Speaking of Mike Taylor...I heard he said in a Clippers.com interview earlier this week that he reads my Journal all the time, and if he can't read it his sister calls him with updates on what he's saying. That's cool. Everybody on the team is reading it, and some guys get a little jealous because I don't always mention them in the Journal. Sometimes Baron gets upset because I don't mention him that often; Marcus will tell me that because he's my mentor he should be in there a lot more; Eric, Al and Brian Skinner get mad, too, which I don't understand because I mention those guys all the time! Apparently Brian thinks he should be in it every day, but I don't write every day. So on this road trip I've been taking a lot of videos of everybody so they can all feel more included. That said...
Last week when we played against the Suns I was really struggling from the line. I even gave my hand a little pep talk before I took a shot, which made Shaq bust up laughing. Shaq was giving me a hard time the whole game, saying, "You can't shoot free-throws." (Cough! Cough!) Every time I got to the line Shaq and Amare would say, "No way!" As soon as I let the ball go, they'd yell, "No way!" So after I made the first one, I looked at my hand and said, "Come on hand. We need this one." I was pretty sure they were going to say it again before I took the next shot, so I figured I had to do something to tell them that I could do this, and what would be more perfect than using Shaq's move against him. We both thought it was pretty funny and we were joking around about it after the game. He's a great guy and he's somebody I looked up to when I was coming into the league. He's a good friend.
Did you all see Mike's crazy 360 windmill dunk (and between the legs!) he made during warm-ups before Monday's game? Didn't I tell you all he's the best dunker on the team?! Now this is an if, but if Mike Taylor is picked for the 2010 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk competition, he will be the winner. That's a guarantee. That's not coming from him, but it is coming from a very reliable source.
DeAndre Jordan speaks very high of your eating abilities. Is your appetite a source of pride for you?
Skinner: My eating abilities? Man, is that kid making me sound bad again? [Laughs] You can’t listen to the things DJ tells you about me, but I bet we can get a whole team consensus on how many Snackwells cookies and Egg McMuffins DJ eats! Honestly though, I consider myself to be a herbivore! I actually don’t really eat that much: a lot of salads and light fruits. Usually my eating habits revolve around my workout schedules, so I am constantly eating well.
[Skinner then yells to DJ across the gym, “Don’t you get on my bad side DJ! That’s the last time I take you to dinner!”]
DJ actually mentions you quite a bit in his journals; do you ever read the journals?
Skinner: [Again, across the gym to DJ, "I haven’t read any Journals. I didn’t even know he was doing them until right now.]
[Quietly] Yeah, I've actually read them and he's pretty funny...I just don't want DJ getting that satisfaction right now. Using DJ’s words, how long have you had your “radioactive goatee?”
Skinner: [Laughs] I’ve had my goatee for a while, but I didn’t start changing the color around until about two years ago.
In all seriousness though, what are some thoughts that come to mind when you think about DJ’s on-court abilities?
Skinner: In terms of his potential, DJ is limitless. He’s still very young, so he needs to learn and continue to grow into an offensive minded player, but he’s quick and he is a gifted athlete. If he continues to have the same work ethic, and he continues to grow and learn everyday, he’s going to be a phenomenal player in the years to come.
The next day I was getting everything straight with my family and packing up stuff. The kids were going to go back to California with our parents and I was going to head out to Oklahoma City and start looking for a house for the following year. Until then I was going to be in a hotel.
On my way to the airport I get a call from my agent again and he says "Don't get on the plane." And I'm like "What?" He repeats, "Don't get on the plane. There's some problems with the trade, I don't know if it's going to go through."
So I go back home and he calls me back to say the deal is not going through. Meanwhile, I'm like "WHAT?"
Next thing you know, I'm getting calls from a couple of the Hornets people, and they're saying, "We're looking forward" and this and that.
All my teammates are calling me back and they're all hyped. I got a call from Chris and one from D-West. Everybody was excited, saying: "We're so glad to have you back." Everybody was upset about the trade and now I'm coming back and we're all hyped up. So I'm telling them: "It's meant to be. It wasn't meant for us to be broken up. Now let's make this championship run."
YA'LL COULDN'T GET RID OF ME
The next day was just comical. I walk into the locker room and say, "Ya'll couldn't get rid of me!"
And everybody starts busting up laughing. I did the skit from Training Day when Denzel Washington was like, "King Kong ain't got nothing on ME!" Everybody was laughing and having a good time.
With my teammates it's all love. They welcomed me back like a brother.
With management, it's always going to be a little funny because these guys just tried to trade me away and I got bounced back to them. I'm sure that will be pretty awkward.
But for me, it doesn't matter because I play for my teammates, myself my family and the fans. That's all that really matters to me and that's all that will ever matter.
It's funny more than anything else because of everything that has gone down. But I think this will be a spark for my teammates and for myself, because we have to get this done. We have to win a championship. We have people doubting, even people doubting us from the top.
Last year, he became a father. The mother, Royce Reed, a former Magic dancer, and Howard share custody of their 15-month-old son, Braylon, he says.
The sudden news shocked many because Howard was quite vocal when he entered the league preaching a no-street image and the word of God. At the dunk contest two years ago, Howard slapped a sticker to the backboard with the phrase, "All things through Christ. Phil. 4:13."
"I was a little hurt about some of the decisions I made," he says. "I was kind of hurt about some of the things that were said about my character ? what I said when I got into the league and what I did. Then I realized, 'I'm not perfect.' Even though the situation might have been a mistake, I got a blessing out of it. I would never take that back."
Before turning pro in 2004, the scope of his life largely had been limited to home, church, a private Christian school and AAU hoops. With the NBA lifestyle exerting more of an influence, "I was wondering who my son was becoming," says his father, Dwight Sr., a former Georgia state trooper.
"Something had to happen," he says. Braylon "was almost like a wake-up call. Dwight recognized, 'Hey, I stepped outside my boundaries.' "
Howard says he doesn't worry about his image because "I try to stay away from bad situations."
"With the type of life we live, I'm real proud of myself for not letting the things of the world ? the money, the fame ? get to me," he says. "Every day, I think about how all this can be taken away."
Nevertheless, critics piled on ? often in public forums such as blogs.
"People might say I'm Superman, but at the end of Superman is 'man.' I'm still human," he says. "I still have feelings. I don't fly to the moon at night. I sleep in a bed, see the same stars, breathe the same air. I said I can't read this anymore. Not only did it hurt me, it hurt the people around me."
「昨年、彼は父親になった。元マジックのダンサーとの間にできた生後15カ月の子供の養育権を彼女と共に持つことになったのだ。このニュースは多くの人を驚かせた。というのも彼はギャングっぽいイメージではなく敬虔なクリスチャンというイメージを強調してリーグに入ってきたからだ。2年前のダンクコンテストでもダンクのときに使ったステッカーの裏には「All things through Christ」という聖書の一句が書かれていた。」
"Basketball brings me a lot of joy. Just knowing that I'm alive, and I have a reason to be here, brings me joy. Basketball is one place where I know I can be myself. I'm most peaceful on a basketball floor."
His mother, Sheryl, who played basketball at Morris Brown College, suffered five miscarriages and lost seven children, including two sets of twins, before Dwight was born prematurely in 1985, joining his older sister, TaShanda.
Before his son's birth, his mother was so ill, "Doctors told us, 'Don't have a baby shower. Don't paint the room,' " Dwight Sr. says.
To this day, Dwight Jr. thinks hard about that.
"I was supposed to be number eight," he says softly. "My dad always told me that I was a blessing ? that I was called upon to do something in life."
"I ask my friends, 'If you had one power, what would it be?' They wish they could fly or see into the future," he says. "I've always wanted to touch peoples' lives in a Midas-like way. I guess I wanted the ability to make everybody's life better."
"I make sure I put a smile on somebody else's face," he says.
The child: goofy, boyish and teenage-silly. Loves doing imitations of his coach, Stan Van Gundy. Gets a kick out of playing kids' games ? including hide-and-seek in his $8 million mansion, which includes a fully stocked candy pantry with jars of M&Ms, Snickers, Pixie Stix and Skittles, his favorite.
"Got a wine cellar, but I don't drink," he says.
Howard loves to cut up, tease and cavort, on and off the court. When the opposition is at the free throw line, Howard will cradle the ball and speak to it, appearing to put a hex on the shooter.
He was more reserved in his first few seasons but then started showing up wearing various wild get-ups, once pretending to be the kung fu villain Sho'nuff from The Last Dragon. He once came to practice dressed like Tyrone Biggums, the funny-talking crack addict from Chappelle's Show.
In high school, he killed with his humor. Howard was no mere pedestrian class clown. "No, I was the school clown," he gently corrects.
"I was always trying to make people laugh. Even when the teacher was going off, I was always trying to ease the mood and calm everyone down. I might have been the silliest person ever."
To this day, he loves dabbling in mischief, often with teammate Jameer Nelson. One of their favorite ruses is to pound on the doors of unsuspecting hotel guests and sprint away as if on a fast break.
"He's going to make you have fun, no matter what type of day you have," Nelson says. "When you see Dwight, you're going to have a good day."
His Van Gundy impersonation, mimicking a high-pitched voice, even makes the coach chuckle.
"Dwight, what are you doin'? Run, run ? go! You're lollygaggin' around, trying to rebound with one hand! Stop tryin' to Eiffel Tower the ball!"
As Nelson observes, "Not too many people have the courage to imitate their coach."
Being serious is "tough for me," Howard says.
「彼の子供っぽい側面・・・彼はスタン・バン・ガンディ監督のものまねをするのが好きだ。彼は子供の遊びを楽しんでいる。800万ドルの大邸宅でかくれんぼをするのもその一つだ。お菓子の貯蔵庫（動画）にはM&Ms, Snickers, Pixie Stix and Skittlesといった彼の大好物のお菓子が入った瓶でいっぱいである。ハワードは「ワインの貯蔵室はあるけど、俺は酒を飲まないからね」と語っている。」
In the final round, Robinson played into the Superman theme, donning a green uniform and using a green ball?which he said, represented Kryptonite. For the dunk that pretty much won him the contest, Robinson used Howard himself as a prop, standing him in front of the basket and leaping over him. Not bad for a 5-9 guard.
“Dwight Howard is a great athlete, but more than that, he is a great guy,” Robinson said. “He is down to earth. He really brings out the best in you. I would love to split this championship. I’d love to cut the trophy right down the middle and share it with him.”
This was Robinson’s third slam-dunk contest, and, he said, if he has his way, it will be his last. That may be good timing. Further proving that Howard has made the dunk contest cool for star players again, LeBron James has declared that he will enter the contest next year in Dallas. “It’s getting there,” Robinson said when asked if the dunk contest was back to its late-’80s prominence.
“It’ll be fun to have LeBron in it. But, as for me, unless they really push me into it, I think I am done. I’m good.”
THE BIG BLINDFOLD: Shaquille O’Neal, perennially one of the league’s worst free-throw shooters, attempted to break the world record for blindfolded foul shots in one minute at the Western Conference’s practice Saturday.
O’Neal, who has donned himself the Big Cactus and Big Aristotle over the years, made three and did not look much different from when he can actually see the basket.
During the All-Star media session, however, Iverson turned the clock back to his rookie season, showing up without his signature look.
“Just ready for change, Obama’s president now,” said the Detroit Pistons’ All-Star, who went with the run-of-the-mill closely shorn ‘do. “I got a little reaction … interested in hearing what my daughter had to say. Once I got her approval, I was cool.”
“He may have a tough time getting MVP because I don’t know if you can get MVP playing more than three minutes,” Brown joked. “We’ll have to see, that honor may go to Kevin Garnett. Playing 48 minutes, you can put up big numbers.”
“I’m trying to figure out what the focus is. I’m not quite sure,” Stoudemire said. “The franchise is trying to go for a championship, but it doesn’t seem that way anymore. I don’t know what to expect from the front office. I’m not sure if they are going for a championship or freeing up money.”
“I tell you what, if my last home game is the All-Star starter here, that will be a great way to go out,” he said. “I turn every negative into a positive. I just keep my head up. Got to turn it into a positive.”
“I think he understands the business and the system we were in last year; it was a little bit different than it is now. I think that’s why his numbers have dropped,” Shaq said. “It is a system he is not really used to. He is not used to posting up. He is used to picking and popping.
“Now we are in an old tradition where double-teams will be there, rotation is going to be there. I don’t think he has adjusted to that. I think them talking about moving him has more to do with business.”
November 4 was my first time voting. It was great, especially to be part of such an historical event. To be a person of color in this country is a big thing, and a lot of us never thought that we'd see, in our lifetime, the election of a multi-cultural person to the country's highest office.
I'm a multi-cultural kid, my dad's black and my mom's white. I was born and bred in L.A. I've been there, done that. But to play a small part in the election of Mr. Obama was thrilling. I was fortunate to have introduced him at a fundraiser. I got to meet him, hang out with him; he knew who I was, talked to me about basketball. He still plays ball and I think he considers himself a gym rat. It was an amazing experience.
Our coach Phil Jackson, who led the Bulls to a 72-10 record in 1995-96 based out of the Central time zone, doesn’t think it’s possible for a Western-based team to have a chance at 70 wins because he says, “Changing time zones just makes it very difficult to be consistent night in and night out on the road.” But all of us are looking to win as many games as possible.