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Best Teams in NBA History

12 Oct


10. 1992-93 Chicago Bulls - This team showcased Michael Jordan in his prime. He was unstoppable throughout his career, however the 92 Bulls was one of the most complete teams that was ever assembled. This Bulls team had 3 pure shooters, B.J. Armstrong, John Paxson, and Craig Hodges. The best teammate in NBA history accompanied Jordan. Scottie Pippen did whatever Jordan did not do on any given play, and he was bigger and slightly more athletic than Jordan though not as skilled. Horace Grant gave the Bulls tough points in the paint and could step out and hit jumpers.

Record: 67-15


9. 1966-67 Philadelphia 76′ers - This is one of Wilt Chamberlain’s few wins against the Bill Russel led Celtics. He took All-Stars Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham, and fellow Hall of Famer Hal Greer to the NBA championship in 1967. They started their season 43-4 and beat the Celtics 4-2 in one of the classic showdowns in NBA history.

Record: 68-13


8. 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers - The 1972 Lakers posted the best road winning percentage in NBA history at a staggering 81.6% with a record of 31-7. An older Wilt Chamberlain joined two other Hall of Fame players, Gail Goodrich and Jerry West, and All-Stars Jim McMillian and Happy Hairston to form one of the most formidable collections of talent in the NBA’s history. The Los Angeles won 33 consecutive games in the 1971-72 season, a record that still stands today. They defeated the Knicks 4-1 to win the championship.

Record: 69-13


7. 1988-89 Detroit Pistons - Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Jon Salley, Vinnie Johnson made up the Bad Boys. The were the toughest set of basketball players in the NBA during the late 80′s. The Bad Boys were responsible for the Jordan rules which amounted to a no lay-up rule for any of the Chicago Bulls (but Jordan, in particular received some of the hardest fouls on every trek to the basket). They were one of the first teams in the NBA that collectively would regularly foul a player than give up an easy basket. These Pistons were the first team to win consecutive championships since the Lakers teams of the earlier 80′s.

Record: 63-19


6. 1982-83 Philadelphia 76′ers - Hall of Fame players Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Bobby Jones combined with All-Stars Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney to complete one of the most dominant teams in NBA playoff history. They posted the highest winning percentage in NBA playoffs history at 92.3% and a record of 12-1. NBA MVP Moses Malone famously proclaimed their dominance with the a projection of “Fo’, fo’, fo’!”, meaning that Philly would sweep each round of the playoffs in four games. He was not far off with his prediction.

Record: 65-17

5. 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers - Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant – The most dominant force that the league has seen in the common era of basketball, and the 2nd best shooting guard to ever play the game teamed to make one of the best teams in NBA history. Shaquille O’neal anchored the Lakers offense and defense. They ran the offense through him and funneled opposing players to him on defense. Shaq was always among the leaders in scoring, field goal percentage, rebounds, and blocks. Kobe was a young, burgeoning talent in the early 2000′s and he could shoot without a conscience because he knew that Shaq could clean up whatever he missed. They were the perfect teammates on the floor.

Record: 56-26


4. 1985-86 Boston Celtics - Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish – Larry Bird was one of the best shooters and most efficient players to ever play in the NBA. He shot three pointers, slashed to the rim, and rebounded and passed the ball. Bird had a complete game, and he seemed to hit every big shot that he took regardless of what the defense did. McHale was considered by many to have the best footwork ever, and he relished the big moments in the playoffs next to Bird. They formed one of the best inside-outside combinations in league history. Then, the Celtics added one of the most consistent centers to ever play in the NBA, Robert Parrish. Throw in Hall of Fame players Dennis Johnson, Bill Walton, and John Havlicek and you have a complete team of talented players who loved to compete.

Record: 67-15


3. 1962 Boston Celtics - With Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, K.C. Jones, and Tom Heinson, the Celtics boasted five Hall of Fame players. They had the most decorated winner and possibly the best defender in league history in Bill Russell. He was the reason that the “goal tending” call was invented. The Celtics had the first premier ball-handler and passer in Cousy, and two of the best swings in basketball with K.C. and Sam Jones. They dominated the 60′s winning most of the championships during that era. Every Celtic of the 60′s has multiple rings. And Russell has 11, the most rings of any athlete who played in any of the major sports.

Record: 60-20


2. 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers - Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy formed one of the best trios that ever played in the NBA. The Lakers had the best facilitator ever, the most prolific scorer in NBA history, and one of the most clutch playoff performers in NBA history together on the same team. These three formed a dynasty during the 80′s and won 5 championships as a team. Magic could score in the post or control the offense from the perimeter. However, he excelled in the open court where he brought Showtime to the national conscience. Kareem scored whenever he touched the basketball even in his old age. And, Worthy was one of the more explosive and versatile big men in the league. He was one of the first bigs to run and fill lanes once the fastbreak had started. The Lakers were a unique and gifted collection of talent.

Record: 65-17

1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls - Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman were unstoppable together. Chicago combined possibly the best player to ever play the game of basketball with two of the best teammates in the history of basketball. Pippen is the most versatile player ever, offensively and defensively. And, Rodman is possibly the best rebounder ever. His rebounding rate blows all competitors out of the water when era is considered. And, neither Pippen or Rodman needed shots to dominate a game. Defensively, this team was stellar. The Bulls of 96 boasted two Defensive Player of the Year winners, Jordan and Rodman. But, Rodman won the award twice and Pippen was possibly a better defender than both of them. The team had great role players in sharpshooter Steve Kerr, European superstar Toni Kukoc, and former All-Stars Ron Harper and John Salley. The Chicago Bulls were almost unbeatable in 1996, and they defeated the Seattle Supersonics in 6 games to win yet another World championship.

Record: 72-10 (Then the Bulls had a 69-13 record the following year)

Who’s Better, Shaq or Kobe?

10 Oct

shaq and kobe

The NBA careers of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are going to be forever intertwined in the minds of basketball fans and sports media. They built a dynasty together in Los Angeles, publicly feuded before a nasty break-up, and then resurrected their careers with separate supporting casts. But who is the better basketball player in the course of history? Is it the dynamic, high scoring guard or the immovable, power dunking big man? Is it the guy who broke ankles or the one who broke backboard support systems? Only through the careful dissection of their statistics, their accomplishments in the league, and their impact on the game can an answer be found.

2001 NBA Finals - Game 2: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant complemented each other perfectly on the basketball court, but were less than complementary off of it. The combination of an elite scoring guard and a dominant post proved to be too much for the league in the early 2000′s. They led the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs in every year of their partnership and won three consecutive championships in four trips to the NBA Finals. However, the Lakers stars fought publicly and constantly struggled and competed to be seen as the centerpiece of the Lakers’ dynasty in the media. Shaq was the most important player in the franchise during his tenure in LA, and he carried his teammates, including Kobe to those championships. But, the Lakers chose to keep the younger Bryant rather than resigning Shaq. At first, it seemed like a bad decision to deal Shaquille O’Neal as he had a MVP caliber season and then won a fourth NBA championship with Dwayne Wade. But, Kobe put up the highest scoring year of anyone since Michael Jordan and scored the second highest total in NBA history in a single game with 82 points against the Toronto Raptors. Though the Lakers failed to make the playoffs in Bryant’s first year by himself, he showed the immense talent that prompted the Los Angeles Lakers to choose him as the player of their immediate future. Once the franchise procured more talent, Kobe’s Lakers won two more rings.

There is great difficulty in deciphering which player has had the most distinguished career. Shaq finished among the all-time leaders in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and blocks. Kobe Bryant has recently surpassed Shaquille O’Neal on the all-time scoring list and now sits in the 5th slot with  total points. Kobe has one NBA MVP, two Finals MVP’s, and 14 All-Star appearances with 4 All-Star MVP’s in 15 seasons in the NBA. He is a two-time scoring champ with 11 All-Defensive team selections. Kobe has career averages of 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. Shaq averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 2.5 assists per game in his career. He was a 15-time All-Star winning 3 All-Star MVP’s. He won a regular season MVP, though it seems ridiculous that he has only one despite being the most dominant player in the league in excess of 12 years. He won four NBA titles in five trips to the NBA Finals. The first distinction between their careers is the rings. Kobe has five rings  to Shaq’s four. They won three consecutive titles together with the Lakers in the early 2000′s and dominated the National Basketball Association as the league’s best one-two punch. But, each had success after they parted ways too. Shaquille O’Neal should have won his second Most Valuable Player Award in the first year that he left Los Angeles. He instantly made the Miami Heat a contender with averages of twenty points and ten rebounds while bringing along then burgeoning star, Dwayne Wade. In his second year away from LA he managed his 4th NBA championship title with the Miami Heat. Though Kobe won two more rings without Shaq, he struggled in the first few years without him. The Lakers failed to reach the playoffs in the first season without Shaq, despite Kobe putting up the highest scoring output of his career, 35 points per game. Once Pau Gasol joined the team, Bryant won his fourth and fifth title.

But, these two Hall of Fame careers can not simply be measured in statistics. The way that they played the game and the entire scope of their historical impact on the game of basketball is the only way to differentiate between the careers of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe will enter the history books as the second best shooting guard to ever play the game behind only Michael Jordan. He has the second highest total points, the second most championship rings, and hit some of the biggest shots of any shooting guard in NBA history. Bryant had a stretch of 5+ years where he was easily the best and most prolific scorer in the league. He could score from anywhere on the court and seemed to always deliver in the clutch. Kobe’s strength of scoring versatility was the only real knock on Shaquille O’Neal’s game. He only scored from one place on the court, deep in the paint. However, no one could stop Shaq from getting position and then scoring against them. And that is the legacy of Shaq. No one could stop Shaq when he wanted to score. Shaq was a devastating force under the rim that intimidated opponents on the basketball court. He dunked on other teams so ferociously that eventually players just conceded points or hacked him mercilessly. Shaq was so dominant from 2000-2004 that the National Basketball Association allowed teams to play zone defenses in an attempt to slow the dreaded triangle offense that featured O’Neal in the post. Shaq brought three different franchises to the NBA Finals. All three teams, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Miami, had a promising star that reached All-Star level next to him. Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade, respectively all flourished next to Shaq. And all three of their careers middled after he left their teams. Many people thought that the reason that Kobe was so good in LA was because he was next to Shaq who rebounded and dunked any careening missed shot. Though Kobe is the second best shooting guard behind the best basketball player that ever lived and Shaq is probably only the fourth or fifth best center in NBA history, Shaq was the better of the two All-Stars. Shaq made Kobe better by being a security blanket on every play when they were teammates. Shaq cleaned up Kobe’s misses and made life on the perimeter easier for him too. He was always available for a quick dump pass to the post and commanded a double-team on every play so Kobe could never be doubled. Yes, Kobe assisted on many of Shaq’s buckets so there was a symbiotic relationship, but O’Neal was always the first and the best option when the Lakers needed a score.

Kobe is a great player and one of the best in the annals of the professional basketball, however Shaq was better through the course of history. He was more dominant, he brought three separate teammates to All-Star level, and he was the best player on teams that included Kobe. Kobe Bryant is a hell of a basketball player, but Shaquille O’Neal was better.


Top Ten Reasons to Watch the Game At Home Instead of At the Stadium

26 Sep

watching the game02

The Price

Watching the game at home means not spending the ridiculous amount of money that the National Football League owners have decided to charge for tickets to the game. The average ticket price for an NFL game is about $75 according to USA Today. That $75 dollars only insures you a seat in a stadium filled with 70,000 of your closest friends. It does not account for the food and drinks that you will inevitably buy. It does not account for that foam finger that you need to purchase to prove that you are a real fan. It does not account for the overpriced jersey that you will buy from the NFL store in the stadium once you spot some idiot in the rival team’s colors. Your $75 ticket could actually run you about $300 bucks at the end of the day, or you could spend nothing and sit in your favorite chair at home and watch the game on your own television set.

The Company That You Keep

When you are at the game, you do not get to choose with whom you watch the game. You have to watch your favorite team sitting next to the couple who brought their bratty kids to their first game. The kids are fighting, yelling, and jumping all over you. You have to listen to Jake the drunk yell about how terrible the home team is playing. He’s spilling beer on everyone within arm’s reach, and you are sure that he is one pretzel away from releasing his last meal out onto the floor. And then, there is the guy who leaves his seat every ten minutes. He goes to the restroom. Then, he steps over you to use his phone. Next, he needs a beer. And finally, he just needs to stretch his legs, so he excuses himself one more time. Trust me, in the lap of luxury at your own house is where you want to be. The only people that watch the game at your house are the people that you invite into your home. One of the biggest perks of staying home and catching the game on the television is knowing who will be watching the game with you.

The View

Do you know where the most expensive seats in the stadium are? The most expensive seats rest on the fifty yard line of either side of the field and about ten rows up. They are the most expensive seats because they offer the best viewpoint in the game. The second most expensive seats are in a shared skybox for the same reason. Skyboxes allow full view of the action on the field. Well, the camera crews for live games are paid to make sure that you do not miss a second of the action while sitting at home. At home, you are not stuck in a cheap seat with an obstructed view, and the family of giants who jump up after every play are not sitting in front of you. You have the best seats in the house at home (pun completely intended.

No Lines

Every football game tests your patience. There is a line at the ticket booth just to get your admission ticket. There is a line to get into the stadium. Depending on which city that you live in, there is a separate line to be checked for weapons after you have waited in line to enter the stadium. You have to wait in line to buy $40 snacks. Then, you have to wait in line to use the restroom. Going to the game will teach you forbearance whether you desire to learn it or not.

The Food

Would you rather have smothered pork chops or an $8 stale pretzel? Would you rather have a $10 dry burger cooked by some idiot who would rather spit in your food than refill your soda or the cheeseburger that you prepared just the way you like it? Do you enjoy waiting in line for limited choices of overpriced food that will leave hungry before the game ends? Or, would you rather have the exact meal of your choice setting in your lap when the game starts? Yeah, I thought so. A home-cooked meal beats mass-produced tripe every time.


Half-Time Fun

Who does not enjoy a half-time blowie? Every guy needs a little trouser love during the game and being at home is your shot for ten minute romance. It is the best of both worlds, both excitement of the game and sexual release in the comfort of your own home. Of course, you can get some halftime sex at the stadium too. But, it will cost you at least 100 bucks, and you may get the added bonus of jail-time and a venereal disease.

Half-Time Dump

You have just downed three questionable looking stadium hotdogs and two beers. There is something terrible brewing in your gut, and you know that you have to get to a toilet fast. But, the restrooms at the stadium are filthy and one of the stalls has no door. Either you chance getting crabs or the Bubonic plague from the piss-showered off white toilet seat or you hover over the seat and hope you do not color your pants brown. Good luck with ordeal. The bathroom is just a few steps away at your house. If you time your trip to the can perfectly, you can water the toilet seat floor quickly and be back without missing a play.

No Traffic

The only thing that is worse than sitting in traffic, is sitting in traffic after a game. Imagine if you and 70,000 other people are trying to get out of the same 6 exits at exactly the same time. It happens after every game. Thirty minutes elapse before you get out of the actual stadium. Then, you begin the trek back to your car. Wait, did you park in Blue 23 or Green 32? Maybe you should hit your car alarm while you walk just in case you are close to your ride. When you finally get to your car after walking to the other side of the stadium and checking 4 different parking sections for your car, you inevitably will pull behind the good Samaritan who lets every single car that pulls up drive in front of him. Enjoy that ride home. When you watch the game at home,


When you watch the game at home, you get to hear real sports authorities break down the game. The guys who played the game, the guys who study NFL game films, and the guys who coached football at the highest level convene to answer all the questions that NFL fans might have about the games. They can not only explain what a Mike Blitz is to novice fans, but they can also explain the subtleties of the beating the blitz on the offensive end. If you go to the game, you have to listen to Dave ‘Da Bears” Kazowski tell you why Jay Cutler is actually a better quarterback than Tom Brady.


The newest additions in technology have made watching television better than it ever has been before. New television broadcasts, common cable packages, and modern internet services have changed the way that live football is being watched. Though sitting in the living room with a few friends can not match the roar of the home crowd after a big play, being at home has one obvious advantage over being at the game for real football fans. At home, you can watch multiple games. Flipping through football games is a time-honored tradition that dates back through countless Thanksgivings and Christmases for the American male. The remote control was the first form of technology that made sitting at home more pleasurable than being at the game. However, cable TV now offers the NFL package that allows fans to see every single game that is played during football season. People can watch both the blacked out popular games on the coasts and the obscure games that regular channels do not carry. Plus, television sets can now show multiple games on the same screen, so you will not miss a second of action from your favorite teams. Then, there is TiVo and DVR’s which give fans the power to replay and record as many NFL games as their storage package allows. There is no replay on real game action. If you get up for a beer and miss an 80 yard touchdown run, then you just missed it. With DVR’s you can rewind and re-watch live games and big plays, and the internet lets fantasy football players check their stats while watching multiple games. Finally, one of the biggest technological advantages to watching the big game at home is one of the simple and obvious reasons to stay home, no inclimate weather. The temperature in your house is always a cool 72 degrees regardless of the smothering summer weather or the blistering snowstorm that is forming outside your door or in the stadium, because you have an A/C unit. Air conditioning and heating is reason enough not to leave the house and to watch the game at home.

NBA What Ifs Part 1

12 Sep


What if David Robinson and Tim Duncan’s career span was switched?

Over the last 5 years or so it has been widely accepted that Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward who has ever lived.  He has the statistics (20 points/game, 11 rebounds/game, 3 assists/game, and 2 blocks/game), 4 championships, and longevity to easily be considered one of the all-time greats.  The one obvious issue of course is that Duncan is pretty much a center.  He calls himself a power forward, so the world calls him one, but his game offensively and defensively is the center position.  This point has been argued extensively before, but the question for today is what if Tim Duncan was drafted in 1987 and his mentor David Robinson was drafted in 1997?  In terms of size, Duncan is about an inch shorter than Robinson, but has more girth on his frame.  Their career stats are nearly identical, and Robinson was actually more athletic than Duncan was; some evidence of this is Robinson’s higher block and steal numbers.


Duncan Robinson
Points/game 20.4 21.1


11.3 10.6
FG% 50.7 51.8
FT% 68.9 73.6
Assists/game 3.1 2.5
Blocks/game 2.2 3.0
Steals/game 0.7 1.4


Comparative competition also cannot be understated.  Robinson’s whole career was spent banging against Hall of Fame bigs (Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’neal, Karl Malone, and Dennis Rodman) in a much more physical league with less of an emphasis on unencumbered offense.  Of course Duncan had no control over his competition, but his biggest battles came against bigs who were more interested in shooting jumpers (Kevin Garnett and Chris Webber), former all-stars past their prime, and frankly over matched tall guys masquerading as NBA level players (Alonzo Mourning would have been a good rival, but he only had 3 healthy years against Duncan before his career was altered by the kidney illness).  This may rub many the wrong way, but I think that if the two switched places, David Robinson could have been considered the best power forward to ever play the game, and Duncan would have had a great career, but he wouldn’t be falsely elevated above the likes of Olajuwon or Shaq.


Is Robinson the greatest power forward of all time?


What if Patrick Ewing and Greg Oden didn’t have bad knees?

It’s quite unfortunate, but almost everyone remembers Patrick Ewing for either getting punked by Michael Jordan’s Bulls routinely, choking in the big moment, or getting blocked by Mugsy Bogues.  Ewing was an absolute beast in college, despite not really playing basketball until he was 11.  At Georgetown he averaged right at 3.5 blocks in just over 30 minutes per game.  He also averaged over 15 points and 9 rebounds while shooting a scintillating 62% from the field.  Ewing played in the NCAA Championship game 3 of his 4 college years, and was the easily the consensus #1 pick in the draft.  In fact, he was so dominant that the NBA had to initiate the draft lottery just to prevent teams from tanking just to get him.  After getting drafted things all went downhill, so to speak.  Ewing missed 30 games with a knee injury his rookie year, and his career would never be the same.  It’s a bit comical to say a guy who’s in the basketball Hall of Fame with NBA career averages of 21 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 50% shooting would “never be the same.”  Thanks to a career full of knee issues Ewing went from the “Hoya Destroya” to a post player who relied mainly on mid range jump shots.  He made his living in the post, but had to adapt his game thanks to declining lift, acceleration, and agility.  The whole thing is a shame because I’m pretty convinced that he would be considered a top 6 all time NBA center, and I’m sure he would have an NBA title attached to his name.  The Knicks lost to Jordan’s Bulls five times in the playoffs, but those Bulls teams never had a stalwart in the low post.  If Ewing was the athletic monster he was in college there’s no way his stacked team doesn’t’ upend Jordan’s crew a few times.


Ewing would’ve been a beast if he just had a bilateral knee transplant


Whereas Ewing’s balky knees allowed him to play 17 NBA seasons, Greg Oden’s gimpy appendages have only been strong enough to let him suit up for 82 games in five seasons.  It’s truly heartbreaking to see such potential relegated to continued trips to rehab and the orthopedic surgeon’s office.  In his one season at Ohio State Oden was dynamic.  He finished with 15.7 points/game, 9.6 rebounds/game, and 3.3 blocks/game while averaging 29 minutes per contest.  His almost 62% shooting can’t be ignored, especially considering he played the 1st half of his season left handed recovering from wrist surgery he had while in high school.  Oden’s last collegiate game was seemingly a harbinger of a productive NBA career, as he dominated Florida’s Joakim Noah and Al Horford in the championship game.  Both of those players were NBA lottery picks in 2007. Ohio State lost the game, but it was clearly obvious who the best player on the court that night was … Greg Oden.  It’s impossible to predict Oden’s future, but if he had been healthy, there was no limit to his ceiling.  During the brief intervals he was healthy he was a tenacious rebounder, blocked shots, and even did a little scoring on the block.  His lack of coordination was obvious, but so was his strength and athletic ability.  I predict he would have easily had a better career than Emeka Okafor, but probably less than Patrick Ewing.  I know that’s a huge disparity, but not much can be hypothesized from 82 NBA games and 32 NCAA games.


Yes, Oden used to be able to get above the square


What if Carlos Boozer stayed in Cleveland?

Thanks to one bad year in Chicago, people forget just how good a player Carlos Boozer really is.  He’s not much on the defensive side of the ball, but he is a career double-double guy, and he shoots well over 50% from the field (53.7% for his career).  Boozer played one year with Lebron James, and per usual he averaged a double-double and shot well from the field and from the free throw line.  Despite one of the crappiest rosters one could ever lay eyes on, the team finished only 6 games below .500, and only 1 game out of a playoff spot.  Lebron had a decent year, but he was still just a rookie, and a shell of the player he is today.  Unfortunately Boozer left for Utah, and neither one has won a Championship almost 8 years later.  The very next year Lebron turned into the all-timer that exists now, and willed another decrepit Cleveland team to a 42-40 record.  Unless one counts Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Desagana Diop, Drew Gooden, Tractor Traylor, Luke Jackson, Scott Williams, Anderson Varejao, Zendon Hamilton, Alan Henderson, Dwayne Jones, Scott Pollard, 33 year old Ben Wallace, Lorenzen Wright, or 37 year old broken down Shaq as a low post presence, Lebron essentially carried a rag-tag group of miscasts to enviable playoff success.  Just imagine what he could have accomplished if he had a legitimate 20-10 player to gel with for several seasons?  No offense to Big Z or Varejao, but neither one can create their own shot, have defenses key in on them, or make a lethal pick and roll combination.  I’m almost assured that if Boozer would have remained on Cleveland, and the roster was more or less the same as it was during the last several years, they would have won an NBA championship.  If Lebron could win 66 games with Cleveland’s roster, and take the 2006-07 scrub infested team to the NBA Finals, I’m certain he would have a ring or two with Boozer as his sidekick.


Why are these guys not wearing the same jersey???