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

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.