Shaquille O’Neal may just be trying to butter up the Boston Celtics fan base, but he’s doing a phenomenal job. In an interview with Dan Shaugnessy, Shaq considered his place among the elite big men, and said Bill Russell was the best big man of all-time. (Boston Globe) Read more »
Posts tagged: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “And while there are several variables and factors that weigh in on whoever the Celtics draft, it ultimately comes down to one thing. ‘You have to feel good about the player, now and looking forward,’ Ainge said. ‘You want to find someone who can help you now, obviously. But you want them to be someone who can grow, too.’ Among the players to work out for the Celtics was James Anderson, a 6-foot-6 swingman from Oklahoma State. A player with Anderson’s size and shooting range would give the C’s added fire power and versatility off the bench, especially when you consider there’s no guarantee that the Celtics will be able to re-sign free agents Tony Allen and Ray Allen. Boston might look to go for added size and target players like 6-10 Daniel Horton of Kentucky, 7-0 Hassan Whiteside of Marshall, 6-10 Ekpe Udoh of Baylor or 6-10 Larry Sanders of VCU – all projected to go somewhere in the late-teens and early 20s of the first round. While most teams would prefer to have one of the top picks in the draft, Ainge has proven repeatedly that you can find quality players late in the first round.”
Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog – “The official Celtics slogan headed into the season was ‘Reloaded.’ Now I’m wondering if the offseason slogan might be ‘unloaded.’ I still think there’s a very good chance that we keep our starting 5 in tact, but after that is seriously anyone’s guess. Here’s a quick rundown of our 15 man roster as it existed on the final night of the Finals.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “The Celtics captain doesn’t have much time. Pierce has until June 30 to exercise a termination option in his contract that would make him a free agent. This would require written notification. If July 1 arrives and the Celtics haven’t received the paperwork, then they know Pierce is coming back. And really, is there much question about this? For a kid from Inglewood, Calif., who grew up within a quick bike ride of the old Forum and dreamed of becoming a Laker, Pierce couldn’t be more serious about his place within the tradition of the Lakers’ opposite entity. Consider what he said on the eve of Game 1 of the Finals in Los Angeles. ‘I didn’t want to be a Boston Celtic, but I am a Boston Celtic, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,’ Pierce said. ‘I’ve had a chance to learn the history, been around the great players. It’s so much fun when you’re in Boston and you see the (John) Havliceks come around, you see (Bob) Cousy and (Cedric) Maxwell and you’re around (Tommy) Heinsohn all the time. Just soaking up the history of the Boston Celtics has been the best thing that’s happened to me as a player. Just to be a part of history, not a lot of players can say that. You know, I’m soaking this all in. Once again, being able to say I can help continue the rivalry of the Celtics and Lakers for another year, and knowing that when you go back and watch these tapes that I will be on them. It’s indescribable. I don’t think it’s going to soak in until my career is all said and done and I can really, really look back at it.’ No, this does not sound like a player who, in the disappointment of losing, will send that fatal letter to the Celtics front office.”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “The question now is how the 34-year-old will respond next season. It’s highly unlikely that Garnett ever will return to his MVP and Defensive Player of the Year form. But he’ll be a full year removed from knee surgery when next season’s training camp opens, and Doc Rivers said last week he expects Garnett to be better as a result. Garnett isn’t the type to speak about other topics while there is a task at hand. When he was asked about his future during the Finals, Garnett simply responded that he has two years remaining on his contract (at $40 million total) and his only focus is on fulfilling that. Even if he’s not thinking too far down the line, Garnett has been forced to face his basketball mortality. The likely retirement of teammate and good friend Rasheed Wallace hit home with Garnett. ‘I see a lot of myself in him, and we have a lot of the same ties and a lot of the same characteristics,’ Garnett said after Thursday’s Game 7 loss. ‘Both (draft) Class of (1995) – so for him to come in and give his thanks and his regards after a loss like this . . . it was a difficult night.’”
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe – “Rivers likes to brag that the starting lineup of Pierce, Allen, Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins never lost a playoff series. He made this point after the Celtics finished with Orlando in the conference finals. ‘This starting five is 7-0 in playoff series,’ he said. He was correct then and he’s still correct. Garnett (knee injury) did not play last spring when the Celtics were eliminated by the Magic in the conference semifinals. And Perkins (torn knee ligaments) did not play Game 7 at the Staples Center. ‘The starting lineup still hasn’t lost,’ said Rivers Thursday. ‘It was a shame we didn’t have that starting lineup tonight. But I told them, ‘You’ve still yet to have a true chance to defend your title because Perk wasn’t there.’ ‘ After Game 7, you could hear the bell ringing for the Big Three Era. In many ways, Rivers was the perfect coach for this collection of talent. He gave them a lot of rope and allowed them to work out their difficulties themselves.”
Shira Springer, Boston Globe – While the Lakers celebrated and fans tried to talk their way past security and onto the court, the Celtics attempted to make a quick getaway. With the trophy ceremony still going on, Perkins headed for the team bus with a white towel covering his head. Inside the locker room, Ray Allen was surrounded by dozens of reporters. No other Boston player was around. As Allen talked, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar walked into the Celtics locker room and said, ‘Anybody seen Doc?’ The answer did not come quickly. The sight of the legendary Laker caught those not crowded around Allen by surprise. After a few moments, someone opened the door to the visiting coach’s office for the Hall of Famer. Upon seeing Rivers, Abdul-Jabbar leaned in for a handshake and whispered a few sentences to him. ‘I appreciate it,’ said Rivers. ‘I appreciate it.’ If Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can walk into the Celtics locker room and offer consoling words to the Celtics coach, it is proof that almost anything can happen at Game 7 of the Finals. Almost anything.”
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald – “From this point on, Rajon Rondo is the band leader. He may never be a great shooter, and it would be really nice if he spent the summer practicing free throws, but already he is a great player. As he gains experience, he gains wisdom. And never let it be forgotten that much of that wisdom was acquired during his apprenticeship under Pierce, Allen and Garnett. From the perspective of management, Rondo is the kind of supremely gifted player around whom a championship team can be built. To the rest of us, it’s much simpler: He’s enormously fun to watch. Thank you, Big Three, for your contributions to Boston sports history, Banner No. 17 and a brave run at No. 18. You never, ever will be forgotten. And the three men are welcome to return – as individual players, but not as a Big Three. Let the Rajon Rondo Era begin.”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “Though he’s made strides, Davis still has some growing to do. The third-year veteran hasn’t yet discovered what it takes to be consistent on a nightly basis. Rivers frequently pointed this fact out after Davis had a big game. The coach remarked after one strong performance in the first round against Miami that Davis needs ‘a parade out there every good game’ and it takes him a few games to come back to earth. Regardless of how good-natured, Rivers seemingly can’t resist throwing a dig in Davis’ direction whenever the opportunity presents itself. Behind all of his bluster, Davis is quite sensitive, and he’s never known what to make of Rivers’ public jabs. Though Davis may not embrace his role as whipping boy, his comments about his coach after the Celtics’ Game 7 loss in the Finals showed a level of maturity. ‘He means a lot,’ Davis said of Rivers, who may not return next season. ‘He’s a friend, he’s a coach, he’s a father figure. He’s a lot in one.’”
Zuri Berry, Boston Globe – “Former NBA center Manute Bol died of complications from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, according to a family member who talked to the Washington Post. He died at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville on Saturday morning, according to Tom Prichard, an associate of Bol’s, in an e-mail to the Associated Press.”
Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer – “Now reports are that Kelvin Sampson is a serious candidate to be the Cavaliers’ head coach. That Kelvin Sampson? Really? I think back to what happened at the Final Four eight years ago, to the poor coaching job I thought he had done, and to the damage he caused to both of the schools who had played in that semifinal. And I have to believe Cavs owner Dan Gilbert can’t be serious. At Oklahoma, Sampson eventually brought the wrath of the NCAA down on the program for making, along with members of his staff, over 550 improper phone calls to 17 different recruits. Then, as the carpet-bomber of college basketball, Sampson brought the wrath of the NCAA down on Indiana, the most storied program in the Big Ten, for making 10 illegal conference calls to recruits. That Kelvin Sampson? Really? What’s the attraction, other than hiring a guy who fell upward with even more vim than John Calipari has done at Kentucky? There might be blazing ruins in the rear-view mirror, but coach Cal and coach Kel danced away from the messes to better jobs. At least for a while. But it didn’t last for Sampson, whom Indiana fired in 2008. His gravity defiance in college basketball ended then too, with a five-year coaching ban handed down by the NCAA. Any school hiring him before 2013 would have to ‘show cause’ why his punishment had been served. Now he is an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. And reportedly he is a candidate to fall upward again, maybe all the way into the Cavs’ job. What, is John Lucas not interested?”
Hatred. Pure hatred. I don’t care that he helped my beloved Celtics win two championships, and I don’t care about his, “Climb on my back” game. I have utter hatred for Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell.
How could I not, when he hates the god I worship and once said Dirk Nowitzki was better than said god? How could I not hate Cedric, when he became the regular season Rasheed Wallace in the 1985 Finals and drew the ire of his entire team? (Boston Globe)
“He got his money and he quit,’’ said Bird. [...]
“He did quit on us,’’ said No. 33. “You can ask everybody. Everybody was mad at Max in the Finals that year. It was disruptive. You get a chance to win a championship . . .
“It was about him not wanting to play more, more than anything else. I like Max. But he quit. I’ve said it to him a million times. He quit on us. He says I quit on him, but that trade – I didn’t have nothing to do with it.’’
I won’t get into how ridiculous it is to say Dirk is better than Larry Bird, but I WILL say that — after reading today’s LA Times piece about Cornbread — I really wish I liked the guy. He seems to hate the Lakers almost as badly as I do.
“There was a time, if I saw a Laker on fire and I was holding a glass of water, I’d drink the water,” said Maxwell. [...]
“There was a time I couldn’t say the name ‘ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’ without throwing up,” Maxwell said. [...]
“I remember after I was traded to the Clippers, I spent the whole year being booed by my home fans, so I guess ‘hated in L.A.’ is a good way to put it,” he said. (Editor’s note: Or they just realized he didn’t give a rat’s ass.)
This was the guy who walked across the foul line in Game 4 in 1984 with his hands around his neck in a choking motion to taunt James Worthy after he missed a free throw.
“I wish I would have done it more,” Maxwell said. “Did Worthy just miss the shot? Did he choke, or did he choke?”
This was the guy who donned horn-rimmed glasses and threw up a brick to mock Kurt Rambis.
“I got the glasses from one of those kids in the Rambis Youth. What was I supposed to do with them?” he said.
All Cornbread’s hating the Lakers stuff is admirable, it really is. Letting a Laker burn to death, while you drink a glass of water? That’s nothing short of heroic. The classic Beat LA mentality.
I just still can’t get over Cornbread hating on the man who is my basketball god. And by the way, I was kidding about letting Lakers burn being heroic; a real hero would have lit them on fire his damn self.
The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald – “But you know what Bird never did? This. What we’re watching the Celtics do right now, before our eyes, in this surreal spring of 2010. He never took you on the kind of magical mystery ride that Doc Rivers’ team is enjoying as we speak. [...] These Celtics already have eliminated the top two teams in the regular season. The Cavs won 61 games, and now their coach, Mike Brown, is on the street. The Magic won 59, and now they’re feeling as good about themselves as British Petroleum. This Green team is blowing holes in entire franchises. If LeBron James leaves Cleveland as expected, he always will remember what happened in his final game in front of the hometown fans. The Celtics beat him, and the fans booed him. Unlike Brown, Stan Van Gundy will survive in Orlando, but there is a casualty list just the same: On it are the reputations of erstwhile stars Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis. The Celtics didn’t beat them. They ruined them. The Keyser Soze Celts have destroyed many things in this postseason, including the old axiom that the best player usually wins in the NBA. Not this year. The team with the best player just keeps going home while the team with the toughest players moves on.”
Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles – “Bynum suffered a slight tear of the meniscus of his right knee in Game 6 against the Thunder and has been limited in the playoffs, averaging 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 24.2 minutes per game while recovering from a late-season strain to his left Achilles and navigating the pain and swelling that accompanied the right knee injury. ‘It was just getting worse,’ Bynum said after the Lakers film session in preparation for the Celtics on Monday. ‘The swelling wasn’t leaving so we had to do it … I was doing the treatment, but [the swelling] wasn’t going anywhere like in the previous three rounds so I just had to drain it.’ Bynum said he could not feel any immediate benefit from the drain because there was still medicine in the knee numbing the pain, but said he would find out if the procedure had a positive impact Wednesday, when he plans to return to practice. ‘It supposedly will make you feel more healthy, so that I’ll find out come practice day,” Bynum said. “I think that practice is going to be what kind of determines that for me, especially because I’ll be running on it and cutting and it will be a full, hard day.’ The procedure did wonders for Bryant, who described the draining as having “the nasty stuff sucked out of my knee.” Bryant averaged 24 points on 38.4 percent shooting in the first four games against the Thunder before having his knee drained and has been on a tear ever since, averaging 31.3 points on 51.5 percent shooting in his last 12 games.”
Rob Bradford, WEEI – “Speaking on the Planet Mikey Show Monday night, KTLA’s Ted Green said that he should ‘probably apologize for’ the line he wrote referencing Paul Pierce’s stabbing in his column for the LA Times. Green wrote of Pierce that the Celtics star’s ‘idea of a fun night is going clubbing and getting stabbed. Good times!’ ‘That one was something I probably should apologize for. That one was not only too close to the line, but maybe over,’ Green said. ‘The truth is I think Paul Pierce is a very, very good player. A Hall of Fame caliber player. I probably shouldn’t have gone to the stabbing card.’”
Mike Petraglia, WEEI – “Rivers was told by more than one member of the recently-excused Phoenix Suns that if you plan on carrying through with the directive of Celtics fans everywhere, you better bring your hard hats and be prepared to rebound against the defending NBA champs. That, of course, means being physical and not backing down. That also means that Kendrick Perkins needs to play with perfectly-controlled fury or risk his seventh technical foul, bringing with it an automatic one-game suspension. ‘Our talks [with Perkins] haven’t worked yet, so maybe I should have another one,’ Rivers said. ‘I’m concerned by it, honestly. What I’m concerned by with this is that it’s going to be a physical series. There’s going be guys that get tangled up under the basket, and there are going to be officials who are going to want to clean the game up. Perk may be in that. And the double technical — that’s why I’ve been on the double technical thing for a month now. This double technical thing should not be part of the seven techs, it really shouldn’t be. But it is and it’s a factor. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a factor in this series.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Rivers, four wins away from his second NBA title in three years, is more in the conversation than ever on the subject of the league’s great coaches. Paul Pierce certainly has his coach ranked high on the list. ‘I put him right up there,’ the Celtics captain said. ‘This is the only coach I ever want to play for again. He’s taken my career to the next level. He’s got to be up there with the top five coaches. You have to say Phil (Jackson), Gregg Popovich, he’s right there with them.’ Asked about Rivers’ deliberations about leaving the Celtics following the season, Pierce, who has an option on his own contract, joked, ‘I haven’t really thought about that. Are they concerned I might leave? That’s stuff for after the season.’”
Lisa Dillman, LA Times – “One of the lines of questioning with Pierce had to do with Rivers’ stabilizing force as coach, the ability to stay unruffled when things were at their darkest for the Celtics in an injury-riddled second half of the season. ‘You can see, at times, you play for coaches when things aren’t going right,’ Pierce said. ‘Practices get harder and yelling becomes louder. Doc is a cool customer. He didn’t panic. He didn’t get louder. He just stuck with the game plan. A lot of times when you go through a stretch we went through — we lost five games out of six, seven out of 10, you kind of tell through a coach’s body language that things are going [poorly] … you never really saw that with Doc.’”
Dan Ventura, Boston Herald – “Dwyane Wade and the Heat wilted in five games. LeBron James was so demoralized by the Celtics, he didn’t even reach the Cavs’ locker room before ripping off his jersey following the decisive Game 6. Magic center Dwight Howard and his renowned elbows were shipped back to Orlando after falling 4-2 in the Eastern Conference finals. As impressive as those conquests have been, there is a bigger obstacle standing between the Celtics and their quest for Banner 18 – Kobe Bryant. The Lakers guard enters the NBA Finals on a high note, having poured in 37 points in a 111-103 victory against the Phoenix Suns in the decisive Game 6 on Saturday night. Every time the Suns threatened to come back in the fourth quarter, there was Bryant responding with one contested bucket after another. ‘Watching that ending in Phoenix, I don’t know how those shots go in,’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ‘But because it’s him, you didn’t even think it was a bad shot. It’s just what he does.’”
Shira Springer, Boston Globe – “‘We’re a different team,’ said Bryant, when pressed for comparisons between the group that lost to the Celtics and the one looking to defend its title. ‘[The 2008 Finals] really taught us what it takes to win in terms of rebounding, the energy, the intensity you have to play with.’ Added Odom: ‘Sometimes it’s crazy how the stars align and bring you to moments in your life. We have a chance to make history.’ Although Bryant kept his answers brief, Jackson acknowledged the Lakers star may have taken the 2008 Finals loss more personally. ‘He devotes so much of his life to this game,’ said Jackson. ‘It really does take an inordinate amount of time in his daily life. It’s not a pastime to him. This is a devotion, not just an avocation. When you throw yourself into it as deeply as he does, all those things count a little bit more.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Paul Pierce was walking his dog in a crosswalk, and they saw each other. The Lakers coach, not completely satisfied with the 2009 NBA title his team won at the expense of the Orlando Magic – a matchup Pierce likened in a memorable tweet to a poodle fighting a German shepherd – still wanted another shot at the 2008 champs. So Jackson told Pierce to get his team back together for the 2010 rematch. Pierce laughed yesterday at the news Jackson now is sharing this story with people. ‘Anytime you lose in a championship game, that’s something you can’t forget,’ the Celtics captain said. ‘You’re talking about the biggest stage. I played in a lot of championship games in AAU when we lost those games. It hurt more. You probably would rather lose earlier than in a championship game when you come so close. I know it’s something that sticks in their mind. They only play for championships, and they only hang championship banners. It hurts not only the Lakers, but the Boston Celtics.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “From the outside looking in, Artest is the perfect fit. ‘He makes a difference,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘I think that’s the one thing that’s been overlooked all year for them. I’ve heard all year how Artest doesn’t fit, hasn’t fit, and I’m thinking, he’s been perfect, because it’s allowed Kobe not to have to guard the best player every night. I think it’s clear, you can see it in Kobe’s offensive numbers, He’s as fresh as I’ve ever seen him in the playoffs and I think it’s due to Ron Artest. So that’s where he’s been perfect for them.’ Pierce’s playoff battles with Artest go back to 2003 when the Celtics bounced the Pacers in the first round. Pierce averaged 25.8 points in the six-game series, but his respect for Artest went without saying. ‘He’s one of the best defenders I’ve ever played against, and he takes pride in that,’ Pierce said. ‘Just being able to lock down opponents night in, night out. We’ve had some battles and it’ll be a tough challenge.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “The Lakers would have loved another clash with the Celtics a year ago. Some believe the Celtics would have made it happen had it not been for Kevin Garnett’s season-ending knee injury. ‘It’s driven all of us,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘We didn’t have that opportunity last year. The Lakers won, but we didn’t have that opportunity. Honestly, we weren’t playing that great anyway when we were not injured. But now we’re a little different than that team. The starting five is the same, but we have a different bench, we have different guys and so do they.’ For Pierce, who grew up watching the Lakers, the matchup is only right. ‘I want to go there and try to win a championship in my hometown again,’ Pierce said. ‘Just the rivalry period. Just the motivation of being in the championship. So many things motivate you for being in the Finals. I can just pretty much put all the things in a hat and pick one.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “The Celtics have won nine of 11 NBA Finals against the Lakers, making this not so much a rivalry as a domination. In the golden era of fantasy sports, when all-time teams can be pitted against each other via video screens, the Globe decided to match the 15 top Celtics and Lakers from those 11 Finals to see who would win a seven-game series. That’s Bob Cousy vs. Magic Johnson. Bill Russell vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Paul Pierce vs. Elgin Baylor. And before we begin, this is just players who faced the Lakers or Celtics in a Finals, so that leaves out Dave Cowens for the Celtics and Shaquille O’Neal for the Lakers.”
Andy Kamenetzky, ESPN Los Angeles – “When Ron joined the Lakers last July, it was with the unabashed goal of winning a ring. Dude mentioned this every possible chance. He’s now four wins away from getting fitted for jewelry, but ironically less willing to even fathom the moment. “I’m not looking that far ahead,” maintained Artest. I asked if the championship possibility is almost too real now, sitting right in front of him as opposed to a goal off in the distance. He offered an interesting analogy: ‘You set the goal. I guess it’s like when you’re cooking food, you buy the ingredients. You know what you want to make. I guess we’re cooking right now. It’s still cooking.’”
Jessica Camerato, WEEI – “When Ortiz met Davis at Josh Beckett’s charity bowling event during Davis’ rookie year, he was surprised to learn the “humongous dude” was actually one of the newest members of the Celtics. The two shared a brief conversation, one that has stood out in Ortiz’s mind for years. ‘He said, ‘I’m trying to work hard because I want to be one of them. I want people to remember me in this city as a great player, and I’m working hard to get to it,’” Ortiz recalled. ‘So I said, ‘Keep on doing what you’re doing and you’re going to be just fine.” Davis’ ambition reminded Ortiz of his own. As Ortiz listened to the young athlete, he was taken back to the time when he was an eager ballplayer who had just been traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Red Sox. He remembered how anxious he was to put his stamp on Boston, the same sense of excitement Davis exuded. ‘That’s the reason exactly why he caught my attention a lot,’ Ortiz said. ‘I remember when I first got here with the Red Sox coming from Minnesota and there’s nothing but history and great players around. I remember my agent telling me, ‘If you go to this city and play well and help the team to win a World Series, they’re going to remember you forever.’ And I busted my tail off just to do that because it was my goal. Now watching him doing the same thing, it brings me highlights and memories back.’”