HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Lance Stephenson didn’t hear his name called when the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves were announced. It was yet another humbling moment for a player who has experienced his fair share during the early stages of his NBA career.
Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers’ blossoming star guard, leads the NBA in triple-doubles and has expanded his game over the past three years. He’s far from a finished product and at 23 is one of the league’s more interesting young talents, a player with plenty of promise but also one who must continue smoothing out the rough edges.
The Brooklyn native, who has been famous at Rucker Park (where he’s known as “Born Ready”) for over a decade, joins us in the latest installment of our Hang Time One-On-One series to talk about his where his game is now, the influence of Larry Bird, the Pacers’ rivals from South Beach and more:
It’s strictly a formality at this point for Iverson, who has not played significant minutes in the NBA since 2010 with the 76ers. His last game action professionally was in Turkey in 2011.
One of the league’s most popular players during the height of his NBA career, Iverson closes the door on his career as one of the game’s greatest scorers and one of the best 6-foot and under to ever wear a NBA uniform.
When he last spoke publicly, at a Sixers game on March 30, Iverson answered a question about continuing his career by saying, “My No. 1 goal is trying to accomplish to be the best dad that I can. And if basketball is in my near future, then God will make that happen. But if not, I had a great ride and I’ve done a lot of special things that a lot of guys have not been able to accomplish and people thought I couldn’t accomplish.”
Included amongst those accomplishments are: 13-year career averages of 41.1 mpg, 26.7 ppg, 6.2 apg and 2.2 spg; 71-game playoff averages of 45.1 mpg, 29.7 ppg, 6.0 apg and 2.1 spg. He also won one regular-season MVP award, four scoring titles and was named an All-Star 11 times. Maybe most impressive of all, omitting the obvious impact that he had on the culture off-court, was the resilience that the 6-foot guard showed in driving into the lane, into men a foot taller than him, time and time again.
“He might be the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen,” Larry Brown, Iverson’s coach from 1997-2003 and the current coach at SMU, told SLAM today. “I don’t think there’ll be another one like him.
“I’m sure we faced a lot of obstacles, maybe even on a daily basis, but when it came time to play, to try to win a game, he tried to play as hard as he could for his coach.”
It’s hard to put Iverson’s career into words for those of us who witnessed his rise from two-sport (football) high school phenom to future Hall of Famer. Few players in the history of the game, drew the attention of fans worldwide the way Iverson did during his best days.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – For those of us who cannot get enough of the actual games of basketball, and not necessarily all of the periphery factors involved, this part of the offseason has only a few possibilities.
If you’re in the right city at the right time and you just happen to stumble upon the right court, you could get treated to what hoops heads in Seattle have been enjoying this summer. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Spencer Hawes and many others have shown up there this summer and dropped jaws with their play in the Jamal Crawford Pro Am.
The Los Angeles Clippers star has been a more than gracious host, but he’s a showman at heart. So you know he couldn’t let those other guys put on a better show than he could on his home turf.
The @JCrossover show was in full effect over the weekend … enjoy the freak show the Lob City crew put on (combining for 100 points in one game. Highlights above and below courtesy of our friends at Ball is Life):
Thank all you guys who come out and support @JCrawfordProAm . You guys truly make the event what it is!— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) August 19, 2013
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Few players divide the room the way Carmelo Anthony does.
To some, the New York Knicks’ superstar is a scoring marvel to behold in a league that has always cherished guys who could put the ball in the hole at a record pace. Yet to others, Anthony is an elite scorer but little else and needs to expand the boundaries of his game if he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as friends and contemporaries like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.
But if he was a better rebounder, set-up man and finally “won the big one” then we wouldn’t have anything to debate on Episode 111 of the Hang Time Podcast, where we also debate and discuss the Brittney Griner to the NBA (instead of WNBA … she’s all for it, by the way) drama, the Mike Rice-Rutgers basketball flap, Shaquille O’Neal‘s retirement ceremony, our Final Four picks (GO BLUE!) and a whole lot more.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – All streaks must come to an end.
Chicago Bulls fans would love it if their team was the one to put an end to the Miami Heat’s streak at 27 games tonight at the United Center. Anything to punch a hole in the championship aura of the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh-led Heat, whose rise has come at the Bulls’ expense.
Plus, what better way to make the pain of the ongoing Derrick Rose saga (will he or won’t he play this season …) go away, at least for a few hours?
We also discuss the rash of injuries making the rounds around the league with just a few weeks left in the regular season, whose March Madness bracket is the ugliest heading into this weekend’s Sweet Sixteen, the pros (Nicole Eggert and HT fave Keshia Knight-Pulliam) and cons (Hall of Famers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and comedian Louie Anderson) of a celebrity diving competition, why Heat coach Erik Spoelstra deserves to be Coach of the Year and why it’s so tough to stomach coaches who are more emotional than their players.
Check out all of that and more on Episode 110 f the Hang Time Podcast.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The Los Angeles Lakers just can’t stay out of the headlines, and off of the Hang Time Podcast, these days.
From the firing of Mike Brown to the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, and the dalliance with Phil Jackson between the two, the Lakers have served as one-stop shopping for their fill of the reality-TV-style melodrama that surrounds their basketball.
The quiet but powerful force behind the scenes in this whole affair is longtime Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, whose voice never seems to rise above a regal whisper even in what looks like a crisis. Kupchak joins us on Episode 93 of the Hang Time Podcast to clear the air on all things Lakers.
Whose bright idea was it to install the Princeton offense?
Why D’Antonio over Phil, or was it instead of Phil?
Is anything less than a title this season viewed internally as a failure for Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and the crew?
And, perhaps most intriguing, is his putting to rest the debate that our TNT colleagues Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley have waged over the past 15 months about the unquestioned best big man in the league, Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum?
(Hey Shaq, spoiler alert, you’re not going to like Kupchak’s answer …)
Feast on all that and more on our Thanksgiving special, Episode 93 of the Hang Time Podcast, with your hosts Sekou Smith, Lang Whitaker and Rick Fox (well, you’ll have to listen up to see what happened to Rick).
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –Mike Brown out. Mike D’Antoni in. Phil Jackson still on the sidelines. And (Jim and) the Buss family in the crosshairs until further notice. Those are the main plotlines for this week’s episode of “As The Los Angeles Lakers Turn.”
We’ve gathered our own panel of experts, insiders and observers of the situation to try to help you make sense of it all on Episode 92 of The Hang Time Podcast, featuring super agent Warren LeGarie (who represents both Brown and D’Antoni) and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (who had an afro when the first Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant/Phil Jackson era began, and currently sports a skin-tight dome these days after 17 years of drama).
We broke down the situation from every angle and ended up in the same place as everyone else — totally confused at how this all went down and convinced, as our resident Lakers expert put it, that this season is “Championship or Buss” for these Lakers.
Check out all that and more on Episode 92 of the Hang Time Podcast, with your hosts Sekou Smith, Lang Whitaker and Rick Fox.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Four or five games is not enough of a sample size to make any lasting judgments on any player or any team in the NBA.
But when has that ever stopped us from trying on the Hang Time Podcast?
We’re going all in on Episode 91, trying to figure out what’s going on with this rash of injuries taking down one star player after another — from Amar’e Stoudemire to Danny Granger to Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki and so many more — and making a mess of the standings. We’ll tackle that and more in Headlines of the Week around the league. We also take a listen to some of the best voices in the business on “Nat Calls of the Week” and finish things off with “Bragging Rights,” which includes the crew picking winners from select games to be played over the next week.
Check out all that and more on Episode 91 of the Hang Time Podcast, with your hosts Sekou Smith, Lang Whitaker and Rick Fox.
LAS VEGAS – For at least a few more days, this sweltering city will serve as the center of the basketball universe, with a small satellite in Orlando orbiting the action here.
With USA Basketball training camp in full swing at UNLV, complete with Thursday night’s exhibition opener against the Dominican Republic, and 24 NBA teams converging upon the Las Vegas Strip for Summer League action that kicks off Friday, there are no basketball needs that can’t be satisfied here.
Two of basketball’s biggest power brokers, Summer League co-owner Warren LeGarie and USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo, the two men most responsible for all of the attention focused here right now, joined us on Episode 86 of the Hang Time Podcast to talk Summer League, USA Basketball, the upcoming London Olympic Games and more.
When we say “more” we’re talking Day 200 of the Dwight Howard watch (don’t get excited, he still hasn’t been traded), the open of the free agent signing period and the day The Deron Williams Brooklyn Experience officially began and the day two-time MVP and Phoenix Suns icon Steve Nash joined the dark side in Los Angeles.
Check out all that and more on Episode 86 of the Hang Time Podcast featuring Las Vegas Summer League czar Warren LeGarie and USA Basketball bossJerry Colangelo (who actually joined us from courtside at the Olympic team’s Wednesday morning workout, as you’ll hear in the background).
HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier on the Dwight Howard front, free agency kicked off and a whole new round of madness began for the Orlando Magic and their superstar center and his season-long trade request to Brooklyn.
And you can stop scanning the list … Howard is not actually a free agent right now. He gave that opportunity up in March when he waived his opt-out clause to remain with the Magic one more season.
Yet somehow, he’s still become the center of attention in the midst of the free-agent frenzy going on now.
That’s why we tracked down Orlando Sentinel Magic insider Brian Schmitz, who has been there ever step of the way since Howard was drafted in 2004, to help us make sense of the story that never seems to run out of plot twists and turns.
While Howard is fighting to escape the Southeast Division, new Hawks general manager Danny Ferry is trying to reshape it by dramatically altering the Hawks’ roster. In his fist eight days on the job he shed $105 million in contracts (trading Joe Johnson to the Nets and Marvin Williams to the Jazz) and put the Hawks in a position to be major players in free agency next summer, when Howard and Chris Paul could headline the crop of stars teams are stepping over each other to sign.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com knows Ferry well, from their shared time in Cleveland (Ferry ran the Cavaliers and Windhorst covered them better than anyone for the Akron BeaconJournal and later, The Plain Dealer), and joins us to discuss Ferry’s master plan.
Check out all that and more on Episode 85 of the Hang Time Podcast featuring Brian Schmitz of theOrlando Sentinel and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.