Archive for July 27th, 2009

Shaq guest-host on WWE wrestling show Monday Night Raw

NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is a guest host tonight on the famous WWE wrestling show “Monday Night Raw,” which is nationally televised. This week’s edition takes place in Washington D.C.

It began with wrestling legend Jerry Lawler introducing Shaq to fans, mistakenly calling him “a 15-time NBA MVP.”

Then, current wrestling star Chris Jericho came out, insulting Shaq, saying that he heard a top NBA superstar was coming out and naturally assumed it was Kobe Bryant, not Shaq.

Jericho’s friend (and tag team partner) “The Big Show” was introduced and stood face to face with Shaq. Big Show is about 7 feet tall and listed at 485 pounds. In all my years I’ve never seen Shaq as the smaller dude. (Yao Ming is taller than Shaq, but Shaq’s still the bigger dude.)

Big Show called Shaq a toothpick. Shaq called him “Fat Boy” in return.

Naturally, Shaq didn’t exchange blows with anyone. He’s just there to guest-host and stay healthy for the 2009-10 NBA season as a new member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

About 40 minutes into the show, Hornswoggle, a “little person” Irish wrestling character dressed like a tiny leprechaun came into a room Shaq was in backstage. Shaq joked that they went to high school together, then invited Hornswoggle to dunk on a lowered basket. “Come on, Nate Robinson” said Shaq, encouraging the little fellow.

The show began at 9 p.m. ET on USA network.

Golden State Warriors waive Jermareo Davidson

The Golden State Warriors have waived forward Jermareo Davidson, the team announced today.

Davidson, 24, appeared in 14 games last season for Golden State, averaging 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per contest.  He originally signed the first of two 10-day contracts with the Warriors on January 5, 2009, and was subsequently signed for the remainder of the season on January 25, 2009.  Additionally, Davidson appeared in five games with Golden State’s 2009 Summer League team, averaging 2.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per contest.

Timberwolves trade Etan Thomas, picks to Thunder for Damien Wilkins, Chucky Atkins

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has traded center Etan Thomas and two future second-round draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for 6-6 guard Damien Wilkins and 5-11 guard Chucky Atkins.

“We’re committed towards rebuilding our roster with an eye towards flexibility and long-term success, and this move better positions us for the summer,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “I want to thank Etan for his professionalism and understanding, and wish him all the best moving forward.”

“We are pleased to welcome Etan Thomas to the Thunder family,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “Etan adds experience and depth to our front court as well as a defensive mentality and competitiveness that we value.”

Wilkins joins the Wolves after spending each of his five previous NBA seasons with the Thunder franchise, where he signed as a free agent after going undrafted in the 2004 NBA Draft. In 310 career games, Wilkins has averaged 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

A 10-year NBA veteran, Atkins went undrafted out of the University of South Florida before signing with Orlando in 1999. In 655 career games with Orlando, Detroit, Boston, L.A. Lakers, Washington, Memphis, Denver and Oklahoma City, Atkins has averaged 10.2 points and 3.5 assists per game. Atkins was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1999 and also played on the gold-medal-winning U.S. National Team at the 1995 World University Games.

Thomas, acquired by the Wolves on June 24, has appeared in 373 games over his seven-year career. The 6-9 center owns career averages if 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Thomas was originally selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 12th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft.

Phoenix Suns sign Steve Nash to contract extension

The Phoenix Suns today signed two-time NBA MVP point guard Steve Nash to a two-year contract extension through 2011-12, the club announced.

“Steve is still one of the best point guards in the NBA, and his dedication to conditioning will keep him among the league’s elite for several more seasons,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “In many ways he embodies what our franchise is all about, and we’re thrilled that he will be the leader of our team for the next three years.”

A 13-year NBA veteran, including seven overall in Phoenix, Nash has spent the last five seasons in the desert and has led the Suns to two Western Conference Finals appearances and two of the club’s three seasons of 60 or more wins in franchise history (2004-05, 2006-07).  Since signing to return to Phoenix on July 14, 2004, Nash has led the Suns to an average of 56 wins each season and Phoenix has compiled an impressive 270-115 (.701) mark with him in the lineup.

One of only nine players in NBA history to collect back-to-back NBA MVP awards (2005, 2006), Nash is a six-time NBA All-Star (four appearances as a Sun, 2005-08) and a three-time All-NBA First Team Selection (2005, 2006, 2007).  Since 2004-05, Nash has averaged 17.1 points and 10.9 assists in 385 games in a Suns uniform while shooting an unparalleled 51.1 percent from the field (2,401-4,697), 44.9 percent from three-point range (687-1,530) and 91.6 percent from the free-throw line (1,108-1,209).

Among the most prolific passers in NBA history, the 6-3, 178-pound Nash currently ranks ninth on the NBA’s all-time assist list (7,505) and second on the Suns’ franchise list (4,586) behind Suns legend Kevin Johnson. Nash is the only player in Suns history to average 11 or more assists in three different seasons (2004-05, 2006-07, 2007-08) and owns four of the 10 double-digit assist seasons in franchise history.

Widely regarded as one of the NBA’s best shooters, in 2008-09, Nash became the first player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line in three different seasons (2005-06, 2007-08).  The 35-year-old Nash concluded the season tied for 16th on the league’s all-time list of three-pointers made (1,360) and just 10 threes shy of surpassing the Suns’ franchise record currently held by assistant coach and Ring of Honor member Dan Majerle (800).

Nash will begin his eighth season in Phoenix in 2009-10 ranked as the second-most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history behind only Mark Price, and tops among active players.  A career 89.7-percent shooter from the line, Nash is one of only six players in league history to shoot 90 percent or better from the free-throw line in at least five career seasons. In 2008-09, Nash shot a career-high 93.3 percent from the charity stripe, breaking his own Phoenix franchise record (.921, 2005-06).

Originally selected by the Suns with the 15th overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, Nash played his first two seasons in Phoenix before being traded to Dallas on July 25, 1998 for Pat Garrity, Bubba Wells, Martin Muursepp and a future first-round pick that the Suns would use on Shawn Marion in 1999.  After six seasons with the Mavericks, Nash returned to Phoenix as a restricted free agent prior to the 2004-05 season and keyed the then third-largest turnaround in NBA history and a franchise-record tying 62 victories a season after the club won 29 games.

Among the numerous and wide-ranging awards his professional and personal endeavors have garnered, Nash was named to the Order of Canada in Dec. 2007, his home nation’s highest civilian honor, for his success on the court and his humanitarian efforts.  Nash was also the recipient of the 2007 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, is a two-time winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s top male athlete (2002, 2005), and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2006.

His well-known Steve Nash Foundation is dedicated to assisting underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life with efforts focused in British Columbia, Arizona and Paraguay, home nation of Nash’s wife, Alejandra.  Winner of the 2008 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, foundation events have raised over $1 million.

One of the NBA’s “greenest” players, in 2007 Nash opened the Steve Nash Sports Club in Vancouver, the first sports gym to aspire to meet standards for energy conservation and environmentally friendly practices.  His Nike “Trash Talk” shoe is made from the wasted manufacturing scraps of other shoes, packaged in a box made entirely of recycled fiber and went on sale to the public on Earth Day 2009.  Nash now partners with Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s largest and longest-serving electric utility, and appears in popular television advertisements to promote the company’s solar and renewable energy initiatives.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa on Feb. 7, 1974, Nash moved to Canada at the age of 18 months.

Curtis Stinson signs in Greece reports: Aris BSA 2003 announced on Saturday the addition of point guard Curtis Stinson, who agreed terms on a one-year deal and returns to the Greek League after his experience with Kolossos Rhodes during the 2007-08 season. Stinson (190, 26) arrives from Iowa of the NBDL, where he averaged 16.1 points, 7 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.2 steals in 50 games last season. editor says: I always found the name “Curtis Stinson” to sound cool. Go on, say it aloud. It works, right? Therefore, I wish him the best of luck with his new team.

Quiet offseason for Hornets

The New Orleans Times-Picayune (Larry Holder) reports (via blog): Hornets point guard Chris Paul wished he had an answer as to why the team has been inactive in the trade arena during the offseason, but he suggested it might not matter. Paul said he has no issues playing with the same roster the team ended with last season. He doesn’t think it will take an additional piece to turn the Hornets’ fortunes around. It’s more of a team attitude adjustment thing in Paul’s opinion. “It wasn’t necessarily that we just needed someone extra, ” Paul said Sunday at a basketball court dedication at Hardin Playground in the 7th Ward. “We just needed something extra as a team. We could have motivated ourselves a little bit more and figured out different things. It’s not necessarily a person.”

Tony Parker minor injury overseas

San Antonio Spurs swingman Manu Ginobili enjoys using the summer to ensure that he’ll never be fully healthy during the NBA regular season. Taking a cue from that, Tony Parker did his part. The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Spurs guard Tony Parker suffered two injuries to his right leg in a collision with an opponent while playing for the French national team against Austria on Friday night in Strasbourg, France. According to French sports newspaper L’Equipe, Parker left the game on a crutch after 12 minutes with a sharp pain in his right thigh after colliding with Austria’s Stjepan Stazic. Though that injury soon subsided, Parker’s right ankle became swollen. By Saturday morning, it was clear the ankle was the greater issue.

The report says that Parker feels he’ll be OK and that the sprain is minor.

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