fool no more, McGee finds redemption on Warriors
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[May 03, 2017]
By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) - Lost in the season-long
hype of the Golden State Warriors' All-Star cast is Javale McGee, a
journeyman few rarely hear about but who has proven to be an
indispensable part of the team's quest for an NBA title.
Prior to joining the Warriors this season, McGee was best known for
his frequent appearances on the TNT "Inside the NBA" segment
"Shaqtin' A Fool," where Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal highlights
on court blunders.
The 29-year-old, 7-foot (2.13 m) center was mercilessly mocked on
the segment for years, and it eventually earned him a reputation as
a low-IQ player that few teams were eager to sign.
"When you're in this position where someone on national TV is making
fun of you night after night, it's not the greatest thing for your
reputation," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said earlier this year.
"I can tell you I had a preconceived notion of Javale before he got
here that turned out to be totally false and a lot of that was
because of what goes on with Shaq's 'Shaqtin' A Fool.'"
An opening for McGee came about during the offseason, when the
Warriors lost two key big men as part of the deal that brought
All-Star Kevin Durant to the team.
That created an opening for a backup center who would not command a
massive salary – someone like McGee.
Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, who had played with McGee on the
Denver Nuggets, gave him a full-throated recommendation and the
coaches agreed to bring him on board.
Since then, McGee's ability to block shots on defense and dunk lob
passes with authority on offense has made the self-described "energy
guy" a fan favorite.
[to top of second column]
Warriors center JaVale
McGee (1) dunks the ball over Portland Trail Blazers forward Noah
Vonleh (21) in the first half of game four of the first round of the
2017 NBA Playoffs at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA
"As soon as he steps on the floor, he makes an
instant impact and you can feel it," Warriors point guard and
two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry said earlier this season.
"It helps us."
The peak of McGee's career came in the Warriors' second game of the
2017 playoffs, when he scored 15 points on perfect 7-of-7 shooting
against the Portland Trail Blazers, whipping the home crowd into a
But a bigger tests awaits in the second round where McGee and the
Warriors will face off against the Utah Jazz and their 7-foot-1
center Rudy Gobert starting later on Tuesday.
Win or lose, one thing is for sure - no one is laughing at McGee
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in San Francisco; Editing by Frank
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