"I'll never forget Sloan's reaction," Williams said with a shudder. "He came storming onto the court screaming, 'Damn you, Kirilenko, you think just because you've got an $84 million contract you can do whatever the bleep you want to do out here! Well, I've bleepin' news for you . . .' "
Williams said Sloan's earthy message was the best thing that could've happened to him . . . and the team, a consensus pick to go nowhere fast, yet finished 41-41.
"Man, if Sloan was gonna get on Kirilenko like that, I knew damn well what I had to do," Williams said. "I was like Speedy Gonzalez. I did exactly as told and then some. The funny thing is, everything I'd heard about Jerry turned out the opposite." "A lot of bad words come out of his mouth. But, if you do it right the next time, in his next breath, he'll praise you just as heatedly. A lot of coaches don't understand; they beat you down without picking you back up," Williams said. "Jerry taught me how to be a point guard," he said. I asked him what that entails: "To think versus rely simply on instincts . . . time and possession . . . teammates needing to be spoon-fed . . . not giving the ball to a big man on the break unless he has a free lane . . . creating space --separation -- which is the object of the pick-and-roll, and then reading and reacting."
On Saturday, James was in Columbus cheering on his alma mater, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, which won its fifth state basketball title. James sat behind the bench but spent much of the game nervously pacing and chewing his nails. “That’s what I live for,” he said. “
Marcin Gortat scored Orlando’s first six points of the fourth quarter on a dunk, an alley-oop from J.J. Redick and a layup after being fouled that put the Magic ahead 88-72. Orlando’s reserve center, not known for his dunking ability, even shocked his own teammates.
“I’m surprised he jumped,” Redick joked. “He’s been known to jump as high as a phone book on dunk attempts.”
On his nerves: "I don't get nervous. No, I don't get nervous. That's some old days when I got nervous. Now I was just out there to see how the knee felt."
On the day that was: "You ever heard that expression, 'If you want it to rain, wash your car?' You know, that's what happened this morning. I got here, knee's been feeling fine this whole time, as soon as I got here it started aching. And I'm like awww, man, see I knew this was gonna happen. So I said I wasn't gonna play. And then once I got home it felt better. I was like man, that's just nerves kicking in, and once I went out there it was just all basketball from there. I don't know if the building was cold. I don't know what happened, it just all of the sudden started aching. I just got in the house and I was like, oh, my knee feels better. Once I said I wasn't playing, the knee feels better." On being introduced fourth, in front of Caron Butler: "That was a little different. That was awkward. But, you know, it's basketball. It's just introductions. It's not like the last person wins a car or anything."
Gilbert, on the fans' reaction: "Oh. You know, they miss me, what can I say?"
On scouting the NCAA Tourney: "No, I don't watch the JV. My Arizona boys got put out. So it's no point in even watching that."
On why he already broke his no-media pledge: "You know how I am. You know, I'm wishy washy."
"No," Shaq said when asked if he could share about his conversation with Przybilla that landed them both T's.
"He said I threw the ball at him and I said, yeah. That's what I did. So what? Do something about it. I'm not much of a talker."
When asked if he could receive a fine for admitting he "threw the ball" at Przybilla, Shaq quickly corrected himself.
"I didn't throw it. I dropped it. Hey, it doesn't matter to me - whatever they do. It's been done before. You move on. I just dropped it. He was in the way. If he wouldn't have flopped and been on the floor, he wouldn't have been down there."
You don't like the floppers do you, asked one reporter.
"No. It just shows you are giving in. The referees are probably going to go for that every time. You've got to now (flop). It's the only way you can stop a person. It's kind of crazy the refs go for that."
So what did Shaq think of Oden?
"I don't. I'm a Shogun. You can't ask me about a low level ninja. I still have to worry about Yao Ming, Dwight Howard."
What's the beef? Well, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez recently forced all of his long-haired players, including Ramirez, into an impromptu date with the clubhouse hairdresser. He also banned any jewelry worn onfield by Ramirez or any of his teammates.
"We want to look professional," Gonzalez told the Sun-Sentinel. "Nice and neat."
Only problem was that Ramirez, ranked first overall in Yahoo!'s fantasy baseball game, didn't take kindly to having his shortish dreads shorn off or his chain yanked off his neck. Once the media entered the Marlins' clubhouse on Thursday, Ramirez made sure he was seen sporting a strong message ? "I'm sick of this ****" ? written in Sharpie across his chest.
"I'm angry," he told reporters. "I want to be traded ... It's incredible. We're big leaguers."
"I retired," Arenas said in the home locker room before Washington's game against Charlotte. "No more blogging for me."
"It's just like the double-(edged) sword thing: Eventually your words is going to kill you," Arenas said with a smile.
Asked to explain his thoughts further, Arenas smiled.
"I started looking at it as, before, it was fun, and everybody has fun reading it. And then it's like everything I said, everybody started using it as firepower, instead of saying it's just entertainment. You know, people started using it, trying to take bits and pieces instead of enjoying the blog," the three-time All-Star said. "So once I started seeing that, I just started visualizing, eventually, this is going to be the double-(edged) sword thing. It made me and it's going to kill me, so I might as well stop."
People say, "How come NBA players lose all their money?" It's because we're making money like a 40-year old businessman would make. If a 40-year old businessman made money like us, he's very successful. Right? But at 40 years old, you're established, you have a family, you don't have people pressing you for money, you know what I'm saying? We're 23. Single. A lot of people are single. A lot of people come from areas where they don't have the means, and don't understand the whole money situation. They don't understand that when it says $1.5 million, half of that goes to taxes, and the house, and the agent. I mean, it goes.
So your friends will actually just come up to you and ask you for money?
Oh, all the time. All the time.
And you give it to them?
I mean, it's hard to say no to somebody that you grew up with your whole life and you know they're in a situation. That would be a good story to ask players.
Do you remember your first check?
I remember it was negative. I remember it was negative. I had some fines. I had a lot of fines. I didn't see a lot of it.
MC: Seattle has produced a lot of guards lately, too (Brandon Roy, Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Martell Webster, Brooks). What's going on with that?
AB: We're pretty good. Most people don't know who's all from Seattle. When they say there's not too many basketball players from Seattle, then you start naming them, they're like, "We didn't know all those guys were from Seattle." We've got a nice chunk of guys.
MC: Do you guys get together and play in the offseason?
Kroenke Sports Enterprises recently announced layoffs. Among those affected has been the Denver Nuggets Cheerleading team, whose performances have been scaled back from all home games to only weekend games.
The cheerleading team is not to be confused with the Denver Nuggets Dancers, an all-female group that continues to perform at all games. The cheerleaders, made up of 36 men and women, provide college-type cheers during breaks in the action.
No paparazzi. No celebrity treatment. Just a man and his ribs.
"It's been the most relaxed and ... comfortable I've been since maybe the fifth or sixth grade," said Mayo, who spent part of a typical off day with The Associated Press recently.
"It's not high expectations you know," Mayo said. "The city understands we're a young team, we're still trying to get better. The city enjoys our young team and enjoys our talent, looks forward to watching us grow as a team and get better throughout the years.
Barkley: If you were to swap the people in Cleveland and Milwaukee, it'd be the same dreary ass city. They are both dreary places. C Webb, would you agree? Cleveland and Milwaukee, other than Perkins Soul Food joint, they are the same dreary ass city.
Webber: I agree.
Johnson: I was born in Milwaukee, they are not the same city.
Barkley: Ernie you were born in Milwaukee?
Johnson: I was born in Milwaukee.
Barkley: Milwaukee is a very nice city.
Barkley: There's nothing happening in Cleveland, trust me, other than the Indians.
Johnson: They are the number one seed right now.
Barkley: They've got LeBron James who is spectacular. There is no reason to live in Cleveland, that's why the call it the mistake by the lake. They didn't come up with that for no reason Ernie.