Back in the day, when Shaquille O’Neal dominated the block like no other big man since Wilt Chamberlain, it was almost impossible for opposing centers to slow the Big Aristotle down. Then along came the crafty Serbian, Vlade Divac, and flopping became the defense du jour when you didn’t have enough fouls for Hack-a-Shaq. The two were back at it, but without the pressure of a playoff series, when Vlade and the Kings minority owner were joined by Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive to look for a birthday present for Vlade at the adidas store in Beijing. Read More »
We were still stuck in the id phase of development when Magic Johnson was leading LA’s Showtime Lakers at the Old Forum under coach Pat Riley. That doesn’t mean we didn’t beg our parents for VHS tapes of him when we hit the ego stage of sentience. We remembered a pass from one of those old tapes when we saw Magic rookie Elfrid Payton bounce a pretty dime while sitting on his butt during Orlando’s win over Flamenco in preseason play last night. Read More »
It only does a disservice to Scottie Pippen by calling him a sidekick if you forget that he played that role but was still so much more. A devastating defender, brilliant playmaker, and one of the most versatile players in league history, Pippen’s place in basketball annals is appropriate – he’s not a Hall-of-Famer by accident. Read More »
When you think about Kobe Bryant‘s greatest individual rivals, the list is pretty short. Ruben Patterson called himself “The Kobe Stopper,” but the Blazers never defeated the Lakers in the playoffs. Tracy McGrady might have been a rival in terms of talent, but his Houston Rockets never competed for championships like Kobe did. And then there was Raja Bell, the pesky defender who got under Kobe’s skin once upon a time. Bell turns 38 today, and we look back at his rivalry with Kobe during the 2006 playoffs.
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Rasheed Wallace turns 40 today. When you think about ‘Sheed, the first thing you probably think about are the technicals and ejections, which were a running theme throughout his career. You also remember his famous sayings, including “ball don’t lie” and many others. On his birthday, we reminisce about our favorite Sheed rejection of all time.
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A lot of names get bandied around when it comes to the increasingly divisive (and almost always insufferable) Greatest of All Time debate. But one name in particular that is usually inexplicably omitted from this discussion is Los Angeles Lakers legend and Hall-of-Famer Elgin Baylor, who is considered by many one of the most criminally-under-appreciated players in NBA history, and by others – namely the eternal Bill Russell – quite simply the best player to ever set foot on a basketball court. Read More »
When news broke of Chauncey Billups’ retirement, my initial reaction was that I wanted to write a sprawling career retrospective about the guy who has, hands down, been my favorite basketball player since the turn of the millennium. But then, of course, Grantland re-published Jonathan Abrams’ fantastic profile of Billups from 2012 and left me floundering about how to approach this. I won’t spend time debating his Hall of Fame credentials, as my esteemed colleague has already made a solid argument in favor of. Instead, I thought I’d write something a little more personal. Read More »
Damon Stoudamire turned 41 yesterday. Because he’s officially in his 40’s, we take a look back at his rookie season with the Toronto Raptors, in which he won Rookie of the Year and led the expansion team to a victory over Michael Jordan and a Chicago Bulls team that ended up winning 72 games in the regular season. At the time, it was the highlight of Stoudamire’s career with the Raptors. It seemed like just the beginning of a long relationship between the player and the franchise. But things took a turn for the worst just a few years later.
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Gregg Popovich (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
An old video has made the rounds today, and Reddit’s excellent r/NBA board first alerted us to the brilliance of the footage. The video features a clip from a 2006 coaching clinic run by cranky Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich. In the sequence captured by the cameras, the grizzled long-time grey and black helmsman introduces himself to the campers involved in a drill he’s running, before telling them he doesn’t really care since he’ll forget their names anyway; except, Pop does so as only Pop can. Read More »
Robert Horry turns 44 years-old today. We take a look back at two of his most memorable clutch performances.
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