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HOLDAT: Lance Stephenson and the Benefits of NBA Mind Games

Do mind games on the court actually work? The HOLDAT crew discuss Lance Stephenson's playoff antics and share memorable NBA altercation stories.

In the latest episode of the HOLDAT Podcast, Booz and Nate return to give their take on the NBA Playoffs, whether or not mind games on the court work and they share a couple of stories that revolve around fights and altercations that happened around the NBA when they were playing.

(Listen to the latest HOLDAT podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

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Boozer: This Indiana and Cleveland series is getting real chippy. It is tied up at 2-2. I wanted to ask if you used to be one of those guys who would pester other point guards you played against. So Lance Stephenson has become a menace to the Cavs and obviously we have the history of him blowing in LeBron's ear a few years back. The other day, him and Jeff Green got into it and Jeff Green was like look 'meet me in the parking lot'. So I wanted to ask you Nate, are you the type of player that will try to get that mental/psychological game trying get under the other persons' skin or were you really one of those guys who didn't really like people and wanted to get it at it in the locker room or in the hallway or by the bus?

Robinson: I am just a fierce competitor. I don't want to start anything. My dad always told me 'you never start a fight, but you never run from one'. I am just a front-line type of guy. I am going to ride with my teammates. First and foremost, I am riding for myself. I am always repping myself and my teammates. I am just one of those guys, if you want to hoop we can hoop. You don't have to mix the two, you can keep it separate. But if you want to meet in the parking lot, we can put the boxing gloves on and do that too. I am a fan of both. I am a fan of being a pest and getting on somebody's nerves. It is just like a fly that won't leave you alone. Like damn move. I see what that is but I always wanted to be that first person if I am in that dog fight, I am throwing that first punch. 

Boozer: So you like what Lance is doing right now?

Robinson: I love what Lance is doing right now. Plus it is a show, too. People are paying great money to see great basketball and they are coming to see the Lance Stephenson show. Did you try to see him take a flop? (laughs)

Boozer: That was crazy, bro. 

Robinson: You are getting your money worth with Lance and he plays with so much gritty. You can feel the pain, the love, the hunger, the passion throughout his whole life, he plays with that chip. I love watching him play.

Boozer: I was trying to think about some of the pesty stuff that happened back in the day. But something really caught my eye when Jeff Green said you can meet me in the parking lot. It brought back immediate memories when KG and Melo at the Garden were battling out and KG told Melo his wife taste like Honey Nut Cheerios (laughs). And Melo was not letting that slide. Melo chased down KG to the other side of the court and when the game was over he went to the visiting team bus and waited for KG and KG wouldn't get off the bus. Do you remember that?

Robinson: Well I don't think they would let him get off the bus. People are going to have altercations. That is okay. There is people who don't like each other. It is just part of life. But if they really want to duke it out, we need to have a celebrity boxing match. I would host it. But if guys really have a problem, let's put together a little boxing thing and you guys can fight three one minute rounds and just go. And treat it like a real boxing match. In the end, no one really gets hurt and you're protecting yourself with the gloves and if someone has real hands you will see it.

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Boozer: No question and I think that would be worth watching. I think at the end of the day, if we promoted the right way we can have some money and give it to charity. You can settle the beef.

Robinson: Then you can shake on it like gentlemen despite millions just witnessing you get your butt kicked (laughs). You are going to be all over Instagram and all memes. One thing I love about what Lance is doing is that he is the only guy that would do that to LeBron. He is not afraid to be able to do that and stand up to the King. That's why I love Lance Stephenson's game. He is the only one to stand up to LeBron. He would do that to anybody, to Kobe, to whoever, he is going to do whatever he can to get under your skin to try to get the one-up. Shout out to Lance.

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Boozer: Our boy Matt Barnes was the same way. I remember Matt Barnes and Ron Artest and some of these guys from our era that did whatever it took to get your skin and make you think about them and it almost takes your focus off the team and the game. You love playing with a teammate like that because they have this whole psychological thing. Like back in the day with Dennis Rodman and all of the antics he used to do.

Robinson: Like tripping dudes and all that. Like over time you not even going to be thinking about the game. You going to be like this dude is coming in here and acting a fool again.

Boozer: Who is one of the guards in your career that used to nag you like that?

Robinson: Lindsey Hunter was a tough guy. He was one of those guys who would meet you in the parking lot and go to the locker room on call. Jerry Stackhouse was another OG who didn't play that. You tend to learn from the history of the league about some of the guys not to mess with and who was really about that business. It would be just fun to see that in a controlled setting. Just bring out some boxing gloves and make these guys go at it. It would be pretty hilarious.

Boozer: An OG when I came into the league and became a good friend of mine was Charles Oakley. First game, Tyrone Hill, we are playing in Toronto and Oak goes down and goes 'T, do you have my paper?' T was like 'Yep, I got your paper.' He tried to send that over to him through a ball boy and he said you have to walk that over to me (laughs). So the ball boy went back to T. Hill and gave it back to him, and he walked all the way down to Oak to give it to him. Oak was definitely one of those dudes who was well respected. It was clear-cut, he wasn't a talker, that he was really about that life.


Robinson: Bro, please tell me you heard the story about Oak and Charles Barkley?

Boozer: What I heard was... I don't know if is true, I wasn't there in the league yet, but Charles (Barkley) you are obviously a good friend and a mentor of mines but I am going to let the story say what it was. The story goes like this. We have a Players' Association meeting during All-Star Weekend somewhere mid-90's and something happened in the meeting and they said Oak went up to Charles and slapped him and sat him down.

Robinson:(Laughing hysterically).

Boozer: I don't know if that is true and whether this is heresy to the point that it reached me and Nate when we got to the NBA. That story has traveled. And I don't if it is true but they said Oak slapped Barkley in front of everyone in an NBPA meeting. Charles Barkley is one of the most fierce competitors too but when you have a dude like Oak who commands the respect of Charles Barkley that just tells you the respect the league had for Charles Oakley. I don't if that is true, or if it is a heresy rumor, I want to make that clear. I heard it from somebody else, who heard it from somebody else who heard it from somebody else who was probably in the room.