Thursday Bullets

  • Shaquille O'Neal on video, strapped to another man in a gym somewhere, with a plastic knife, in honor of Michael Jackson. In fact, it's kind of awesome. (Also, if you have a New Yorker subscription, you can read the full text of this profile of "America's Toughest Sheriff" in which Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley both almost make cameos.)

  • Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times catches up with David Stern: "[Seattle] was a great city for the NBA,' Stern said, dropping the stridency of last summer. 'It supported us very well, and we had great teams and great memories. I don't consider it a success that we left Seattle, but a failure of types. And I hope someday, whether on my watch or a successor's watch, that we again have a team in Seattle.' With a public-relations staff member tape-recording our brief interview, Stern was asked what he thought Seattle should do next. 'The next step is really the right putative owner, who really wants to have a team and is prepared to do what it takes, working together with the city, the state to get an arena and get the job done,' he said. 'I think ultimately there will be [another team in Seattle]. I really do.' When he was asked if Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, an NBA maven who is part of a group that has offered to make a sizable financial commitment to bring the league back to the city, could be the kind of owner Stern would like to see in Seattle, the commissioner gave maybe his most encouraging answer for Seattle since Howard Schultz sold the Sonics to Bennett. 'I don't want to put the whammy on him,' Stern said, 'but he'd be a hell of an owner.'"

  • When Barack Obama comes over, Gilbert Arenas will have the perfect chair waiting for him.

  • The Blazers threw all that money at Hedo Turkoglu. And now Lamar Odom is still out there. Would they offer him some money if Utah matches the Paul Millsap offer? There has been no suggestion they will, but the reasons are unclear. Dwight Jaynes, however, has some reasons: "I've heard a lot of Trail Blazer fans reject the notion of Odom coming here. You know, all that stuff about him trash-talking LaMarcus Aldridge, bumping Brandon Roy around a little bit. He's a big Laker villain in Portland. Folks, that's no reason not to sign him. Grow up. The moment he'd put on a Blazer uniform and started doing all that stuff to the other team, you'd love him. And you'd love him even more if he puts up some big numbers. In hockey it's almost a cliche that when you go out and trade for the hated goon on the other team he immediately becomes your most popular player. And I go all the way back to the old Portland Buckaroos and Connie Madigan for that anology. But the real reason not to sign Lamar Odom is that at times he's a moody, sulky dog who doesn't bring it every night. Even for the Lakers (let alone what he was like with the Clippers). The guy grew up in New York, has spent his pro career mostly in LA, other than a season in Miami. This town isn't big enough for him, either."

  • The NCAA does not pay the young athletes who star in their multibillion dollar entertainment enterprise. And it looks like sometimes they don't give them health benefits either.

  • Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: "None other than Garden chairman James Dolan was on hand to see one of his biggest investments, Eddy Curry, prove that he is ready to resurrect his career. And here's the show Curry gave his boss: He forgot to bring his sneakers. ... Other than dropping a few pounds, Curry failed to make much of an impression during his two-day visit with the Knicks' top executives." (Via Basketbawful)

  • The Painted Area is ticking off the 25 best highlights of the playoffs. There's a Derrick Rose save that blows my mind, as well as all kinds of Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza and that amazing Chauncey Billups pass to himself off Kobe Bryant's back.

  • Kobe Bryant says he has talked to Lamar Odom, and told him how important he is to the Lakers.

  • At the start of this season, it will be interesting to know how much total guaranteed money is committed to NBA salaries, compared to recent years on the same date. That number will tell us something about how bullish NBA owners are on the future.

  • Perhaps the internet's only video scouting report on new Nugget Walter Sharpe. Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company writes: "As I point out repeatedly Sharpe played power forward in college, but Detroit was working on transforming him into a small forward. Based on watching him I think it was the correct decision. Even less than a month after he was drafted, he showed the ability to play perimeter defense. His ball handling and passing was also very solid for a guy trying to fit into a new position. Wait until you see him shoot a jumper before you get too excited."

  • You notice that Kevin Durant's brother Tony is on the Thunder's summer league team? You ever wonder how those teams are built? Insight. (Via Daily Thunder.)