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Phil Jackson Press Conference for upcoming season

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Phil Jackson: 2009-10 Intro Presser

Phil Jackson Game ShotMedia day is still three days away, but that didn’t keep Phil Jackson from sitting down at L.A.’s practice facility on Friday to provide a little teaser for a hungry group of journalists that assembled in El Segundo.
It was a busy summer in Laker Land, featuring the 15th championship celebration for the franchise, the return of Jackson for another run, the acquisition of Ron Artest, the re-signing of Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, Pau Gasol’s finger injury and subsequent MVP award in the European Championships, an assemblance of most of L.A.’s young players at the practice facility and, sure, Odom’s weekend wedding.
Alas, as Jackson was talking, we did our best to follow along with the fingers moving:
– The Coach opened by answering a question about his T-Mobile commercial, citing that he goes “way back” with Jesse James because James was a companian of Dennis Rodman’s. Your usual soft opener.
– The first comment Phil had regarding the coming basketball season was that the team wanted to “make the transition for Ron Artest seamless,” adding that Artest is “The defensive player we’ve wanted over the course of the last couple of years. Defense is going to be the item of the day.” Jackson also mentioned that he doesn’t think Artest’s presence will disrupt the offense: “Our game is not predicated on calling plays, it’s about the players reading the game and trying to get the ball to the open man.”
– Jackson neglected to talk about his contract after the coming season, saying he hasn’t talked to Jerry Buss.
– On Kurt Rambis taking the Timberwolves’ head coaching position: “I don’t think a person particularly (will replace him) but the do-it-all nature that he had has to be picked up by some people. I’ll have to spend a little more time working with the big guys, and the staff will have to take on the defensive responsibility that Kurt had. We’ll miss that but we’re (happy he had the opportunity in Minnesota).”
– Jackson agreed that his frontcourt foursome of Bynum-Gasol-Artest-Odom is easily the most talented he’s ever had, and cited the Portland team in 2000 as the last big foursome that had similar on-paper talent.
– On distractions regarding certain players’ off court interests: “It will be something we have to talk about. There’s a certain amount of privacy that we have to demand from (the players) and I think these guys are professional. They’ll understand it.” Jackson said one difference between his Bulls days and now is the media climate, including Twitter, TMZ and constant internet coverage.
– There will be restrictions for players in terms of social media from the team. “There are things they’ll have to be cognizant of.”
– Jackson said he is going to Lamar Odom’s much-reported wedding. “I’m very supportive of Lamar and want everything to go right for him.”
– On continuity from last season: “I have a group on the floor that I know can finish ball games, but a spot is open (with Trevor leaving). I have a second unit that I’m proud of and played really well last season.”
– On point guard dynamic: “There’s no secret that we’ve tried to limit Derek’s (Fisher) minutes … His work ethic is unbelievable, his preparation is as good as anyone I’ve ever coached and he’s played 82 games over the course of (four years). That being said, we want to keep him in a 22 to 28 minute role. He needs to do things for us like he did in the playoffs, a guy that can do critical things in critical moments.”
– On similarities between Artest and Dennis Rodman: “Both of them have an ability to focus at certain times and also to be distracted, but other than that, I don’t think so. Dennis was interested in defense and rebounding, but he’d pass up a shot when he was wide open. There never was that consideration that he’d be taking too many shots or bad shots. Ron is a guy that likes to score and will score, so that’s a different role. Personality wise, Dennis was a guy who could really go through the day without talking. Ron’s the kind of guy that’s very verbose. There’s quite a difference.”
– Jackson said that he’s concerned about Sasha Vujacic’s mindset. He thinks he’s the best shooter on the floor, but needs to rebound from a mental standpoint heading into the season. He thinks the Slovenian situation was difficult, but hopes Vujacic can use it as motivation. Phil added, “We asked him to cut his hair and he did.” A psychological fresh start? “Sasha played with his hair last year more than he did on the court,” Jackson quipped.
– On Andrew Bynum, who’s back in town after training in Atlanta all summer. “Andrew looks good. His weight is lighter, which is a good deal. He’s been back here for a few days (after working out in Atlanta). He’s really excited about getting back and has a goal of making the All-Star team this season.”
– On Twitter and social media: “I think it’s wonderful in our society that we’ve had (the ability to access) so much information for free. A lot of it ends up just being gossip or heresay, so it makes our society more personality oriented. From that standpoint there’s a negative, but from a positive standpoint there are some things that are very good. As far as Twitter goes, Jeannie (Buss) uses it and thinks that it’s a good source of (information) and wants me to start, but I’m saying no.
More to come next week from what’s shaping up to be quite an interesting ride.

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Posted by on September 28, 2009 in Artest, bryant, Bynum, JACKSON, LAKERS, NBA, odom, Phil

 

The New Season Begins: LA Sparks Playoffs 2009!!!

SparksNation stand up! We fought, clawed, scratched and have made it to the WNBA playoffs. Now everybody’s record is 0-0…and this is where it counts the most. This is where chemistry must already be developed, the intensity must be up from the coaches to the last player on the bench. Where we as Sparks fans remind the WNBA why the GM’s picked the Sparks to win it all at the beginning of the season. First up-The Seattle Storm!

The above picture shows where the “drama” between these two teams started, in USA basketball! In Sydney Australia at the 2000 olympics, Lisa Leslie became Lauren Jackson’s nightmare. She played Lauren to a “T” and frustrated her, to the point where Lauren pulled out Lisa’s ponytail, swatting it across the court. It was funny because you could tell that Lauren did not know it was fake, because when it came off, Lauren had this petrified look on her face…lol. But Lisa being the champion she is simply stated one fact: “you can have the hair, I want the gold”…and the rest is history. Since then Lauren has went on to lose twice more to Lisa in the olympics…and she can’t stand it! That’s what makes this upcoming playoff series so intriguing.

The Seattle Storm are to my Sparks, what Boston is to my Lakers…a true rival! When that “green” makes it’s way to Staples on Friday night, immediately the “hate” turns on! It’s the one time where, shaking hands and being all smiles goes out the window. In head to head matchups the Storm is ahead 14-11(even though 4 of those wins came in a sweep the year Lisa sat out on maternity leave)…during the regular season, but they have NEVER BEATEN LA IN A PLAYOFF SERIES! Lauren Jackson wants to change this so bad she can taste it. She just wants to beat Lisa at least once before Lisa hangs them up…but sorry LJ it won’t happen. Lisa Leslie will finish her illustrious career on top…with the 2009 WNBA Championship!

This is the look Lauren Jackson will have after another playoff series defeat to the Los Angeles Sparks, but cheer up Lauren you’re still the 2nd best center to play in the league. And should you decide to keep playing in the states, this is what you will have to look forward too: An even worse nightmare, cause you have to chase her all over the floor.

I love Lauren’s competitive edge, and the back and forth she and Lisa do on the court. I love everything about a Sparks vs Storm matchup. I just hope that Coop remembers that Harrower (fellow aussie) cannot stop Sue Bird (proven in olympics) and uses Lennox and Bobbitt to chase her around screens. It’s time now for the MVP to reign supreme. Well actually she already doing that. How you miss almost 2 months of the season, and still lead the league in block shots (2per gm) and double doubles with 14? Simply that’s what MVP’s do.

Sparks “here dey come” by MrFloz
http://www.zshare.net/audio/6467044021b02d97/

 
 

Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson


Like the world, last week I was devastated by the news that Michael Jackson had suddenly left the room. This blessed artist commanded the stage with the grace of an antelope, shattered recording industry records and broke down cultural boundaries around the world, yet remained the gentlest of souls.
Michael Jackson was a different kind of entertainer. A man-child in many ways, he was beyond professional and dedicated. Evoking Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr. and James Brown all at once, he’d work for hours, perfecting every kick, gesture and movement so that they came together precisely the way they were intended to. Together we shared the ’80s, achieving heights that I can humbly say may never be reached again and reshaped the music business forever.
For some reason I have had the honor of meeting young performers when they reach the age of 12. There was Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Tevin Campbell and, of course, Michael Jackson. I was fully aware of Michael and impressed by the achievemen ts that he’d reached with the Jackson Five, but it never crossed my mind that we would eventually work together. But as is always the case, divinity interceded into the process.
In 1978, Sidney Lumet pulled me kicking and screaming into doing the music for “The Wiz,” and in hindsight I’m so glad he did. As the scarecrow, Michael dove into the filming of “The Wiz” with everything that he had, not only learning his lines but those of everyone in the cast. Prior to filming, Michael and I were working at my home and he asked if I could help find him a producer to work with him on his first solo album from Epic.
At rehearsals with the cast, during the part where the scarecrow is pulling proverbs from his stuffing, Michael kept saying “So-Crates” instead of “Socrates.” After about the third time, I pulled him aside and told him the correct pronunciation. He looked at me with these big wide eyes and said, “Really?” and it was at that moment that I said, “Michael, I’d like to produce your album.”
It was that wonderment that I saw in his eyes that locked me in. I knew that we could go into completely unexplored territory, a place that as a jazz musician gave me goose bumps.
I pulled my “A-team” crew together, anchored by Rod Temperton, one of the best songwriters who has ever lived, and we embarked on making “Off the Wall.” I simply loved working with Michael. He was so shy he’d sit down and sing behind the couch with his back to me while I sat there with my hands over my eyes with the lights off. We tried all kinds of tricks that I’d learned over the years to help him with his artistic growth, like dropping keys just a minor third to give him flexibility and a more mature range in the upper and lower registers, and more than a few tempo changes.
I also tried to steer him to songs with more depth, some of them about real relationships — we weren’t going to make it with ballads to rodents (i.e. “Ben”). And Seth Riggs, a leading vocal coach, gave him vigorous warm-up exercises to expand his top and bottom range by at least a fourth, which I desperately needed to get the vocal drama going. We approached that record like we were going into battle. “Off the Wa ll” would sell 10 million copies.
Anyone who tells you that they knew a record was going to be a big hit is a flat-out liar. We had no idea “Off the Wall” was going to be as successful as it was, but we were thrilled. Michael had moved from the realm of bubble-gum pop and planted his flag square in the heart of the musical pulse of the ’80s, but what came next, I don’t think any of us were ready for.
The ‘Thriller’ saga
The drama surrounding “Thriller” seemed to never end. As we were recording the album, Steven Spielberg asked me to do a storybook song with Michael for “E.T.” We were already behind schedule on “Thriller,” but great, no problem. The movie was a big hit, we loved Steven, and so, off to work we went with Rod Temperton and Marilyn and Alan Bergman writing the song. Naturally, of course, this would evolve into Steven wanting us to do an “E.T.” album.
Four months to complete “Thriller,” already behind schedule, no problem. Off to work we went. In any event, it all worked out . . . Michael and I won Grammys for the album, and it became a collector’s item.
With two months to get “Thriller” done, we dug in and really hit it. Michael, Rod, the great engineer Bruce Swedien and I had all spent so much time together by now that we had a shorthand, so moving quickly wasn’t a problem. I told Michael that we needed a black rock ‘n’ roll tune — a black “My Sharona” — and a begging tune for the album. He came back with “Beat It” and Rod came back with “The Lady in My Life.”
Rod also brought in “Thriller” and Michael sang his heart out on it. At one point during the session the right speaker burst into flames, which none of us had ever seen before. How’s that for a sign?
We finished the album at 9 a.m. the morning we needed to deliver the reference copy. We had three studios going all night long. Michael in one putting final touches on “Billie Jean,” Bruce in another, and Eddie Van Halen, who I brought in, in yet another recording his parts for “Beat It.”
We all gathered in Studio A to listen to the test pressing with this enormous anticipation. This was it, the eagerly anticipated fo llow-up to “Off the Wall.” And it sounded . . . terrible. After all of that great work we were doing, it wasn’t there. There was total silence in the studio, and one by one we walked across the hall for some alone time. We’d put too much material on the record. Michael was in tears.
We took two days off, and in the next eight days, we set about reshaping the album, mixing just one song a day. Rod cut a verse from “The Lady in My Life,” and we shortened the long, long intro to “Billie Jean,” something Michael hated to do because he said the intro “made him want to dance.”
MTV breakthrough
We delivered the album and watched “Billie Jean” — thanks to Michael’s debut performance of the moonwalk on the 25th anniversary of Motown special — “Beat It” and “Thriller” just explode, fueled in part by heavy video rotation on MTV. Prior to “Billie Jean,” MTV wasn’t playing videos with black artists. “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Thriller” took us straight to the stratosphere. After those three videos, virtually every video on MTV was trying to emulate their style.
Michael, the music and MTV all went to the mountaintop. It was the perfect convergence of forces. In the music business, every decade you have a phenomenon. In the ’40s you had Sinatra, in the ’50s Elvis, in the ’60s the Beatles, in the ’70s the innovation of Dolby, despite the best efforts of Stevie Wonder and Elton John. In the ’80s you had Michael Jackson. For everyone from 8 to 80, he was the biggest entertainer on the planet. Followed up with “Bad” and the collective on “We Are the World,” we all made history together. We owned the ’80s and our souls would be connected forever.
Shortly after “Thriller” came out and simply chewed up everything in its way, I went to see Count Basie at the Palladium with Benny Carter and Ed Eckstine. Basie was like a father to me, having kind of adopted me when I was 13, and he wasn’t in the greatest shape. He was in a wheelchair and when he saw me, he said with a sense of pride, “Man, [what] you and Michael did, me and Duke would never even dream about nothin’ that big. We wouldn’t even dare to dream about it.” You can’t imagine how proud I felt, hearing that from one of my idols, not realizing that it would be the last time that I’d see him alive.
There will be a lot written about what came next in Mich ael’s life, but for me all of that is just noise. I promise you in 50, 75, 100 years, what will be remembered is the music. It’s no accident that almost three decades later, no matter where I go in the world, in every club and karaoke bar, like clockwork, you hear “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Starting Something,” “Rock With You” and “Thriller.”
In every language on the planet, from prison yards in the Philippines [Updated at 7:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly said the prison yards were in Thailand.] to Thrilltheworld.com, that will be the beautiful, grand legacy of Michael Jackson.
–Quincy Jones

 
 

LISA LESLIE OR LAUREN JACKSON?


Every since 1998 these two ladies have been going at it. It all started in the World Championships. Lisa Leslie has been getting the best of Lauren Jackson when it counts the most, on the WORLD stage, but Lauren Jackson has been coming for that #1 spot for a minute. I know that when Lauren won her WNBA championship in 2004, she felt some of the weight being lifted off of her, but yet the olympics still proved that Lisa was the best center in the world.
Now mind you I am biased here…and ANYTIME I hear someone say that Lauren Jackson is the best female basketball player on the planet..I just shake my head in disgust..it’s like the Kobe and Lebron debate all over again! Lisa Leslie is the BEST female center to ever play the game! Why? 101pts in a game, 4 gold medals, 2 wnba championships..nuff said. I’m not even going into the MVP’s or the fact that she is the All-Time Scoring leader in the WNBA.
The sad part for Lauren is that right now she is considered the best in the league, and it’s mainly because Lisa Leslie is 35yrs old and out with an injury, and THE BEST FEMALE BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THIS GENERATION HAS YET TO LACE THEM UP THIS SEASON..so it’s like when the Spurs won the championship the year the NBA was a short season…like by default. Now don’t get me wrong…I know the “worth” of Lauren Jackson, and I am not ignorant to all she has accomplished, but ease up on the BEST STATEMENTS, cause there are still 27 games to go, and the Sparks have yet to get their 2 best players on the floor at the same time. THAT’S SCARY…GIVE ME LISA!

 
 
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