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MORNING BRIEFING

Shaq's service with Cavaliers won't be secret

O'Neal says he will handle security for LeBron James

July 05, 2009|Mike Penner

At his introductory news conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Shaquille O'Neal said he had already come up with a theme for the 2009-10 season.

"My motto is very simple," O'Neal said. " 'Win a Ring for the King.' "

O'Neal is 37 but said he has three years left in his career.

"I have a lot left," he said. "There's only four or five good centers in the league and I'm in that number. . . . I've been in [the NBA] for 17 years, but I've missed [the equivalent of] three years because of injury. If you do the math, I've still got three years left. You got that?"

Maybe, maybe not.

O'Neal made more sense when assessing his responsibilities next season.

"It's LeBron's team," he said. "He's the captain. This is the time in my career where I can fit in. I'm now in the security business. My job is to protect the King, and that's what I'm here to do."

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Trivia time

When did the Cleveland Indians last win the World Series?

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Addition by subtraction

Count Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice among those who believe the Rockets got the best of the Ron Artest-Trevor Ariza signings.

Justice wrote of Artest: "There were nights when he played like one of the NBAs 10 best players. There were way too many nights when his focus and behavior were off the charts. He screamed at the young point guards so much that he finally was told to stop.

"He would agree he shouldn't do it and would promise to stop. Then a game or two later, he'd be back out there on the perimeter, demanding the ball, then dribbling away the 24-second clock or bulling his way into the lane."

Justice believes Rockets Coach Rick Adelman "was brilliant with Artest. He explained why he was doing certain things, never showed his anger when Artest didn't do them.

"He was exactly the right coach for Artest, yet Artest simply wasn't worth the trouble."

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Moving to a safer fan base

Jeff Jordan, son of Michael Jordan, announced last week that he was leaving the Illinois basketball team after two seasons to concentrate on his studies.

Notes Reggie Hayes of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: "The good news is they don't chant 'Daddy's better!' in chemistry class."

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Whipped, for decades

Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun, on the lack of a British singles champion at Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1977. "Since then, it has all been strawberries and creamed."

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Trivia answer

1948.

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And finally

Ivo Karlovic, to the Miami Herald, on why Roger Federer was handling Karlovic's once-overpowering serve in their Wimbledon quarterfinal: "Because he is better than everyone else."

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mike.penner@latimes.com

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