Inside the NBA was never supposed to be the home of erudite basketball analysis, but is it too much to ask for the panelists to be familiar with active NBA players?
During halftime of the Raptors-Bucks game, the TNT crew compared the first-half performances of Raptors teammates Norm Powell and Pascal Siakam. Ernie Johnson tossed it to Shaquille O’Neal, saying, “You have your eyes on Pascal.”
“No,” Shaq responded, “I have my eyes on Siakam.”
“Oh, I never knew his first name,” Shaq confessed after Johnson corrected him. “I don’t call him Pascal. I call him Siakam.”
It’s not exactly the same, but Shaq’s flub reminds me of a 10-year-old video I will never forget, when Mike Francesa thought a caller was playing a prank on him by mentioning a Tigers pitcher named Al Alburquerque. (Francesa insisted he knew the reliever only by his full name: Alberto José Alburquerque.)
Alburquerque was a guy Francesa absolutely should have known. He had just given up two runs without recording an out in the eighth inning of a playoff game against the Yankees the night before. Shaq should definitely know Siakam’s full name, too. He’s not a random benchwarmer for a team at the bottom of the standings. It’s his fifth year in the NBA and his third as a full-time starter. He won a championship in 2019 and was an All-Star last year. He’s the Raptors’ leading scorer! Even if Shaq didn’t know his first name, he never even bothered to look it up?
Shaq has been kind of an embarrassment on Inside the NBA this year. Last month, after Christian Wood put up 27 points and 15 rebounds in a win for the Rockets, O’Neal told him, “I owe you an apology, I wasn’t really familiar with your game.” Wood responded by calling Shaq “a casual.” And then there was the whole thing with Shaq calling out Donovan Mitchell in a painfully awkward interview. Shaq has always been the show’s resident grouch, but it’s not as endearing when he’s also ill-informed.
The best of SI
Alex Caruso is more than the NBA’s most memeable player. He’s also a trusted closer for the Lakers. ... Carson Wentz will have to mesh with the Colts quickly. ... Here's the six college basketball teams with the most on the line on Selection Sunday. ... A handful of guys have played in both the NBA bubble and the G-League bubble. Here’s what they have to say about it.
Around the sports world
Yankees pitcher Zack Britton was surprisingly honest about teammate Domingo Germán returning from his domestic violence suspension. ... The so-called “Elam Ending” is returning for the NBA All-Star Game. ... NBC will air a documentary this weekend about recently retired NHL announcer Mike Emrick. ... Former NFL receiver Vincent Jackson may have been dead in his hotel room for as long as three days before being found.
Only two or maybe three more seasons and he’ll be the league’s all-time leading scorer
Thanasis Antetokounmpo knocks on wood before Giannis’s free throws
Why didn’t Manfred think of “DH by request”?
Charles Barkley says the NBA All-Star Game is only in Atlanta because that’s where Turner Sports is located
The setting for this weekend’s outdoor NHL game is amazing
A woman using an outhouse in Alaska was bitten on the butt by a bear. ... A British man was offered a COVID-19 vaccine because a computer error listed his height as 6.2 cm, wildly inflating his body mass index. ... Two guys in Florida were arrested for posing as U.S. Marshals to avoid having to wear face masks. ... Scientists have found a way to communicate with dreaming people.
NASA successfully landed a rover on Mars after a seven-month journey
A good song
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.