From Arash Markazi, ESPNLA: If Mike Brown weren’t a basketball coach, it would be easy to envision him as a successful salesman. Although some basketball coaches look pained, annoyed and altogether bothered talking about their profession and philosophy with anyone outside of the coaching circle, Brown loves talking about basketball with just about anyone willing to listen. He can do it for hours even among the most casual observers and not make them feel inferior when they can’t keep up with his coachspeak. He will simply smile when he sees that glazed look on their faces, grab a pen and paper, and diagram what he’s talking about as if he were teaching his 13-year-old son about the game.
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: Lakers All-Star Pau Gasol announced on his @PauGasol Twitter handle that he “will play the European Championship with my National Team.” Eurobasket 2011, set to take place in Lithuania from August 31 to September 18, will offer automatic berths to the 2012 Olympics to the first and second place finishers. Gasol opted to skip last year’s FIBA World Championships, won by Lamar Odom and Team USA, in order to rest up for the 2010-11 NBA season, but said during his exit interview following the season that he was leaning towards playing for Spain, particularly with an Olympic bid on the line. Gasol led Spain to the 2009 Eurobasket title, and was named tournament MVP for his efforts.
From David Friedman, 20 Second Timeout: The L.A. Lakers have selected 2009 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown to lead the transition into the post-Phil Jackson era. Brown was at the helm during the best five year run in the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is an excellent defensive-minded head coach who fully understands that championship winning teams are built at that end of the court but he is now facing a big challenge–actually, he is facing several big challenges: 1) It is always tough to be the man who follows “The Man.”
From Michael Wallace, Heat Index: Is it possible to be responsible, fair and objective the morning after? Or are we still attaching one team’s motivation to another team’s silly, in-the-moment celebratory method of a single play? Now that the dust has settled — as well as the faux confetti and champagne — can anyone truly admit there was only one thing wrong with Dwyane Wade’s freeze-framing his release after that 3-pointer he drained in front of the Dallas Mavericks’ bench midway through the fourth quarter of Game 2 to put the Miami Heat ahead by 15 points? It’s that the Heat froze up afterward and now have three days to thaw on the raw emotions before Game 3 in Dallas on Sunday.
From Jeff Miller, OC Register: We were there the day Shaq kissed TNT’s Craig Sager. We were there the day Shaq growled, “I’ll be hungry until I feed myself a championship.” We were there the day Shaq called then-Kings coach Rick Adelman “an idiot.” Yeah, we were there for a lot of Shaquille O’Neal and certainly wrote plenty about him. But our favorite Shaq column appeared almost exactly a decade ago — on June 6, 2001. In it, we talked to others about O’Neal’s sheer enormity. A few highlights: Former Laker Tyronn Lue remembered the first time he shared the court with Shaq during a televised game. Lue — 6-foot, 175 pounds — returned home to find several phone messages waiting from friends. “They all wanted to know one thing,” he said. “When did I become 5-feet tall?”
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Regardless of whether some believe Shaquille O’Neal’s eight-year tenure with the Lakers could’ve gone better had his relationship with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and Jerry Buss didn’t sour, he didn’t always report to training camp out of shape and demanded Buss to “pay me” during a preseason game, the Lakers’ owner rightfully released a statement thanking O’Neal for his contributions to the Lakers after he announced his retirement Wednesday. He played a significantly large part in the Lakers’ three peat from 2000-2002, averaging 35.9 points, 15.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks during the Lakers’ Final victories over the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets. The top moments during that run includes his legendary dunk off Bryant’s alley oop lob in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers and his near quadruple-double in Game 2 of the 2001 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers