Irish Coffee: One wild Celtics weekend
|03.07.11 at 3:04 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
Ok, so let me get this straight: I’m out of touch for one weekend, and we learn Shaquille O’Neal might’ve saved Notorious BIG, Marcus Banks wanted to be a male model more than a Celtic, Kendrick Perkins is (obviously) no Dennis Johnson, a reality TV star painted herself in green to honor the Celtics, Doc Rivers’ family has already won a title this year and the Heat cry more than Dick Vermeil.
Let’s sort through a weekend of wild stories that revolved around the Celtics …
In an interview for ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Shaq revealed why — even 14 years later — he believes he could’ve saved his friend Christopher Wallace (aka, Notorious BIG or Biggie Smalls).
On his 25th birthday, Shaq met up with the legendary rapper, who invited the then-Lakers center to an after party following the Soul Train Music Awards two days later. On March 8, 1997, Shaq dressed in a white suit and waited for his security officer to pick him up and take him to the party. But he fell asleep.
“I woke up about 4 o’clock from a call from my mother,” Shaq told OTL. “She said, ‘Did you go to the party?’ I’m like, ‘No, what are you talking about?’ She said, ‘You know, your friend was shot and killed.’”
Wallace and his entourage left the after party around 12:30 a.m. in two Suburbans. A black Chevrolet Impala pulled up alongside one of the SUVs, the driver rolled down his window and he fired four bullets into Wallace’s chest. By 1:15 a.m., Wallace had been pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“If Shaq would’ve said, ‘You know what, I’m going to come with y’all,’ I’m sure him and BIG would’ve ridden together,” added Lil’ Cease, a member of the rap group Junior MAFIA. “That’s the type of person BIG was. … And I’m sure Shaq would’ve had security, and I’m sure BIG would’ve had another security come with him that day just to make sure Shaq would’ve been all right. So, I definitely think if Shaq would’ve been there, it definitely would’ve changed. It definitely would’ve changed.”
Um, way to make Shaq feel better, Lil’ Cease. Definitely would’ve changed? A little strong, don’t you think? Just as easily, somebody could’ve opened fire on Biggie’s car, killing both him and Shaq. The moral of the story kids, as always, is that falling asleep on the couch is never a bad thing.
MARCUS BANKS’ ‘ZOOLANDER’ MOMENT
Plenty of stories flowed from the 2011 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, but none were stranger or more hilarious than this, relayed by the Ball Don’t Lie blog: Marcus Banks wanted to be a male model rather than a point guard for the Celtics.
Apparently, author and moderator Malcolm Gladwell asked panelists which athletes got the least out of the most ability, and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey — a former Celtics assistant under Danny Ainge — immediately cited Banks, the No. 13 overall pick by the C’s in the 2003 NBA draft.
In a pre-draft interview, Morey asked Banks what he wanted to be when he grew up, and the 6-foot-2, 205-pound UNLV product said, “Be a male professional model.” So, the Celtics drafted him, and Banks went on to average 5.3 points and 2.0 assists in two-plus seasons before being shipped from Boston.
DANNY AINGE: ‘I THINK WE’RE STRONGER’
Shockingly, Dan Shaughnessy didn’t like the Kendrick Perkins trade. And he let Danny Ainge hear about it.
Here’s the exchange that Shaughnessy described in a piece for Sports Illustrated …
DS: “I hate this deal. Tell me why I’m wrong. You were positioned to win the championship and now you’re not as strong.”
DA: “I think we’re stronger. I think our offense and our defense will be every bit as good, if not better as long as we get some bodies healthy.”
DS: “This team was built for this year. Who trades your starting center with eight weeks to go when you are leading the conference?”
DA: “First of all, we were leading the conference because of Shaq. We had a better record with Shaq than we did with Perk. Our offense was better and our defense was at least the same. I don’t think Perk is Perk yet. I hope that he becomes that for Oklahoma City’s sake. We thought it was going to take some time for Perk. He wasn’t the shot-blocker or the rebounder that he’s been in the past. We think that by adding Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and Troy Murphy we think we’re a better team than we were. Shaq was starting for us when we had the great run this year. Baby [Glen Davis] was finishing for us. So, we basically lost middle minutes.”
DS: “You’re banking on Shaq being Shaq in the springtime.”
DA: “He’s better than he was in the fall.”
DS: “What about cutting the heart out of your team? What would it have been like if DJ [Dennis Johnson] had been taken away in the middle of a season?”
DA: “DJ was a star. Nobody put more time and effort into helping Perk become a better player and a better man than me. I spent so much time with Perk. I feel like I raised him in the NBA. I’m a big fan of Kendrick Perkins. I just think we have every bit as good a team now, and it helps us for the future. And the numbers back that up. Now if Shaq and Jermaine [O'Neal] can’t play we could be in trouble. But Perk’s out for three weeks right now. He’s coming off an ACL tear and he’s got a sprained MCL on the other knee so the health of all of those players is in question. I’m a Perk fan. Love him as a player. But I think he’s a player that is not irreplaceable. Time will tell.”
DS: “This is bold. How long were you contemplating this?”
DA: “Not a long time. But we got some calls on things that we thought would be good for us.”
DS: “You know that we’ll blame you if you don’t win the championship now.”
DA: “I’m all right with that. Blame me all you want. Do I get all the credit if we win?”
Meanwhile, back at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren basically reiterated Ainge’s statement that the Celtics are a better team after the trade.
“The mandate from our owners was very clear,” Zarren said, according to CBS Sports. “We want to win a championship this year. In this city, we’re very lucky to have a tradition where that’s what it’s about. If we’re not hanging a banner, it’s not a good year. And so we think that we’re a better team this week than we were a week and a half ago. That’s just how we feel. For a bunch of reasons, we like the guys we got.
“Not to say we won’t miss Perk. Of course we’ll miss him, but we wouldn’t have done the trade if we didn’t think it was better for us this year. It was an agonizing trade to make, but I think it makes us better.”
‘ALL ABOUT AUBREY’ STAR STRIPS FOR CELTICS
In a publicity stunt for her new reality show “All About Aubrey,” former Danity Kane singer Aubrey O’Day published revealing photos from a SLAM Magazine photo shoot on her Twitter account in which she donned green paint in honor of the Celtics.
“I’m a diehard Celtics fan,” O’Day told Rap-Up.com. “I’d say equally enough with how much I’m obsessed with my dogs .I bleed green, so the photo shoot was all about that. I love to get artistic with it, so I wanted to be the girl that actually bleeds green. How many chicks can actually say that?”
AUSTIN RIVERS WINS SECOND STATE TITLE
For the time being, Austin Rivers has more championships than his father, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. The nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2011 as rated by ESPNU, Austin Rivers recorded 25 points and 11 rebounds as his father looked on to lead Winter Park High (Orlando, Fla.) to a second consecutive state championship in Florida’s highest classification.
The victory inspired the Orlando Sentinel to dub Austin as the city’s all-time greatest player.
“It’s awesome they closed it out like this, because they’ve been a target all year,” Rivers told the Sentinel. “I told Austin that he’s going to get beat up every night and that he would have to fight his way through this season. That’s what he and this team did all year.”
DON’T CRY FOR ME, MIAMI
As fun as it would be for me to make fun of the Heat for crying after not one, not two, not three, but a fourth consecutive loss, I’d just be riding the coattails of Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, who captured the problem in Miami about as well as you possibly can.
Of course, there’s no crying in basketball … unless you’re Big Baby.
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