What would be the questions you would want answered if you happened to be in the company of the NBA’s most famous players? I've compiled a list of some of the most pressing questions you might have for 11 of the NBA's most impressive players.
Everyone does 10 with these lists, I’m going to do 11. Why?
Two reasons: If you want 10 then Letterman is on weeknights at 11:30, and because on the court, one-on-one games are played to 11, not 10.
So let’s say that we're in rehab (hi Doc and Darryl) with all these 11 players in an open forum. What would be the first question that you'd ask them, assuming you wouldn’t catch an NBA sized beatdown afterward?
Did you do it?
Why did the relationship go sour between you and Shaq? Was it because you snitched on him? Did teammates take sides to the point where there was a team Kobe and a team Shaq? If so, your team was pretty sparse, wasn’t it? Think you could beat Shaq’s new little buddy D-Wade in a game of one-on-one?
And why did you change your number from 8 to 24? Were you trying to say that you were one better than MJ? Eight is such a seminal number, whereas 24 is only good if you’re referring to rim size or beers in a case.
Let’s get back to Shaq; what was he like drunk? Did he smoke the reefer? I've seen some of his movies (Steel, Kazaam), and that seems like the only logical explanation.
I think Shaq's over there in the corner rippin’ on you as we speak. Let’s see how he responds to a few questions of his own.
Why did you never spend more time working on your free throws? You cost many teams games, and you could have had thousands more points in your career. Kareem (who was taller than you, albeit with smaller hands) managed to shoot .720 for his career. Your career average is .527. I understand some drop off due to your size, but not this drastic. Seven out of your 19 years were spent shooting under .500!
Where do you rate yourself overall compared to other big men in the history of the NBA? Above Hakeem? Above Patrick? Above Russell?
You clearly don’t like Dwight Howard very much. Who do you think would win in a fight if you both were in your prime? If not Howard, over your career, which player do you think would have given you the best challenge in a scuffle?
You are the owner of some of the biggest feet, but you've had some of the worst shoes designed for them. Why would you wear those? Did you ever like some of the atrocities they came up with? The Reebok pump was pretty cool though, I’ll have to admit that. But what was up with the white socks-black shoes thing that Miami had going on?
Did you think of Shaq when you took his Superman routine? To be fair, I don’t remember Shaq ever putting on a cape and outfit. He never entered the dunk contest either. I know Shaq was more of a power slammer, but it would have been cool to see him come up with something fun for the event.
With regards to your Man of Steel performance, Shaq responded “everything he’s done, I’ve invented, so I’m not impressed…I can’t be impressed by something I invented in ’92.”
Well Shaq, Arthur D. Pennington (former Negro Leaguer) says that you stole it from him, and he’s fixing to put an old man beating on you and those blown knees. Geez, even Nancy Kerrigan’s knees weren’t that bad right after the whole Tonya Harding incident!
Furthermore, Shaq looks more like someone stuck the bald head of Professor X on the Incredible Hulk than Superman.
And now, on to the proverbial anti-hero.
Only the strong survive. You have that tattooed on your arm, but in the NBA, the stars are defined not just by survival, but by winning. Aside from one game in the finals early in your career, you never won anything except for street cred; that is, unless you count driving all those coaches out of town.
And congratulations, you got out of practice plenty of times. That’s right, I’m talking about practice, the second most quotable press-conference P-word. Do you think your performance was better than Jim Mora’s “playoffs?” rant?
Did your “me against the world” attitude keep you from being a better teammate? What was with your childish refusal to become a role player later in your career when your skills had clearly deteriorated? You said that you would rather retire than come off the bench. Did you mean to say that you would rather play in Turkey?
Speaking of players who shouldn’t be role models...
If you had to pick either Magic of Bird to be your teammate to try and take down Jordan and get a ring, who would you have picked?
Just mentioning Michael leads me to another question. You two gambled a lot, did you ever gamble against each other? If so, how much did you win or lose? What's the most you've ever blown in one night? What are your overall gambling losses? You probably lost as much gambling as Kenny Smith, your partner on TNT, made in his entire career.
You gambled on the court when you went to Houston for the final four years of your career, but you were injured. Olajuwon and Drexler were past their prime, and all you walked away with was the right to say you played in by far the most detestable NBA uniforms ever invented.
Oh and if you see him, ask Hakeem why his career started off with him being called Akeem. Who just gets letters added to the beginning of their name? It would be like if you came into the league being called Arles. Maybe if Olajuwon had played long enough he would have expanded it to Chakeem.
Very odd, but not nearly half as odd as our next player on the question block...
How did you get started on the whole hair-dye thing? Did anyone inspire you? How did you choose the colors: Did you have a team of dye-advisors or was it your own idea? Did you ever spray it yourself, or did you always have someone else doing it?
You kicked a cameraman. Other than fighting fans, do you rank this as the most despicable act a player has ever committed in the NBA? Did he remind you of some uncle who used to tease you when you were younger? Your response to the incident was that it was “heat of the moment” and that you could have done a lot worse things to him such as “punched him in the face.” Do you still agree with that? Did you take $20 from your mother growing up and say “at least it wasn’t $50?"
We now go to a guy who is everything you're not.
Why did you always wear short shorts even after the rest of the league moved on to less revealing styles? Those were shorts that most guys wouldn’t be caught dead in at a public beach, but you kept on wearing them right up until the end.
You looked like a real Dad at a company picnic with those things, but then again, It was always rare to see thugs on those Jazz teams, let alone many players out of line. Are you all secretly Mormon? What are you laughing at over there, Malone? I have some questions for you too...
Why did you always dunk one-handed? Unlike Stockton, you just couldn’t share, could you? Speaking of which, hey Barkley, why did you always dunk two-handed? Was that a case of bad control issues?
Speaking of control, the Jazz lost all of theirs when you missed those two free throws at the end of the game, Karl. It was nerves, wasn’t it? You were no slouch at the line, shooting just under .750 for your career after starting your first two seasons around .500 (take note, Shaq).
Did MJ get in your head? Did he call all of your picks moving? Did he say huntin’ and truckin’ were for hicks? Your cargo could certainly be bricks. Was that the biggest disappointment of your career? I suppose the mailman doesn’t actually deliver on Sunday, which brings me to my next question...
Why did you say that James was better than Jordan? Is there some sort of beef between you and MJ or you and the Bulls? Did MJ not pass it to you enough in your career?
And why do you spell your first name with the girly "i-e" ending instead of the more manly (manlie?) "Y" ending? Can you imagine Jerrie West or Larrie Bird? I cant either. But that voice of yours is fairly manly. Is it getting deeper and deeper each year? By the time it’s all over you're going to sound like a set of rusty clippers at a barbershop whenever you go to talk. Sign language may the only option.
And now, according to you, we're on to the Greatest ever...
Why can’t you take it like a man when you don’t get a call from the refs on the court? I mean, I know men across the country are drinking light beer, openly wearing pink and washing themselves with loofahs, but come on, there has to be some room left for being a man in sports.
Next question: Why did you take off Game 5 in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals against the Celtics? Was it because you knew you were getting out of Dodge? How long had you been planning this whole little Justice League collaboration down in Miami?
And while we’re on the topic, the question that everybody wants to know: Who gets more tail, you or D-Wade? When you have a bunch of girls lined up in front of you at the club waiting to go back to your place (you probably go to their place so they don’t find out where you live), do you sit down in front of everyone and announce your decision as to where you will be taking your “talents” that night?
Finally, a few questions for the greatest of all time (sorry Scottie, maybe we can beam you up some sense).
Who were your best friends on the team? Did you have any?
You beat the crap out of Steve Kerr, why? What was it like with you and him after that? If Iverson or somebody like Ron Artest hit someone they are labeled a thug or a punk, but if you do it, you’re just a competitor. Do you think that’s right?
Sometimes I wonder if you’re the greatest of all time, or just a dick. You hardly ever signed autographs for anyone in your career, what was up with that? They say that was due to safety, but that never stopped Tiger or Ali. You could have signed some if you really wanted to, huh?
And despite all your endorsements, you actually hated Gatorade, didn’t you?
Finally the questions that may never be answered: What was the real reason you retired for the first time?