Crean to be featured on The Journey

Indiana’s Tom Crean and his relationship with Dwyane Wade will be among the topics on the Big Ten Network’s “The Journey,” on Sunday night. The BTN sent us a teaser for that, which is above.

The Big Ten Network spoke to Crean himself for the feature and spoke to Wade, the Miami Heat All-Star and two-time NBA champion, at length for his insight on the man who coached him at Marquette.

“One of the things we try to do on the show is we want to give Big Ten fans and our viewers a greater sense of who some of these people are in our conference,” said Bill Friedman, the coordinating producer of the Big Ten Network’s original programming. “Coach Crean is someone who in the spotlight. Indiana was preseason No. 1, and in a short matter of time, he’s rebuilt the program. In our profiles, we want to see what makes somebody tick, and the best way to do that is through other people. Who better to talk about Tom Crean than arguably the most talented player he’s coached. in Dwyane Wade. Last year the logistics with Mr. Wade didn’t work. He has a pretty busy schedule, but this year, we were able to get some time with him.”

Friedman didn’t want to give too much away, but said the interview with Wade was enlightening.

“I think it comes across very clear that Coach Crean had an enormous influence on Dwyane Wade,” Friedman said. “One of the stories he recounted was when the Heat were in Indianapolis for the Pacers series and he came down just to spend some time with Coach Wade had been struggling the series, and he just wanted to spend some time with his confidant to try to get back on track. The other story that I loved, we asked him did he remember the Christian Watford shot against Kentucky. One of the first thing she did was he texted LeBron, because LeBron is a big Kentucky fan. I thought it was cool that was the first thing he thought to do. Wade has some really good comments on that whole shot. I think Indiana fans will really enjoy what he had to say.”


  1. Dwyane Wade is my least favorite NBA player, he and Dwight Howard deserve to be each other’s teammates. Over – rated !

  2. Harsh, Bombay. Since LeBron and “The Decision” I’ve always considered him basketball’s Derek Jeter in a number of ways. There’s an argument to be made that he’s still living off the ’06 Finals, but in his defense, that was one of the very best NBA Finals performances of all time by every statistical measure. Overrated? Maybe, but still pretty freaking good.

  3. Yeah I’ve never liked his demeanor, how he’s marketed, how much ESPN loves him, or his game. Fans treat him like he’s Kobe. He’s closer to Vince Carter(loser) than Kobe(winner). Wade went to the line for a record setting amount of times, gifts from an NBA that loves creating ‘super stars’, that is the only statistical measure I recall affecting that series. Even bringing up the finals from 7 years ago sorta helps my cause. DWade will say good things about Crean though and kids like Victor will get excited. I’m glad he’s affiliated with IU through Crean and all that but as an NBA player I’m not a fan. Speaking of the NBA- Kendrick Lamar’s Black Boy Fly has a nice tribute to Aaron Afflalo.

  4. Really, who cares about the NBA or the NBA players? When Cody or VO depart for the NBA, unless they’re on the U.S. Olympic team, I will have watched them play basketball for the last time.

    I’d rather watch a Big Ten basketball game, picked at random, than any NBA game. However, I will say this. When you watch an NBA game live, at the arena, it is impossible not to appreciate what phenomenal athletes these men are. To be that big, move that fast, jump that high and do what they do is something to behold. They are incredible athletes! But other than that, the NBA game is crap.

  5. I don’t think the NBA game is anywhere near as exciting as the college game, but for me personally, that doesn’t mean the NBA is useless. I’m usually honed in on college ball through the end of the tournament, and barely watch an NBA game until the college season is over, but between then and June, the NBA and baseball split my viewing and I think NBA Playoffs are definitely worth watching. Basketball is always better when the stakes are high, and a big part of the problem with the NBA regular season is that the stakes aren’t anywhere near as high game-to-game as it is in college, simply because there’s so much of a difference in length of seasons. Even the playoffs don’t equal the college game for fundamental purity, but I still think they’re fun to watch.

  6. I heard Colin Cowherd, a lifelong NBA junkie, going on and on about how Wilt was just on a different level than anybody else, with a long list of players and accomplishments including the degradation of center play in the League, and I had to wonder if Geoff happened to catch his rant.
    One of the players he mentioned was former Hoosier Walt Bellamy. I like Cody. I like him a lot. But he would be beaten to death by Walt Bellamy.

  7. The NBA unwatchable, and I’m not even sure I can explain why. The only thing I can come up with is that things happen too fast. Does the short shot clock limit offensive strategy and encourage one-on-one showboating? Do the players dog it on defense? The last time I watched a game, I even got frustrated by how many jump shots were falling – it was as if the players were almost too good to make the game exciting.

    I miss the epic battles of the ’90s. I miss Vlade Divac, Eddie Jones, and Nick Van Exel upsetting Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp year after year in the playoffs as the lower seed. I miss having a Michael Jordan and a Scottie Pippen to hate. I miss Fat Charles Barkley running around in a Rockets uniform, and the Jailblazers with Rasheed Wallace and Ruben Patterson. I miss Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee. I miss the Clippers being the Clippers. It was all so interesting back then.

    Chet, is Cowherd an NBA junkie? I’ve always thought of him as the ultimate NFL guy (which he is, too).

  8. I’m sure the people who rip me for name-calling will blast you too.



    They LOVE name-calling when it’s against someone they don’t like.

    It’s just “un-called for and has no business here” when it’s directed towards them.



  9. The most obnoxious/pretentious people on earth are those that say:

    “You’re not a REAL American because you don’t believe the way ‘I’ do and support our President 100%.”

    “You’re not a REAL Christian because you don’t believe EXACTLY the way ‘I’ do and it’s OBVIOUS that YOU interpreted the Bible incorrectly while ‘I’ got it right.”

    “You’re not a REAL fan because you DARE look at the flaws in the team. You HAVE to cheer the way ‘I’ do to be a REAL fan.”

    “You’re not a REAL Republican and are a RINO unless you think EXACTLY the way ‘I’ do on ALL the issues.”


  10. I’ve gone back and forth the past few years but I’m more of an NBA fan than college at this point. NBA on TNT Thursdays beats out watching IU play 12 cupcakes any day. The fundamentals in college are really overrated. There are usually a few fundamentally sound kids on each team but college bball certainly is not dominated by fundamentals(as its so idyllically rumored). Its dominated by future pros and their amazing athleticism. Everybody thinks fundamentals win in ncaa but that’s a misguided joke. Take a look at any of the recent final4 teams and you’ll see future pros in each lineup. Sure non-pros who are fundamentally sound can contribute in college, but they don’t win the ‘ship. If you like fundamental basketball watch NAIA ball. Those are 5’9-6’8 kids who have played ball their whole lives and do so without being D1 or NBA level athletes. The reason the NBA is better than college is simple. When you get extreme athletes who also have the full package of fundamental skills….it is a thing of beauty aka LeBron, Kevin Durant, Kobe, Paul George etc. Sure the NBA is full of guys who never met their potential, but it also has numerous who have, that’s something that NCAA can’t say since kids of 18-21 years old simply are no where near their peak as athletes or players. Also people say that the NBA is unwatchable at times because there are so many games— that’s true but again college schedules are equally worthless occasionally. IU has played 19 games, 10 of those games are against complete joke opponents. If you’d prefer to watch IU score 100 against a Sam Houston State that is unfairly over matched and only playing IU for some quick $ than college is your go to. Sure a great college game, like IU vs Kentucky is must see TV. But so is a great 7 game NBA series. Oh another reason NBA is better….its not run by spoiled suits. Everyone plays everyone. 2 coaches who don’t $ee eye to eye can’t ruin a great series(Kentucky/IU) like in college. College bball is far from pure, people who are negative toward the NBA but hold the NCAA on a pedestal are just kidding themselves. College bball is about as clean as college football……dirrrrty.

  11. Washington Apple, Oh yeah, Colin is all about the NBA. College football first, probably the NFL and NBA tie for second, and he doesn’t give a rip about college basketball. Doesn’t even talk about it. Baseball gets 100 times the discussion on his show in January that college basketball does but his audience knows that going in. I only listen to him if my dog and I are driving somewhere some it’s rarely more than 20 minutes at a pop.

    I probably haven’t sat through an entire NBA game since Reggie Miller retired. I enjoyed those Pacers/Knicks games. I don’t even know who is on the Pacers or the Bobcats (closest team to me). I DO know that the Bobcats are historically terrible in a large part thanks to the mismanagement of Michael Jordan. I find that somewhat entertaining.

    I’m right there with you, I don’t really know why I also find it unwatchable. I am one of those stick-in-the-muds who feels like it is physically impossible to pick up your dribble 25 feet from the basket and change direction twice before getting to the rim without traveling.

    Back in the day I couldn’t take my eyes off a Celtics/Lakers/76ers/Pacers/Knicks game. Never got into the Bulls, maybe because I felt the talent wasn’t as equal among several teams as a few years prior.

    Bombay Sapphire, I can’t argue with a word in your post. Oddly enough, I’ve watched more Southern Conference or Big South basketball the past few years than NBA (that being said, UNC Asheville had Syracuse beat in the 16-1 game last year and got hosed). I find something enticing about those diamonds in the rough. Or a Kenny George (easily the largest human being that I, personally, have ever seen) There were two automatic bids determined by games played within a few days of each other in Ashevelle last year. Imagine that.

    Who knows why we like some things and not others? Try as I might, I can’t watch soccer for more than a few minutes. Maybe if I someday have grandchildren play the game. On the other hand, my heart will almost leap out of it’s chest watching a collegiate wrestling match. Different strokes for different folks.

  12. Back in the day I couldn’t take my eyes off a Celtics/Lakers/76ers/Pacers/Knicks game.

    I remember those. Oh the excitement of seeing 25 players on the court at the same time! Those were the days…

  13. Bombay- Great comments; you argue your point well. I’m not saying I like the college game because of “sound fundamentals.” I actually hate that argument. I’ve never though “fundamentals” or “love for the game” were more exciting than watching the best talent. People try to make a case for women’s basketball and the Little League World Series using that same reasoning and it drives me nuts. Basketball without slam dunks, or baseball with metal bats and 10 year olds…it’s like eating tepid soup with no salt. What I think I can’t stand about the NBA, and what stops me from watching it, is that is has no personality, no rivalries anymore. It seems to run on pure, unbridled athleticism, which is impressive and awe inspiring, but… just not interesting. I like the college game because of the timeless rivalries and the tribal attachments that we develop to our schools. Even with the endless revolving door of one and dones, IU is always IU, UCLA is always UCLA, and you keep cheering as if nothing has changed (how bout dem Bruins, by the way? Great to see ’em back among the contenders).

    Chet- Cowherd is a Seattle guy, so it makes sense that he doesn’t talk a lot of college hoops, since we tend to produce NBA talent more than we cultivate elite NCAA programs. For the record, that guy is awesome. I enjoy his style more than just about any radio sports talker ever.

  14. Yeah, I like him, too. He manages to see the big picture most of the time and stays away from the hype. He sees sports as a distraction and not a devotion even though it is his livelihood. Me too (not the livelihood part).

  15. Well, I’ll take a stab at articulating a few reasons why the NBA game is unwatchable to me.

    Lazy players, especially on defense, standing around flat footed. That’s really boring.

    The erosion of the rules. Traveling is now a joke in the NBA. You can take two steps, jump up, land, then jump up again, and it’s not traveling. Guys routinely take three and four steps while driving to the hoop. No calls. What a joke. Double dribbling, palming the ball, etc. Today’s NBA game does not even resemble basketball.

    Superstar preferences on foul calls. Michael Jordon got away with so many fouls and was given so many calls, that while I was a huge fan (and a Bulls fan), I would laugh out loud at the favorable treatment he got. Same with Coby.

    Too many games, and almost everyone makes it into the playoffs. The first two rounds of the playoffs are worthless. Reduce the number of games and one round of the playoffs, and the regular season games would mean a lot more than they do now. More meaningful games would improve the quality of play and make the game more exciting.

    The shot clock is too short. Another five seconds on the shot clock and the quality of play would be much better. Ball movement, defense, shot selection, moving without the ball. The value placed on those aspects of the game has been greatly diminished by the NBA.

    Buying championships. Hey, the owners with the most money win the championships. Changes need to be made so that the NBA moves closer to the NFL in terms of parity.

    They are the best athletes in the world, but the game they play has been degraded. It’s really just sports entertainment now.

  16. Every year I find myself watching the NHL Playoffs and wondering why I don’t watch more hockey during the regular season. Not so much with the NBA. The six or so weeks it takes to get through to the finals is way more than enough viewing for my taste.

  17. Punjab, please elaborate more about your NHL observations. I’ve always really wanted to love hockey, but I find it hard to assess the intricacies without having played the game. I think there are a lot of attractive parallells with the NHL the NFL: high speed, violent, exciting, lots of parity, new champions every year…but there are a lot of negative parallells with the NBA too, such as too many teams making the playoffs. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

  18. Punjab,

    The reason why NHL Playoff Hockey is > NHL Regular Season is the same reason NBA Playoff Basketball > NBA Regular Season: too many games in the regular season, which leads to quite a few “meaningless” games in October/November when the playoffs are 6 months away. Watch the NHL regular season this year, and it will be near-playoff hockey level once the guys get their legs under them. The NHL playoffs do allow in 8 teams in both conferences, but hockey is a sport where the #8 seed is quite capable of beating a #1 seed, even in 7 games, due to hot goaltending, lucky bounces, and better special teams play. The L.A. Kings were the #8 seed in the playoffs last year…and finished as Stanley Cup Champions. Why? Two things: 1) Their regular season saw a lot of their key players miss time due to injuries, which meant that once they returned for the playoffs, they became a better team and 2) Jonathan Quick became the hottest goaltender in the NHL. Has a #8 seed ever won the NBA title?

  19. i agree with podunker. i use to watch nba in the old days, but my love of our indiana team began overriding any enthusiasm for the nba and their style of game. i miss larry bird, reggie miller and a host of others. my only respect for the nba are the guys who show up to represent our country in the olympics and risk injury to their career for OUR COUNTRY.. well spoken podunker and aeveral others on this link today. go iu, go college basketballl…….

  20. Asheville used to have a hockey team in one of the ‘goon leagues’. One of Wayne Gretzky’s brothers played and another was the coach. ‘The Great One’ came to quite a few games. I’ve never been a jersey buying guy but I kinda wish I’d bought one of the ‘Smoke’ jerseys with Gretzky on the back.

    I didn’t know the intricacies of the game but it was pretty easy to tell the difference between those guys and the NHL.

  21. Hey ‘kenny george’,
    Did you ever get a chance to see Kenny George in person? I am not exaggerating when I say that he frequently blocked shots at his elbow or even his triceps. Six foot nine guys looked like little kids next to him.

  22. Chet,

    Did he not lose some part of his leg from a non injury or accident? Something in my memory but kinda blurry.

  23. psych- what you described is exactly what I like and don’t like about NHL playoff hockey. While I like to see underdogs win, I also want the regular season to mean something. Maybe its from watching year after year of really good Canucks’ teams run into “the hot goalie” in the playoffs. I’m left thinking, “man, does it really all come down to this? One guy?”

  24. Nate “The Skate” Archibald
    Clyde “The Glide” Frazier
    Earl “The Pearl” Monroe
    Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain
    John “Hondo” Havliceck
    Bob “Butterbean” Love
    Norman “Stormin'” Van Lier
    Chet “The Jet” Walker
    Julius “The Doctor” Erving
    The Big E

    At some point the mega contracts waiting in the wings, the saturation of coverage, and the yearly circus atmosphere surrounding NBA drafts for the college game prima donnas slated to be multimillionaires before they even slip on their first professional jersey, stole the chance for us to melt our hearts into the personalities of the game. It seems so much about ego anymore..They give themselves all the limelight they’ll ever need.

    The fans have been stripped of their desire to watch the personality of a player evolve into a nickname. They have no desire to make them into heroes of hardwood. They now come into the NBA game with everything they need. The press coverage that begins when they’ve barely sprouted a chest hair in the 9th grade, the slimy boosters, the manipulating agents serving as ‘handlers’, the Tom Creans and John Caliparis of the world that glorify the service they provide in finding and channeling NBA talent while functioning as a college coaches for the rest the mere mortals, the sports talk shows inflating the already fully inflated, the pre pre-Draft parties, the 8-hour ESPN specials before during the Draft, the NBA watch lists….the pumping our ears with the dollar figures followed by six zeros soon to be handed to a 19-year-old that knew he was already king of the world when he wasted the one year of his life when he couldn’t flaunt his money for some college team he could give a rat’s a$$, etc, etc, etc.

    Nicknames? Heroes? It’s amazing we have any interest at all. They stole our interest. They marketed it to death. They built their pyramids before we could decide a name to give every damn one that is already king. King James. Enough said. Hell, a clever fan or teammate in the locker room deciding to call you “Butterbean” used to be enough. “Stormin” was a simple phrase created by your dedicated fans…It symbolized how you played on the court instead of how you went after a hotel maid when you order room service.

    The college game is teetering on the same circus world that turns all levels of worth into a dollar sign. March Madness is the only thing that humbles the game and takes us out of that individualistic realm…Without March Madness the college is nothing but a hotel maid for the NBA executives using it, buying it, and cheapening it as their fantasy whore soon they’ll own. They continually deny they went to bed with the college game…And the stars may think they’re stars and ‘kings’, but they’ve been owned. They no longer make their way slowly into our hearts. They no longer need the fans to bestow one tiny contribution of their ‘personality’ onto the game. They’ve been fully crafted, molded, marketed, and crowned before the official tosses the ball up for opening tip-off..

  25. Tommy “The Errand” Crean.

    Oh, he never played in the NBA, alright, but that’s how he was known throughout his HS basketball days.

  26. Chet, I missed that rant…

    Wilt may very well have been the best player at the center position ever. I never questioned his talent. My premises were that he was an under-achiever, selfish, and a poor teammate… Well more like a terrible teammate. Oh and a coach killer. I also said his stats were greatly inflated because of his selfishness and the lack of quality size in the league during his era.

    I gave lots of supporting data at the time and and I’m not going to go back and do it again. My premise was never that Shaq was better. It’s impossible to know since they never played head to head. My premise was that Shaq is under-rated by purists because he didn’t possess the pure skill of a Wilt or Olajuwan. He played and put up great stats against the BEST era of centers in league history. His prime signifcantly overlapped the primes of Ewing, Robinson, Hakeem, Yao, Mourning, Mutumbo, Dougherty, Jermaine O’Neal, Smits, and Seikaly. The average size of NBA players has also significantly risen since Wilt’s prime… Especially the size of high quality centers. Wilt won 2 NBA championships despite playing with some of the most loaded teams of all time. Shaq won 6.

    Again, I’m not claiming one is better than the other, but neither would have dominated the other either, which was the premise of a few traditionalists around here.

    That’s all.

  27. Shaq is my most-hated athlete of all time.

    First, I think he was vastly over-rated as a player. “Knock ’em over dunk” was almost his entire game.

    Big deal.

    Second, he was too lazy to care about free throws. Think how much more they would have won if he had cared about that.

    But mostly, there was a time he got hurt towards the end of the season but didn’t have surgery until the next season started. And when asked why he didn’t get it done during the off-season so he could be ready to play when the season started, he said, “I got hurt on company time, I’m going to get fixed on company time.”

    Are you %$#@ing kidding me?

    What a huge middle finger to the fans and your teammates.

  28. Shaq used his gigantic caboose to bull people over. There was never anything ‘basketball’ about it. His arrogance to accompany very little basketball skill was far more detrimental than someone not a “team player.” At least Wilt could back up the ego with a varied skill set unlike anyone approaching his size. Turnaround jumper..baseline jumper..hook..finger role, running the court…He was Zeller x 10. Wilt would have turned Shaq “The Steamroller” O’Neal into puppy doo-doo. We don’t need the head-to-head.

    I always get a kick out of how many say how much more athletic the players are today…BS. Half of it is likely the result of size, science, and steroids..I don’t see the finesse of Dr. J or Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. Oscar Robertson would make Oladipo look he just received his first basketball lesson..Another schooling would take place.

  29. Didn’t intend for the redundancy on top of Laffy’s post. Didn’t have a chance to see it while I was typing my own Chamberlain/Shaq contrast.

    Oscar “The Big O” Robertson

    How could I forget….”Pistol” Pete Maravich!?

    Now they slobber over Nash? Maravich vs. Nash? Maravich’s fire and flash would turn Nash to soot and ash.

  30. Mark this day down……HH and I completely agree.

    Shaq is the most over-rated player of all time.

    And ^%#*&^%.

  31. HC, Kenny George got, I believe, a staph infection and had a good portion of his foot amputated. I would surmise he had inadequate circulation to fight off such an infection. The human heart just doesn’t meet the design specs for a person that big.

    Geoff, the thing about his rant was, he went into great depth about how Wilt faced MUCH stiffer competition in his day and backed it up with names and stats. Some of the names included Bob Lanier, Nate Thurmond, Walt Bellamy, Bill Russell, Kareem, Wes Unseld, Willis Reed. In his opinion it was the golden era of the center and any one of those guys would be the best in the league today because they were so much tougher (no doubt the guys named above would beat Dwight Howard to death), in part due to the different rules of that era. Obviously, you can’t just go by height. You mentioned Rick Smits (I believe 7’4″). Oh, come on. Why not Shawn Bradley if you’re gonna go there? Do you really thing Rick Smits could handle any of those guys?

    I didn’t intend to argue his point his point, just passing it along.

  32. Steve, Rick “the Rocket” Mount, high school days? Lest you forget his Purdue Boilermaker days? Wow, how could you forget those? The greatest pure shooter of all time. Back in the day when Freshmen were not allowed to play varsity ball.

  33. Like I said I’m not going to go back and do the amount of research I did to back up my points last time. It took a stupid amount of time. But I clearly outlined the years that each of the players you listed primes overlapped with Wilt’s prime, as well as the size of each player compared to Wilt’s, as well as the misunderstanding that many people had of what position several players of that era played. Wilt’s career, at least the prime of his career compared to the primes of other great centers of the 50’s – 70’s, barely overlapped with anyone except Russell.

    I added Rik Smits and Jermaine O’Neal because they were Pacers… But they both had several seasons with all-star calibre numbers. In Smits’ prime he was going for about 17 and 7… JO was going for about 20 and 10… Shawn Bradley never had a single season close to what those guys did for a sustained period,with the exception of blocked shots.

    Harvard, if they were playing HORSE or some type of copy-shot game there is no question that Wilt would kick Shaq’s ass… But in a real basketball game size matters. Shaq would have been effective whether you like it or not. In his prime he always was. No one was ever more skilled or had a better array of moves in the post than Olajuwan, and Shaq played against him in his prime. Both had success against the other… As sure as I can be without ever being able to see them go head-to-head I’m sure that is what a Wilt vs Shaq match-up would have been like.

    If you guys want to be irrational then you’re welcome to your opinions… I hate Kobe and Karl Malone the way you guys hate Shaq, but that doesn’t keep me from understanding the proper perspective of their abilities and impact on the game. I can’t stand Shaq either, but I don’t hate him… I just am able to analyze his historical importance without prejudice.

    If I had to take one of those two guys for to be on my team for a career I’d probably take Shaq… Not because he was a better player, but because he was (believe it or not) a better teammate. Ask any teammate of Wilt’s… Ask any coach of Wilt’s. Read a book.

    That being said, I’d take Russell over either of them and next I’d take Hakeem… Then probably Kareem or Shaq…

    I have played enough basketball to know that chemistry is far more important than a marginal difference in talent or individual impact. I have an incredible winning % with my buddies over bigger, more athletic, and talented teams. I have on several occassions turned down the option to have really talented players on my teams because of their personalities. Twice in the last 2 years I have declined to take on 6’10” or taller players who started at the mid-major level and were under 28 years old because they would have made our teams worse, even though they were individually better and/or bigger than the guys we had. (I know it’s hard to believe, but there arent a ton of guys that size in Maine)

    My guess is that’s how I’d feel about having Wilt on my team if I were in the NBA.

  34. My dad was a very good grade school friend of Mount’s. I think in elementary school my father said they were best friends, but grew apart a bit as Rick got so much better and my father struggled to make teams in HS. Considering my father is the most honest person I’ve ever known I guess I believe him.

    Then Mount went to PU and my father went to IU… That was about the end of that.

  35. If Shaq were a “great teammate”, he would have stayed with the Lakers and got 12 Titles with Kobe.

    Or do you put all that on Kobe?

  36. ^Stop the presses..I totally agree with Laffy.


    Being “rational” has nothing to do with it. If Wilt could have applied his skills(that eclipsed everyone else when he was growing up) for 10 years against a level of competition that could even begin to challenge him, what type of unstoppable force would result? Is it not a combination of God-given and environment? Wilt is also a product of the environment and the athleticism surrounding his game in the prime his era. It’s nearly unfathomable to imagine the player that could have fully developed if he would have been thoroughly challenged in his early years.

    Wilt could have taken those gifts few could challenge at sat in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking to feed them. I guess the fact he couldn’t truly be challenged on the court had something to do with the bedroom obsessions.

  37. Laffy, I put it on both. And I never said he was a “great teammate”… I said Wilt was a terrible teammate and Shaq was better than terrible. Big difference.

    Harvard… We’ll never know. But I do know that his selfishness led to lots of personal stats, very few titles compared to his talent and the talent around him, and lots of pissed off teammates and coaches.

    Best example – Wilt so badly wanted to lead the league in assists for a season that he often refused to take easy shots and instead passed out to teammates, leading to a few losses. He also would yell at his teammates during and after games if they missed shots that messed with his assist numbers. Both the losses and the yelling led to his teammates devising him. But hey, at least he led the league in assists…

    The Lakers’ players voted for 2 consecutive years to not bring him onto the team because he was so universally disliked in the league. The first year management listened… The second year they didn’t. Wilt came in to a team with Baylor, West, Happy Hairston and Goodrich and could only manage 1 title.

  38. Harvard, have you ever seen any of the video of him at Kansas. I remember a couple clips of Wilt handling the ball at the center of a fast break. Amazing.

    He was also all conference in track.

    Shaq once won a pie eating contest.

  39. Chet – I think these really happened, but maybe I’m wrong…

    HS version of Shaq:

    College version (worth watching whole thing):

  40. And these…

    Old version:

    If anyone doesn’t think Shaq was one HELL of an athlete they are only remembering the second half of his NBA career (the perils of playing a long time). His combination of size, speed, power, and leaping ability was and is extremely rare. Just watch that LSU video… Ridiculous.

    Almost makes me like him

  41. Well, I strongly disagree that Shaq was “better than terrible.”

    The dude gave all his teammates the middle finger and not get the surgery he needed the entire summer and waited until the season started.

    That’s about as &*^$%^* as it gets.

  42. Your criticism of that situation by Shaq is fair, but he has a pretty good rapport with teammates outside of Kobe… And that incident was smack-dab in the middle of the whole Kobe feud. He never had issues getting other surgeries during his career. That was a Lakers/Kobe thing… But fair enough.

    The line of coaches and teammates to openly disdain Wilt is akin to that of Space Mountain during spring break… Wicked long and insufferably painful.

    Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Rondo were happy to have the decrepit version of Shaq a couple years ago. He’s a jovial guy for the most part.

    West, Baylor, Goodrich and crew voted against adding a 31 year old Wilt, coming off a 24 & 11 season, to their team for a bag of chips even though they were one player away from a dynasty.

  43. Geoff,

    Jack Kent Cooke owned the Lakers prior to and during the Chamberlain years and nobody but him made the high profile decisions. When he signed WC he gave him a much much bigger contract than either West or Baylor which instantly made Wilt subject to criticism in LA. Gail Goodrich was not on the Laker team when Wilt arrived but was for the “72” season. The divisive ingredient in the chemistry of the LA team was Coach Van Breda Kolff who was not liked anywhere he went. He had more trouble getting along in the NBA than Dennis Rodman.

  44. Rodman worked well with the Bulls and Pistons… He was part of the chemistry, not the piece that kept teams from winning.

    Regardless of whether or not the owner made the decisions, the fact remains that management gave the players a vote in Summer of ’67 and the Lakers players voted (unaminously I believe) to not bring Wilt onto the team. He was not brought to the Lakers until the next season.

    You may very well be right abut Coach Van Breda Kolff, but there aren’t books dedicated to talking about how disliked he was written by his peers.

  45. Wilt kept teams from winning? He is the reason his teams won more playoff games than they lost. The Red Auerbach Celtics kept teams from winning.

  46. Sure the Celtics were responsible, but that doesn’t mean Wilt wasn’t to blame as well.

    Again, I’ll continue to trust the first hand accounts of teammates, coaches, and writers from that era. He was an amazing individual talent whose selfishness and aloofness kept him from winning as much as he should have and caused him to be a terrible teammate.

  47. The Celtics were about 8 HOF players deep. There never was and never will be again a team that loaded. The rules just won’t allow it.

    It obviously doesn’t just apply to Wilt but who knows how championships would have turned out if the Celtics hadn’t been able to stockpile unbelievable talent.

    Maybe we should compare Ali to modern heavyweights. Naw, that wouldn’t even be close.

  48. Just not so Geoff. I consider myself a 1st hand account as I lived through it too. I trust what I saw and read. Russell, Lanier, Malone, Bellamy and Thurmond said positive things about their match ups with WS. Alcinder’s idol growing up was Wilt, whom as a teenager he got to play against in pickup games in NYC. No one would bet that a player could lay 50 points on Bill Russell but Chamberlain did. As far as selfish, I consider rebounding very unselfish. Rebounding records owned by Chamberlain that most likely a 2 men tandem in the present or the future will never break; 55 one game(against Boston), 2100+ for a season and 23K+ for a career. Not to mention shorter seasons of the era and the # of rules changes(like widening the lane)to try to neutralize his selfishness(Size, Athleticism, Talent and Skills). Shaq would have to stand on his Great Grandmother’s shoulders just to see those #’s.

  49. If Shaq wasn’t allowed to knock over people and dunk on them, he wouldn’t have scored more than 6 points a game.

  50. Okey dokey guys…

    Clarion, like I said, the first hand accounts of teammates, coaches, and writers count for more than yours. Sorry. Doesn’t mean your opinion isn’t valid, just far less valid. And having opponents say you were a great player or exhibited good sportsmanship doesn’t mean you were a good teammate. His teammates at every stop are on the record as saying he was selfish and a bad teammate. He got several coaches fired because he couldn’t get along with them. I’m not making this stuff up. Maybe they’re all lying, but it’s all on the record.

    Btw, Moses Malone never played a single game against Wilt and Lanier just saw the tail end of Wilt’s career. Kareem idolized him as a kid and despised Wilt as an adult.

    Wilt played for 3 teams in 14 seasons, and during his prime teams kept getting rid of him – 3 yrs in Philly and the owner sells the team to San Fran after Wilt averages 50/gm… Next year the team loses 49 games while Wilt averages 44 ppg… Then Thurmond made Wilt expendable and they traded him to the new Philly team for a bag of chips and the sum equivalent to just over $1M today… The owner said that Wilt was “easy to hate” when he showed him the door… In Philly he dictated practice times because of his commute from NYC, which pissed off his teammates… After getting Dolph Schayes fired, the next coach (Hannum) had to continually get in locker room fist fights with Wilt in order to convince him to play defense… Sixers win a championship… However, next season he is fighting so bad with the owner that they try to trade him to LA, here’s where the Lakers’ player vote comes in and the trade doesn’t happen… Wilt stays one more year in Philly and then they trade him for Archie Clark and 2 nobodies… In LA he immediately butts heads with Baylor and Coach Breda Kolff, who calls him egotistical, a slacker, and too concerned with his own statistics… Wilt goes through 3 coaches in 5 years in LA…

    Laffy, your statement is ridiculous.

    If Shaq had played during Wilt’s era his numbers would have been massive. Probably not as massive as Wilt’s, but he would have been dominant. His combination of size and athleticism dictates that. He could run, jump, and had tremendous power… He would have averaged 30+ points and 20+ rebounds for several years had he played in that era.

  51. Surprised no one mentioned Bill Russell, the most ignored and overlooked, (even here) and, in my mind, one of the two best basketball players who played the pro game and the only one who could compete with Wilt. And one heck of a gentleman and human being as well.

  52. Oops, sorry…been skipping through this discussion and didn’t see the references to Bill Russell until after I wrote my comment.

    Having said that, Wilt was something different. Had he played against Shack, Wilt had the skills and the disposition to just simply abuse him.

  53. OK…got through with the thread. Chet and Clarion have it dead on. I think HC’s comment IS valid. It’s a history we saw with our own eyes. Celts- by far- the best team ever and Wilt leaps ahead of whoever came in second (probably Russell in my mind but I accept others may debate it). Shack? Maybe top five.

  54. Good one Chet…

    Still trying to figure out why you don’t LOVE Tom Brady…

    He’s so much like you. Married a beautiful woman, led a charmed life, very even-handed, smooth-tongued…

    And yes, exactly like Wilt… Gotten a bunch of coaches fired (other teams coaches), players hate him (although his teammates love him), and he’s constantly getting traded and in big disputes with Kraft (oh wait, that’s not true at all)

    Brady is a class act, just like you Chet! You should adore him.

  55. Okie Dokie Geoff,

    In the days of Wilt, Russell, Bellamy and the rest of that era Shaq would have been the center who spent considerable time on the bench in foul trouble because he had no BB moves. His lower the shoulder, step in, shove the defender with the forearm, reach up and dunk was a foul back then. Yes I rely on what I see and stand confidently by it. Many you tout as all knowing of the time are people who were jealous because they could not compete with him or get next to him. At Philly Dolph Schayes only coached for 3 years because he was not a good coach and became supervisor of referees. Van Breda Kolff as I stated earlier was a prick and was fired during the season at every Pro job he held. Good coaches are good mangers and could manage Wilt. Yes, Wilt ran the show early on the 2nd time in Philly as he was allowed to because DS was not strong. Those are the 2 coaches who WS did not care for. But at Philly he regularly took the team out for dinner and graciously picked up the tab. Poor teammate? Here are some stats for all to digest; Shaq spent 19 years in the NBA gathering 28k+ points but only 13k rebounds, Wilt in 14 seasons accumulated 31k+ points and the astounding # of 23k+ rebounds. Only 13k boards for 19 years. Is that heart, skill and hard work? Anemic for 19 years. Selfish.

  56. If Cody was allowed to knock over people and dunk like Shaq did, he’d score 50 points a game.

    The refs never called it because the NBA wants “stars”…, they let him charge almost every time he touched the ball.

    Talk about boring “basketball”: Just bulldooze over your guy and dunk it.


    Hell, just put college players against Junior High kids and watch them do that.

    No thanks.

  57. Tsao – like I said… It IS valid… Just not AS valid as those that were part of the story.

    There’s different ways of measuring “better”… Was Wilt more skilled – absolutely. He was more skilled for his size and athleticism than everyone except maybe Olajuwon. But since basketball is a team game that’s not all that makes someone “better”. You also have to be able to exist in a framework and philosophy, you have to have a will to play defense, you have to spend months and years on end with the same group of guys, so you better be a good teammate.

    There were lots of centers that were better in every area except skill-to-size ratio, and at least one of them turned those “better” attributes into 8 straight championships. If Wilt would have been a different person with the same skill set and size, he would have been hands down the most dominant and winning player of all time….

    But he wasn’t, he was a very flawed personality.

  58. Not only did Shaq suck at rebounding……..selfish…….he sucked at free throws because he didn’t give a crap about helping his team win.


    And then that whole surgery thing.

    There was also that time during a pre-season game where Shaq was “running” down the court and he was SCREAMING at Buss, the owner, “PAY ME MY MONEY” because he was trying to get a bigger contract.

    Pure class.

  59. You CANNOT compare rebounding stats across eras… The game was played differently back then, and the size of the surrounding players was different. Lots the big guys averaged 15-25 boards back then. That was the norm. In the 1965-66 season alone, 5 players averaged between 15-25 rebounds per game

    Now it is a complete anomaly for anyone to average 15. That’s not because players are too lazy, or not skilled enough… Someone would do it if the games were comparable… But they are not and NO ONE averages 20 rebounds a game.

    That’s like saying Pedro Martinez can’t hold a candle to Ted Lyons because he only had 46 complete games compared to Lyons’ 356. Nope, that doesn’t work because the complete game stat was a product of the era.

    The rebounding numbers were a product of the era and will never be duplicated again. If Wilt played today he would not average 20 rebounds. No one does. It was done 24 times before 1970, and not a single time since.

  60. Wait a minute.

    We can’t compare rebounding because “the game was different” but we can compare scoring?

    Like HC said, Shaq would have been on the bench most of the time back then because his “knock ’em over dunk” crap wouldn’t have been allowed.

  61. Your not arguing me here Laffy. You’re acting like I said Shaq was classy or a good teammate. The only judgement I made was that he was a better teammate than Wilt.

    I am not a fan of Shaq’s. I’m an unbiased observer looking at data, film, and first hand accounts and making a pretty simple judgement.

    Your disdain is getting in the way of critical thinking.

  62. Really interesting write up of CTC and his younger days. Indy Star.

    As well Roger Brown of the Pacers ABA days. Had forgotten about him. Per the Big O and Kareem, Brown was the best player to never play in the NBA. This last story is by Bob Kravitz. I pay the paper boy extra to cut out any story by Kravitz. But for this read I was impressed.

    17 of the ranked teams lost a game during the last week?
    6 of the top 10?

  63. You’re right his shoulder bump wouldnt fly… And neither would the pound-mercilessly-on-Shaq-the-second-he-gets-inside-the-(imaginary at that time)-3-pt line.

    Shaq was a bruiser in a bruising era. Players weren’t allowed to bang back then like they are now. I’ve seen way too many old games on NBA TV for anyone to try to pull the wool over my eyes on that. Defense was played completely differently back then. I won’t make the judgement of whether it was better or worse, but it was certainly WAAAAAAY less physical. Shaq would not have had to resort to the tactics he used during his era to score.

    Individual point averages remain somewhat similar to that era. They were a bit more wide open back then, so there were more players scoring more points, but individually lots of players have scored over 30 ppg since 1970.

    Averaging 30 points has been done 63 times over the course of the NBA:

    50’s – 0 times
    60’s – 22 times
    70’s – 10 times
    80’s – 14 times (around 1988 the Pistons Bad Boys bring in a new era of defensive basketball)
    90’s – 6 times (league is fundamentally different in physicality than ever before)
    2000-12 – 11 times ( NBA starts to adopt rules to lessen physical contact)

    By contrast, here is what 20+ rebound seasons look like over history:

    50’s – 2
    60’s – 22
    70’s – 0
    80’s – 0
    90’s – 0
    2000-12 – 0

  64. You said Shaq would have kicked butt back in the day.

    I think you’re wrong.

    He would have fouled out in the first quarter of every game with his Bulldoozing Baloney.

  65. Saying the game was less physical back in the day is the most absurd thing you have ever posted. Sure, they wouldn’t have let Shaq commit an offensive foul every time he touched the ball but center play was WAAAAY more physical back then.

    Someone called into Cowherd’s show and made that claim the other day and Colin spent the next ten minutes slicing and dicing him. I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of the NBA Cowherd has so it would be pointless for me to try and regurgitate his argument.

    It it also would have been pointless for you to try to refute it.

  66. Geoff, BTW, I forgot to mention that Antonio Davis was in the studio with Colin during the discussion and I’d say he’s up to speed on the subject. He completely agreed with Cowherd.

  67. There is “being physical” and there is “just knocking over someone and dunking it every time you got the ball.”

    As far as the Hack-a-Shaq thing, the only reason players did that is because it was the only thing they had since the refs allowed them to be bulldozed.

    If they could just play regular defense knowing they’d get the call every time they got knocked over, they wouldn’t need to hack Shaq.

    Plus, since Shaq was worthless at the free throw line, it only made sense to foul him.

  68. Chamberlain took tremendous # of hard fouls in the last 60% of his career. For the same reason as Shaq did.

  69. I never got that, the free throw thing. I mean, Shaq, sure. But Wilt could do everything but hit free throws. Doesn’t make any sense.

  70. Starting with the Pistons Bad Boys the NBA took a turn into physical play that lasted through the 90’s that the league had never seen before. It was continued by the Knicks, Heat, Hornets, Suns, Spurs, and Bulls. Scoring went drastically down during this period because the league allowed for far more physical play than ever before.

    Anyone who does not understand this stopped watching the NBA in 1985.

    I’m sorry Chet, but my eyes don’t lie. I’ve seen dozens of games for that era. People barely touched each other. Go back and watch the film and stop relying on yours and Clarions’s memory.

    I’d love to hear Colin try to make a case otherwise.

  71. Yeah, what would Antonio Davis know about big men in the NBA? In his opinion the League was a ton more physical in Wilt’s day but, again, how would HE know anything about it. In fact, he was making fun of the current rules, comparing the treatment of stars to the protection NFL quarterbacks get nowadays.

    For such a dominant player he also never really helped LSU achieve anything as a team. They got bounced in the first or second round every year including a 10 point loss to the Hoosiers where, as I recall, he was bested by Eric Anderson.

    But his bulk fit the NBA at the time, of that there can be no doubt. Now that I think about it, that was about the time I started to find the pro game unwatchable as post play had turned into sumo wrestling.

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