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Lots of funny stuff in the NBA

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - LaMarcus Aldridge hasnt had much go wrong on the court this season with the Blazers, but he did waive a Ferrari after it had one mistake on the road.Since my childhood days, I’ve been a collector — stamps, coins, comic books, sports cards, magazines, political buttons. In adulthood, it’s been quotes from NBA players, coaches and broadcasters.

Herewith my annual collection of NBA quotes from the calendar year 2013. Some are poignant, some self-deprecating, some boastful, some straining the bounds of credibility, some just plain hilarious.

It’s hard not to feature the comedy team of Trail Blazer TV voices Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, the latter continuing to fill my annual lists with multiple entries. Barrett is the straight man, the Abbott to Rice’s Costello, setting up his partner for the punch line — usually inadvertently.

When Barrett noted that Portland’s Nicolas Batum was “the only player in the NBA’s top 40 in points, rebounds, assists and steals,” Rice said, “Yeah, LeBron (James) is probably the guy who leads in that category.”

Rice sometimes lets the “house man” in him slide. When Barrett mentioned the return of injured Utah forward Paul Millsap, Rice followed with, “That’s big for the Jazz to get Millsap back — especially with (Luke) Babbitt guarding him.”

As Chicago surged back against Portland after falling behind by 27 points after three quarters, Rice went to coaching advice: “The Blazers are going to have to show some poise. Or bring (Damian) Lillard back off the bench.”

After the Bulls’ Marco Belinelli went to the basket on a dribble drive: “Belinelli really put the ball on the ground.” Or the floor.

Then there was the game at New York, during which Rice observed, “this Knick team is 100 percent healthy,” even with starting point guard Raymond Felton and sixth-man Rasheed Wallace sitting out because of injuries.

Next up is a player on the down side of his career, New York’s Metta World Peace. The former Ron Artest remains a good quote, although his relevance is fading with his talents.

Peace still wants to play at crunch time, he says: “Not only do I want the pressure, I’m going to crush the pressure, bite the pressure and drink the pressure. Then I’ll piss it out.”

When asked how he was able to return to action 12 days after knee surgery, MWP borrowed from lyrics by the English band Right Said Fred: “I’m too sexy for my cat. My cat. I’m just too sexy for my cat. If I wasn’t as sexy for my cat, I probably wouldn’t have came back. I’m so sexy, I came back.” (Right Said Fred’s album sales dipped dramatically in the days following Peace’s proclamation).

Peace, asked if he is more comfortable playing small forward or power forward: “I’m more comfortable in my bed.”

Houston rookie Royce White never got off the floor, er, ground with his career, in no small part to his anxiety disorder. In January, the Rockets suspended him without pay for “failing to perform to his contract” after refusing to report to the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. White’s reaction was swift and puzzling:

“What’s suspending me supposed to do? I’ve been away from the team for a month and a half. by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews says he has confidence that the basketball gods are looking out for him, and over his shots.Guess we want to give it a title to shift accountability.”

Later, White responded again through Twitter: “Threat, Fines, Suspension won’t deter me. I won’t accept illogical health decisions, I will keep asking for safety & health.”

Jim Boylan didn’t last long as interim coach at Milwaukee after Scott Skiles’ firing, but he got off at least a couple of good quips.

In a game at Portland, Boylan removed Ersan Ilyasova from a game against Portland with 3:08 left in the third quarter — Ilyasova had 27 points and 14 rebounds to that point — and played him only 14 seconds the rest of the way.

“I was the only one who could stop him tonight,” Boylan told reporters.

After the Bucks ended a 24-game losing streak in Phoenix: “We haven’t won there since FDR was in office.”

Rice is usually the king of the malaprop, but Blazer radio analyst Antonio Harvey came up with one when commenting on Goran Dragic’s ability to get into the paint and score in a Phoenix win over Portland: “It changed the whole complexity of the game.”

Here are some other favorites from 2013, offered with the hashtag #truthisthebestpolicy:

• “The fans got their money’s worth ... it’s free.”

— CSNNW’s Dan Sheldon, calling play-by-play during a rather boring Blazer FanFest scrimmage.

• Best in class from the “boastful” category:

“My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader, and I led that team with a smile on my face.”

— Houston’s Dwight Howard, when he was with the Lakers.

• “I was born for it.”

— Dallas’ Monta Ellis, after hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer against the Blazers.

• “The thing is, I’m a winner. My whole thing is about winning. I wanted to create change in Urban America. I thought we needed more theaters, so I brought in Magic Johnson Theaters. That’s how it (Magic Johnson Enterprises) all started.”

— Magic Johnson, from the no-false-modesty-here department.

• “My whole thing was just being me. And now, you look around, you see all the guys in the NBA now, all of them got tattoos. All of the guys wearing cornrows ... I’m proud to say that I changed a lot in this culture and in this game.”

— Allen Iverson, upon announcing his retirement, three years after playing his final NBA game.

The rest of the list includes single entries by a variety of folks. To wit:

• “I would like to thank all my teammates. They were hitting shots.”

— Dragic, who handed out a career-high 18 assists, including 10 in the first quarter, in the win over the Blazers. (This came five days before the Academy Awards).

• “Maybe I’ll run into the Gangnam Style dude while I’m here.”

— Dennis Rodman, on his trip to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

• “Dennis Rodman was a great basketball player ... and that’s where we’ll leave it.”

— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on Rodman’s contributions to the world political scene.

• “It’s like your girlfriend cheating on you. After she cheats, you don’t want her anymore. So I got rid of it.”

— Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, on a Ferrari he sold after getting into an accident with it.

• “I was told about the code of conduct around here. I went into Pat Riley’s office and asked if it was cool if I could wear my headband, because I sweat a lot. And he was like, ‘Yeah,’ because he didn’t want me perspiring on his nice floor.”

— Chris “Birdman” Andersen, after being signed to a contract by Miami.

• “Our team is defending the Miami Heat. If our team has to defend one person, LeBron (James) isn’t going to score nothing. LeBron is no different than Joe Johnson or Andray Blatche.”

— Brooklyn forward Reggie Evans, with some odd talent appraisal.

• “I don’t know what you want to call it at the end. Unlucky? Whatever you want to call it. Screwed? It happened.”

— Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, after a critical noncall near the end of a 100-97 loss at Golden State — two days after a critical noncall near the end of a 106-104 loss at Portland.

• “If I didn’t shoot with confidence, they probably weren’t going in. That’s how this game works. You believe, you play hard, you compete, you play the right way, you play with confidence, and the basketball gods will look out for you.”

— Wesley Matthews, after drilling back-to-back 3s in the final minute to lift the Blazers past the Heat. To that point in the game, Matthews was 5 for 16 from the field.

• “I’m just a confident, silly guy. I told Sasha (Pavlovic) and Jared (Jeffries) before the game, ‘I’m going to have a career night tonight,’ not knowing if I was even going to get in the game.”

— Portland rookie Will Barton, who enjoyed a career night with 22 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals in a late 2012-13 game against Dallas.

• “I told him he was a bad boy. He was out there cooking with gasoline tonight.”

— Kobe Bryant, after Portland’s Lillard scored 38 points against the Lakers.

• “I bet they can’t jump over a Big Mac. When I was playing, I wasn’t jumping over a Big Mac. I was bending down to get it.”

— TNT’s Charles Barkley, referencing Memphis big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

• “At the end of the day, it is what it is.”

— Blazer rookie Allen Crabbe, putting together two of the most overwrought cliches in the English language when asked about the disappointment of being a second-round draft choice.

• “Bill is a fan. Is he qualified to do the NBA?”

— Doc Rivers, after ESPN analyst (and Boston fan) Bill Simmons accused him of quitting on the Celtics when he moved over to coach the Clippers.

• “I did, at the end of the day.”

— Rivers, more than six months later, when asked if he “walked out” on the Celtics.

• “You guys have a good weekend.”

— San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, to the media after a Tuesday night game.

• “That’s going to take some time. I don’t have boobs.”

— Dirk Nowitzki, asked if his 2-month-old daughter is a daddy’s girl.

• And finally, sideline reporter Craig Sager, with a bit of indignation after the Clippers’ Chris Paul told him, “I like your costume,” during a post-game TNT interview on Halloween night:

“It’s not a costume; it’s my wardrobe.”

Well, of course it is.

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Twitter: @kerryeggers