Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wade Wins Title for Heat
Over at Hoopshype you’ll find my analysis of how and why Miami won the NBA crown. It begins and ends with the incomparable Dwyane Wade — hence the headline Dazzling Dwyane is the difference.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Suspension solutions
Jerry Stackhouse is suspended for Sunday’s pivotal Game 5 for an intentional hard foul on Shaq. The big problem is that the play made by Stack — deliberately shoving/grabbing airborne Shaq hard to eliminate the chance that Shaq would make the layup — is widely regarded as a legit “basketball play.” I’d say that at least 2/3 of NBA coaches and players share this view.

My view is that it should be considered a non-basketball play and carry sufficient penalty so that no player would ever consider attempting it. The only legit defensive play for Stack in that particular situation would be to try to force a miss without deliberately fouling — for example, by reaching in with the left hand to strip the ball or just cause a bobble, which might be enough to cause a miss; slipping around the backside of the mammoth Shaq to try to make a play on the ball with your right hand; challenging the shot by jumping into vacant space where you might be able to block the shot or force Shaq into an awkward double-clutch.

If the penalty for a deliberate foul was an automatic 3 points, there’d be no deliberate fouls. This would eliminate the 2 or 3 plays per game where someone is put in danger by a hard, intentional foul. Most of those fouls don’t produce injuries, but some do. Injuries are a part of the game, but those particular injuries should NEVER occur. I’ve seen too many postseasons ruined for various players — and thus their teams — because someone on the other team brutally enforced his coach’s “No layups!” edict. (I mention coaches because, in my view, THEY are the problem. Coaches, not players, set the tone and give the marching orders.)

As for suspensions based on the severity of the intentional foul, my view is that a play like Stack’s should have the following penalties: If committed in the regular season, suspension for 10 regular-season games. If committed in the playoffs, suspension for 20 regular-season games, beginning at the start of the next season. In addition, if the foul causes an injury, the fouler should be similarly incapacitated for however long the foulee is hobbled and/or sidelined.

Applying that logic to Stack, he’d be suspended for the first 20 games of next season, but because Shaq wasn’t hurt, there’d be no playoff suspension. And instead of Shaq having to go to the stripe to, as the saying goes, “earn ‘em at the line,” the scorer would simply add 3 points to the Heat’s total, and possession would revert to the Mavs.

For more of my ideas on humanizing the game so that actual BASKETBALL PLAYS determine who wins and loses, see this essay at

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My debut at
Speaking of Shaq’s — and the Miami Heat’s — desperate plight, I’ve just explained at some length what he must do: Shaq must look to his past for free-throw solution.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My quick fix for Shaq’s free-throw woes
This postseason Shaq is shooting a beyond-putrid .373 at the stripe, including 2 for 16 so far in the Finals. I feel for the Diesel. He really is conscientious, but this is a case of the blind (Miami’s coaches) leading the blind (Shaq). Is it possible to turn things around by Tuesday evening’s Game 3? Yes.
The blueprint for the quick fix was on display hours before Game 2, when ESPN Classic rebroadcast several recent Finals games, including the pivotal contest of 2000, 2001 and 2002. The latter two featured the one Shaq delivery that has worked reasonably well. I could help him recapture that old-school one-handed form — and the sequence, timing and rhythm of that delivery — in 2 hours. Once again he’ll have an arc and directional accuracy, and his distance control will be much improved. He could easily shoot 67 percent the rest of the series, and if he plays well in other phases that just might put the Heat over the top.
You listening, Pat Riley?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mavs beware Spinal Shaq’s Big Bottom
Climbing fast on the heavy-metal charts just in time for the NBA Finals is Spinal Shaq’s remake of Spinal Tap’s thundering-bass megahit, “Big Bottom.” The original featured lead vocalist and derriere devotee David St. Hubbins (a.k.a. Michael McKean); the remake features his younger but by no means little brother, Diesel St. Hubbins.

Diesel St. Hubbins, as you may have guessed, is the big-haired, leather-clad, hard-rockin’ alter ego of Shaquille O’Neal. As hoop fans know, O’Neal has a growing cast of personas and monikers: Most Dominant Ever, the Big Aristotle, Don Dadda, Shaq Daddy, Last Center Left and Shaq Fu, to name a few. But those cats are playing it uncharacteristically cool in the run-up to Game 1. They’re making nice with the Mavs, praising young DeSagana Diop and even their favorite punchline, Erick Dampier. Not a single Shaq persona has reprised the joke about Damp having what it takes to be a decent center — in the WNBA.

But now here comes Diesel St. Hubbins cuttin’ loose with his revamped lyrics and colossal caboose. I can’t believe that owner Mark Cuban and the Mavs will simply turn the other cheek when they hear how Spinal Shaq intends to rear-end Dallas’s hoop-championship dreams.

Big Bottom

Original music and lyrics by Spinal Tap
New lyrics, incorporating some of the old, by Diesel St. Hubbins, as channeled by Dennis Hans
(To view the original lyrics, click here)

The harder the butt whack
The better for big Shaq
That's what I said
The bigger the cushion
The sweeter the pushin'
Or so I have read

I rule the paint with one hell of a heine
Dispatch Sagana whose bum is so tiny
Big bottom
Big bottom
Talk about bun cheeks
This boy’s got ’em
Big bottom, yes it’s one of a kind
Bow down before this behind

Envision the basket
And Damp in a casket
You know what I mean
One smack from my backside
And he’ll think that he died
I’m diggin’ the scene

Got both buns loaded and Dirk’s in my sight
No Hass-el-hoff gonna save him tonight
Big bottom
Big bottom
He wish he had my cheeks
But he ain’t got 'em
Big bottom says the crown will be mine
Bow down before this behind

The video is even more disturbing than the lyrics. It reveals the awesome power of an unleashed trunk with a whole lotta junk, knocking defenders hither and yon as prelude to a dunk.

If you’re Mark Cuban, do you show the video at the arena to incite the hometown fans, or do you suppress it out of fear that it will scare to death your 1-through-12 roster of willing but bony bottoms?