|Shaq on D&C: ‘I would have played for free’ in Boston||09.28.10 at 8:49 am ET|
In an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, new Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal, who has made no less than $10 million in his last 14 NBA seasons and at least $20 million in his last nine campaigns, said that he had no problem taking a pay cut in excess of 90 percent in order to come to the Celtics. O’Neal signed a two-year deal for approximately $3 million this summer, and he suggested that money was virtually irrelevant in making his decision to join Boston.
“I had other options where the money would have been greater. But this franchise, this team, has a tradition of winning,” O’Neal said. “I’ve been one of the luckiest guys in the history of the game. I’ve had four max deals and one lifetime of play. So money wasn’t an issue. Money will never be an issue. But Danny Ainge had $1 million left, which was the minimum. If I had to, to come here and play, I would have played for free. Doesn’t matter to me.”
O’Neal — who said that he wanted to be called The Big Shamrock while with the Celtics — also discussed whether he will be able to “blend in” in Boston both on and off the court, his bucket list, his experience of last year’s Celtics-Cavaliers playoff series from Cleveland’s perspective and his feelings on Dwight Howard and LeBron James, among several other topics.
A transcript is below. To listen to the complete interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
This is Shaquille O’Neal. Don’t mess with Dennis & Callahan, weekdays from 6-10 on the WEEI Sports Radio Network.
Skip the boring basketball questions. Is Boston big enough for your personality?
I always tell people that I was raised Karate Kid style. My father took me many places as a youngster. I started off in Northern New Jersey, born and raised. Went down south to Hinesville, Ga., then to West Germany, then to San Antonio, Tex. I say that to say that I can blend in anywhere.
You probably can’t blend in.
I can blend in. If people are looking for me in Boston, I’ll be in Sudbury. If you’re looking for the Big Shamrock, he’ll be in Sudbury, in the fields of Sudbury.
You’ve settled on the Big Shamrock?
Yes. The Big Shamrock. Yes.
|Celtics: Morning Irish Coffee||09.24.10 at 9:11 am ET|
Interesting read from Fan House on former Celtics guard Nate Archibald, who hopes to become the only guy on the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list to earn a Ph.D. in education. A member of Boston’s 1981 championship team, Tiny entered the NBA in 1970 without a college degree, earning his bachelor’s degree at UTEP during summers off and getting his master’s at night from Fordham.
“It might not be a big deal to some people, but to me, getting the Ph.D. will be my greatest accomplishment,” said Archibald in the piece. “I’m no Einstein, that’s for sure, and I’m not smarter than anyone else, but maybe I’ve been more persistent. And I understand the value of education.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked to learn that most NBA players don’t have a Ph.D. Are we sure that Ron Artest isn’t putting diplomas on his walls?
NBA Jersey Sales
For the third straight season, Kobe Bryant tops the NBA’s list of highest-selling jerseys, but the Celtics placed three players in the league’s top 15: 3. Kevin Garnett; 8. Paul Pierce; and 11. Nate Robinson. As a team, the Celtics rank No. 2 behind the Lakers in jersey sales. Semih Erden and Von Wafer are yet to crack the top 15.
NBA 2K11 Player Ratings
The NBA 2K11 video game released its player ratings for each team’s projected starting five. The Celtics have the third-highest average rating (80.2) in the game, behind the Heat and Lakers (tied at 82.2).
Rajon Rondo (87) is Boston’s highest-rated player and the league’s fourth-ranked point guard (behind Dwyane Wade-97, Chris Paul-95 and Deron Williams-92). No surprise there. Everywhere else? That’s a different question.
Pierce (83) is the sixth-rated player at his position (behind Andre Iguadola and Gerald Wallace?). Garnett ranks eighth among power forwards (behind David Lee and Josh Smith?). Ray Allen is the 12th-ranked shooting guard (behind OJ Mayo, Stephen Jackson and Vince Carter?). And Kendrick Perkins (72 when healthy) is ranked 16th among centers (behind Greg Oden, Marc Gasol, Ben Wallace and Andrea Bargnani?).
Celtics Scratch Ticket
The Celtics haven’t been in the NBA lottery since 2007, but they released a scratch ticket called “Celtics Cash.” Apparently, there’s more than $20 million dollars in prizes, so the good news for fans is that combined they’ll make less than Garnett ($21.2 million) this season!
NBA’s New Uniforms
The NBA unveiled new uniforms for all 30 teams. Don’t worry. They’re just lighter fitting, like when George Costanza introduced cotton unis to the Yankees. The Celtics are one of three teams–along with the Bulls and Blazers–that will stick with the traditional round-neck tanktop look, as opposed to the v-neck cutoff sleeves look. They’ll also be returning the tiny shorts that Nate Archibald used to wear. Just kidding.
|Poll: Avery Bradley top rookie defender||09.19.10 at 11:18 am ET|
If there’s one thing the Celtics think rookie guard Avery Bradley can do right away, it’s defend. That’s also the opinion of his fellow first-year players who overwhelmingly voted Bradley the top defensive player in the rookie class, according to a survey posted on NBA.com.
It’s not surprising that Bradley won the player vote, but what is interesting is that he dominated the results.
Which rookie is the best defender?
1. Avery Bradley, Boston — 41.7 percent
2. Hassan Whiteside, Sacramento — 8.3 percent
3. Lazar Hayward, Minnesota — 5.6 percent
Ekpe Udoh, Golden State — 5.6 percent
Bradley also received votes in categories ranging from best shooter and playmaker to most overlooked and likely to have the best career.
One other interesting tidbit from the poll: Kobe Bryant was the runaway winner for favorite player among the rookies.
|Shaq challenges critical TV host to boxing match||08.05.10 at 4:46 pm ET|
Shaquille O’Neal took to his Twitter feed to lash out at ESPN’s Jim Rome, challenging the talk show host to a boxing match and offering to donate his salary to charity should he lose.
On “Rome is Burning” Wednesday, Rome said the Celtics should not sign the free agent center, insisting O’Neal had not lived up to expectations in his long career that included three championships with the Lakers. Added Rome: “[Shaq] never approached the game with the dedication and discipline of Kobe Bryant,” the former teammate with whom O’Neal had a public feud.
In his response, mixed in among insults, O’Neal challenged Rome to a boxing match at the ESPN studios.
Those that dnt respect your hard work, its ok, make em respect u as a person.
If u wanna see shaq box jim rome live on espn. I do if he wins ill donate my salary to a charity of his choice
And forget the back and forth jim rome, I challenge u to a boxing match, live at espn studios, show the world if u can bak up the tuff talk
Jim rome, I am happy with my career and the legacy that I have left behind, obviously u r not happy wit yur legacy I 4got u have no legacy about
Responded Rome on his own Twitter feed:
Really? You’re getting hooked and want to fight a guy with no legacy. You’re better than that. Thx 4 checking in. Bn 2 long.
|Fisher says he’ll return to Lakers||07.13.10 at 6:41 am ET|
Derek Fisher, who was being wooed by LeBron James and the Heat, announced Monday that he would re-sign with the Lakers and play alongside Kobe Bryant for a 12th season.
“I have decided to continue with Kobe, continue with our teammates and the fans of Los Angeles,” Fisher said in a statement on his website. “While this may not be the most lucrative contract I’ve been offered this offseason, it is the most valuable. I am confident I will continue to lead this team on and off the court. Let the hunt for six begin.”
Fisher has started every regular-season game for the Lakers the last three seasons after returning for a second stint in Southern California. After his first eight seasons in LA, he played two seasons with the Warriors and one with the Jazz. He’s won five titles, including the 2010 crown that came at the expense of the Celtics.
“At the end of the day, there’s one person I could not turn away from,” Fisher said. “Kobe Bryant asked me to stay but supported whatever decision I made. He and I have played together for 11 seasons, came into the league together as kids, and has been loyal to me even when others had doubts.”
|T. Allen agrees to sign with Grizzlies||07.11.10 at 4:33 pm ET|
WEEI.com has confirmed with a source that Tony Allen has agreed to a multi-year deal with the Grizzlies. The Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported the agreement.
Allen, an unrestricted free agent, has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 2004. He excelled this postseason as a defensive stopper and played a critical role in containing Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.
Allen told WEEI.com during the playoffs that he would like to return to the Celtics next season … and beyond.
“I am a Celtic,” he said. “I love being a Celtic. It’d mean everything in the world [return next season].”
He added, “I mean, things happen but I feel like I’m going to be a Celtic for life.”
Should Allen sign elsewhere, his departure would leave a huge gap in the Celtics second unit as the organization looks to rebuild its bench this summer.
|Lakers emphasize green not their color||06.20.10 at 11:20 pm ET|
After defeating the Celtics to win the 2010 NBA championship, Kobe Bryant admitted he had downplayed the significance of beating the Lakers’ storied rival during the finals series.
“I was just lying to you guys,” he said after Game 7. “When you’re in the moment you have to suppress that because if you get caught up in the hype of it all, you don’t really play your best basketball.”
Now that Bryant and the Lakers have won the trophy, there is no hiding his feelings.
The Lakers recently appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in celebration of their victory. When asked if he talks to or is friendly with any of the Celtics, Bryant quickly replied: “No.”
Derek Fisher added, “It’s just different. If you’re a Laker, it’s really hard to like anything green. Period.”
See the clip below at the 2:04 mark.