Miami Heat

Shaq doesn’t pay for sex, he pays them to leave afterward

Remember when Kobe was accused of raping that girl in Colorado? It was a minor case so you might not have heard of it. Anyway, back when that happened, Kobe remarked that he should just pay them hush money to go away like Shaq does and told police that Shaq paid $1M in total for such a situation. Well it turns out that Kobe was partially right.

You see, Shaq probably did some girls hush money, but then he also paid prostitutes straight up for sex according to the NY Post. And the type of prostitutes he used are the discrete type. A Las Vegas police report detailing the operation of a madam named Esperanza Brooks that was made public this week and included the names of Shaquille O’Neal and Bill Clinton.

Oh and to top it off, Esperanza Brooks worked as a cheerleading coach at the Andre Agassi College Prep Academy. Now that’s a hell of a farm system.

[MSNBC]: Shaq angrily denies paying sex hush money

Miami Heat

To be fair, Shaq was educated during the Reagan administration

You know what’s a shame? That they don’t release Wonderlic scores for basketball players. Cause Shaq might be challenging Chris Leak and Vince Young for low score.

Shaquille O’Neal says you won’t hear him bashing President Bush in light of an eye-opening visit to the White House with the Miami Heat.

“When it comes to ridiculization, if you can’t walk in a man’s shoes, you shouldn’t ridicule him,” O’Neal says. “When I was sitting in the blue room and seeing all the (stuff) the president has to go through, people bringing him letters and a million people walking around, I couldn’t do that job.

If one of the job requirements for being president of the United States is misusing words (“tacular“), then Shaq should considering running in the next election. We’re sick of people making up words whenever they want. Ridiculization isn’t a word, Shaq. The worst thing about Shaq is that he actually thinks he’s smart. He’s like Mike Tyson without the insanity. Just because you’ve read Aristotle doesn’t mean you’re a smart man, it just means you’ve read Aristotle.

[USA Today]: Shaq for prez?

NBA General

Around the Rim: Knocked Out

1. The Mamba Strikes
Kobe Bryant is in trouble again for something he claims was unintentional, but at least there is no police involvement in this case. Bryant said that he was “shocked” to be suspended for last night’s game because of an elbow to the face of Manu Ginobili during the Spurs-Lakers game on Sunday. David Stern turned down an appeal hearing that was requested by Bryant yesterday. Last year, Bryant was suspended for two games after a stiff forearm to the throat of Mike Miller. The Mamba says that he felt awful after he realized Ginobili had gone down, but he also felt awful in a tearful press conference after being accused of rape. That doesn’t mean he didn’t sleep with a gold-digger.

2. Hopeful Hornets
One of the best point guards in the league could be back on the court by Friday; that’s because Chris Paul says he’s feeling great and ready to get on the floor. The Hornets have been destroyed by injuries this year after having a solid start to the season, but New Orleans has still been able to hold their own of late and win seven of their last ten. Desmond Mason and Tyson Chandler have been impressive in Paul’s absence and their numbers could get better when their leader returns. Even though Paul leads the team in scoring, he is much more focused on distributing the rock.

3. The Big Benchwarmer
After missing almost the entire season so far, Shaq made his long awaited return last week. But after playing in only two games, he’s been placed back on a very sturdy shelf. The Diesel hurt his calf in practice on Monday and is considered day to day. It looks like this could be the beginning of a series of nagging injuries for the big fella. O’Neal use to claim that despite his regular season obstacles, he would always be ready to go when the playoffs rolled around. But his age is catching up with his body and the results have not been pretty. Considering Shaq’s current conditioning, he’ll need to be completely healthy for a full four to six weeks before the postseason begins to be at his best when it counts.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas vs. Detroit 44 min, 36 pts (FG: 10-20, 3FG: 5-12, FT: 11-12), 7 reb, 11 ast

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (32-14) @ Utah (29-17) This is a great match-up despite the team’s struggles of late. Tim Duncan is currently playing some his best ball of the year, as he usually does during the Spurs yearly rodeo road trip. Utah has only lost six games at home and owns a commanding lead in the Northwest Division behind the play of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams. The Jazz have been considering moving Andrei Kirilenko and bringing in someone like Ray Allen or Vince Carter since AK-47 just can’t seem to play up to his standards. Tonight, Kirilenko will need to step up against Bruce Bowen to possibly save in job in Utah.

Buzzer Beater: In case you hadn’t noticed; the Bucks suck. This January, Milwaukee has gone a pathetic 2-12. But things could be changing for the Bucks soon because Michael Redd has said that he could return by next week. That would put Redd in the lineup against Orlando. Currently, the Bucks are four games behind eighth place in the East; which isn’t exactly a death sentence in a fairly pathetic conference. Redd has been rehabbing since going down with a strained patellar tendon in his left leg, leaving his team with a 27.7 point hole to crawl out of every night.

NBA General

Shaq serves and protects (his own stuff)

Here’s a novel way to meet your favorite NBA star: hit his Escalade and then drive away. According to police, Shaq and his bodyguard Robin saw a man hit his Escalade. They “leapt into the damaged sport utility vehicle to give chase.” They then caught up with the driver and the passenger and called the police.

The two men, Emmnueo Cibrin and Junior Rondon, said they were going to stop but then saw an Escalade chasing them so they kept going. This actually sort of makes sense but that didn’t stop the police from charging them with leaving the scene of an accident.

Can you imagine hitting a car and then seeing a 7’1″ 325 pound guy chasing you and then stepping out of his car. And then seeing that it’s Shaq? First you’re peeing your pants, then you’re wondering if you have a sharpie in the car for an autograph. They’ve gotta figure out a way to build Shaq into the next Grand Theft Auto.

[]: Shaq helps Miami police nab hit-and-run driver

NBA General

Around the Rim: Happy New Year!

1. Kevin Likes It! He Really Likes It!
Well, at long last, the leather ball has returned and it has already been approved by Kevin Garnett. The Minnesota forward put up a season high 32 points against Charlotte in the NBA’s first game with the new old ball. “There is a God,” said Garnett. And K.G. wasn’t the only one feeling the magic of the rock. Four other players scored 20 or more points in the contest. The Celtics seemed to enjoy the change as well. After losing to Seattle on New Year’s Eve with the synthetic ball, Boston opened 2007 with a win over Portland, shooting 44 percent and snapping a six game losing streak in the process.

2. Philly Comes to Town
It wasn’t that long ago when Allen Iverson wore a Sixers uniform. Now, after over a decade of hoops, Iverson will play his first game against Philadelphia. Philly has been a joke all year long and A.I. would love nothing more than to make this reunion a memorable one. Obviously, he could do so by leading his new team to a victory over his old team but, he can also etch his name into the record books with a high scoring performance. If Iverson can drop 40 on his old franchise then he will move into fourth place on the list of players with the most games of 40 or more. The Answer is currently tied with Oscar Robertson with 77 such games. Only Wilt Chamberlain (271), Michael Jordan (173) and Elgin Baylor (88) are ahead of Iverson on the list.

3. Shaq’s Back?
Coaches around the league are searching for a team schedule as they are looking to see when they have to play Miami next. That’s because Shaquille O’Neal is expected to return to the Heat’s lineup on January 15. And what a surprise, if all goes according to plan then Shaq first game back will be against his old Los Angeles Lakers team. Consider it a late Christmas present since Shaq missed the now traditional L.A. versus Miami X-Mas match-up. But late is better than never as Miami has struggled this season and they are currently sitting in third place in their division.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Kevin Garnett @ Charlotte 42 min, 32 pts (FG: 12-18, FT: 8-10), 14 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Phoenix (21-8) @ Chicago (19-12) Chicago has the best home record in the league and they will need to take full advantage of their crowd’s support as the Suns come to town. Phoenix is only 9-5 on the road but most of their road woes came early in the season. Steve Nash and Co. has won nine of their last ten away from home. No team has hotter than the Bulls recently and a four-time Defensive Player of the Year might be the only person that can slow down a now healthy Amare Stoudemire.

Buzzer Beater: Denver is not the safest place to live if you are a professional athlete. Just ask Nuggets guard Julius Hodge who was shot four times on April 8, 2006. Hodge considers himself lucky to be alive after the drive-by shooting. Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was not so fortunate after he was gunned down inside of his limousine. Oddly enough, Williams was killed in the same neighborhood where Hodge currently lives.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Cleaning the Glass

1. 20-20 Vision
At the tender age of 20, Orlando’s Dwight Howard is working hard to break some of the most impressive feats by the league’s best big men. When the Magic host the Pacers tonight, Howard will look to become the first player in 15 years to record three consecutive games of 20 points and 20 rebounds. On Saturday versus Charlotte Howard posted 24 points and 21 rebounds, he followed that effort up with a 24 point, 23 rebound game at Memphis on Monday. Tim Duncan was the last player to have back-to-back game of 20 and 20 in 2002-03. Shaquille O’Neal had nine 20/20 games in 1999-00, the most by anyone in the past ten years. Kevin Willis posted 12 in 1991-92, the most by any player in the last 20 years. Howard currently has three such games this season alone. He posted 21 points and 22 rebounds earlier in the season at Minnesota. While the records by O’Neal and Willis might be in reach for the kid this year, the true record is far out of reach. Moses Malone recorded 31 games of 20 points and 20 rebounds in 1978-79. Furthermore, Howard is trying to become the youngest player in NBA history to win a rebounding title; he currently leads the league with 14.1 per game.

2. Texas Heat Wave
Despite all the criticism Dallas received for starting slow and dropping their first four, the team is now riding high as they sit at 7-4 after pulling off a seven game winning streak. What’s more impressive is that they have done so without their talented small forward Josh Howard. Even with their current winning streak, the team still sits behind San Antonio, New Orleans and Houston in the southwest division. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to their scoring output, and more recently, an improved defense. Over the first four games of the season, Dallas averaged 89 points per game; in the next seven their total scoring increased to 105.3. In their last three contests, the Mavs have given up an average of 83 points to their opponents. MVP candidate, Dirk Nowitzki, has lead the team in scoring in every contest since their seven game winning streak began. Over that span, Nowitzki has averaged 23.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Dallas takes their win streak on the road to San Antonio on Friday where the team will play a tough Spurs team for the second time this month.

3. Block Party
While the Charlotte Bobcats might not exactly be a ferocious franchise just yet, they definitely have found a defender that guards they rim with a fury. In his third season, Emeka Okafor is has suddenly become a defensive force to be reckoned with. After averaging a respectable 1.8 blocks per game over his first two seasons, Okafor has increased his rejections to over four a game, 4.1 to be exact. Okafor leads the NBA in blocks this season and during his ten games, he has recorded at least two blocks in nine of them. Okafor has one game with two blocks, three with three blocks, one with four, one with five, one with six, one with seven and one with eight. And he’s not just blocking shots out there. At 24, Okafor leads his team in minutes (38.4), points (20.1), field goal percentage (57.5), offensive rebounds (4.0), defensive rebounds (8.0) and total rebounds (12.0). He also ranks third in steals (1.2) and fourth in assist (1.7). If this guy doesn’t remind you of a young David Robinson, both on and off the court, then nobody will.

4. R.I.P.
After 15 years of pick and rolls, made famous by the classic connection of John Stockton to Karl Malone, the Utah organization will soon play in a newly named area. That’s because the Jazz have sold the naming rights of the building to a radioactive waste disposal facility 75 miles west of Salt Lake City. EnergySolutions purchased the rights to the building known as the Delta Center and on Monday there were huge EnergySolutions banners waving outside the building and inside, on the court, was a new logo that read “EnergySolutions Arena.” CEO Steve Creamer hopes that people can look past the stigma that is associated with nuclear waste. Good luck with that Steve. Why not just call it the “Chernobyl Center”?

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Los Angeles Clippers 38 min, 40 pts (FG: 12-23, 3FG: 1-1, FT: 15-18), 5 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Miami (4-6) @ San Antonio (9-2) This game lost some sizzle when Shaq went down but it is still a match-up between the last two NBA champions. Tim Duncan leads a solid Spurs team who, while perfect on the road, has struggled to win on their home court where they are 3-2. Dwyane Wade is still adjusting to life without Shaq as the double teaming has become more frequent. But he continues to thrive; however, the team is only 1-3 since the surgery on O’Neal’s knee.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Experiencing Technical Difficulties

1. Tech Vet
The NBA is buckling down on players complaining to officials, and technical fouls are on the rise as a result. Leading the way is the poster child for badmouthing, Rasheed Wallace, who has received four technical fouls and has one ejection on the year. While players, especially Wallace, are known to get out of line from time to time, all the blame can’t be placed on them. Referees are becoming far too whistle happy as they attempt to lay down the law early on in the season. Players argue that refs are removing the passion from the game; the league office says that they understand the emotional aspect of the game and that any heat of the moment reactions will not be penalized. However, the numbers tell a different story. In the first 51 games, 62 technicals were issued to 46 different players. Last season, through 50 games, only 20 technicals were issued. “It’s almost to the point where I’m like, well, I don’t want to go too hard because I am going to get psyched up and get a tech,” said Wallace. While Wallace has never been a model citizen, he has also never been swayed from playing with emotion, so if Sheed’s losing his passion for the game then something is definitely wrong with the system.

2. No Refunds
What is wrong with this picture? The New York Knicks, a 2-3 team that has not won 40 games in any of the past five seasons, have the highest payroll in the league, spending a whooping $140,595,134 for 2006-07. More than $45 million more than any other team! Chicago made the playoffs last year, added a high profile center in Ben Wallace to their lineup and is expected to compete for a division title this year, and the team’s salary is only $52,861,780. The ridiculous overpaying of players, regardless of talent level, is simply further proof that New York is currently the poorest run organization in the NBA. While it’s true that money talks, it, obviously, doesn’t motivate. At least Atlanta at $44,363,696 and Charlotte at $33,418,833 can afford to be pathetic.

3. Contract Sport
The Knicks were ordered to pay former head coach Larry Brown $18.5 million out of the over $40 million that was left on his contract when the team fired him after his team went 23-59. David Stern was made the arbiter of the case due to a clause in Brown’s contract. After 15 hours of testimony over a two day period, Stern was able to get both sides to settle. Gregg Popovich and George Karl are two coaches that have expressed concern over the way the ruling affects coaches in the future and whether a precedent has now been set. Coaches believe that their salaries should be guaranteed unless it is otherwise written within their contracts. Players receive full salaries despite poor performance or injury, so why shouldn’t a coach? New York was a poorly assembled team before Brown’s arrival, and to expect him to turn a group of b-ball toads into the 2004 Pistons or even the 1988 Jayhawks in one season is ridiculous. The Knicks organization offered him the deal, the Knicks organization fired him before his contract was up and the Knicks should be forced to pay Brown the remainder of his cash. Then again, Zeke always was a threat to pick somebody’s pocket

4. The Big Boo-Boo
Shaquille O’Neal has been bitten by the injury bug after playing in only two games and has now missed two games. Shaq missed 23 games last year after an injury early in the season, and while the Heat’s main concern is having O’Neal ready for the playoffs, they certainly don’t want to have to rely on Dwyane Wade to shoulder the load as he did last season. Wade had to step-up and carry the seven foot giant on several occasions last year when O’Neal played like a Datsun instead of a Diesel; including the Finals where Wade averaged 34.7 per game and chauffeured Shaq to his fourth championship parade. Pat Riley would love to have Superman and Flash at 100 percent because, this year, the weight of an aging franchise with a target on it’s back might be too much to overcome for any one hero.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas vs. Indiana 32 min, 40 pts (FG: 14-20, 3FG: 4-6, FT: 8-9), 1 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Chicago (2-2) @ Cleveland (2-2) This could be a preview of the eastern conference championship in the next few years. Both teams are up and coming and both are trying to be the team to take the central division away from the Pistons. LeBron James will have to get past a four time defensive player of the year, Ben Wallace, if he is going to provide fans with one of his aerial showcases at the rim. Tim Duncan knows from personal experience that being defensive minded isn’t always enough to keep from appearing on the wrong end of one of James’ highlight dunks.

Miami Heat

Coming to a falsely accused child pornographer’s house near you: Deputy Shaq

Shaq has always had an interest in law enforcement and is actually a Miami Beach reserve officer but his latest foray into kicking perp ass went a little sideways.

The Bedford County (VA) Sheriff’s department confirmed today that Shaq was part of a raid last month on a farm house of a man suspected of being a child pornographer. Shaq is the spokeman for The Safe Surfin’ Foundation which protects kids from online predators. The owner of the farm has filed a formal complaint because he was held at gunpoint, taunted, and his house was ransacked as officers seized computers, cameras, dvds and tapes. However, it turns out that the sheriff’s department had the wrong physical address of the suspect because they were given the wrong IP address by the Internet Service Provider. Oops.

Hey look, at least you can say that Shaq has been in your house. That’s gotta be worth 30 minutes of terror and a false accusation right?

[Miami Herald]: Deputy Shaq was part of a bungled raid
[ars technica]: Faulty IP address data leads to Shaq attack on innocent family

Miami Heat

Shaq to promote Li-Ning shoes is reporting that Shaq has signed with Chinese shoe company Li-Ning to promote their shoes. Shaq follows in the footsteps of former teammate Damon Jones, the first NBA player to sport Li-Ning. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

We find this highly ironic since a couple of years ago, Shaq directed a racial taunt at Yao Ming via a reporter:

Tell Yao Ming, `ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.’

Here’s what we have learned about sports marketers in the past year: 81 points erases a rape charge and infidelity; another championship ring erases racial remarks and being a dumbass. If Fuzzy Zoeler won another PGA event, KFC might come calling with some sponsorship dollars.

[China Daily]: Shaq to promote LiNing sneakers