Cheap Tricks: Hack-A-Howard


Apr 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center

Dwight Howard

(12) grabs a rebound during the second quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Hack-A-Howard, Hack-A-Dwight, Hack-A-Asik. Why is this a thing?

The ‘Ole Hack-A-(insert players name here) has been in the NBA since the 1970s. The first noted victim of this strategy, was a man that has claims to have slept with over 20,000 women, Wilt Chamberlain.

Fast forward to the late 90’s, and say hello to the true mastermind behind the “innovative” Hack-A-Player strategy, Dallas Mavericks coach, Don Nelson. Nelson deployed his devilish strategy against, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq was not only bad at shooting free throws, it almost looked as if he didn’t care. But more on Shaq later.

At this moment I want to pay homage to Don Nelson, and extend my deepest gratitude for the changes his strategy made to NBA, when it’s in use. From the bottom of my heart Don, thank you for the following:

  • Extending NBA games to well over the two and a half hour time frame.
  • Ruining the flow of a basketball game.
  • Taking the suspense out of NBA games.
  • Showing me that even a far more inferior opponent can win a game or two, when using cheap tricks.
  • Did I mention, how one minute on the clock turns into 30 minutes of real time?

Thank you Dallas and Don Nelson. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Speaking of not being able to have nice things, I want to thank TNT for their post game coverage. For some reason they thought that hiring Shaquille O’Neal was a good idea. Shaq can’t even fit in the chair, let alone speak logically about NBA basketball. One of Shaq’s favorite things to do is to poke fun at Dwight Howard. The reasoning is beyond me. You would think that Shaq would have some kind of compassion towards Howard. After all, they’re almost the same player, except that Howard isn’t overweight and lazy. They also, have went through a similar career path when it comes to teams they’ve played on.

Shaq’s onscreen taunting of Dwight Howard is a cheap move. Howard can’t defend himself. There’s no way Howard can throw down in an onscreen battle of wit, which he would surely win. He has to roll with the punches and move on.

Which relates to the Hack-A-Howard strategy. It’s a cheap move.

Ever know anyone that was kind of socially awkward? For example, they talk to a woman and they just become a babbling mess of a person or completely shutdown. We all know that guy. He has a decent job, and there’s no reason he can’t pick up a nice women. The only thing that is stopping him is maybe going to the gym or loosening up their personality.

Now picture that same guy, with money. Lots of money. A gold digger catches wind of this awkward weak man-child. All of the sudden he has a perfect ten in his arms, and a new found drug addiction. That guy thinks he’s awesome. He really believes deep down, that the chick he is with, really loves him. He thinks he’s GOD.

But let’s be real, he would have none of that, if he didn’t have an asset that he’s able to use to alter his course of life. In this scenario, it’s money. When it comes to the Portland Blazers, it’s fouling someone that’s not great at shooting free throws, when the game is on the line.

It’s disrespectful to Howard, bad for the league, and a cheap move. To sum it up, it’s stupid.

Howard is who is, when it comes to free throw shooting. Some nights it’s decent, and other nights it’s full of “WTF”. I can live with that. Yeah sure, he could demand the ball in the low post more often, but a lot of that stems through who is running the point, and whether or not Harden feels like passing the ball. But that’s a post for another day.

During the Houston/Portland post game coverage, Shaq decided to attack Howard verbally again. I’ll let Lakers Nation sum it up:

"The Houston Rockets were battling the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series with Dwight struggling against mediocre opposition in Robin Lopez. Shaq ripped Dwight struggling against Lopez, but Barkley came to his defense basically saying that Shaq still only dislikes Dwight for stealing his “Superman” nickname.Along with blasting Shaq for something that many believe the future Hall of Famer still holds a grudge for, Barkley didn’t stop there by saying that if it weren’t for Kobe Bryant, the Big Aristotle wouldn’t have won any rings during his NBA career.Barkley also finished off the segment by telling Shaq to go back to the NBA studios and thank Rick Fox for his rings."

Barkley has had enough of Shaqs cheap shots. I’ve had enough of these cheap NBA rules, that allow inferior teams to win by fouling a player.

It doesn’t make sense. Fouls are suppose to penalize a team, not help them.