Shaq had no issue in deflating basketballs

Isaac Chipps, USAToday:
"The controversy surrounding Deflategate this offseason has caused a lot of sports fans to actually care about the inflation (or deflation) of footballs.

“Sometimes, in the games during all my championship runs, if a ball was too hard, I let air out,” the former All-Star center said in a recent episode of “The Big Podcast With Shaq.” “I’d have a needle. A friend of mine would have a needle and I would get the game ball. … I needed that extra grip, but I wasn’t doing that for cheating purposes. I just needed the extra grip for my hands so I could palm it, a la Michael Jordan, the way he used to palm it.

Shaquille O' Neal may have learned these tricks from his Hall of Fame Los Angeles Lakers' head coach, Phil Jackson. The former New York Knicks' forward, Jackson said " we used to deflate the basketballs to 7-9 ounces." That would prevent long rebounds and give our slow and small frontline of Jerry Lucas, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed an advantage. There were fewer long rebounds and with good boxouts, they could keep the bigger forwards off the glass.

Support for Tom Brady is building prior to the June 23, 2015 disciplinary hearing showdown with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. QB's Brett Favre, Drew Bledsoe and Colin Kaepernick have been in Tom's corner from the start. Joe Montana has stated he would have deflated the footballs if he had thought of it, " because I couldn’t throw a wet ball to save my life."

Before home games, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s top security representative will personally deliver the game ball to star point guard Russell Westbrook in the locker room. Westbrook then takes it, inspects it, rubs it, dribbles it, holds it, smells it and, after approving it, passes it to each of his teammates, a sacred ceremony before the players circle up and sprint out of the tunnel.

Tom Brady may have a ritual as well. The only issue is in the timing of such. The mere propriety of changing the air pressure after the final inspection from the referees is four games on the sidelines.

Falling on one's sword saves face most of the time.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .

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