Posts Tagged ‘Shaquille O’Neal’

EJ, Shaq featured on Hawks’ kiss cam

By Jeff Case

The Atlanta Hawks are in the Eastern Conference finals and the series is being broadcast on TNT, which makes for an in-town jaunt to cover the Hawks’ home games in the series for the “Inside the NBA” crew of Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. That quartet had a perch in Philips Arena to watch and broadcast the game and, as is tradition at Hawks games between quarters or during timeouts, the “Kiss Cam” was had its moment in the sun.

The Hawks had a great Kiss Cam moment in the East semifinals against the Wizards, but they may have one-upped it when they got Johnson and O’Neal on there last night and, well, just watch below …

(h/t SI’s Extra Mustard)

 

David Letterman sure loved the NBA

NEW YORK - APRIL 11: Basketball legends Magic Johnson (left) and Larry Bird (center) talk with Dave (right) about their friendship and their rivalry on the court when they visit the Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday, April 11, 2012 on the CBS Television Network. This photo is provided by CBS from the Late Show with David Letterman photo archive. (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)

Magic Johnson (left) and Larry Bird (center) are interviewed on the Late Show with David Letterman on April 11, 2012 (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)

By Jeff Case

In case you’ve been living under a rock or something the last week or so, here’s an update: The “Late Show with David Letterman” is nearing the finish line and, tonight, David Letterman will host his final show. For 33 years and across two networks, the “Late Show” forever changed the face of late-night TV talk shows behind Letterman’s unique sense of humor and style. Amazingly, when he walks off the stage tonight, he will have hosted 6,028 broadcasts.

(The Indianapolis Star has a great look at the life and times of the TV icon here.)

Letterman, an Indiana native, is also a well-known sports fan and, in particular, a basketball fan and Indiana Pacers fan (he even did a Pacers-themed Top 10 once). Everyone from Reggie Miller to Shaquille O’Neal to Michael Jordan (who gave Letterman some guff over wearing adidas shoes) appeared on the show, as did former NBA commissioner David Stern and current commissioner Adam Silver.

With that in mind, here’s a look back at some of Letterman’s best NBA-related interviews …


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Michael Jordan in 1986


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Patrick Ewing in 1989 (FF to the 30 minute mark)


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Isiah Thomas in the late 1980s


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Reggie Miller and Spike Lee in 1994


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Grant Hill in 1994


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Dennis Rodman in 1997


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Charles Barkley in 2006


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Dwyane Wade in 2006


VIDEO: David Letterman interviews Magic Johnson and Larry Bird

(more…)

The internet reacts to Shaq falling down


VIDEO: Shaq Falls

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Every night on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” there’s a moment when Kenny Smith hops up from the analyst table and runs to the back wall of the set. And every once in a random while, Kenny’s fellow analyst Shaquille O’Neal will jump up and race Smith to the wall.

Last night was one of those nights, and as Kenny hopped up, Shaq did, too. Except Shaq took about one step and crashed to the floor, his legs tangled in wires and a monitor. Here’s the initial fall…

Shaq then challenged the internet to come up with the best Shaq falling meme, and plenty of them were generated…
(more…)

Talk Show: Hailey Clauson

Hailey Clauson 2

photo credit Getty Images // Michael Stewart

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the NBA All-Star Weekend about to tip-off in New York City, we decided to talk to some celebrities who know both basketball and New York, to chat about what’s happening in the NBA, their advice for people visiting New York, and whatever else happens to come up in discussion.

Today we catch up with the model Hailey Clauson. A native of Los Angeles, Hailey has been the face of several brands, and she’s about to make her rookie debut in the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. You can keep up with her on Instagram.

We spoke last week during a snowy day in Manhattan…

HAILEY: I just got to New York late last night, and I just went outside to walk my dog and it’s pretty rough.

ME: Yeah, I just went outside a little while ago and it’s pretty brutal today.

HAILEY: It’s quite a shock for me.

ME: Right, because you’re from California, right?

HAILEY: Yeah, and I just got back last night from California, and I’ve been gone for like a month-and-a-half.

ME: You must travel a lot, right?

HAILEY: I do, I’m all over the place. I’m actually back and forth to L.A. a lot, which is nice but yeah, I’m all over the place.

ME: Were you a basketball fan growing up?

HAILEY: Yeah, I was always a Lakers fan. My dad was always super into basketball, so when I was a kid that’s all we did was watch Lakers games.

ME: Wait, you must be relatively tall if you’re a model. Did you ever play basketball?

HAILEY: I did play basketball. I played for five years. I’m six feet tall and I’ve been six feet since I was twelve.

ME: So you were like the Shaq of the league you were in?

HAILEY: Pretty much (laughs). I was towering over all the other girls. I had long arms.

ME: Did you like playing basketball?

HAILEY: Yeah. I was definitely a good defensive player, but wasn’t that good on offense. I was good at blocking… (her phone cuts off; we reconnect a few minutes later).

ME: You OK?

HAILEY: I’m sorry. My phone is all messed up, and when my face touches it, it hangs up. So now it’s on speaker so that won’t happen again.

ME: It seems like being able to touch someone’s face should be one of the main jobs of a phone.

HAILEY: Well, it’s because I dropped it in the toilet and somehow it’s still working.

ME: You were saying you were a defensive specialist when you used to play. When did you stop playing basketball?

HAILEY: I stopped when I was about 13, which was when I started modeling. So I started to use my tallness for something else.

ME: At least you’ve always been able to put it to some use.

HAILEY: I know, I took advantage!

ME: So when you were growing up back then in L.A., did anyone like the Clippers? They weren’t as good then as they are now.

HAILEY: No. I mean, we would go to Clippers games because the tickets were reasonable. No the Clippers are killing it, and that’s cool. I’m kind of sad for the Lakers, but everyone has their moments.

ME: Were you Team Kobe or Team Shaq with those Lakers teams?

HAILEY: I was Team Kobe And Shaq. We had a signed Shaq jersey framed in our house. My Dad washed cars and he washed Shaq’s car, and Shaq gave him the signed jersey, which was pretty cool.

ME: Who was your third-favorite player on those teams?

HAILEY: Um, Derek Fisher probably.

ME: OK. I co-host a podcast with Rick Fox so I was going to see if you happened to mention him. I’m actually glad you didn’t choose him.

HAILEY: I liked Rick Fox! He was always like, in movies and stuff, too, so I thought he was cool.

ME: So are you still a Lakers fan now even thought you moved to New York?

HAILEY: Yeah, I’m still a Lakers fan. I’ll always be a Lakers fan.

ME: If somebody was coming to New York for All-Star Weekend, where would you tell them to go visit?

HAILEY: I feel like New York’s known for its good restaurants. My favorite restaurant is called Lovely Day, and it’s a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. When it’s not snowing, New York is super fun to walk around, and the Highline and everything is super cool.

ME: Last thing before I let you go, who will win a championship first, the Lakers or the Knicks?

HAILEY: Um…Lakers? Yeah, Lakers. I had to think about it but I have to stick with the Lakers.

Does deflating a basketball help?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The big story right now in the NFL concerns the New England Patriots and the accusation that they knowingly deflated the footballs they used in their playoff win last week over the Indianapolis Colts. This would have given them some sort of advantage, experts say, and while we’ll leave that to them to get settled, it did make us wonder, what if an NBA team deflated the basketball? Kenny, Shaq and Chuck got to talking about the same thing last night on “Inside the NBA,” which led to a Shaq free throw shooting contest using a flat basketball…


VIDEO: Deflate Inside

The other question here is, if an NBA team deflated the basketball, which team would that be? Well, I think we have our answer, thanks to this vine from the Milwaukee Bucks, who caught mascot Bango red-handed…er, red-hoofed…

The Sacramento Kings get revenge on Shaq

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’ve ever wondered how NBA players feel about being spotlighted on Shaqtin’ A Fool, I think it’s safe to say they usually aren’t thrilled about it. But rather than complain, the Sacramento Kings recently decided to get even. In this video, several Kings players take over Shaquille O’Neal‘s role and narrate a series of clips of Shaq’s not-so-great moments. Sorry Diesel, you had it coming…


VIDEO: Kings Shaqtin

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with John Leguizamo

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The holidays are not only a time of being with friends and family, they also bring about one of the marquee moments on the NBA calendar: Christmas Day, when the NBA is giving us five big match-ups to keep you glued to your couch all day long.

To celebrate the upcoming day, we’re talking with a few famous NBA fans about what the NBA and the Christmas Day games mean to them. Today we check in with the multihyphenate (writer-actor, producer-director, and on and on) John Leguizamo. Though he was born in Colombia, Leguizamo’s family moved to New York soon after, and a lifelong love affair with basketball and the New York Knicks began. His latest project is the loosely-autobiographical film Fugly!, out now on demand and on iTunes.

ME: I’ve seen you at lots of Knicks games through the years. Did being a fan of the Knicks start as soon you and your family moved to New York?

LEGUIZAMO: Yeah, definitely. I love basketball — that’s what I played growing up. You know, the sport you play is the sport you end up loving to watch. Somehow, it’s reliving the childhood and the life you never had. So yeah, I was a big Knicks fan back in the day — Clyde and up to Patrick Ewing, Sprewell, Starks, LJ, and up to now, the triangle offense, I’m here.

ME: Even these days, when the franchise is rebuilding, are you still fully invested?

LEGUIZAMO: It’s tough. The triangle offense is a tough thing to figure out. I mean, I guess it worked for Phil Jackson in Chicago and L.A., but how is it going to work on these cats who’ve played so differently all their lives, man? I don’t know, it’s a tough thing to watch. It’s like…(laughing) sending troops into war without weapons. I don’t know. It’s like, “Try and use your fist this time instead of a bayonet!”

ME: Also, to be fair, Phil had Jordan and Pippen in Chicago and Shaq and Kobe in L.A. So there may be a bit of a personnel issue with this Knicks team.

LEGUIZAMO: You mean you don’t think Carmelo is Kobe Bryant? (laughs) I mean, who was Michael Jordan anyway? No athlete will ever equal the excellence of that cat, but Kobe was pretty close, man.

Christmas2014

ME: Let’s get your predictions for the Christmas Day games. First up is your Knicks hosting the Washington Wizards.

LEGUIZAMO: Aw man. I mean, the Knicks will surprise you out of nowhere man, and maybe this is the time they’ll all come together — J.R. Smith and Shumpert — and maybe they’ll still come together for that. So I’ll give it to the Knicks. I mean, they come out of nowhere sometimes and they figure it out, and somehow the triangle offense comes together and somehow they’re loose and free. Or they get totally shut down, I don’t know.

ME: Right, sometimes it’s more like the Bermuda Triangle offense.

LEGUIZAMO: (laughs) Definitely the Bermuda Triangle. I think the Aztecs used The Triangle when they fought the Conquistadores. And what happened to the that empire?

ME: Yeah, didn’t work out so well. What do you do on Christmas Day? Will you watch games, or what’s your plan?

LEGUIZAMO: Well, we travel far. Our families are gypsies, so last year we went to Peru, and this year I’m going to be in Africa on a safari, not a shooting safari but shooting with my camera.

ME: Sounds amazing. OK, next up is the San Antonio Spurs at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LEGUIZAMO: Thunder didn’t show up the other night. I mean, Kevin Durant is back, but I’m gonna go Spurs.

ME: Yeah, it’s hard to pick against them. Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat.

LEGUIZAMO: Aaahhhhhh! Oh dear, that’s gonna be wild. I love LeBron now that he went to the Cavs; somehow he regained my respect and love. But that’s gonna be tough, Look at Dwyane who came in the other day with crazy points. I don’t know, I’m gonna go with the Heat.

ME: Two more. Lakers at the Bulls.

LEGUIZAMO: Bulls. Derrick Rose. That’s all I gotta say, two words: Derrick Rose.

ME: Last one, Los Angeles Clippers at maybe the surprise team of the season, the Golden State Warriors.

LEGUIZAMO: Wow, that’s a tough one. I mean, I love the Clippers, man, I love CP3, and after all they went through, I’m going to do the emotional choice instead of the smart choice (laughing), I’m going to go Clippers.

‘Shake It Off’, meet ‘Shaq It Off’

By Jeff Case

Taylor Swift‘s song, “Shake It Off” is No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100, the iTunes download charts and has inspired some cool viral videos both in the NBA world and outside of it.

Leave it to an NBA fan to take a classic gif of Shaquille O’Neal and a dancing cat and set it to the pop song, then …

(h/t SBNation)

 

Shaquille O’Neal’s new album sounds pretty bad

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Part of what made Shaquille O’Neal such a dynamic presence when he was an active NBA player was his ability and willingness to do so many different things. For instance, not only did he play in the NBA, but he also acted in films and released several hip-hop albums. Some of those albums did better than others — as Shaq has told me before, “two platinum, two gold, and two double-wood.”

He may have another wood album on his hands. Check out this (fake, of course) commercial from the Kings, where O’Neal is a co-owner, for an album of Shaq singing pop hits. Don’t worry, you will not want to buy it…


VIDEO: Shaq pop

Talk Show: Ernie Johnson

Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat - Game Two

NEW YORK CITY — Tonight’s tip-off of the NBA on TNT marks not only the 31st year that Turner Sports has been involved with the NBA, but also the 25th year that Ernie Johnson has been the man in the middle of it all. As the host of “Inside the NBA,” TNT’s award-winning studio show, Johnson maintains a semblance of control over a panel featuring Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, during what usually turns into a free-wheeling free-for-all at the end of a long night of games. With the TNT crew in New York City for their season tip-off show tonight live from Times Square, I sat down with EJ yesterday to talk about Inside’s wild ride.

ME: I saw a clip the other day of Charles and you together in the studio, maybe for the first time, back in the early ’90s.

JOHNSON: Yeah, when he was still playing.

ME: Right. And his voice was completely different …

JOHNSON: Oh, I know! “These two teams have some hostility …” He wasn’t The Chuckster.

ME: When he started regularly on “Inside” 15 years ago now, was he closer to what we see now than what we saw in that old clip?

JOHNSON: Yeah, I thought so. Back then, when he was a player, and I think you see this a lot, players aren’t going to say anything while they’re still playing that might get to somebody. If we’re showing video of somebody in a fight and he says, “Those are two guys who couldn’t break a pane of glass,” then he’s going to hear it next he’s playing against them. I think by the time he got to us — that was probably ’92 or ’93 that first time — he had become the most quotable guy in the league, all-interview team. So all of that built up to when he’s done playing, he had to be on TV and hopefully he would be with us. He’s closer to this than he was to that at the start, if that makes any sense.

ME: Whenever I come by the studios in Atlanta, you’re there in your office hours ahead of being on the air. What is a day like for you? How do you prepare?

JOHNSON: I try to be there 6-7 hours before we go on the air. And I think it’s all because after this many years you get a repetition and you know what a game day is like. It’s not unlike a player’s game day ritual. A player’s going to eat at this time and get to the arena by this time. Like Alex Gordon of the Royals, he’s got this game day regimen where he’s at the ballpark by noon, and he’s working out until this time, he’s got a stopwatch, he’s doing this, doing this, doing this. And I kind of have that same deal, where I use this time to recap last night for my files, I need this time to read the articles from around the country about the teams that are playing tonight, then we have the production meeting, so … it all falls out from that. To me it’s always been about the preparation, and if the day comes when you don’t want to do all the prep work, it’s time for me to say, later. But that hasn’t happened. I still love that. That’s the work. The show is fun, the prep is all the work, and if that prep ever gets to the point where I don’t feel like doing it, I need to check out.


VIDEO: NBA Rookies: Inside Inside

ME: I read an interview with you recently where you said your role on the show is basically being a rogue traffic cop.

JOHNSON: That was that Rolling Stone interview.

ME: Right. You’re usually the one asking the questions of the analysts and the players, but you have opinions yourself and you’ve been doing this 25 years, so, let me ask you, who do you think wins the West and the East this season?

JOHNSON: I think Chicago would be the favorite right now, and I think San Antonio would be the team to beat in the West right now, but again, so many things happen. You know, Kawhi Leonard has played one preseason game and now he’s got this eye thing, so, you don’t know. And Kevin Durant, does he come back 100-percent, or is that something that nags him? So that’s why it’s hard to do that. And you know what? I will share my opinions on that show when I feel like I need to. I got three guys here who have been in every conceivable NBA situation. They’re the ones who fans want to hear from. Sometimes you can tell how I feel because I’m going to throw a question out there that reflects where I’m coming from. But then like in a league-wide situation, I wasn’t hesitant at all to speak out on the Donald Sterling thing last year. That first day I said, “Look, if those are his words, the league has no place for him.” I think knowing your role is a big part of that, and knowing how to get these guys where they want to be, and knowing that if I ask Shaq this, Charles is going to broadside him, that’s where the rogue traffic cop comes in.

ME: How has it changed through the years about working with these three guys?

JOHNSON: I don’t think it’s changed very much. The first night that we ever did a show, Kenny and Charles walked out, and Charles asked Kenny what he was going to say about something, and Kenny said, “You’ll find out.” And that hasn’t changed. That’s been the way we do business. We’ve never said, like, “Hey this year why don’t we have everybody in the production meeting and rehearse each segment twice so we know exactly how long it’s going to last.” That would kill the show. It’s continued in what it does well, and that’s spontaneous, off-the-cuff, unrehearsed, unpredictable. And so no, I don’t think we’ve changed a whole lot.

ME: I guess the most obvious change was when you added Shaq a few years ago.

JOHNSON: You bring Shaq into that dynamic, and he’s the world’s biggest kid. I think what got his attention about the show is all the fun that we have, all the laughs, and that’s what he likes to do. As soon as got a grip on the fact that he had to do some homework. And I told him that the first couple months we all worked together. I said, “As much funny stuff as Chuck says and as outrageous as some of the stuff might be, he comes to the studio every night with at least five things he wants to unload before the night’s over. So do the same thing. Have a take on this team or that team.” And he’s done that. The three guys are so different and come at it from different perspectives, and it’s up to me to move it around.

ME: Charles said he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll do this. How long do you think you guys can keep this up?

JOHNSON: I didn’t think we’d be here today. Because what was it, 2000 when we started? I thought, you know what, when the novelty wears off for Charles, whatever time we can get and have the chance to work together, it’ll be fun. I never thought that coming into the 2014-15 season, we’d be talking about, “Here comes another year with all of us.” And then adding Shaq the last few. In this business you never have the next show guaranteed. And so, I always think whatever we’ve done has been a blessing to do it. Believe me, when we sit out there to get ready to do a show, there’s not a time you don’t look around at these guys and say, “Do you know how many people would like to be sitting in my chair?”