Shaq does not want his name used on "Basketball Wives"

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I’ll be honest: I didn’t watch the premiere of VH1’s “Basketball Wives” last weekend. I was going to, it was part of the job I told myself, but there was nothing about this that is remotely appealing. So when it came time, I thought a rerun of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America was the better reality television option. Probably was.

Apparently Shaquille O’Neal isn’t watching either. Not only that, he had his lawyers contact his ex-wife and show star Shaunie O’Neal to make sure his name was not even uttered on the show. Of course, TMZ got the scoop.

Shaq’s lawyer has fired off a letter to the network — obtained by TMZ — in which he demands VH1 immediately halt production on “any further episodes of ‘Basketball Wives’ which make any reference to Mr. O’Neal.”

Shaq’s lawyer claims Shaunie signed a confidentiality agreement at some point in their relationship — so if she says anything about Shaq on TV, she and the production company will find their asses in court.

Of course, one of the upcoming episodes was going to focus heavily on the pair’s relationship. What else has it got to sell?

Eric Freeman of The Baseline took one for the team and watched the premiere episode last weekend. His comments:

The conceit of the show is that Shaunie O’Neal, the long-time wife of Shaquille who recently filed for divorce, is looking to bring new basketball wives into her social circle, except no one involved acts like they’re particularly excited about hanging out with anyone else…

In contrast to the show’s title, most of the cast members are former fiancees or long-term girlfriends, not wives. Then there’s Royce (Dwight Howard’s baby mama, although that is never mentioned), a former dancer who has dated several players and exists only because she’s a free spirit (i.e. dances provocatively at nightclubs) who needs guidance from the wise older women.

Evelyn, ex of Antoine Walker: “Yeah, I had all these Louis Vuitton bags, but at the end of the day it didn’t mean anything, because he wasn’t there.” Change “Louis Vuitton bags” to “great seats,” and that quote could very easily come from any number of disgruntled fans.

Yup, the Gordon Ramsay call sounds pretty good now.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.