn't even one in Chicago. There will be no Jerry West press conferences either, despite the mid-season jokes. This enigmatic man who loves the game, but doesn't suffer fools wasn't one for the hoopla surrounding hoops. He sure appreciated his time more then any of us probably will ever know, but believe it or not he has slowly and calmly gone on his way. He already had his Jordan moment, coming out of retirement. He's not going to do it again, he knows better and we all better believe it and put it to rest even if it was for the Lakers and league best if he returned (no offence Mike Brown). Besides do you want to be the one to disturb this man while he's in the middle of nowhere, finding peace love and understanding?
So let's celebrate and look back now as Jax looks forward to no press conferences and basketball politics as usual. The Zen is what has given the association it's spirit for the last two decades. From the eccentric to the sarcastic, the candour to the calm. He's the master who has taught two of the greatest students of all-time. Turned the "uncoachable" into the untouchable. Taking care of Chicago like Elliott Ness, guarding L.A's Hollywood stars like Kevin Costner. Blowing his way through the wind with a longevity like Dylan, walking his own way to fame.
Jackson has had a lot of different shapes to deal with in his time and he's turned them all into a beautiful triangle, whether you understand or not. From M.J. to Kobe, Scottie to Lamar, Rodman to Artest, Kukoc to Gasol, Kerr to Fisher and...erm, Longley to Shaq. No matter the talent Phil has made sure each man brought the best out of himself, whatever the frustration. Now that and the Zen calm is what made P.J. the best coach ever, day or night. Besides Phil saw Red and raised him a championship. Now that's a 10 out of 10 career.
Kobe may have promised one more championship to show his appreciation and send his coach out the right way but the Lakers broke. Still, these two guys have had an incredible journey together, with all the peaks, valleys, vestibules and alleys that you'd expect...and then some. When we all thought Phil was done-in more ways then one in 2006- it wasn't hinted at, it was stated in his best-selling, all-telling book ('The Last Season: A Team In Search Of A Soul') that his relationship with Bryant was in a state of disrepair. You would never believe in a million years that back then in just a couple of 365's these two would repair, lick their wounds, heal and at the start of this year be on the verge of a possible second three-peat and Jax's fourth overall. Sure it wasn't to be, but one thing was clear to see; Phil and Kobe's redemption was. It was all good in the end.
Whatever went on between them since the death of a dynasty has rocked every critics argument that both men and their teams had seen their best days. Whatever was said will remain between Kobe, Phil and the bait when they go fly-fishing together and reminisce down the line in years time. Still whatever was done renders his last book forgotten and somewhat obsolete (it's still a great read though). 2010 to 2011 was the 'real' last season and by changing his mind and Kobe as a player, Phil successfully re-wrote his own and his basketball second sons history. They really got it together. Thank God for the dream of Jeanie.
Jackson has proved that you can catch lightening in a bottle twice, and almost did it three times over. Decades after Kob' unlaces them one last time, the debate will rage over who was better; him or Mike. Still no one will quite know both men and have quite the qualified gospel to speak on them like Phil Jackson. He truly brought the best out of them and helped them both become the icons they are. Now that's influence, now that's inspirational. Jordan was trying to dig his way out the East with Coach Collins but he didn't win anything until he was 'Dougless'. No offence to Doug Collins, but Jackson truly understood Jordan and together they made history, season after season, after championship, after championship. You know the rest.
No man has ever been synonymous with two teams, but still regarded in his own legend like Phil Jackson. A legend on two coaches and a great role player in his on-court days for New York, Phil's always been reliable. They say the worst players make the best coaches but Coach Jackson is no average man, he's played his role to a tee as Basketballs true iron man in stark contrasts. Speaking of reliable, it looked like Jackson was moulding a successor in the form of assistant and former three-peat champion role-player Brian Shaw. Normally an inexperienced coach would raise doubts but not when he comes with the tutoring and endorsement of a sheer legend of strategy. Even though the Lakers contender reigns have been given to the greatest young coach in the game; Mike Brown, Brian Shaw and his teachings from the Zen would make a great coach there or anywhere.
Still there is no doubt there is commiseration aplenty because between the Windy City and the Californian sun, the calm and the storm, the red, purple and championship gold, the Eastern philosophy and promise and the triangle and the shape of things to come, there is, hasn't been and won't be anyone quite like Phil Jackson. Just like Shaquille O'Neal it's hard to say goodbye to such a unique and original legend-but just like the daddy in Los Angeles and all over the league-the father of coaching's legacy is set in stone and that's greater then one more 'chip. Phil Jackson may have not met Larry O'Brien this year, but he'll meet Red in the halls as a true champion.
"Since the early 1960's, I've played or coached in more than two thousand games, and I can say safely there is nothing I've experienced outside of basketball that can match its intensity, its highs and lows, its feeling of fulfilment or failure. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without it." PHIL JACKSON, 'The Last Season'.
Those in South Beach working on printing T-shirts and putting balloons in the Florida American Airlines Arena better stop what they're doing. The Heat are heading back to Miami on the brink of elimination and not on the cusp of a championship as everyone wearing white, except the Dallas Mavericks thought. Winning 112-103 the Dallas Mavs and their deafening arena silenced everyone wearing Miami colours, painting the series with numbers of 3 games to 2. If Game 4 was pivotal, then Game 5 was crucial as it was Dallas who took the lead and control of the series for the first time in the Finals. That very fact could very well be a determining, defining factor in this series. Sure this series is going back to Miami for the final game(s), but the Mavericks have a two game cushion to win the championship and haven't taken advantage of comfort before (see Lakers; Los Angeles). The Mavericks have also shown that home-court advantage isn't much of a factor as they look to finish and cool off the Heat in South Beach.
We said that the Heat's chance was to keep it under 5 games but if this series went to 7 then nobody could close out Dallas. This is because these Maverick's have the play through anything (it aint 'Noringski' it's 'NoQuitzki'), one-of-the-best-to-ever-do-it (championship or not, it's time we all recognised) Dirk Nowitzki and his Game 5 29 points. It's also because Miami don't have 'Mr 4th Quarter', Jason Terry who welcomed Miami to a rain storm in buckets to finish off the game. His 21 points, to go along with his 'partner in pine', super-sub Jose Barea's 17 points showed Miami that the Mavs microwaves had the real heat. With Dallas shooting the three-point lights out they showed that if they shoot like this nobody can beat them, in any period.
It gets worse for Miami as the story coming out of Dallas is not 'who shot J.R.'? But who took LeBron'? His form has been up and down and in and out of the line-up as much as Dwyane Wade who has injured his hip after colliding with Brian Cardinal. Still mark these words and any coming out of Miami. LeBron, Dwyane and the Heat are far from done and this series is far from over. "There's really nothing to celebrate," Dirk told press. Jason Terry and the Mavs shouldn't pop the 'Dallas' on their jersey's yet. An 'American Airlines' jet plane is going to take them to Miami, where it's the Heats court. Standby. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Most people want to be M.J. This guy wants to 'beat M.J.'!
By Tim David Harvey
Take a trip down memory lane to your wildest childhood imaginations for a second. It's your court. Your dribbling the ball like you never have before, your crossing your opponent up; shaking left, baking right. You spin round your man, your so confident that your tongues out, and for some reason your heads bald too (and you haven't even hit 30 yet). The reason being, your Michael Jordan, this is your fantasy right? You fake right, break left and clutch, the perfect drive; mirror, signal, manoeuvre. You pull up for the shot, counting down from three in your head and fade. It looks more then good, you pull the tongue in and smile...but then... SWAT!
What!? Wait a minute, a block? This isn't supposed to happen right? Well,
When most people dream of being 'Like Mike' some men dream of beating Mike like the Fresh Prince and Tyson in the late eighties. These men appear to be Kobe Bryant and Kenny Eller. Who I hear you say? He's a shooting guard who's won a few games for the Lakers. Kenny Eller on the other hand is a sports writer and hoops aficionado who has wrote a letter to the greatest challenging him to a game and he won't stop until he has his marked man in the cross overs. That's competitiveness right there, Mike's bound to recognise and if that's not enough then there's always his incredible, developing website www.mevsMJ.com and blog, which are garnering more attention by the game he's having with up and coming stars, coupled with sessions with serious coaches to prepare. With poetry giving justice to his passion and co-signs from other heirs like Grant Hill this is one hell of an interesting basketball story that's still being wrote from the prose to the pro's. Kenny better keep hitting the gym because this 34 year old social networking genius may just be about to realise dreams are real. This Central Florida native will have to look for some of that Orlando Magic because you never know the G.O.A.T. may just do what Eller and everyone wants and lace 'em up. With this possibility it's time 24/48/82 got in touch with the man himself. Kenny Eller take it away.
24/48/82: JORDAN?! Wouldn't it have been easier challenging Sam Bowie?
Haha, I suppose so. This isn’t a journey about ease though. It’s a journey to play my childhood hero and the greatest basketball player to ever live. It’s a journey to show that anything truly is possible with faith and hard work.
24/48/82: Most people dream of being Mike. You’re taking it a step further. You ready?
I don’t know that anyone has ever truly been ready for Michael Jordan. Having said that, I am taking this very seriously.
24/48/82: So what do your think your chances are of playing the man himself?
I KNOW it will happen. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of WHEN. I truly believe that.
24/48/82: You have seen that episode of 'My Wife & Kids' where Damon Wayans challenges him right?
No, I actually haven’t! I’ll have to check it out! Maybe I can pick up some pointers!
24/48/82: Ha, ha! I wouldn't look at him for pointers. Let's just say he got swept! So what do you have in store for the greatness?
Just being the best that I can be. I know I’m not the worthiest opponent from a skill and athletic standpoint, but there won’t be another person on this blue and green marble that will put more effort forth than when we play. I’ve been to professional basketball training, have shot with the greatest shooter in the world, played with some very high level competition and even talked with a couple of NBAers. This isn’t a joke. I’m going all out.
24/48/82: You've got to switch hands, and stick your tongue out if you break to the basket right?
Haha, I don’t know about that!
24/48/82: And shrug your shoulders at him back down the court?
If I got hot, I’d let sleeping dogs lie!
24/48/82: Tell us more about your brilliant website www.mevsMJ.com and all the ways you've being raising awareness of the campaign for your challenge?
Well, I began mevsMJ.com in August 2010. The original goal was to prepare myself for Michael Jordan Senior Flight School, which is held in August each year in Las Vegas, Nevada. For years I’ve dreamed about going to the camp and playing hoops with and against MJ (Have to be 34 or older to attend). So right as Senior Flight School came to a close this year I launched mevsMJ.com. I began with four goals: Get in the best shape of my life, be the best basketball player that I can be, enjoy every second of the journey and attend Michael Jordan Senior Flight School. In December 2010 I found out that he canceled the camp this year. After pulling myself together, I decided to change my goal from attending the camp to getting a game of 1-on-1 versus MJ to 15 points! As far as raising awareness I haven’t done a lot really. I’ve just been posting twice a week to my blog since August, detailing the training, people I’ve played, set backs, and amazing blessings! I’m a little over nine months in thus far and it has been a blast!
24/48/82: Who have you played in preparation and how have you faired?
The most notable people I’ve played thus far have been 7’3” Akeme Smart, #79 ranked high school player in the country according to ESPN and Virginia Tech signee Robert Brown, and Jamaican National team starting shooting guard and NBDL draftee Garfield Blair (video of each match-up is on my site mevsMJ.com). Honestly, I’m getting my butt kicked! I really didn’t know people could be that good at basketball, so that has been quite the eye opener! The journey really is where the value is found though. The tricks and skills I’m picking up from playing them has really transitioned well when I incorporate it back into games with “regular” people. It’s been awesome!
24/48/82: What have the coaches and professionals advised you?
From Matt Hiller (Impact Basketball), to Dave Hopla (World’s Greatest Shooter), to Kevin Sutton (Asst Coach at George Washington), to Nick Anderson (former player for the NBA’s Orlando Magic), to Grant Hill (Phoenix Suns) they have all be extremely supportive of what I’m looking to accomplish. I think most everyone can identify with going after a dream.
24/48/82: What's your favourite moment from Michael?
I have so many MJ moments going through my head, but I’ll never forget the first time I saw him play in person. The attention to detail, the competitiveness, and the passion that he displayed even in pre-game warm-ups blew me away. He showed me before the game even began why he was the best!
24/48/82: 'If' he beats you are you going to challenge him to a game of 'Monopoly'? You may last a little longer in that. Hear it's not his forte.
No way! I’ll tighten up my Jordans and ask him to play again!
24/48/82: Seriously though we are right behind you and wish you the best, it's an incredible thing and your going to do it. After Mike who's got next? Kobe?
Thank you! I really appreciate it! As far as Kobe goes, If Kobe wants a piece of me, sure! Haha, no seriously though, to me there is no one after Michael Jeffrey Jordan. He stands alone.
Game 4 is always a pivotal game in a Finals or Playoff series, whether the games are heading towards a clean sweep or standing at 2-1. A 2-1 lead or trail leads to a crucial fourth game. Now NBA Finals favourites Miami Heat led the Dallas Mavericks two games to one with hopes to keep this series under five games like the rest of their playoffs record. Win and they would have Dallas by the Mavericks and an elimination Game 5. Still Dirk and his boys had other ideas, as they made the tie and this thing a series with a 86-83 win spurred by a 29-1 run in the fourth quarter led by an ailing but never failing Nowitzki who had 10 of his 21 to close out the game and the Heat. "Just battle it out,'' was Dirk's game-plan as he was coming down with injury and flu. "This is the finals. You have to go out there and compete and try your best for your team. So that's what I did," and boy did he, laying up in the clutch and laying down Miami with it all laid out on the floor. Everyone marvelled at Dirk's own 'flu game' (even though it still wasn't as cold as Jordan's). "The average person, you know, has sick days and battling 100-something, it's just tough to get out of bed,'' Tyson Chandler remarked with astonishment. "This guy is playing against the best athletes in the world.''
One of the best athletes in the world was having an unhealthy night however as Miami's LeBron James only managed 8 points, a playoff low that ended a run of 433 consecutive games in double figures. Now that's a lot of regular seasons and deep playoff runs. Despite having 9 rebounds and 7 assists James was his harshest critic giving the press and himself these choice words; "I've got to do a better job of being more assertive offensively.'' Still Wade had 32 and Bosh 24 points. The Heat know now however that the series is wide open. "This series is a jump ball,'' coach Erik Spoelstra of the Heat theorised. "These guys live for these type of moments. It's about execution and disposition in the fourth quarter, being able to close out. We have a golden opportunity in the next game.''
The Heat better make good on their opportunity and strike gold looking for that Larry O'Brien shine as there wasn't many silver linings to take from this game. Still that doesn't mean the clouds have cleared for Dallas, both teams still look like they have the ability to reign supreme. It was a good job the Mavs got this game under their belt as no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit. Now with the series level whoever takes the next crucial game will set the tone for the end of the series, putting the other on the elimination ropes with only a game left for the championship after that. It will be huge if the Maverick's do this in Dallas as they have never lead this finals series, still the Miami Heat look to regain the tempo and control of this tight series as the final game/s will be played out in South Beach. Who will win isn't the biggest question, the main one is will this epic go the full seven games? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 6 June 2011
After two games there was nothing between them. After three only two points separated them. With the series standing at 1-1, you knew these two tied-together teams where going to suffer a bad break-up to determine which side where to take command of this series. It was Miami however who owned the other American Airlines Arena in Dallas like it was their own, with an emotional final few seconds that broke these Maverick hearts...hard. Thanks to some forward thinking from Bosh's clutch jumper to Haslem's D on Dirk, the Heat burnt Dallas, 88-86 at the buzzer to ring out a 2-1 series lead. D-Wade doubled up with 29 points and 11 rebounds calling the game a "total win" for his team. LeBron also had 17, while an Udonis pestered Nowitzki had 34 for the man-handled Maverick's who went cold to the Heat's fire in the fourth. The Heat have set the tone and temperature with a huge away win in the D that takes away Dallas' home-court advantage. To boot Miami really look to have made their stamp on the series as ever since the playoffs 2-3-2 was introduced in 1985 all the teams who have won Game 3 in the Finals have eventually won the Championship. The odds are stacked in Miami's favour.
Looks like the Heat have already got revenge for Dallas' big win in Miami. With both teams still looking evenly matched and drawing blood however, (see Chris Bosh's eye (he'll be fine by the way)) just like the Lakers/Celtics last year this is already one hell of a series. These competitive, none clear-cut series' make for some great, guessing and none dynasty-routine-formality basketball. Still Miami's Wade knows his pick and prediction for the 'chip; " I believe in this team. If anyone can do it, I believe we can.'' "Emotional game, fought back, and to fall short at the end is tough,'' lamented Dirk Nowitzki who's last second passes and shots where disrupted by a passionately screaming Haslem who is definitely, well and truly back. Miami right now are looking magnificent but still Dallas aren't looking defeated. They just need a little something extra. As Kidd said best; "We have to have somebody step up besides Dirk." This aint child's play. This is the NBA Finals. Chess not checkers. Now we anticipate the Maverick's next move. Check. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 3 June 2011
And then it was all tied. The Dallas Mavericks proved it doesn't matter which American Airlines arena they are in as they are heading back home to Dallas with an advantage in this already epic Finals series. Dirk, his bum left hand and the down-and-almost-out Dallas Mavericks rallied from 15 down to beat the Heat 95-93 in Miami. "You can just sense it in us that we weren't going to give up, we were going to be resilient,'' bench heater Jason Terry told press afterwards. "Definitely a huge comeback for us and we never gave up, and that was big,'' Dirk said following his 24 points and last 9 points of the Mavericks through his injury pain. Wade had 36 for Miami while LeBron played the Robin role last night with 20, still without the 'W' it meant little. Dallas where too big for them in the final quarter as they go forth to Texas with a clean slate.
The consistent star Shawn Marion had 20 and said it best post-game, "The game is over when the final buzzer rings.'' Maybe this comment and Mavs win was fuelled by their dislike of Wade and James early celebrations when Dwyane flashed the goose neck on a follow through after a big three. Dallas didn't like this horse-play but the King insists he and his men weren't acting like animals. "There was no celebration at all, I was excited about the fact that he hit a big shot and we went up 15.'' This fun Miami team are just having fun in this entertaining series they don't need Samuel L. Jackson's 'Coach Carter' to teach them a lesson but perhaps they need a new set of X and O's for Game 3. Sunday and Dallas awaits. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Which of big daddy’s homes will retire his jersey?
By Tim David Harvey
On Wednesday the biggest, funniest, most enjoyable, entertaining and dominant NBA player ever called it a one-of-a-kind career. It is a sad day in the NBA now one of the associations most unique and charismatic players ever has said his goodbye. There truly is no one like Shaquille O’Neal. No one can question his heart, his talent or his sheer dominance of the game that he has re-defined along the way. The one question that does arise about this mans 18 year career is which team is most deserving of retiring his jersey?
Although any of his teams could claim reason to retire one of his multiple jersey numbers in the 30’s, which team is Shaq most identifiable with? Which team most represents Shaq at his very best and most defining? Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Cleveland or Boston? Let’s take a look.
ORLANDO MAGIC: (Number 32, 1992-1996): Best Season: 29.3ppg, 13.2rpg, 59.9 FG%.
Fresh out of LSU with the number one pick in the 1992 Draft (complete with smile and disbelief (“Me?”)) the most dynamic NBA player ever entered the league. From his Rookie of the Year season Shaq proved to be a legit, dominant 20 and 10 guy and this was just the tip of this very big iceberg. At certain points at his time with the Magic ‘Shaq Daddy’ was almost a 30 and 15 guy. The league had not seen dominance like this since a certain tall man named Wilt was doing his thing. From the dipper to the daddy the league was about to get fathered again.
It only became better for Orlando when O’Neal was joined by Penny Hardaway in his sophomore season. This was the first of many partnerships formed with shooting guards/small forwards that have defined Shaq’s career. With the most exciting guard/forward not named Michael Jordan and Shaq throwing bodies around in the paint the future looked as bright as the Florida weather. Sometimes in life however things take a turn for a worse, sometimes thing stop you from achieving what you want. Things like injury. Things like Hakeem Olajuwon.
Shaq may have not claimed his first championship with the Magic but his time in Orlando was great and he did obtain a Olympic Gold Medal and a platinum rap album in the process. This may have only been the beginning of better things to come but Orlando is where it all started for Shaquille. It represents arguably his most exciting time in the league. He was playing like a man possessed and the hype was immense, he was outstanding. Orlando would never garner as much interest until a young heir to the superman throne named Dwight Howard was drafted. Notice the similarities?
LOS ANGELES LAKERS: (Number 34, 1996-2004): Best Season: 29.7ppg, 13.6rpg, 57.4 FG%.
The diesel's longest, most successful and most turbulent time came with the Los Angeles Lakers. Winning three back to back rings with the most exciting guard/forward the league has seen since Michael Jordan. The Lakers could easily be anybody's clear choice for the team most likely to retire his jersey if it wasn’t for the way things where left. The Lakers represent both Shaquille in his prime and the time were O’Neal garnered the most newspaper headlines for all the right reasons… and all the wrong reasons.
When the basketball/movie/rap star moved to LA he showcased some award winning performances. Shaq won titles and MVP’s with the Lakers. This felt like home for the biggest personality in the NBA. Just like it did for Wilt and just like it did for Magic. I tell you Jack, Hollywood was watching like Nicholson.
Just as things couldn’t get any better…they didn’t. Shaq and Kobe may have been the most dominant partnership in the league, ruling the paint and the perimeter but they had a beef as high-profile as Jay-Z and Nas. When they got it together they were arguably the greatest one-two punch in NBA history but when they fell apart they contributed to the death of a dynasty.
Things are better nowadays for Shaq and Kobe. A couple of seasons back they shared MVP honours at the All-Star game and they played together like it was old times. Some Laker fans even hoped that maybe LA could bring back Shaq for one last title run. It seems that you can’t think of one of these guys without thinking about the other. Shaq may be more identifiable with Kobe then he is with the Lakers but if this franchise doesn’t retire his jersey after everything he’s done for them it’ll be an injustice.
MIAMI HEAT: (Number 32, 2004-2008): Best Season: 22.9ppg, 10.4rpg, 60.1 FG%.
Shaquille O’Neal’s first years in Miami were his redemption. Soured by the way things ended up in Los Angeles, Shaq was excited from day one down in South Beach armed with his super soaker. It was fun for the Miami Heat too. Sophomore sensation Dwyane Wade was poised to be one of the most exciting talents in the league and all he needed was a partner in crime. In came Shaquille O’Neal and there was the third partnership. The partnership between Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade was the most compatible and friendly, the pair was exactly what each other needed. When they won their championship together they were dominant. If Kobe wasn’t as talented as he is he would have probably looked like the bitter ex because this new partnership was getting all the headlines for all the right reasons.
So Shaquille’s time in Miami could have been personally his best time. He made his way out of a bad break-up and helped form an exciting and successful team. This team however did not last too long either, but it could of. There was no dynasty in Miami, key guys got injured and other significant pieces left or retired. Times were good in Miami, but they were short.
Shaq may have reached milestones in his time with Miami but in his last season injuries and fouls became the better of him. He was still a force but when he was traded to Phoenix that was it. Shaq didn’t leave things on the best note with Miami. Some words were exchanged about Pat Riley through the press (and nobody was singing anybodies praises) but that being said it was nothing like the fallout in Los Angeles. The ‘Big Aristotle’s’ time in Miami will always be looked at as a happy and successful one.
PHOENIX SUNS: (Number 32, 2008-2009): Best Season: 17.8ppg, 8.4rpg, 60.9 FG%.
OK so clearly Shaquille’s season and a bit in Phoenix wasn’t as career defining as his time in Orlando, Los Angeles or Miami but it was nothing to turn your nose up at. With an eye still intact for passing and a feel for offence Shaq was still Shaq. When O' Neal came in critics wrote him off as finished and fans were scared the fast-breaking Suns would be slowed down. Only one of these things happened but to Shaq’s credit, the Mike D’Antoni era Suns had come to an end long before ‘the Diesel’ came to re-fuel Arizona. The Suns may have been slower but they had a force in the middle with ‘The Big Cactus’ ready to prick critics.
Shaquille has always faced criticism about his weight and conditioning but during his time in Phoenix he stepped in the rejuvenating machine. O’Neal proved again that the one who would have the last word (or in his case words) would be him. Shaq was drop stepping, slam dunking and baby hooking his way through the west like he was in L.A. again. He even had a 45 and 11 night against Toronto. The Shaq of old was back and his famous one liner's had the goods to back them up.
Although in his full season with the Suns Shaq didn’t make the playoffs for the first time in his career, his time in Phoenix was clearly a success. His tenure may not go down in history or measure up to the feats he has achieved with his other teams but it still holds something special. Shaquille’s time with Phoenix showed his detractors that he could still play like an All-Star and give a half decent team a legitimate shot. Shaq proved that as a veteran he could still play like a young buck. Shaquille proved everybody wrong in the biggest way he has done in his whole career.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: (Number 33, 2009-2010): Best (Only) Season: 12.0ppg, 6.7rpg, 56.6 FG%.
After playing with Penny, Kobe and Dwyane, Superman’s next rescue mission was to ‘Win a Ring for the King’. Although he was unsuccessful in turning this motto into a declaration he still had a solid year. Solid players however don’t get their jerseys retired but then again Shaq isn’t just any other ‘solid’ player. It’s safe to say though after only logging one season as a Cavalier the number 32 will still be available for Cleveland players in the future.
If O’Neal had turned the Cleveland ‘Wine and Gold’ into champagne and championship gold then maybe Shaq’s status and jersey in LeBron’s former home would have ‘risen’. With that being said however reputation doesn’t always count for everything, especially in LeBron’s case. It’s not like Cleveland fans will be happy to plan a retirement ceremony for anybody’s jersey number at the moment anyway.
BOSTON CELTICS: (Number 36, 2010-2011): Best (Only) Season: 9.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 66.7 FG%.
At the press conference in New England Shaq looked as dapper as an old English gentleman, decked out in a suit and bow tie. The reason for his attire? He felt like he is joining an executive club...and he was. So many legends have played for the Celtics that one of the only jersey numbers available in the 30’s for O’Neal was the number 36. This jersey number probably won't join the other Celtic greats amongst the banners but still the 'bballfather' is still passed through the biggest organisation for ballplayers and big men as one of the biggest players ever. Shaquille may be a larger than life super player but his stats are smaller than his reputation, but still that doesn't matter one iota next to the one thing that should be read; 'legend'.
Maybe his time at Boston may be remembered more like Hakeem Olajuwon’s time at Toronto then Karl Malone’s time at the Lakers but that doesn't mean either guys last years where bad, they where just different. Plus even if it was in less minutes Shaquille recorded a career high field-goal percentage in a career of leading statistics in that category. Who knows if it wasn't for injuries and Nate Robinson pranks (as hilarious as they where) all Boston may have needed was a little bit of ‘Diesel’ to taste champagne again.
Still it wasn't to be. You best believe Shaq is a man of his word and would have honoured his contract and played a year if it wasn't for the irritation of injury and the irregularity it does to ones intentions. Someone must have had to literally drag the big fella away for the court...now would you want to be the one to have to do that? Still, when Shaq was on the floor for Boston he was his old, 'young' self being a big factor for the Shamrock green Celtics. Plus how fitting that Shaquille said goodbye to the game in the same year as his championship mentor Phil Jackson? This former Laker also did something most other purple and gold legends (apart from Rick Fox) in history couldn't; he extended his iconic reach and popularity to Boston.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Career Averages: 23.7ppg, 10.9rpg, 58.2 FG%.
Shaquille may not have the luxury that the John Stockton’s, Larry Bird’s and the Magic Johnson’s of the league had. Shaquille may not have had one franchise to call his home for his career but at the same time he is no journeyman. Shaquille is larger than life and greater than any one portion of his career. He has had defining moments with each of the six teams he has played for. The Magic, the Lakers and the Heat can all claim that Shaquille had his best times while with them. Plus with more career jersey numbers then Rodman requested (that's the fault of the Lakers and Celtics tradition for legendary bigs) if all the teams Shaq has played for threw him a retirement ceremony then what would be so wrong with that (maybe the state of Florida should do a dual tribute)? After all Shaquille has given the league more years on top, dominance, entertainment and laughs then anybody else has. Every one of those six teams should have been proud to have given him their jersey. From the baby hooks to the dunks and the passes to the shattering of backboard glasses. It's hard to say goodbye to someone so great but what an iconic and incredible run. From one form of entertainment he may be retired but believe me...he aint done.
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Basketball's promised land made good on it's guarantee to expect amazing last night as the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks started what looks to be a thrilling end to an incredible season. Still the series isn't over yet even though Miami took control and a one-zip lead. 24 points from the King and a 92-84 win sealed the first NBA Finals win for LeBron James. "Feels good because it's the first game and we played well as a team,'' 'Bron told press postgame,"We've got a lot of work to do. ... That's one in the books. We're excited about this game. Tomorrow we prepare for Game 2, and I see ways we can get better.'' Wade had 22 points, while Dirk Nowitzki had 27, but his Mavericks team had their lowest point output in this years playoffs on a postseason low 37%. Still Miami also looked a little weak offensively. 39 percent shooting being their second-worst number for that category in the playoffs.
After the game Dirk was upbeat with the press and his teams chances saying; "You can't get down with a loss. You've got to come back strong on Thursday. I've said it a couple times in this playoff run, if you're the road team, you're happy with a split. So we've got another opportunity on Thursday to get one. Obviously, we don't want to go home down 0-2.'' As LeBron and Wade closed the game out like a pair of superheroes, nicknames of 'Batman & Robin' began re-surfacing by word of mouth and Tweet. Wade was instrumental also flashing inspiration into his teammates before the tip with cries of, "Don't say, 'I wish I woulda.'" If the Heat continue this passion and play they'll have nothing to regret. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
It started with a smile, it ended with a Twit. The NBA's most enjoyable and entertaining players and personalities hung up the super size sneakers. Shaquille O'Neal the larger then his size and most dominant/funniest ever will truly be missed by fans, critics and players alike. From big deals and rings with the Lakers to still having what it takes with the Celtics Shaq's lasting legacy is one of profound power and natural talent. There was, is and will never be anyone like him. we thought this day would never come and he refused it but eventually injuries took their final toll. Standby for a tribute update of our 'Six Degrees Of Separation' article and let the jersey retirement debate go on. We'll miss you Big Daddy thanks for the memories and rings. TIM DAVID HARVEY.