Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Ding’

Lakers To Retire Shaq’s No. 34 Jersey

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finally gets his statue and now Shaquille O’Neal and Jamaal Wilkes will get their jerseys, No. 34 and No. 52 respectively, retired to the rafters at Staples Center.

It’s been a pretty good week for former big men toiled for the Los Angeles Lakers at some point during their NBA careers. And it’s going to be a busy season for the Lakers, who are legitimately back in the title hunt (with the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to their Kobe BryantPau Gasol nucleus) after a two-year hiatus.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register served up not only a little perspective, but also some concrete dates as to when all these honors will be unveiled:

There haven’t been many sweet moments between Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers since his trade in 2004, but the big one will come April 2 at halftime of the game against Dallas.

O’Neal’s No. 34 jersey will be retired, as Lakers owner Jerry Buss promised it would be, and go up on the Staples Center wall along with the Lakers’ other greats. In eight Lakers seasons, O’Neal posted averages of 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots while winning three NBA championships (2000, 2001 and 2002).

On the wall already by then will be Jamaal Wilkes’ No. 52, scheduled to be retired by the Lakers in an earlier ceremony in the coming season. Wilkes’ honor will be at halftime on Dec. 28 against Portland.

The first reflective moment of the season will be the unveiling of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s statue at Star Plaza outside Staples Center on Nov. 16.

Plans for the statue of Abdul-Jabbar and the jersey retirements for O’Neal and Wilkes were already confirmed last season by the Lakers. Wilkes was selected last season for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Lakers’ policy has been to retire the jerseys of all who are enshrined.

With O’Neal and Abdul-Jabbar taken care of, we started thinking about others in the Lakers’ family tree and how they might be honored. Does Derek Fisher get a small plaque somewhere, a luxury suite named in his honor, anything?

And what about Phil Jackson?

We should probably leave it alone right now and just applaud the Lakers for doing all that they have done for the likes of Magic Johnson and Jerry West and now Kareem, Shaq and Wilkes.

Bynum And Bryant, Kindred Spirits?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kobe Bryant is just full of surprises these days.

He gets “benched” by Lakers coach Mike Brown late in a game against the Grizzlies and responds by basically not responding and putting the team first, above any individual needs.

Then Andrew Bynum tests Brown again last night by launching a 3-pointer and the All-Star big man gets benched, only to have Bryant ride to his defense and point out that he and the big fella are kindred spirits, of a sort. This is the same Bynum that Bryant ranted about (infamously) in a parking lot once, seemingly a lifetime ago, when Bynum wasn’t the low-post load that he is now.

With Bryant you never know what you might get in the form of his actions or reactions. But we must admit this has been one of his most entertaining stretches, if only for the slight shock value. His reaction to Bynum’s benching, via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, was priceless:

“It’s somewhat amusing to me, because in some ways the edginess and the chippiness of him make it easy for me to relate to him – because I had some of that when I was young,” Bryant, 33, said about Bynum, 24. “So, it’s easy for me to see where he’s coming from.

“I understand where he’s coming from. And the first thing you want to do if you want to get the best out of somebody or the best out of your players is you have to understand what they’re feeling; you have to understand where they’re coming from and what they want to accomplish. That’s why it’s not that big a deal to me. You don’t see me sitting here trippin’ or sweatin’ or anything like that. I’ve been there.”

Bryant’s support for Bynum in this situation is proof of the evolution of a relationship that at one time seemed destined for a nasty breakup (long before last month’s trade deadline, there were rumors of Bynum being replaced by the likes of Dwight Howard.)

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The Wrong Time To Intervene

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Basketball reasons, huh?

Good luck getting that one past the discerning eyes of millions of basketball fans that know better.

The explanation for the league putting a stop to the three-team, Chris Paul-Lakers deal was disseminated via statement late last night, putting the final nail into what was clearly one of the most bizarre nights the league has seen in years.

From the decision itself to the theories behind why it happened, not to mention the most twisted piece of all, Dan Gilbert‘s terse email detailing his displeasure (and that of many other owners) with the proposed trade was, it all just felt wrong.

It felt wrong as it was going down, wrong during three or four hours of sleep were lucky to get here at the hideout and dead wrong this morning as we try to make sense of the senseless.

The league picked the wrong time to intervene for “basketball reasons.” That should have been done long before Hornets general manager Dell Demps engaged in trade discussions with the dozen or so teams that made serious inquiries about Paul. And even then it would have been the wrong thing to do.

Whoever owns the Hornets will have to deal with the reality that Paul has no intention of playing for the franchise longterm. So rather than making a fool of the franchise, a mockery of the process and a bigger mess than the 149-day lockout did with the fans, someone needed to do the right thing and find a deal that allowed for Paul’s departure without totally destroying the fabric of the franchise.

Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor did it last season when he moved Deron Williams, his franchise’s most valuable asset at that time, before being backed into a similar corner. What Demps was attempting to do was in the very best interest of the franchise and would have been by most any reasonable standard a solid deal for the Hornets (you get three starters, two draft picks and save yourself from the ongoing saga that would have been CP3-watch for the next however many months … you have to take that deal).

Worse yet, the folks suffering the worst today are the players in all three cities that have to show up for training camp, if they show up for training camp, and answer questions about decisions that had nothing to do with them and they had no hand in making.

In Houston, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Kevin Martin have to deal with the fallout. In Los Angeles a wounded Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol will be expected to hit the floor and act as if the night before had never happened. And in New Orleans, Paul has to decide if legal action is his best recourse for being allowed to do what we all know he will do at some point, and that’s leave the Hornets.

Not even “basketball reasons” will keep that from happening at some point.

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Hang Time Podcast (Playoff Previews)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Before a ball officially goes up on the 2011 NBA playoffs, we need to take a little bit of your time so we can discuss a few things.

In fact, we’re going in-depth on all eight playoff series, dissecting the action in both the Eastern and Western Conferences with a few friends of the program on the Hang Time Podcast Playoff Preview extravaganza.

We broke down each series with an insider that has a unique perspective on the matchup, the key players and everything else that comes along with playoff basketball.

Can the Lakers complete the three-peat? Can the Spurs, Heat, Mavericks, Celtics or Magic stop them? Are the Bulls, the league’s top overall team based on regular season records, for real? We answered all those questions and more.

LISTEN HERE (and make sure you turn the volume up):

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Chicago-Indiana,with NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner:

Miami-Philly, with Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post:

Boston-New York, with Paul Flannery of WEEI:

Orlando-Atlanta, with Hawks radio broadcaster Steve Holman:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

San Antonio-Memphis, with Dan Wolken of The Daily:

Los Angeles -New Orleans, with Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:

Dallas-Portland, with Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge:

OKC-Denver, with Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our super producer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here.