Tag:J.J. Hickson
Posted on: December 2, 2010 7:08 pm

LeBron comes home ready to play villain

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James strolled into Quicken Loans Arena at 5:35 p.m. ET Thursday night, dressed all in black.


The villain, dressed for the part.

He was all smiles about 2 1-2 hours before his first game in Cleveland since leaving the Cavs to join the Miami Heat in July.

Within minutes, the King was on his former court, putting up a dizzying array of jumpers and working up a sweat while listening to his pregame motivational music through black-and-red ear buds.

After one clockwise rotation around the court, James wiped sweat from his brow and shouted across the court to former teammate J.J. Hickson, whose pregame jumpers weren't falling with quite the regularity as LeBron's.

"Better shoot some ___ layups," James shouted, smiling widely. "Better shoot some ___ layups. Can't make a damn shot."

Hickson continued shooting and smiled, but didn't turn around.

When he was finished with his customary pregame shooting -- for the first time here as an opponent -- James slapped hands with Cavs assistant coach Chris Jent and embraced the man who was James' personal assistant of sorts on former head coach Mike Brown's staff. James also shared embraces with Hickson and Anthony Parker, but did not do his customary pregame media availability.

That break from routine was announced minutes after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had finished saying that his goal for this extraordinarily hyped game was to "keep it normal."

There was nothing normal about this night.

Spoelstra talked about taking care of "our two brothers," meaning LeBron and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who joined James in bolting Cleveland for Miami but was expected to receive a warm reception from the sellout crowd of 20,562 -- in stark contrast to the venom directed at James.

"This is an extreme environment tonight, there's no way around it," Spoelstra said in the crowded hallway outside the visiting locker room -- where James would soon be suiting up for the first time in his eight-year career. "So we've got to stay in the moment."

The moment, finally, had arrived.
Posted on: May 6, 2010 12:25 pm

Ainge fine: Funny but deserved

My thoughts on Celtics president Danny Ainge being fined $25,000 Thursday for throwing a towel in the air behind the basket in an effort to distract the Cavaliers' J.J. Hickson at the free-throw line during Boston's Game 2 victory? Oh, he deserved it. It was funny, but he deserved it.

The NBA's news release says Ainge engaged in "conduct detrimental to the game" and that he created an "unauthorized distraction."

That makes me wonder what constitutes an authorized distraction. But I can't argue with this penalty. Paying customers can whack Thunder sticks together, wave their arms, yell about a free-throw shooter's maternal relative -- pretty much anything they want to do, short of throwing something onto the court.

Players, coaches and team executives are held to a higher standard of conduct, and they should be.

Here's the YouTube clip of Ainge's actions, in case you missed it. Coincidentally, Hickson missed the first free throw with Ainge doing nothing. As Hickson is shooting the second free throw, you can see Ainge in a suit to the right of the basket (from Hickson's point of view), and you can see the towel fluttering into the air. Hickson made that free throw.

I wonder how much Ainge would've been fined if he'd missed it?
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