LeBron's confusion, John Wall's dancing debut, Halloween, Isiah's ramblings and a tribute to the Enforcer.
The first two weeks of the NBA season have gone by with a fast break blur. But there have already been plenty of strange days in the Association this year.
What Should LeBron Do?
LeBron James has hired Tiger Woods' team of Nike ad wizards to guide him through the "rocky" times. You know, it's been tough on the King, moving to South Beach, inking a $100-million-plus deal and playing ball with his best bros. His royal Witness still doesn't grasp the consequences of his Decision during the summer of self-sabatoge. As a result, LBJ is dealing with Cleveland criticism, occasional boos and a wise-cracking column or two.
In yet another ill-conceived move, James asks Miami Vice five o'clock shadow Sonny Crocket, turrible role model Charles Barkley and, most of all, his shiny-new-shoes-buying fans, "What should I do?" and "Should I be who you want me to be?"
John Wall Dance
While LeBron struggles to redefine himself as someone other than a spaghetti western-style villain only out for a fistful of dollars, his No. 1 overall pick fraternity brother John Wall is wasting no time establishing his identity.
After his own "John Wall Dance" swept the globe during his brief stay at Kentucky, the 20-year-old stepped up his game with during his home debut in Washington — with a "Teach Me How to Dougie" tutorial during pregame introductions before a brilliant 29-point, 13-assist, nine-steal effort in a 116–115 overtime win over Philadelphia.
Speaking of dancing, Celtics guard Ray Allen hit the floor in a tux, bow tie and white socks as 1979 Off the Wall era Michael Jackson on Halloween. Meanwhile Shaquille O'Neal dressed in drag as an intimidation tactic for Miami's Chris Bosh, who the Big Shamrock infamously called the "RuPaul of big men."
Eleven Ring Circus
On opening night, Lakers coach Phil Jackson — who owns 11 NBA championship rings as a head coach (six with the Bulls, five with the Lakers) — let pop prince Justin Beiber wear his jewelry courtside. The latest title ring is 16-karat gold encrusted with 16 white diamonds to signify the franchise's 16th championship as well as two Larry O'Brien Trophies representing the team's back-to-back titles.
Former Knicks executive and current Florida International head coach Isiah Thomas made his rounds on the radio circuit last week, going on with Sid Rosenberg, Ian O'Connor and Michael Kay to provide a consistent message — in the spirit of mid-term elections — that included his thinking about taking over for Knicks president Donnie Walsh "every single day of the week" and recruiting LeBron James to New York in 2014.
"When I look at my GM/executive record, if I'm evaluated on that, then whoever's after Donnie (Walsh), if you're not talking about some of the top people in the game, I'll put my draft evaluation record up against anyone's," said Thomas.
"I think if you take away that (Anucha Browne Sanders' sexual harassment) trial, I'm still there, we make the playoffs a couple of times and I don't know if Miami has LeBron (James) or (Dwyane) Wade. We may have had LeBron and Wade."
Kevin Garnett and Charlie Villanueva sparked a trash-talking turned Tweeting debate on NBA man code. Whether or not Garnett called the hairless, alopecia universalis-suffering Villanueva a "cancer patient" or just a "cancer" to his team and the league didn't seem to matter as much as the fact that Villanueva Tweeted KG's on-court comments shortly after the game — something old-school players and coaches found hard to believe.
But the Tweets didn't stop. In fact, Villanueva called out the Big Ticket on Twitter by writing, "KG talks a lot of crap, he's prob never been in a fight, I would love to get in a ring with him, I will expose him."
One man that no one in NBA history would ever want to fight is Maurice Lucas. Sadly, the 6'9", 225-pound "Enforcer" passed away on Oct. 31 at the age of 58. Lucas played professionally from 1974-88, winning an NBA championship in 1977. Lucas' frontcourt teammate, Bill Walton, named his son, current Laker forward Luke Walton, after the man he called the "greatest Trail Blazer ever." Walton wrote the following about his fallen friend:
"Big Luke was a towering, statuesque pillar of supreme principle where loyalty, commitment and leadership were a way of life — not just words of convenience. ...
"Maurice cared — about everything. He cared about right and wrong. He cared about truth and justice. He cared about his family, friends and teammates. And he was always willing to do something about it. ...
"Maurice was always there for all of us. He had our back, no matter what. When things got rough, as they invariably do in life, Maurice would always push his way to the front of the fray, muttering under his breath as he elbowed us to safety, 'I'll take care of this.' ...
"And now he's gone, and nothing's going to bring him back. And that's the problem with being the best; with being the greatest Trail Blazer ever. Because when you're that guy, like Maurice Lucas always was, there's never anyone else who can step to the front and say, 'I'll take care of this.'"