Shaquille O’Neal has been through the wars. He’s won a lot of rings, he’s lost in finals, he’s been loved and scorned by the media. Oh, and he had his own reality show. Think what you want of him, he understands a lot of what it takes to get things done in the NBA.
In Shaq’s press conference talking about joining the TNT studio show — which is now appointment viewing for NBA fans for the entertainment factor alone — he talked about what LeBron and the Heat went through this season, and how he relates to it as a veteran.
This first quote is from a Sports Illustrated podcast, talking about the criticism LeBron faced.
“I would not characterize it as unfair because like I said, it happened to everyone. It happened to (Michael) Jordan when he went to Atlantic City to get away from the game. It happened to Barkley. It happened to (Dennis) Rodman. It happened to Magic (Johnson). It happens to everybody. If it just started this year I would call it unfair, but I’ve been in the game for 20 years and I’ve seen similar stories.”
Ira Winderman from the Sun Sentinel has Shaq’s quotes about the Heat in general.
“They just came up against a team and it was their turn,” he said. “Dirk played unbelievable. They played together. I just think it was their turn.
“Michael Jordan told me a long time ago that before you succeed you must first learn to fail. This was the Big Three’s first time together and they made it very far and they are going to be together for a long time. I’m guaranteeing they will get back.”
Feel free to agree or disagree with Shaq — like Barkley on TNT it doesn’t matter. He’s not there for you to agree with, he’s there to do and say things that get you to tune in to the broadcast. Shaq — as he showed Thursday — will do that.
The No. 28 pick, R.J. Hunter became the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to fall out of the NBA when the Celtics waived him.
He won’t be out of the league for long.
The Bulls, the only team with an open roster spot, appear close to adding him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.
Gerald Green was drafted by the Celtics and spent two seasons with them before being traded (in the Kevin Garnett deal).
After stints with the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns and Heat, he signed with Boston this summer.
Think he’s happy to be back?
Abby Chin of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Joel Embiid couldn’t endear himself by playing in an NBA game, because he’s been too injured to do that in two pro seasons.
He’s had to resort to witty nicknames, practice-gym dunks, fun-loving stunts, attention-seeking tweets and self-deprecating humor.
Embiid is scheduled to make his NBA debut tonight, when the 76ers play the Thunder. Soon, we’ll judge him more for what he does on the court.
But, first, Embiid went out with one last bang of a quote.
Embiid, via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
“You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
LeBron James might be the greatest athlete in NBA history.
But even he has shown signs of decline at age 31.
He has gotten multiple back injections and even took a break during the season to rehabilitate in Miami. The forward has treated the last two regular-seasons as glorified warmups for the playoffs.
Just where does LeBron stand physically?
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue gave quite the answer.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Lue said James, at 31, “had a chance to get tested this summer and they said he had a body of a 19-year old. Maybe he’s getting younger. Benjamin Button.”
It was a little perplexing because neither James, nor his personal trainer, Mike Mancias, nor general manager David Griffin had any real idea what test Lue was talking about.
This reminds me of Derrick Rose attributing the Knicks and Warriors being super teams to “They’re saying.” Who is they, and what are they smoking?
That LeBron, Mancias and Griffin won’t cop to knowing is quite revealing.
LeBron does not have the body of a 19-year-old. Years of other-worldly play and long playoff runs has taken a toll.
Because he’s declining from such a high peak, LeBron should remain elite for a while. His athleticism might even fluctuate as it trends downward overall.
But Father Time is undefeated, and LeBron didn’t just get a mid-career reset to his rookie physical form.