If you think sharing coaching duties with LeBron or trying to figure out if JR Smith should be starting over Dwyane Wade is a challenge, then you have never been thirsty and faced with a frozen water bottle that may or may not have enough melted ice in it to make a drink attempt worthwhile. Coach Tyronn Lue was faced with this challenge this past weekend while trying to listen to a question about threes and erasing deficits.
“Very difficult.” Lue said with a straight face after two drink attempts and multiple confused looks at the clearly frozen bottle.
I’m a Lue believer. I have faith in him like he had faith in that bottle. The reason why is because I was a Laker fanatic during his days in La La Land and I saw and heard everything he went through. Forget the Iverson step-over in the Finals, I remember hearing about a young Frobe Bryant wanting to fight Lue in practice because the six-footer blocked one of his dunks.
We’re playing 5-on-5 one day and it was the gold team against the white team. It was myself, Devean George, Brian Shaw, Mark Madsen and I want to say Slava Medvedenko, playing against the first unit — against Fish (Derek Fisher), Kob’, Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal).
Long story short is, it was a game point and [Bryant] drove baseline and I was at the elbow. And he drove baseline and I went down the lane and I pinned his dunk against the glass. He tried to dunk it and I blocked it against the glass. We came down, Devean George made a layup for game and Brian Shaw went, ‘Ahhh, he blocked you!’ He went crazy. Kobe wanted to fight me at first and then, second, he wanted to play one-on-one after practice.
‘We going to play one-on-one, me and you.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not playing you one-on-one.’ He was so mad and then, after that, it was just, every day we stepped onto the court, he just went after me every single day. It was crazy. And then, like other stories, just playing one-on-one every day, every time we acquired a new guy, he would play those guys one-on-one after every practice just to show them, like, ‘I’m the man, I’m the man.’ Did the same thing with Glen Rice. Just his competitive nature, man, it was just unbelievable.
I also remember hearing Shaq say Lue wasn’t allowed to talk to him.
“Starting 5, Big Shot Rob, B Shaw and Rick Fox. Everybody else…Tyronn Lue couldn’t say nothing. Ruben Patterson couldn’t say nothing.”
I’m 99.9% sure Shaq was just joking around. Just like he was in the following photos of him joking around and flipping through his CD collection with durag-wearing Lue on a team plane.
Lue’s real punishment came when he decided to leave the Lakers before the three-peat was completed to go to Washington. After spending some time with Michael Jordan on the Wizards, he ended up with the Orlando Magic — worst team in the NBA in 2003/04. After riding the bench in H-Town, he ended up in Atlanta, where the team not only had the worst record in the league but the worst record in franchise history: 13-69.
He bounced around a few other cities as a player and coach and eventually landed in Cleveland, where he finally got that third championship and is faced with challenges such as juggling superstars, trying to figure out how to beat the Warriors and what do you to when someone puts a frozen water bottle in front of you at a postgame conference.
If you also remember his days as a Laker and love intentionally bad jokes by Jordan’s main man Ahmad Rashad, then check out this feature from the best 90’s Saturday morning show ever…besides the original ‘YO! MTV RAPS.’