Shaquille O'neal, an NBA All-Star and future hall of famer, recently sat down with NBA.com for a question & answer session several weeks after the Miami Heat won their first NBA Championship. I've included a few of the more interesting questions (and answers).
How did you guys turn it up once the playoffs began and what was it during the regular season that kept you from being 5-10 games better than you were?
“It happened because we sort of veteran-ly paced ourselves. A lot of teams come out, win 15 in a row, win 20 in a row, win 70 games, but if you don't win the whole thing, none of that matters. Our formula was very simple: beat the teams you're supposed to beat, stay dominant at home, and stay above .500 on the road. We did that and we won 50 games. We let about nine or 10 games slip away by not focusing or just by being lazy.“
Shaq goes on to say that getting in position to do well in the NBA Playoffs; not wearing yourself out too early, being healthy and gaining homecourt advantage for as many playoff rounds as possible. What's interesting though, is that he says the team was “lazy“ and could've won more games if they were more focused. Certainly they did well enough, winning the championship, but I think this sets a bad example for today's youth in that it's ok to be lazy when you're playing. These guys are getting paid to be out there and Shaq basically admits that they don't try all the time; it can influence youth to get a cocky attitude.
Have you ever seen a more relentless player in this league as far as taking the ball to the basket?
No.... I told him. I said, "Look man, they talk about Kobe and T-Mac and all that. That's where I want you to be next year. When they talk about those guys, I want them to say 'and D-Wade.' Not 'Kobe, T-Mac, Carmelo, LeBron and that's it.' Your name has got to be in those five. No. 1, 2 or 3 at worst. You gotta be up there."
There's no questions that Dwayne Wade developed into a superstar during this year's playoffs, but if you watched him during the regular season it shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone. Wade routinely outhussled & outplayed virtually anyone and everyone that came in his path. Wade has done very well in his short career, earning a ring before his fellow draft picks Lebron James and Carmello Anthony (and Chris Bosh).
Is Coach Riley's situation an issue in your mind?
“It's sort of an issue, but I haven't addressed it and I won't address it until it addresses me. But hell yeah, it's an issue.“
Riley has since confirmed that he'll return as coach of the Miami Heat, stating it was virtually a no-brainer. Shaq certainly prefers Riley as coach.
Shaq also commented on a recent trip to China where he's doing a shoe deal w/ Li-Ning, one of China's biggest stars. For now, the shoes are only going to be sold in China.
Read more at NBA.com...
Haven't posted for a little while, but I wanted to give everyone an update on what's been going on in the Phoenix Suns organization the last few weeks.
- 8/3/106 - Suns sign 8 year veteran Jumaine Jones to a one year contract. The former Charlotte Bobcat should fit in well w/ the uptempo Suns.
- 9/8/06 - Former Suns star Charles Barkley was inducted into the Hall of Fame; a deserving honor for one of the NBA's best of all time. Buy Charles Barkley collectibles here.
- Amare Stoudemire continues to work himself back into game shape after almost a year of downtime & injuries. The Suns recently brought in Michael Olowokandi to work out and possibly make the team this year. It's highly doubtful he'll make the roster for a variety of reasons: can't dribble, can't run & can't shoot consistantly.
- Boris Diaw and the Suns are both intent on signing a contract extension, but the sides are about $2 million per year apart from each other. Diaw is worth money, but not the maximum and $8 million per year (Suns offer) is pretty generous considering no other team was really interested in him at this time last year; he was a thrown-in with the Joe Johnson deal from the Hawks.
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