Suns Must Shaq-Proof Baskets on Practice Court

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
By Jerry Brown,
Feb. 11, 2008

Shaquille O’Neal still hasn’t played a game for the Phoenix Suns, but his impact continues to be felt through US Airways Center. And the latest epicenter is the team’s practice court.

After watching a few of Shaq’s thunderous dunks during a personal workout Sunday and in practice Monday, some of his new teammates have strongly requested that the team reinforce the apparatus currently supporting the two baskets at the team’s practice court.

Brian Skinner and Sean Marks are the players who now have the task of guarding O’Neal in practice and would be the first ones in the path of any possible falling debris.

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“Basically, they’ve said they don’t have the confidence to be under those baskets right now,” one Suns official said. “And I can’t say I blame them.”

After watching one of Shaq’s slams during his personal workout Sunday, guard Leandro Barbosa shook his head and said “Man, that thing is coming down.”

Since the arena was built in 1992, the baskets have been on a pulley system that allows them to be raised and lowered so the area can be used for other events. Now the baskets will be welded into place – or “Shaq-proofed,” if you prefer – for reinforcement as well as peace of mind.

COPYRIGHT 2008, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.