More Stuff From Last Night’s TNT Coverage

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After each TNT telecast, I’ll be posting notes from that nights show. I hope you enjoy the conversation. Barkley is off the hook. There’s nobody better in sports. He gives it to you real and raw.

Commissioner David Stern joined the show via satellite from San Antonio.

Stern on the new measures concerning the game officials: “All I can tell you is that we’ll be posting the (names of the) referees each morning so no one has any special information about our games. We’ll be doing deeper security checks. We’ll be putting in new rules to make sure referees don’t make calls from the locker room and the like. A series of things, but I would not be truthful with you if I didn’t let you know that if someone wants to engage in criminal conduct in violation of the law, it’s kind of tough. I often talk with FBI agents, rogue CIA agents and the like. It’s hard work, but we’re going to satisfy ourselves that we have the best mechanisms in sports. And I must tell you that other leagues and other conferences are coming to us and saying, ‘Ok, tell us what you’re doing and let us follow on.'”

Stern on the likelihood of the NBA expanding to Europe: “I would say five to 10 (years) and it won’t be one. Either it’s going to be a bunch or none. We’ve got a great new arena built in London by AEG, the builders of the Staples Center they’re building a similar building – the O2World in Berlin. There are plans afoot for (a new building in) Rome (and a new building) in Madrid. When the buildings begin to be NBA ready, that’s when people will begin flirting with the idea of putting five teams in Europe. I don’t think it’s anytime soon, but I do think we’re talking within the decade.”

Stern on the likelihood of the SuperSonics leaving Seattle: “We need a miracle, I don’t want to soft-pedal that. A lot of the government officials have made it clear that they are really not interested in subsidizing a new arena for the team. I’m sitting here in a beautiful arena in San Antonio, I’ve been around the track here and there are lots of community built arenas – with participation by the team – but the legislature and the city council and the mayor (in Seattle) have made it clear that that’s nothing that they’re going to do. So we’re on a countdown hoping for a miracle, but I don’t know what’s going to be.”

Magic Johnson on the Kobe Bryant trade talks: “It’s a mess, basically. As I told Kobe (Bryant), anyone can ask to be traded…but I think the way he went about it was wrong. He should have went to Dr. Buss or Mitch Kupchik and said that he wanted to be traded, he shouldn’t have went to the media to do that, way back when. I also think the mistake he made was to really talk bad about his teammates.”

Johnson on whether or not Bryant will be traded: “I don’t think he’s going to get traded. I think they’ll try to keep him and make something happen in terms of trying to improve the team.”

Barkley on why Bryant should be traded: “The reason I think (the Lakers) need to let (Kobe Bryant) go is because they can’t let him opt out of his deal in a couple of summers. The best player in the NBA, you can’t let him go for nothing, you need to get something…you have to make the best deal possible, that’s all you can do.”

Barkley on Craig Sager’s suit after a taped Sager segment stalled on-air: “It was like ‘Mission Impossible,’ ‘this coat will self-destruct in 12 seconds.'”

Magic Johnson on whether or not he’s picking the Boston Celtics to win the East: “(I’m not picking the Celtics to win the East) yet. Let’s give Danny Ainge a lot of credit – Executive of the Year no doubt about it. All three of them have had great individual success, now how do they come together and be a championship team in the first season? It’s kind of hard to do, but I do think they will go to the Eastern Conference Finals, but I don’t think they’ll play for the championship.”

Magic Johnson on the state of the referees: “I think now you’re going to get even better refereed games (because) everybody knows that everybody’s watching. The referees know and the players know that the Commissioner is going to be watching the referees, and the players and fans will benefit.”

Barkley on referees: “You know what I figured out about officials? I either like ‘em or hate ‘em depending on whether or not they gave me the call.”

Smith on the officials affecting the game: “The one thing that was nervous as a player, is that you know that the one person who can affect the game more than anyone else is the referee. Because if a great player, let’s say Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), decides to sit out a game and a young guy named Magic comes in and plays center/forward and point guard and he wins the championship. Guys step up to the challenge, so you can’t always have a player that can decide the game, but a referee, we know that he can do that.”

Smith on what the Knicks need to do this season to overcome their off-the-court troubles: “Winning games takes away the memories because the talk becomes about basketball.”

Barkley on the Knicks: “(Isaiah Thomas) needs to apologize for what he said about black women, first and foremost. I think the Knicks have a decent shot of making the playoffs. I think the (Zach) Randolph/(Eddy) Curry thing will work, but I think Stephon Marbury has to learn to defer to those two guys. Those two guys are their best two players.”

Barkley on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances, on a scale from 1 to 10, to win the Eastern Conference this year: “Zero, negative three.”

Smith: “I think it’s impossible for (the Cavaliers) to repeat.”

Magic Johnson: “With the team they have right now, no way.”

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Game 1: Portland Trail Blazers (97) @ San Antonio Spurs (106)

Announcers Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Cheryl Miller reporting

Miller on San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan: “If there’s any one fault on Tim Duncan, it’s making foul shots, especially closing games out. It’s a point of emphasis that he’s working on, but he still needs to get better at.”

Fratello on Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy: “You can see the authority Roy has with the basketball. He’s one of those rare players that creates almost anytime he wants to off the dribble and he gets into the lane and gets into seams. Then he has the ability to score himself or create a play for his teammates…He is dangerous when he puts it on the floor.”

Fratello on the patience of the San Antonio Spurs: “(The play of the Trail Blazers and the Spurs shows) the difference between a veteran team and patience…(The Spurs are) similar to a baseball player who takes a few pitches and tries to wear pitchers out and increase the pitch count before they take a quick swing.”

Miller on San Antonio Spurs forward Bruce Bowen: “Bruce Bowen, at 36, is a specialist. He’s out there for one thing, to shut down the best perimeter player on the opposing team. Right now it’s the first game of the year and he looks like he’s playing in April or May.”

Halftime

Ernie Johnson, Barkley and Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson on the number of people speaking on behalf of the LA Lakers regarding the Kobe Bryant trade rumors: “I’m upset with the management because there should only be one voice coming out of the Lakers organization. Right now you have too many voices, Jim Buss, Mitch (Kupchak), you have too many people talking. Dr. Buss, if he wants to take the reigns and be the only voice he should be the only voice. Or if it’s Mitch, whoever it is, it should just be one voice like we used to have with Jerry West. Right now, unless the Lakers get what they want in a trade (Kobe Bryant) is going to be there all season long.”

Magic Johnson on Bryant going to Chicago: “Chicago was one of the teams (Kobe Bryant) put on the list. Chicago is one of the first teams he said he’d want to be traded to. But what we have to understand even if he does go to Chicago, he’s not going to be in a better situation because we’re going to take all their best players and he’s going to end up being in the same situation. Chicago with Kobe, with the guys they will have left after the Lakers take what they want, are not going to beat the other top teams in the East.”

Smith on the Lakers taking winning for granted: “The funny thing is, and it’s really a shot at the Lakers organization, (the Lakers thought) winning was easy. Let’s go back to Shaquille O’Neal and the other moves. When you allow those things to happen you are under the assumption that you’re going to get back (to winning), but it’s not written in stone that you’ll get there. There are great players in this league who have never played at a high level and there’s a reason for that. It’s a difficult league and it’s a talent driven league and when you have talent you just can’t let that walk away.”

Magic Johnson: “Kobe didn’t understand that. If Kobe would have been smart, he would have mended those fences with Shaquille, let Shaquille be ‘The Man’ and we wouldn’t be in this position. Now, after four years later, he understands that he can’t do it by himself now he’s blaming the organization, and some that blame should be on him and some on the organization.”

Fratello agreeing with Magic Johnson’s thoughts on Kobe Bryant: “I thought Magic Johnson was right on the money (on the Kobe Bryant situation). You could have had two very happy players, a very happy city, a very happy franchise had Kobe and Shaq remained together. Obviously not being there you never know who started it, but Magic, obviously being on the inside and knows what’s going on there, feels that it was Kobe that did not want that relationship to remain intact.”

Miller on the Lakers trading Bryant: “I can’t see them trading Kobe (Bryant) because it is a business and in Los Angeles, especially with the Lakers, you have to put stars in the building. No offense to Luol Deng or Ben Gordon, but they are not going to put people in the seats like Kobe Bryant is going to put people in the seats. I just don’t see (Jerry) Buss pulling the trigger on Kobe because you’ve got to get a superstar in return and you’re not.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Game 2: Houston Rockets (95) @ LA Lakers (93)

Announcers Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Craig Sager reporting

Collins on Rick Adelman taking over as head coach of the Houston Rockets after sitting out last season after leaving the Sacramento Kings: “It’s good to see Rick (Adelman) back. We talked to him before the game and he said taking the year off last year did a world of good for him. He got away from the game and he feels refreshed and ready to lead this Houston Rockets team.”

Collins on the strategies of coaches Phil Jackson and Rick Adelman: “When you look at both these teams the coaches, both Phil Jackson and Rick Adelman, are trying to figure out, ‘What’s my team? What are the rotations? Who can I play in certain combinations that’s going to get the best out of my team?'”

Collins on the Houston Rockets finding their groove: “When you look at Houston’s early schedule they have 16 games in November. They play the Lakers twice, Phoenix twice, San Antonio twice and Dallas twice. They have a new team, a new coach, a lot of new faces, a new system and a very tough opening month. So this might take a while for Houston to get themselves in sync.”

Collins on LA Lakers center Kwame Brown: “I think (Kwame Brown) has become a pretty solid defender and rebounder. He still struggles finishing around the basket because he has small hands and he wants to go too quickly, he doesn’t settle into a rhythm that he can play at. His offense has not gotten much better, but he is a much better defender and rebounder than he was early in his career.”

Craig Sager interviewed Kobe Bryant at halftime.

Bryant on fans booing him at the beginning of the game: “They really don’t know what’s going on, so it’s not really something that affects me personally. It’s something that everybody is a little emotional over right now, including myself, and I just kind of move on from it and take it game by game and see where it goes.”

Halftime

Ernie Johnson, Barkley and Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson on Laker fans supporting Kobe Bryant: “The Laker fans want (Kobe Bryant) to stay. Let’s be frank about it – when Colorado happened, who supported him? The Laker fans. The Laker management supported him as well through all of that. The Kobe/Shaq situation, Laker fans still supported him (and) Laker management supported him. It’s all of those things and we have to understand that nobody wants to see him go, but he’s demanding that he wants to go so fans get upset about it when they’ve been supporting you for years.”

Collins on the improvement in offensive rebounding by the Houston Rockets: “(Offense is) one of the difference you’re going to see with the Houston Rockets this year. They’re going to be a better offensive rebounding team. When Jeff Van Gundy was coaching their team he was so worried about their defense (that) they had all these three point shooters spread out across the arch so they were one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league. I think you’re going to see the Rockets this year get some second chance points, something they couldn’t get last year.”

Collins on Houston Rockets center Yao Ming: “(Yao Ming) got a soft shooting touch. When’s the last time you’ve seen a big man like that with that soft shooting touch?”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Inside the NBA

Ernie Johnson, Barkley, Smith and Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson on the Houston/Lakers game: “The Lakers are always going to have a hard time if they don’t have all their weapons. Without (forward) Lamar Odom the Lakers are a very average team, and with him they are still the seventh or eighth seed team, so you can’t expect them to go up against a playoff contender team (like Houston) and expect them to win the game. This was more about Houston tonight than it was about the Lakers. We want to see what they are going to do with all this new talent that Houston has and this new coach Rick Adelman. They are a team that is going to have to be dealt with.”

Magic Johnson on the Lakers needing to make a decision on trading guard Kobe Bryant: “Watching the players and looking at their body language, (the Lakers) are going to have to make a decision about Kobe in the next week or two, it’s got to come to a head. You’ve either got to trade him or come out and say you’re going to keep him. Even Kobe needs it, he missed nine free throws tonight, it’s on his mind, too.”

Barkley on the increased parity of NBA teams: “This reminds me of the old days in the NBA when there were no easy games, and this is the way the NBA should be. These fans pay a ton of money to see good basketball, and I’m excited for the first time in a long time.”

Smith on the foundation of a great franchise: “If you’re selfless and you give yourself to the team, all the things come back to you. It takes a good player to understand that; Magic Johnson was selfless, he gave up the ball, he gave up his body, but all of a sudden he got all the accolades. It doesn’t start with just the players to have a great franchise, it starts with the ball boys, it starts with the secretaries, it starts with everyone inside the organization believing in the same common goal and believing the team is the most important thing.”

Smith on Trail Blazers center Greg Oden naming his dog Charles Barkley McLovin: “You (Barkley) dated some dogs in your day, but I didn’t know you were named after one.”

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11 Responses to “More Stuff From Last Night’s TNT Coverage”

  1. Regarding the fans in LA booing Kobe. Fans need to understand that for these players this is a job. Kobe is a person who has a family and expectations were his job is concerned. If you or I had a job that we did not like we might try an change that. Fans should understand that. C-WEBB IS CHILLIN! Don’t hate the player hate the game!

  2. Magic= House Nigga

  3. KevDog,

    Your thoughts on Magic are harsh. Do tell.

  4. KevDog I’ll be the first one to call somebody out but damn Magic has done a lot for the community. That said i’d like to hear your views on him.

    With regards to Kobe and Shaq, the media pinning the Shaq trade on Kobe is a blatant, blatant, blatant lie. If Kobe controlled the front office then why can’t he get some help.

    Just another example of the media trying to pin something on the wrong guy, for all the wrong reasons!

  5. Kev : I have to echo and say that was too far out on Magic. He’s much more of a company man and a suit than the former player Charles still is.

    I was truly surprised how hard Magic rolled on Kobe and that he took every possible chance to kill him during discussion. Magic seemed genuinely angry at Kobe for taking family business outside and more to the point calling Buss and the org out to task.

    It feels good to have basketball back on TNT. I’ll always be there thursday nights, but it’ll never be like tuesday, wednesday, thursday. Tuesday, wednesday, thursday.

  6. Clarification on my position on Magic Johnson

    Magic=House Nigga

    In the truest sense.

    The white media racist machine has been absolutely KILLING black athletes for years now. Barry Bonds and Kobe Bryant chief amongst them with Michael Vick moving up with a bullet. At a certain point black folks have to take a position, either you’re with those white supremacists or you’r eagainst them. And then their’s the house niggas like Barkley and Magic and Wilbon. Too in love with the love from their masters and too in love with the perks to call a spade a spade. And yeah, throw Jemele and JA in there too.

    ANY black media member today who is willing to throw any black athlete under the bus in front of white folks is a house nigga pure and simple. It’s gotten THAT bad pure and simple.

    They argue they have to be objective—Bullshit. Save for dudes like Zirin and MODI and Tim Wise, you know, the white dudes who can’t get a MSM media gig, the thought of being objective doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the behavior or consciousness of the white MSM.

    No man, shit is a war at this point and most of us are too dim to even know the deal.

    I’ll take the hit, be called a loon, a radical. But I’ll ask exactly what kind of black man calls out someone who did nothing BUT look on him with idolatry, as Kobe did to Magic, in public, with as much venom, as Magic did to Kobe last night.

    I grew up with Magic, cried when he announced his HIV status, loved the player and the man. But as I’ve said before. He’s dead to me.

    House Nigga pure and simple.

  7. Yo, I share a lot of Kev Dog’s views on calling out black people. See, we, black people, are always trying to prove to white people we can think critically and aren’t driven by our blackness. But they don’t do that. They do whatever the fuck they want, while we are always trying to prove we deserve what we got.

    I’m not going around castigating black people like that until white folks starting calling bullshit on themselves.

  8. Alen above

    Exactly!

  9. I hear you on that Allen. That’s all we are saying.

    It’s one of the major points I made in the interview with Scoop.

  10. Pistons Fan Says:

    Interesting thing is that I remember Magic asked out way back in ’81 I think because the whole team hated coach Westhead. Obviously different circumstances for why magic wanted the trade, but I think when Buss had Westhead fired, he guaranteed Magic’s loyalty. So I think Magic will always side with Buss/management because they gave him what he wanted.

  11. Very interesting Pistons Fan. Makes sense.

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