Friday FT's: Bronze statues and police applications

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Friday FT's: Bronze statues and police applications

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read.
How do you make a larger-than-life sports star, well, even larger than life?

A 900-pound bronze statue sounds like a good idea.

On Thursday, Louisiana State University unveiled the enormous tribute to Shaquille ONeal in front of the LSU Tigers practice facility in Baton Rouge. Following the ceremony, O'Neal addressed the media, at which time he gave a shout out to Glen Davis and other LSU alum in the league, recalled being a 13-year-old eager to play ball, and shared that he is nearing the completion of his doctorate (he noted his dissertation is on the duality of humor and aggression in leadership styles.). Check out LSUsports.net for interview highlights and photos.

Another side of ONeal was also revealed this week in the form of a job application. After being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Miami Heat in 2004, O'Neal applied to work for the Miami Beach Police Department. (He was sworn in as a reserve police officer in 2005.) The Miami New Times posted information from the application -- "Like any cop in Florida, O'Neal had a personnel file that is subject to a public records request, Gus Garcia-Roberts noted -- including:

- Asked about "special skills" or "equipment", Shaq simply wrote: "Laptop computer, binnochulars sic, master of surveillance"

- Shaq's character references are three neighbors from Star Island, including Gloria Estefan. The queen of Latin pop gave him a spotless reference, although indicated that she only knew him "somewhat".

- His weakest quality? sic "Don't express myself when he feels he should. His father was a drill sgt. who taught him to keep everything in."

- His police training appeared to have been penciled in around his existing schedule on a calendar, including games, his mother Lucille's birthday, and shooting an ad for Starter.

On the topic of LSU alumni . . . This summer NBA players have headlined basketball tournaments and leagues around the country. This weekend, Glen Davis will take part in the 2011 Baton Rouge Pro-Am Classic in his home state of Louisiana. Others slated to participate include Zach Randolph, Stephen Jackson, OJ Mayo, and Marcus Thornton. Also on the list Anfernee Penny Hardaway (Davis was seven years old when Hardaway made his NBA debut in 1993).

"For many of these players, this is an opportunity to give back to the community, but make no mistake: there's a lot of personal pride involved, particularly since they're all forming their own teams. Add in the fact that these players are seasoned professionals, and you have all the ingredients for a pretty spectacular show, BRCC Men's Basketball Head Coach James Rix told WAFB Channel 9.

The format of the tournament is double elimination, with 20 teams conisisting of current and former pro basketball players. The championship game will take place on Sunday, September 11. Proceeds will benefit the BRCC Men's and Women's Basketball programs.

Carlos Arroyo may have been a backup point guard on the Celtics this season, but he has played a leading role for Puerto Rico in the FIBA Americas Olympics qualifiers. Arroyo, who was a member of the Toronto Raptors during his rookie year, scored 26 points against Canada in a win on Tuesday. As Doug Smith of the TheStar.com pointed out, Arroyos play did more than just help win the game for Puerto Rico:

Carlos Arroyo has long been a bane of Canadas existence on the international basketball stage, but never more than the former Raptors point guard is right now. With one of his typically explosive offensive games, Arroyo may have single-handedly dealt Canada a death blow in its quest to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics . . . Hes been a major international player for a long time, Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said in a conference call. Down the stretch they spread the court and he made some tough shots.

Although his offense has not been as strong since that game, he will look to lead Puerto Rico (5-2) against Argentina (6-1) on Saturday in the semifinals. Arroyo tweeted his thanks to his fans earlier this week.

Shoutout to Popdust.com for finding a Paul Pierce reference in a promotion for the upcoming television show, "The X-Factor." At the 52nd second mark, music mogul and competition judge L.A. Reid tells a contestant, "You are the truth."

Celtics Tweet of the Week
@JaJuanJohnson: Can it get any better? lifeisgood
Celtics Birthdays of the Week
Stan Noszka, who played for the Celtics in the late 1940s, was born on September 9, 1920 (he passed away in 1991).

This Week in Celtics History
On September 6, 1985, the Celtics traded Cedric Maxwell and a 1986 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for Bill Walton. The draft pick would be used to select Arvydas Sabonis. Walton and Sabonis would go on to be inducted in the NBA Hall of Fame . . . On September 9, 1982, the Celtics traded Dave Cowens to the Milwaukee Bucks for Quinn Buckner. Three years later on September 3, 1985, they traded Buckner to the Indiana Pacers for a 1989 second-round pick.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.