NBA players are known to provide highlights on the hardwood, but some of the entertainment slips behind the scenes as well. In light of Ken Griffey Jr.‘s painfully uncomfortable interview on SportsCenter last week, Dime has counted down the ten most awkward NBA interviews.
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10. Hedo Turkoglu is a man of few words. In a comeback victory against the New York Knicks in 2010, Turkoglu, then part of the Toronto Raptors, dropped 26 points and added 11 rebounds to help his team pull off the win. Apparently, he didn’t feel like talking afterward.
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9. Brian Scalabrine didn’t register one minute of playing time in the 2008 NBA Finals, but don’t tell him that. The “Red Mamba” did not hesitate in trash-talking the Los Angeles Lakers after defeating them in six games.
8. It might not seem like it now, but there have actually been pleasant times in Cleveland. With LeBron James leading the charge, the Cavaliers were one of the top teams in the league for multiple seasons.
In Game 1 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics, former Cavs guard Mo Williams forced the turnover before pushing the ball down the court and slamming it home for the impressive dunk. While the jam was spectacular, head coach Mike Brown‘s reaction to it was even better:
7. Shaquille O’Neal may have to watch his language as an analyst on TNT, but as a player, Shaq didn’t worry as much about what he said on-air. While frustrated with the officiating during a postgame interview as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004, the future Hall of Famer let us know how he really felt.
6. Warning: If you ask Russell Westbrook any question he doesn’t like after a loss, he will shut you down. Following a disappointing defeat to the Utah Jazz last season, a reporter asked Westbrook whether the Oklahoma City Thunder lost this game or if the Jazz won it.
The three-time All-Star didn’t appreciate it.
5. Is this kid looking to get beat up?
An amateur reporter interviewed former NBA player Sam Cassell and made a flurry of mistakes and unnecessary comments, which appeared to highly irritate the three-time NBA champion.
4. The New Orleans Hornets emerged as the winners of the 2012 Draft Lottery, giving the team–which the NBA owned at the time–rights to the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Controversial sports radio talk show host Jim Rome asked then-NBA commissioner David Stern if the league was rigged. Stern thought the question was ridiculous, he felt the need to throw an even more absurd question right back to Rome.
3. NBA TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager receives a lot of flack for his wardrobe choices, but Kevin Garnett‘s suggestions to Sager were some of the funniest words we have heard about his outfit picks and what he should do about it.
2. This is just painful.
Chris Bosh struggled in Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, scoring just six points and adding five rebounds in the Miami Heat’s loss.
After explaining his poor play in a postgame press conference, the big man came to the conclusion that “no one cares about it.” Cue the awkward silence.
1. Dwight Howard is currently thriving with the Houston Rockets, a team that appears to be legitimate championship contenders. The All-Star has been chasing the coveted ring since his early days with the Orlando Magic, where he experienced controversy.
Reported by the Orlando Sentinel during the 2011-2012 season, former Magic head coach Steve Van Gundy heard from “people in our management right from the top” that Howard had requested that he be fired. The video below picks up just as he has said those words. At the 2:50 mark, D12–unaware of what Van Gundy had just said–approaches his coach. Without giving his disgruntled superstar any notice, Van Gundy walks away to leave Howard to face the media as he stumbles through questions.
Who said you had to pay the big bucks to see great theater?
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