Friday FT's: Shaq invades Google, Rondo on set


Friday FT's: Shaq invades Google, Rondo on set

By Jessica Camerato Follow @JCameratoNBA
Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that may not have made the headlines but are still worth a read.

Before Shaquille ONeal announced he is joining TNT, he made a discreet appearance at Google. "I've broken inside the Google building. Nobody knows I'm here. Shhh. I love Google, baby," he said on a Tout video. While inside, he "camouflaged" himself behind a less-than-Shaq-size plant and eventually got pinned down to a Google pool table, apologizing to the "Google people." Safe to say ONeals attempts at disguising himself were unsuccessful.

Lights, Camera, Action for Rondo: On Thursday night Rajon Rondo posted, "At a Nike shoot today in LA" on his Facebook page and tweeted several photos, including a helicopter, fans, and a very sophisticated ensemble.
(Now that is taking your style to a whole new level.)

Rondo is the face of the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011, which he is expected to wear next season.

Ray Ready for Anything: Ray Allen was in Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards, where he was nominated for Best Record-Breaking Performance for breaking the NBA all-time three-point shooting record last season. (U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy won the award.) Before the event, Allen was asked about the unavoidable topic of the NBA lockout. "I think you have to expect the worst, always, he told ESPNs Erin Andrews on the red carpet. And with that, the guys have to save their money, make sure that they're not doing anything too frivolous. And at the same time, you've got to take care of your bodies because we've seen back in '99 a lot of guys' careers ended because they didn't take care of themselves, they didn't take care of their bodies, they didn't prepare for the long haul."
KG Inspiring Young Athletes: During the NBA Draft it is not unusual to hear picks list Kevin Garnett as one the players they looked up to as they worked toward becoming pro athletes. Recently two high school athletes who are still years away from the NBA noted the influence Garnett has made on their games already.

When reading about Everett, MA native Nerlens Noel, a 6-11 center, it is clear he has been inspired by Garnett. Mentions of energy, defense, and team basketball are usually good indications. Nerlens, who plays for the Tilton School in Tilton, NH, is ranked as one of the top players in his class nationwide. Wrote, I just want to win the game and be a good teammate, he said. I know defense is one thing people will sleep on, but defense wins championships. Noel, who cites Kevin Garnett as possessing the intensity he wants to emulate, said he hoped to have a list of 15 schools by the end of the summer.

Chinoso Obokoh, a big man from Nigeria who plays for Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, NY, has also been influenced by KG. According to the NBE Basketball Report, This 6-foot-10 defensive terror who says his favorite team is the Boston Celtics and his favorite player is Kevin Garnett already has many schools already drooling over his services.
Pinckney to Europe: NBA players arent the only ones going overseas -- former Boston Celtics forwardChicago Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinckney will also head to Europe. reported he will serve as an assistant coach for the Ukrainian National Team under head coach Mike Fratello. Pinckney played for the Celtics over six seasons in the late 1980searly 1990s.
Celtics Award Camp Scholarship: This week the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation announced a new partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. As part of the partnership, the Celtics awarded a scholarship for the Reebok Youth Basketball Camps to a 16-year-old Charlestown Boys & Girls Club member who best exemplified being a team player. The camps are co-hosted by the Celtics and will feature former Cs Cedric Maxwell and Dana Barros.

Celtics Tweet of the Week:
@paulpierce34: They knocked me out of the Main Event Monday nite I'm still licking my wounds but I'll b back

Celtics Birthday of the Week:
Jim Paxson, who played with the Celtics from 1988-90, turned 54 on July 9 . . . Paul Silas, who played four seasons for the Celtics in the 1970s, turned 68 on July 12.

This Week in NBA History:
Jermaine ONeal agreed to sign with the Celtics on July 8, 2010. ONeal struggled with injuries for the majority of his first year in Boston, averaging 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 24 regular season games. His standout performance of the postseason came in the first round against the New York Knicks when he scored 12 points off of perfect 6-for-6 shooting. ONeal told he plans to return next season. "I have a lot I can still give to this team," he said.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at!JCameratoNBA.

Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship


Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told on Wednesday.
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”