Previewing the NBA Season, From A to Z
It sounds like a list of NBA teams of yesteryear, from the Anderson Packers to the Chicago Zephyrs.
It sounds like rookie hazing on the 2000-01 Dallas Mavericks, a season in which they had Courtney Alexander and Wang Zhizhi.
It sounds like epic center battles in Miami practices between Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
It also sounds like a good way to take a look at the 2010-11 NBA season.
A is for anger. There might be a lot less of it this season, with NBA referees being quicker to call technicals on players who complain excessively. Well, at least Rasheed Wallace has retired.
B is for brag. The Miami Heat might have brought in LeBron James, the 2007-08 NBA scoring champion, to join Dwyane Wade, the 2008-09 champion. But one on the Heat who perhaps can brag the most is assistant coach Bob McAdoo, who, with three, has more scoring titles than James and Wade combined.
C is for collusion. It seems to be the NBA's in thing. After talking about it for years, James and Chris Bosh have joined Wade in Miami. Now, there have been reports of a toast by Chris Paul at Carmelo Anthony's wedding last July of those two eventually teaming up with Amar'e Stoudemire in New York.
D is for daughter. There has been plenty of anxiousness in China over whether Yao Ming's daughter, Amy, born in Houston during the offseason, will be an American or Chinese citizen. While now American, she won't have to officially decide on her citizenship until she's 18, not long before she's declaring for the WNBA draft. Rockets fans hope the dad, returning after missing last season with a foot injury, already will be in the Hall of Fame then.
E is for envy. Do the Orlando Magic envy what's going on in South Florida? Maybe it will result in motivating Dwight Howard to unseat two-time defending MVP James to win the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.
F is for France. Dallas is cornering the market on the nation. Having picked up native Frenchmen Alexis Ajinca and Ian Mahinmi to join Rodrigue Beaubois of Guadeloupe, there will be plenty of French spoken in the Mavericks' locker room.
G is for gym bag. The first significant charge drawn after NBA training camps began this fall was courtesy of one named Jim. Well, actually it's spelled differently. Chicago forward Carlos Boozer collided with a gym bag at his home, and will be out roughly the first month of the season due to a broken hand.
H is for half dozen. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is looking for another hand to fit all his jewelry. Byrant is seeking this season to win his sixth ring, which would tie him with Michael Jordan. The only other players with six rings who never won one with Boston are Robert Horry, with seven, and Scottie Pippen, with six.
I is for Istanbul. Basketball fans in the Turkish city might be disappointed Fabricio Oberto turned down local team Efes Pilsen to sign with the Portland Trail Blazers. Oh, well. Some other guy with NBA experience, Allen Iverson, might eventually get around to signing with local team Besiktas.
J is for Jewish. While Stoudemire wondered last summer if he is Jewish and traveled to Israel, the Knicks forward will Nov. 17 run into Sacramento forward Omri Casspi, who is from Israel and definitely Jewish.
K is for knees in Northwest. Northwest Division contenders Denver, with Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen out, and Portland, with Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla sidelined, begin the season with key frontcourt players missing due to knee injuries. As for star forward Kevin Durant, his knees are fine as Oklahoma City looks to take over the Northwest.
L is for Las Vegas. With it appearing more and more likely there will be a lockout that could affect next season, NBA players can start planning to have plenty of time to spend there.
M is for Motel 6. It should be the new first name for Washington center Hilton Armstrong, who recently joined his fourth NBA team in five seasons after being the No. 12 pick in the 2006 draft and will try to build upon his 3.4 career NBA scoring average.
N is for nervous. NBA coaches on the hot seat include Detroit's John Kuester, Toronto's Jay Triano and Indiana's Jim O'Brien.
O is for O'Neal. Boston has picked up big men Shaquille O'Neal, who will be 39 in March, and Jermaine O'Neal, who's an old 32. The Celtics just hope their O guys don't have 0 (that's a zero) left in the tank.
P is for point guard. There's two high-profile ones in Washington. President Obama leads the nation's attack. John Wall has arrived to direct the Washington Wizards. The No. 1 draft pick will battle Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who missed all of last season due to injury, for Rookie of the Year.
Q is for quiet. Maybe Quicken Loans Arena should be remained Quiet Moans Arena. There won't be much of an atmosphere in Cleveland in the first season following James having bolted to Miami.
R is for ringless Ron. Or at least soon to be. Ron Artest, who won his first NBA title ring last season with the Lakers, will raffle it off on Christmas Day for charity. Perhaps James, ringless so far in seven NBA seasons, will enter. He'll be in Los Angeles that day as the Heat face the Lakers.
S is for security guards. A lot more will be needed when James returns Dec. 2 to Cleveland.
T is for training camp. Who needs it? Two-a-day workouts weren't for savvy NBA veterans Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier, both 35. Stackhouse didn't sign until joining Miami just before the season and the unsigned Dampier continues to take his time in choosing a team.
U is for Utah East. The Chicago Bulls spent the summer collecting former Utah Jazz players. They signed free agents Boozer and Kyle Korver, who played last season with the Jazz, and Ronnie Brewer, who was with Utah for 3 ½ years before being traded last February to Memphis.
V is for Vujacic. No word on whether the tennis star, who will marry Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic, will change her name to Maria Sharapova-Vujacic. That would give her a chance to join Billie Jean King, Chris Evert-Lloyd, Margaret Smith Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley on a list of legendary women's tennis players with changed names after marriage.
W is for weight. Denver coach George Karl has returned 50 pounds lighter, dropping from 280 to 230, after missing the final 1 1/2 months of last season battling a form of throat cancer. Karl has quipped about his need to buy some new suits and recently said, "I've lost a lot of weight. But I wouldn't recommend the diet."
X is for X-ray. Golden State's team picture last season should have been an X-ray, with the injury-riddled Warriors having used 20 players and having just one appear in more than 70 games.
Y is for young. Charlotte's Larry Brown still feels young despite being about to become just the third man to coach an NBA game at 70. Brown, born Sept. 14, 1940, is under contract for next season, when he could become the oldest coach in NBA history.
Z is for zero. It used to mean "Agent Zero.'' In the preseason, Washington guard Gilbert Arenas, returning after being suspended most of last season for having guns in the locker room, had zero points in his home return when he left three minutes into the game with a groin injury. That came two days after Arenas, who has disowned the "Agent Zero'' nickname, showed zero sense in faking a knee injury so teammate Nick Young could get more time in a preseason game.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson