Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal of the

Shaq doesn’t care for the Pelicans name, might not know what a pelican is


Shaquille O’Neal is not overly fond of the Pelicans nickname. This is not an uncommon opinion. Shaq’s reasoning for not liking the new name, though? Pretty spectacular.

“It’s a terrible name. I told Charles on TNT, I don’t think I’ve seen a Pelican before. Pelicans, are they that big white bird? I would had named them Tigers, Crawfish or something. Pelicans — no. But I wish them well.”

Via John Reid on

So many questions for you, Shaq. You really haven’t seen a Pelican before? It’s Louisiana’s state bird. You went to LSU. They were in Finding Nemo. You have children. Come on, Shaq. You yelled about Birdman for the entire postseason and now you know nothing about birds? Nice try. Are you undercover again?

Seriously, though, man. Crawfish? That’s your suggestion? Something cool like Tigers, or maybe crawfish? Pelicans could probably eat crawfish, bro. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I haven’t watched the Discovery channel in a really long time, but you don’t go down the food chain in search of a better nickname. You just don’t.

That’s alright, though. Nicknames are hard, you’ve wasted your ammo on yourself over the years, and now you’re spent. All good. New Orleans fans have plenty of reasons to be happy though, right? Bright future, yes?

I’ll be anxious to see how many jerseys they sell. Hopefully one day they’ll get some marquee players and fill the arena up because it’s a town that wants to support something good. Louisiana, in general, if you give them a good product, they’ll get in their RVs and drive and they will support you. Hopefully, one day we’ll get two or three good players that people would want to spend their money on.

I suppose the thought of hearing, “Nice Pelicans jersey!” could push someone with Ornithophobia away from a purchase, even if the name on the front says New Orleans. As for the names on the back? Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans are pretty good players, but are they “fire up the RV” good?

But again, we need to two or three marquee players. I mean you can’t charge the prices that we charge and not give them a good product. So hopefully the first pick, Anthony Davis, and Doc Rivers’ son (Austin Rivers) hopefully have the same impact the ‘Splash Brothers’ (Golden State guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) had last season.

So New Orleans fans, it sounds like Shaq thinks your new nickname stinks, you might not sell many jerseys, you don’t have good players that are worth spending money to watch, and your hopes of making a big impact rest partially with Austin Rivers, of all people.

But, you know, other than that? Go big white birds!

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.