Sunday, 14 May 2017
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Our new series feature #RoleReversal flips the switched up script and gives it up for the unsung role players of this great game. After all you don't have to be a superstar to become a champion.
Before Brooklyn the Nets were found sleeping in the Meadowland of New Jersey. That was until a Jason Kidd trade with the blazing Phoenix Suns for the freewheelin' Stephon Marbury released them from a freehold night and made them the beast of a once weak East in the new milleniuum early 2000's. As the 'bring your team back' Kidd (one of the greatest prototype points of all-time, now coaching the 6 foot 11 position and game changer, Greek freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo out in Milwaukee for the Bucks), changed the guard. Passing first to his twin wing, dunking forwards current Cavalier champion Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin/Vince Carter and even the revolving pivot of centres in Todd Maculloch and then Georgetown Hoyas in Net grey Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.
Unlike going up against a Zeke block, these red, white and blue fast neck-break Nets where unstoppable in the United State Of America's National Basketball Association. But that was until they met the brooms of the Shaq and Kobe era in the Lakerland's new dynasty of the new milleniuum lead by the Zen of Phil Jackson. Shaq treated the Nets revolving door of 7 footers and whichever fouled out, Power Forward body they could throw at him like garbage bags over your gate late at night. Whilst a young Kobe, Air apparant glided through like a comb through his afro to complete the sweep. And if that wasn't enough L.A's champion role playing big-three of Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and big shot Robert Horry dusted it all off.
But even if Hollywood's Los Angeles Lakers had Jack Nicholson shining courtside, New Jersey is the bootcut jean home of 'The Boss', Bruce Springsteen. And these blue-collar N.J. Nets had their own "star" role players in the post-Petrovic era too. And they were both 6 foot 5 Shooting Guards, subbing in for each other and weighing under a buck 90 and starring in the back to back NBA Finals of 2002 and 03 for the two-time Eastern Conference Champions. Both now in their forties their playing days don't seem like around a decade and a half ago. But either way these super-subs belong in Nets history like the good Doctor J or Jay-Z.
28th picks in the NBA Draft are usually sleepers...or at least long lasting veterans of value. Just Google it. Or check out these predictions this July. Lucious Harris was no exception to this rule of NBA family. We aint lyin' like 'Empire'. Harris was drafted out of Long Island by the Dallas Mavericks in 1993. And even though between stints with Iverson's Sixers and King James first reign in the Cavalier land he was somewhat of a journeyman (albeit one that travels light), Harris really made his mark in New Jersey like Devin. Making the most of the double-team outlets on Kidd when the rest of the opposition were trying to play catch-up with V.C., R.J. and K-Mart, Lucious could lick the open three or mid-range J all day. But get in his face and it was a different story. Because following a facial fracture, Harris strapped on the Kobe, LeBron and Russ Westbrook Opera face-mask and became a Rip Hamilton focussed Phantom Menace.
Meanwhile after making moves at Villanova, college superstar Kerry Kittles was expected to cut down Nets in the pre-era of Jason and his Agronauts, until knee injuries riddled his career and cut it down to substitution size. You may remember the 8th pick in the legendary '96 draft was featured on that fold-out, now duplicated iconic, SLAM rookie brick-wall magazine cover alongside greats like Kobe Bryant. But thanks (no thanks) to injury his career was more like one of John Wallace or Samaki Walker than Ray Allen and Steve Nash. Yet still before becoming a head-banded Clipper in Los Angeles NJN-2K was with the Nets through dry erase pen thick and slight of frame thin. The now Ivy League Princeton Tigers assistant was an animal when coach put him in. When Kittles burst back into the game, off the bench and on to the floor it was like rip-opening a packet of Skittles on your kitchen counter. Just numbers everywhere like colour you couldn't catch or handle in time. Kidd's backcourt partner was also a court crime assassin with the rock dealing the pill and putting it up to the glass shattering, box-score defying stats. Remember this guy once went for 40. That's something your average player just doesn't do. Forget the 14.1 ppg, 2.6 apg and 1.6 steals career pers. Or even his peers. What K did on the floor when had the ball was more than A-OK.
When it came to these two Jersey boys, Kerry Kittles and Lucious Harris were bombers before B.K. You can't talk about the Nets without two who used to go right through them. As our last President would say...WAP!
Friday, 5 May 2017
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Real talk. One of this generations greats and one of the NBA's most storied Boston Celtics franchises greatest and most famous legends Paul Pierce has called it a career after his last game with his hometown Los Angeles Clippers in their First Round exit in this years Playoffs. But now that 'The Truth' has been set free, before we hang his number 34 let's seperate the real from the fake and fact from fiction when it comes to one of the most genuine talents to ever play this game. 34 times to be exact.
TRUTH-Paul Pierce was born on October 13th, 1977 in Oakland, California and went to high school in Ingelwood, Los Angeles.
FALSE-He was a Laker for life.
TRUTH-A long way from the Golden State, Paul Pierce went to college in Kansas.
FALSE-The university did not retire his iconic number 34 jersey.
TRUTH-The 6 foot 7 inch, 235 pound Small Forward was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 10th pick in the 1998 draft.
FALSE-He was a bust!
TRUTH-He will always be known as one of the greatest Celtic players of all-time.
FALSE-He spent the rest of his career in Beantown.
TRUTH-In a way he may aswell have.
FALSE-He won championships with the shimmy of partner Antoine Walker.
TRUTH-The pair where one of the leading dynamic duos in the Shaq and Kobe era.
FALSE-P-Double gave Shaquille O'Neal his "Diesel" nickname.
TRUTH-Shaq gave Paul Pierce the nickname 'The Truth'.
FALSE-Paul never lived up to the monkier.
TRUTH-Paul Pierce survived being stabbed 11 times on a night out in Boston after bravely trying to break up a fight in a club. He came back to play for the C's the same season after. THE TRUTH.
FALSE-He came back the same player...he was even better.
TRUTH-In his early days he could dunk like you could never believe to remember.
FALSE-But he was James Harden on D.
TRUTH-Before Rajon Rondo with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen he started the big-three revolution. Yas King!
FALSE-Pierce, Larry Bird and John Havlicek aren't the only Celtic legends to amass 20,000 career points with the Irish green alone.
TRUTH-An injured Paul Pierce needed to be carried off court during the 2008 Finals series with legendary Los Angeles rivals the Lakers before dramatically returning to the game and winning big.
FALSE-An injured Paul Pierce didn't need to be carried off court during the 2008 Finals series with legendary Los Angeles rivals the Lakers before dramatically returning to the game and winning big. (According to Laker fans).
TRUTH-The 10 time All-Star 10th pick became a champion in said 2008 Finals series.
FALSE-But he wasn't the Finals Most Valuable Player.
TRUTH-He hit an incredible, now iconic clutch three against the Atlantic rival Knicks at New York's Madison Square Garden.
FALSE-That was the last time he'd ever hit a shot of that magnitude.
TRUTH-Upon leaving the Boston Celtics, Pierce headed to Brooklyn for the Nets.
FALSE-Teammate Kevin Garnett did not join him.
TRUTH-After the B.K. number 34 had a significant spell with the Wizards in Washington.
FALSE-He called it a career after that.
TRUTH-He returned home to L.A. for some times with the Clippers.
FALSE-But his home is really in Boston.
THE TRUTH-Or is it?
FALSE-Nothing else. And that's 'The Truth'.