Suns Notebook: O’Neal Climbing the Charts
Nov. 13, 2008
Shaquille O’Neal entered another exclusive group this week when he passed John Havlicek Wednesday night to become the 10th all-time leading scorer in NBA history. And if he plays enough games this season and keeps his average about where it has been through the first seven games, he will become only the seventh player to surpass 27,000 points.
“It’s pretty good for a juvenile delinquent from New Jersey,” he said. “Pretty good.”
With 26,384 points entering Wednesday’s game with the Rockets, O’Neal scored XX points to pass Havlicek (26,395) and should catch Dominique Wilkins (26,668), Oscar Robertson (26,710), and Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) if he stays healthy and productive. Next year, both Elvin Hayes (27,313) and Moses Malone (27,409) would be in range and put O’Neal in the top five — behind only Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
O’Neal said if it weren’t for injuries and missed free throws, he would have been among the top five two years ago. He’s averaged only 60 games over the last seven seasons and has made only 5,465 of his 10,417 free throws — just a hair better than 50 percent.
“Even with the missed free throws, I was averaging 27, 28, 29 points a game (before the injuries hit), so you do the math,” he said. “When it’s all said and done maybe I’ll be in the top five and maybe I won’t … but I’ll be up there somewhere. It’s a good thing to show my kids.”
PORTER COMPLETES TRIFECTA
The announcement that the Trail Blazers will retire his No. 30 (sharing the honor with Bobby Gross) will complete the trifecta for Terry Porter, who will then have his jersey retired in high school (South Division High in Milwaukee), college (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) and the NBA.
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“They rolled the dice and my number came out, so I’m very happy,” Porter said. “It’s going to be special. I’m very excited and moved.”
Porter averaged 14.9 points and 7.0 assists per game during his 10-year tenure in Portland (1985-95), earning two All-Star appearances and leading the Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He remains the team’s all-time assists leader (5,319) and second-leading scorer (11,330) behind Clyde Drexler, while ranking third in games played (758).
“It all started there and that city really embraced me when a lot of people were thinking, 'Whose this guy from Stevens Point?’ and didn’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s not only for me but for the other guys from those teams. Clyde is the only other guy from that era who is up in the rafters.”
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW
Whoever had seven games in the “When is Amaré Stoudemire going to ditch his goggles?” contest wins the pool. Stoudemire went sans specs Monday night against the Grizzlies and said he’d rather take his chances with another poke in the eye than deal with the constantly fogging goggles.
Stoudemire had worn the goggles since taking a Boris Diaw finger in the eye during training camp — he flipped them up on his forehead for free throws.
“I went with them for a while, but now I’m trying to get comfortable without them,” Stoudemire said. “It’s not a medical thing now that the (torn) iris is perfect, so then it came down to comfort and I was having problems with blurriness from sweat and getting a good fit. Enough was enough.
“The chance of another injury is there, but I’ll be working off faith.”
TIPS ALWAYS APPRECIATED
The 12th annual Suns Celebrity Waiters Happy Hour is Sunday beginning at 5 p.m. at Majerle’s Sports Grill at Chandler Fashion Center (3095 W. Chandler Blvd).
Suns players and alumni will work for tips and showcase their customer service skills to raise money for Suns Nite Hoops. Meanwhile, guests can enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and entertainment.
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