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JERRY CROWE

Free throws were Achilles' heel for Shaquille O'Neal

Text messages from press row

June 02, 2011|Jerry Crowe
  • Shaquille O'Neal takes a peak from underneath his blindfold as he practices free throws during NBA All-Star practice.
Shaquille O'Neal takes a peak from underneath his blindfold as he… (Roy Dabner / EPA )

Shaquille O'Neal would have wound up fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list — ahead of Wilt Chamberlain — if he'd shot free throws like Dirk Nowitzki. …

Of course, he didn't come close. …

"If I was able to have the game I have and shoot 80% from the line," O'Neal once noted, "I'd probably be an arrogant person rather than a humble one. Everything happens for a reason." …

He shot 53%, missing 5,317 free throws. …

Wilt shot 51%, missing 5,805. …

What made Magic Johnson so special is that he combined O'Neal's playfulness with Kobe Bryant's relentlessness. …

Plus, of course, he could play multiple positions. …

Three NBA coaches — the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra, the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kurt Rambis and the Lakers' Mike Brown — played college ball in the West Coast Conference: Spoelstra at Portland, Rambis at Santa Clara and Brown at San Diego. …

Former Loyola Marymount guard Rick Adelman, looking to hook on with another team, would make it four. …

Only three teams in the last 13 seasons have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals: the Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks. …

Maria Sharapova, her bid to win the French Open ended Thursday in the semifinals, recently told the New York Times that she's looking forward to starting a family with her fiance, former Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic of the New Jersey Nets. …

Dodgers teammates Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier rank among the top 50 players in baseball, according to a Sporting News poll of 21 major league executives. …

As do Angels right-handers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver, who at No. 30 is the highest-ranking Dodger or Angel. …

No. 1: Albert Pujols. …

Alex Rodriguez is baseball's most overrated player, according to a Sports Illustrated survey of major league players. …

Regarding a comment about Weaver's recent run of bad luck — "riding high in April, shot down in May" — reader Terry Crow of Whittier emails to ask, "Back on top in June?" …

Raffi Torres, whose late goal lifted the Vancouver Canucks over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, is an NHL rarity: a player of Mexican and Peruvian descent. …

His mother, recalling the racism her Canadian-born son faced as a youngster, told the Columbus Dispatch in 2008, "I had someone once tell me my son should be selling tacos." …

Game 1 drew a higher television rating in Boston on Wednesday than Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics drew for last year's Game 1 loss to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. …

When Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indy 500 in 1911, he needed more than 6½ hours to finish the race. …

Last week, the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds needed less time to complete a 19-inning baseball game. …

Lance Armstrong is starting to sound like Roger Clemens. …

It's not all that surprising that U2's Bono, hitchhiking in hockey-mad Canada this week, got a lift from a hockey player. …

It is surprising that the accommodating motorist was an NHL player, Gilbert Brule of the Edmonton Oilers. …

It's hard not to root for San Francisco right-hander Matt Hiserman, scheduled to make his NCAA tournament debut Saturday at UCLA only 16 months after suffering a fractured skull, a severe concussion and a blown-out right eardrum when a line drive struck him in the head. …

His father, Mike, is a deputy sports editor at The Times. …

"Ted Williams: A Tip of the Cap," a one-man play from writer-director Matt Thompson, makes its world premiere June 20-21 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. …

Information: northcoastrep.org. …

Jim Tressel, whose Ohio State teams won nearly 83% of their games, was 0-3 against USC and UCLA. …

Ohio native Urban Meyer is the favorite to eventually replace Tressel, according to odds posted at bodog.com. …

Noting that Rush Limbaugh is rumored to be interested in buying the Minnesota Vikings and moving them to Los Angeles, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald writes, "In this time of labor stress, I can't think of anyone less divisive and partisan to bring the two sides together." …

Donald Trump?

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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