Say what???

Scottie Pippen raised a few eyebrows with his ridiculous comments made Friday when he insisted that Lebron James is a greater basketball player than Michael Jordan. I’m sure all of you have heard the quote by now. While this debate was bound to come up sooner or later, it was the source from which this comment came from that drew such fierce responses. The stints in Houston and Portland late is his career clearly must have clouded Pippen’s memory of Jordan. To his credit, Pippen did backtrack a little from his original statement: “Don’t get me wrong, MJ was and is the greatest. But LeBron could by all means get to his level someday.” However, his original comment did not seem like he was projecting into the future with the Lebron vs MJ debate. It definitely sounded like he was making the comparison of today’s Lebron James vs Jordan.

Sure, Lebron James could some day surpass Jordan’s legacy. The man is a 6’8″ 250-something pound freak of nature and still has room for improvement, which is down right scary. But Lebron is not at Jordan’s level yet…not yet, no way, no how. There isn’t anyone who could argue this, well except for Jordan’s former teammate I guess. Ridiculous!

There have been a number of ridiculous (and some funny) statements made by NBA players. My memory isn’t one of my stronger traits, but I do have a few that have stuck in my head for some reason:

“We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees.”Anybody remember the mathematical genius who said this after being selected with the 2nd overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft? I’ll give you a hint: He’s playing in this years NBA finals. That would be Jason Kidd. At the time Kidd was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, they were at the bottom of the NBA totem pole. I’m quite sure Kidd wasn’t saying ‘I know this team sucks, and now that I’m drafted we’ll be good and then we’ll suck again’. I’m pretty sure he meant to say 180 degrees. Or, maybe he did mean 360 degrees and that was the real reason Dallas traded him.


“This is it. It’s for all the marbles. I’m sitting in the house loading up the pump, I’m loading up the Uzis, I’ve got a couple of M-16s, couple of nines, couple of joints with some silencers on them, couple of grenades, got a missile launcher. I’m ready for war.” – This famous quote comes courtesy of our favorite NBA soldier Kevin Garnett. No comment.

“Sure, we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot, too.” – This statement was made by Patrick Ewing during the 1998-99 NBA lockout. He was just reminding all of us how hard NBA players had it back then. I’m pretty sure he made the statement out of concern because he was losing valuable paychecks during the lockout. I mean how else was he supposed to get money for his weekly visits at the Gold Club?

Hmmm, I wonder what my family is going to eat tonight?

Fortunately, Patrick Ewing made more money over his career than Latrell Sprewell did who was offered ‘only’ a $21 million contract extension by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004. It was substantially less than what he wanted and claimed to feel insulted by the offer. He then publicly expressed outrage telling one reporter: “Why would I want to help them win a title? They’re not doing anything for me. I’ve got a lot at risk here. I’ve got my family to feed.” Stay classy Spree.

Then there’s Tim Hardaway. When asked by Miami sportswriter Dan Le Batard about the subject of having a gay player on his team, Hardaway responded, “First of all I wouldn’t want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think he should be in the locker room when we’re in the locker room.”…..”Well, you know, I hate gay people,” Hardaway said in response to Le Batard. “I let it be known I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic. It shouldn’t be in the world, in the United States, I don’t like it.” I will admit that I was hoping for just a little more honesty from Timmy with his response. If only he would have told us how he really felt at the time. Oh well.

But Scottie took the cake with his comment Friday:
“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play the game. I may go so far as saying LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game.” As I mentioned earlier, Scottie Pippen did backtrack a bit from this statement. But of all people, Scottie Pippen should know better than to make this statement now. At least wait until the Heat win their first championship.
Come on Scottie, you’re better than that:

Not another ‘NBA Playoffs biggest comebacks’ list

Last night’s 4th quarter collapse by the Bulls in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat naturally had me thinking of the greatest collapses/ comebacks in NBA playoff history.  I wanted to post “The Top Ten 4th Quarter Collapses in NBA History”, but then I went on the internet and saw the hundreds of other blogs that did the same thing.  So I will spare you another top 10 list of greatest comebacks in NBA playoff history.  Instead, I will just share the 3 games in particular that I kick myself for turning off too early.  These are all games that I did sit down and watch majority of, but either turned the channel or turned the TV completely off a wee bit too early.  I will admit that posting these are a little painful for me because I missed all of these historic endings by choice.

3.  Nets vs Celtics 2002 Eastern Conference FInals Game 3:

I remember watching this game at home when my wife and I had some friends over.  We were all planning to go out and eat together.  My wife and her friend were making the plans in the dining room while her friend’s husband and I were sitting on the couch watching the Nets blowout the Celtics.  He wasn’t really that big of an NBA fan at the time.  Neither were my wife or her friend.  Since I felt that I was the only person in the room really watching this blowout, I turned off the TV as the game went to commercial break at the end of the 3rd quarter and said, “Ok, let’s go (get something to eat)”.  Because of this, I happened to miss the 41-16 4th quarter run by the Celtics as they came back and won the game 94-90.  Not only that, but our waitress sucked, my food wasn’t that good, and I was still hungry when we got home.  Peachy.

Note: I wasn’t able to find a shortened video, but here is the last 5:35 seconds of the game broken into 2 parts.

Part 1

Part 2

2.  Blazers vs Lakers 2000 Western Conference Finals Game 7:

This was the game that started it all for Phil Jackson in L.A..  I don’t believe Portland has ever quite recovered from the 4th quarter meltdown they experienced in this game.  I also can’t believe that I turned the channel thinking the game was over in the 4th quarter when the Blazers went up by 15 points.  I can’t recall exactly which movie I ended up watching, but I remember turning the channel to a movie, watching it in its entirety, and turning the channel to ESPNews later that night.  I turned it to ESPNnews expecting a breakdown of a Portland vs Indiana NBA Finals matchup.  I was in complete shock when I saw that the Lakers came back to win the game.  I was also very upset that I missed it all.

1. Reggie Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds vs the Knicks – Game 1 Eastern Conference Semifinals:

Yes, I turned the game off to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos.  That is all I have to say.  Instead of watching one of the most miraculous moments in NBA history, I was sitting on my couch watching Bob ‘freaking’ Saget.  I did not even find out that the Pacers had won until the next morning when I saw it lead Sportscenter.  Yeah, needless to say, this one hurt pretty bad.

Bonus!

Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 33 seconds vs the Spurs 2004

Just throwing this one in there because I was actually watching this game and turned it off to go to bed.  But I’m sure the only people who actually watched it live were the few hundred people who actually decided to stay in the arena as Tracy McGrady suddenly flipped on his switch.  It was just a regular season game, so the drama wasn’t too high, but the finish was unbelievable.  It’s just a little more comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one in the world this time who missed it.

“I got this coach” – The 4 scariest words for a coach to hear

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Did anyone happen to catch the end of the Thunder-Mavericks game last night? Down by a basket with just under a minute left to play, Oklahoma City (backup) pg Eric Maynor had the ball at the top of the key on a critical possession for his team.  Off a defensive switch, Maynor believes he has a mismatch against a much slower (but much taller however) Dirk Nowitzki and proceeds to wave everybody off calling for a clear-out.  He has now made the decision that he was going to take it upon himself to take the big shot.  The result?  Air-ball.  Mavs gain possession and proceed to race down the other end of the court for a dunk plus the foul for a three-point play.  The 4 point lead becomes insurmountable for Oklahoma City.

Maynor’s decision to call for a clear-out on that crucial possession would have been ok if it was 2007 and he was still playing for VCU going against Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  Unfortunately for Maynor, and Oklahoma City, it’s 2011 and this situation was in an elimination game in the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.  Also, the players he waved off included Kevin Durant (NBA’s top scorer), Russell Westbrook (OKC’s second leading scorer), and James Harden (who scored 23 points already in the game)…all of whom would have been more desirable options for Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

But what can you do as a coach?  You teach these ball players to take advantage of situations starting from the time they started playing in grade school.  You as a coach want all of your players to have that killer instinct in them.  You want them to believe that they can do it, that they can score, and that they can dominate this situation.  As a coach, you are in the best position to sense if a certain player is ready for that one big moment.  You come up with a strategy that you have developed quickly in your head based off your knowledge, prior experiences, and mostly just a certain overall feel of the game and/or players on the court.  You control the situation.  And let’s face it, all of us coaches are control freaks.

The very moment a player turns to a coach and says the phrase, “I got this coach”, the heart instantly jumps into the throat.  It is because the coach knows that they’ve just lost control over the situation.  It’s now up to the player to make the right decision and the coach can only hope that their prior coaching resonates in that player somehow.

“I got this coach” only becomes more comforting for a coach to hear as you climb up in skill level.  However, even at the highest level, I’m pretty sure that some NBA coaches get a little nervous when they hear this deadly godforsaken phrase…especially when the phrase isn’t coming from someone named Kobe, Lebron, or Dirk.  As you move down each level, the phrase becomes less and less desirable.  At the high school level, it is down right frightening.  I remember the first time I heard this phrase from one of my players in a late game situation.  I started to sweat uncontrollably almost as if I was actually playing in the game myself.  I must have nearly passed out.  I was able to keep my composure and proceeded to watch my player hit the game winning shot.  Even though I was elated about the result, during the following practice I politely asked him to bury that sickening phrase for the remainder of the season.  He smiled and agreed to adhere to my request. Thank goodness!

Let’s get this thing started

This first post is just to give a summary of what to expect from this blog…at least what to expect for the time being. I say that only because this is my first attempt at blogging and even I don’t know what to expect. I do have a vision in mind on what I would like this blog to eventually turn into. But as with so many other websites and blogs out there, things don’t always turn out the way we originally plan. Having said that, I can tell you what to expect for now.

I will keep this blog sort of like a journal of my thoughts or just share what I might be going through as it relates to basketball. For example, at this present moment I am starting to plan my summer workout program for my high school JV team. I will probably post about some things that I learn along the way or something related to summer workout programs in general. Every now and then I will post about the happenings in the basketball world. I may comment about the upcoming NBA Finals, or about a particular player, etc. I’d also like to share my thoughts or reviews on a few basketball-related products I may be using or may have used in the past. Basketball DVDs, movies, video games, book, practice equipment, etc. will be reviewed as long as I have had experience with the product. You will also come across some of my favorite videos of basketball moments, stories, and highlights.

My intention is to make this a basketball hub of information, motivation and entertainment for basketball junkies like myself. Your comments and feedback will always be welcome and encouraged! Hopefully I will be good at this blogging stuff. We shall see!

Random thoughts and notes of a basketball coach