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You'd think Shannon Brown would be a slam dunk

Fans and teammates are cheering for him to be part of the All-Star contest, but he hasn't received an invitation yet. Hey, is assistant coach Brian Shaw putting pressure on him?

November 25, 2009|By Broderick Turner

All Shannon Brown could do was stand there and listen to Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw talk about his former teammates who have been slam-dunk champions.

Brown, a Lakers reserve guard, hasn't been invited to participate in the 2010 All-Star game slam-dunk contest in Dallas -- yet.

But the more the acrobatic, high-flying Brown throws down the electric dunks that have made him a YouTube sensation and a staple of ESPN highlights, the bigger the groundswell grows for him to be included in the contest.

His teammates are in awe of his dunks and are pushing hard for him. Lakers fans go berserk when Brown defies gravity with elevates his 6-foot-4 frame before a dunk.

As for Shaw, he couldn't help but chide Brown about his dunking exploits.

Shaw told Brown about his former Boston Celtics teammate Dee Brown (1991) and former Miami Heat teammate Harold Minor (1995) winning the dunk contest. Shaw even told Brown about his former Orlando Magic teammate Darrell Armstrong (1996) failing to win the dunk contest.

"When I had Dee the first year, he won it. Harold, I said, 'Every team I've been on, somebody won the slam-dunk championship.' He held up his end of the bargain," Shaw said. "Baby boy [Armstrong] kind of let me down a little bit. So I'm trying to get back on track."

So is Shaw is putting pressure on Brown?

"No, ain't no pressure," Shaw said, smiling. "Basketball is a game."

Shaw laughed and walked away.

That left Brown there by himself.

"If I'm able to get into the slam-dunk contest, I'm all for it," Brown said. "I keep saying I'm really not thinking about it. I'm trying to help this team win ballgames right now."

The Lakers have had only three players participate in the slam-dunk contest: Michael Cooper in 1984, Antonio Harvey in 1995 and Kobe Bryant in 1997; Bryant won it as a rookie.

Brown should be the next Laker in the contest.

"I promise you, if I'm able to get in the dunk contest, it's going to be something special," Brown said.

Take a look at this link to see Brown's latest exciting dunk.

Dealing with criticism

Whether it has been constructive or negative criticism, Derek Fisher always has used it to push himself to work even harder, to strive for more.

Fisher has come under heavy criticism from Lakers fans this season, and he's taking it all in stride. Fisher is 35, a 14-year veteran, and has to defend some of the best and quickest point guards in the NBA every game.

His offense has not been what he would like -- Fisher is making just 36% of his shots and averaging 6.1 points. But the one thing Fisher holds on to is "that the sun is going to shine when it's supposed to."

It did during the NBA Finals in June when Fisher made two memorable three-pointers in Game 4 against the Orlando Magic that placed him in Lakers lore forever.

"It's funny and comical to me more than anything because it doesn't matter what you do," Fisher said, smiling. "When you have your moments that [fans] choose to not like how you're playing or not like the way things look out there, they are going to say you've got to go. . . . Fans are going to be that way."

But fans don't see him shooting jumpers after practice -- free-throw-line jumpers, three-pointers, bank shots, corner shots, all in an attempt to stay sharp, to find his groove, to get his shot ready.

In Fisher's eyes, it's all about how he feels about his play, how his teammates and coaches respect what he brings every game. "I appreciate the positive, supporting fans," Fisher said. "The negative comments, I don't even worry about that."

Will the Nets make history?

History is calling the New Jersey Nets.

Will they answer the call?

If the Nets do, it would be a dubious historical note, the kind no team, no player wants to be a part of.

The Nets, who are playing in Denver Tuesday night, lost their first 13 games to begin the season, four losses shy of tying the NBA record for the worst start in league history. The record is shared by the 1999 Clippers and the 1988-89 expansion Miami Heat at 17 straight defeats.

The Nets began a four-game West Coast swing in which they have a slight chance of breaking their losing streak. After playing in Denver they head to Portland, Sacramento and L.A., where they play the Lakers on Sunday.

The Kings are the only team among that foursome that has a record below .500, but even that won't be easy for the Nets.

If the Nets go 0-4 on the trip to tie the record, they return home to play the Dallas Mavericks, at which time New Jersey could then set the all-time low-water mark with another loss.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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