Posts Tagged ‘John F Murray’

NFL Hall of Famer Lesley Visser Interviews Dr. John F Murray

Special to JohnFMurray.com – October 31, 2008 – Fox Sports Radio South Florida – Dr. John F. Murray was interviewed this morning by Lesley Visser and Jeff De Forrest of WFTL Fox Sports Radio in South Florida – about the upcoming Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville, and you can hear the interview here. Visser is the only female ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the first female member of the Monday Night Football broadcast team and the first female to ever present a Super Bowl trophy, in 1992.

Hear the interview at this link. After clicking here you will see a list of interviews. Select it from the October 31 list.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

Games People Play

TENNIS WEEK MAGAZINE – Richard Pagliaro – October 22, 2008 – Gulping deep gasps of air between points, a drained Novak Djokovic seemed to suffer from an assortment of ailments: an upset stomach, hip pain, breathing issues, a sore ankle and the suffocating play from Tommy Robredo who dragged the third-seeded Serbian into a fifth-set duel at last month’s US Open.

The man with the Broadway build spent the 2007 Flushing Meadows fortnight taking the USTA’s “Showtime” tag line to heart in producing the most crowd-pleasing performances of the tournament while relishing his roles as a mid-point improviser and post-match impersonator. But as he prepared to play the fifth set, Djokovic looked like a man in dire need of a stunt double.

Instead, he took a bathroom break, received treatment from the trainer then dug in to subdue the 15th-seeded Spaniard, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, and advance to his seventh major quarterfinal in a performance of a player persevering through the pain to prevail in a gritty win.

Or was it?

Scratching beneath the surface of the score line immediately after the match, Robredo raised an interesting question: was Djokovic’s comeback inspired by competitive will or a con man’s skill? Did the master of showmanship resort to gamesmanship to pull out the match?

“Novak was doing the show that he couldn’t run,” Robredo said. “It’s not that I don’t believe him, but I have pain as well. I was running like hell and my feet were burning, but I say nothing. I think if you’re not fit enough, then don’t play. But after every time he was asking for a trainer, he was running like hell and he was making the shot, but he does what he does a lot of times. Did I trust him? No. I think he took his time because he was a little bit more tired and that’s part of his game. It helped him a lot.”
Djokovic, who survived a grueling four-hour battle with Marin Cilic, 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(7), in a demanding third-round night match that took a toll on his body, countered he was merely doing what was necessary to survive.

“I know that what I’m doing is right, that I have all the rights to take the medical time out, that I’m doing it just for the purpose to make my physical condition better,” Djokovic said. “I never made medical timeout because I wanted to distract the opponent or make the result look worse. I just took the medicals to help me out.”

It’s not the first time Djokovic has resorted to injury timeouts in major matches. At the 2005 Open, Djokovic beat Gael Monfils, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5), 0-6, 7-5 in a match that spanned four hours and two minutes and featured four stoppages of play from Djokovic, who requested the trainer to treat his respiratory and cramping issues. At 4-4 in the fifth set of that match, the seemingly spent Serbian climbed off the court and took an injury timeout that spanned nearly 13 minutes then won three of the final four games.

Confronted with questions of whether he resorted to gamesmanship to pull out that victory, Djokovic said he could not have completed the match without receiving treatment.

“I cannot describe how I was feeling; you just have to be on court feeling it,” Djokovic said. “I’m not used to hard five-set matches. I know for people watching it (taking the breaks) is really irritating, but this is the only way I could win and continue. I am not thinking this would be nice for the people watching, I am thinking and trying to win.”

Monfils did not accuse Djokovic of gamesmanship, but said the frequent stops stalled his momentum.
“The first time, it was OK,” Monfils said. “In the fifth set, I was so close to breaking him; it was very difficult at 40-all then he stopped. If he can beat me without stopping like this it would be very fair, but he won this match.”

In his latest use of the injury timeout, Djokovic won the battle with Robredo and conquered Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, but lost the public relations war in process. Roddick, jokingly questioned Djokovic’s “16 injuriesâ€? in an on-court interview prior to their quarterfinal match, but the comment clearly touched a nerve.

Djokovic was jeered by some members of the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium after beating Roddick then defiantly dug himself a deeper hole in the process by disputing Roddick’s remarks and suggesting the American was resorting to verbal gamesmanship in an effort to incite the crowd against him.
“That’s not nice, anyhow, to say in front of this crowd that I have 16 injuries and I am faking it,” Djokovic said. “I have nothing against anybody. Andy was saying that I have 16 injuries in the last match, so obviously I don’t, right? Like it or not, it’s like that. They (the crowd) are already against me because they think I am faking everything, so sorry.”

The apology was as effective as attempting to patch a blown tire with a Band-Aid: in the semifinals the New York crowd overwhelmingly supported Roger Federer against Djokovic, who played timid tennis at times as if apprehensive about rousing the crowd.

John McEnroe, who has first-hand experience in inciting crowds, said Djokovic may still be feeling the impact of his US Open experience.

“He doesn’t want to dig in on these points against the best guys. He can get away with it against most guys any way but when it really got to the nitty gritty against Federer   — he had a chance at a set-all 5-all against Federer — but it seemed like he was still bothered by what happened a few days earlier (against Roddick),” McEnroe said. “Mentally, what happened in that match is probably going to affect him for a little bit. Well see how he can shrug it off because he sort of dug himself this huge hole. I knew exactly what he was doing — I’ve been there myself — talk about putting your foot in your mouth and just digging it in deeper and deeper and watching him do that it was part of why I think he’s not so happy go lucky anymore. He’s not having a lot of fun out there at the moment.”
Gamesmanship is not always fun and games even for those who appear to benefit from it.

The most common forms of gamesmanship occur when players manipulate injury timeouts and bathroom breaks for rest, recovery or merely to stall an opponent’s momentum — and several coaches and players believe such acts are premeditated by the players who subvert the rules as an escape clause from on-court predicaments.

“The habits and behaviors that we ultimately see on the battle ground of match play is, in my view, usually well practiced and honed long before the match even begins,” sports psychologist and coach Dr. John F. Murray said. “It makes up the temperament and personality of a particular player. It is not always pretty when a player seems to engage in gamesmanship, but the player quite easily can justify this by thinking of times when that player was wronged through gamesmanship. If the player feels that it adds an advantage and is still within the strict bounds of the rules or cannot be detected than it opens the door to these shenanigans. I believe it usually is premeditated but it can also fall into that grey area where the behavior is rare for a player, but is triggered by huge amounts of stress or distress.”

Djokovic, whose ball-bouncing antics before serving are often cited as another source of gamesmanship, may be the highest-profile player accused of gamesmanship, but he’s hardly alone. Some players engage in mind games during big games.

Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis’ mind was one of her biggest weapons, but her bladder became a useful tennis tool as the five-time Grand Slam champ was notorious for taking well-timed bathroom breaks to disrupt the rhythm and momentum of an opponent prior to an important game.
Mary Pierce took a controversial — and legal — 12-minute injury timeout to receive treatment for her lower back and strained right thigh in the 2005 US Open semifinal against Elena Dementieva.
Commencing the time out by applying eye drops, Pierce placed a towel on the court and stretched out on her stomach. As the trainer worked on her lower back, Piece looked like she was engaged in a Pilates class stretching and turning to loosen her back.

While play resumed, a rejuvenated Pierce recovered. Dementieva did not. Playing with purpose and running faster than she had prior to the injury time-out, Pierce reeled off 12 of the final 15 games to score a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over the sixth-seeded Dementieva and surge into the U.S. Open final for the first time in her career.

Dementieva did not accuse Pierce of gamesmanship in her post-match press conference, but said the extended break stretched beyond the boundaries of sportsmanship in declaring the delay was not fair.
“I think you can change the game around by winning an unbelievable point or by changing the rhythm,” Dementieva said. “I mean, that’s the fair point. But by taking like a 12-minutes time out, I don’t think it was fair play. She could do it, I mean by the rules. And she did it. If that’s the only way she can beat me, I mean it’s up to her.”

In a contentious clash at Charleston in 2004, Patty Schnyder retaliated for what she believed was Conchita Martinez’s deliberate effort to frustrate her in controlling the pace of play when she snatched the Spaniard’s preferred ball and smacked it into the stands.

“With all other players you can have really good sportsmanship, and with her it’s nasty play, and I don’t think it should be on the court,” said Schnyder, who finished the match with a Swiss diss in offering her hand to Martinez then withdrawing it to turn the post-match hand shake into a hand fake.
 
In the 2007 L.A. final, Radek Stepanek took timeout for treatment on his back after the first set. By the end of the match, Stepanek’s back was strong enough to not only win the match but withstand the rigors of his trademark worm dance he performed in celebration.

About a month later, Fabrice Santoro faced Blake in the US Open and appeared to be cramping. The Frenchman tugged at the bottom of his shorts at one point to show his quads tightening and began deliberately taking more time between points in a ploy McEnroe pointed out was an effort to incur a stall warning from the chair umpire against himself.

“It’s brilliant in a way — he was actually baiting the chair umpire to hit him for stalling because he knows that would get some of the crowd sympathy on his side,” McEnroe said.

There are no time-outs in tennis, but players have long used the injury timeout the way some soccer players flop to the field in the apparent agony as if subject to a spinal tap without anesthetic — as a means to slow an opponent’s momentum or to stop the action and provide a chance for rest and recovery.

The issue raised by Robredo raises a larger question: has gamesmanship become a legitimate part of the game?

Ideally, tennis subscribes to core values of sportsmanship. But when you’re fighting for a Grand Slam championship, a $1 million pay day and a rise in the rankings does the ends justify the means?
“Let’s be honest: it’s a dog-eat-dog world at this level,” said Nick Bollettieri, who has coached 10 World No. 1 players. “When you’re playing for major titles, hundreds of thousands of dollars and ranking points there’s a lot on the line. This isn’t Sunday afternoon tennis at the country club; this is the pro game and some guys are going to do whatever it takes to win and sometimes that means testing you physically, psychologically, emotionally and mentally. As a player, especially younger players, you’ve got to be tough enough to stand up to it. And as a coach, you’ve got to prepare your player for these things because the veterans will try to chew them up anyway they can to get an edge.”

At the peak of his powers, John McEnroe was to gamesmanship was Marlon Brando was to method acting: an emotive, explosive tour de force of talent, will and skill. While many players play the ball, McEnroe operated on multiple levels: playing the ball, the opponent, the officials, and the crowd.
In a moment Bill Scanlon says “still blows my mind,” he recalls McEnroe summoning him to the net during a 1981 quarterfinal in San Francisco and very calmly explaining why Scanlon had no business beating him. It was, according to Scanlon, trash talk as a persuasive tutorial.

“Think about it: this is a one-on-one sport so when you win it’s because you ended up better than the other guy. If you have a certain level you can try to bring your level above his or bring his level down to yours,” Scanlon said. “It’s like the old joke when two kids are being chased by a bear through the woods and one kid says: ‘How are we going to outrun the bear?’ and the other kid replies: ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.’ Part of what John could do was to make me worse and trying to get inside my head and do whatever worked to accomplish that goal was a way to do it. And I always thought it was fair game, so you won’t ever find me complaining about his tactics.”

Those tactics can sometimes carry over into multiple matches, prompting some players to fight gamesmanship with gamesmanship.

“It reminds me of playing Becker and he used to cough incessantly and virtually every time when he had a break point or big point or just annoying time and it seemed to be deliberate and I remember deciding before a match every time he would cough I would cough back,” McEnroe recalled. “And I started to do that playing Boris before a big crowd of about 12,000 in Paris and he coughed and I coughed and he coughed and I coughed and it became comical. I was trying to point out how ridiculous the entire thing was. Boris said to me ‘Hey John give me a break, I’ve got a cold.’ I said ‘You’ve had a cold for years now!’ And the guy still does it so it’s a tick on some level. The irony is everyone booed me when I did that to Becker and he was the guy doing it in the first place yet I get booed. I suppose people thought I was being the bad guy whereas they didn’t understand he had been doing this for years.” 

While McEnroe does not advocate faking injury, he does argue that some forms of gamesmanship are an inherent part of sports: baseball players trying to steal signs from the catcher, offensive lineman taping their hands in an effort to camouflage holding and players at the bottom of a scramble for a fumble actually punching and biting each other in an effort to get the ball, hockey players hooking opponents with the tip of their sticks while a referee’s back is turned or basketball players yanking at the jersey of an opponent to pull him out of position and grab a rebound.

One of the greatest upsets in heavyweight history came when Muhammad Ali pulled the rope-a-dope, reclining on the ropes and absorbing George Foreman’s blows on his arms, bluffing the heavy hitter into believing he was absorbing a beating until Ali spun off the ropes and knocked out Foreman.

Do you view those acts as gamesmanship or simply athletes trying to gain an edge? Is there a fine line between being a gamer and resorting to gamesmanship?

Tennis is a turf war and players are territorial. US Open champions Serena Williams and Andy Roddick are both willing to administer body blows to opponents who dare infringe on their turf. Roddick, who has been known to hit serves and overheads directly at opponents, seemed to try to hit Santoro with a body serve during the US Open.

“I don’t know if it’s intimidation,” said Roddick during last December’s Davis Cup final. “If there’s 12,000 fans behind you and you feel like you can use them to help win a tennis match, you’d be stupid not to, right? With the exception of cheating, I’ll do what I can to win a tennis match.” 

Williams tried to drill Dinara Safina in the head with a shot during the Open semifinals that buzzed her blond braid then later succeeded in driving the ball right into her bulls-eye: Safina’s chest. 

In a single shot, Williams smacked a clear message to Safina that nearly struck her right between the eyes: crowd the net and I may be tempted to tattoo the word “Wilson” on your forehead. It was a purpose pitch: the tennis equivalent of a pitcher brushing back a batter leaning too close to the plate, a linebacker pounding a stretched-out wide receiver running a route over the middle or a center delivering a hard foul to a guard who dares to drive the lane.

But both Roddick and Williams’ efforts to brand opponents with the ball are legal, aggressive plays and not acts of gamesmanship.

“Serena’s play against Safina is not something I consider to be gamesmanship — in fact the Williams sisters play more fairly than any two competitors I know,” tennis television analyst Mary Carillo said. “They don’t stall, they don’t whine over calls, they don’t get illegally coached, they don’t cheat when using the challenge system by looking to their box. Hitting at an opponent is an intimidating play, but also a legitimate one. I find no fault with that. Nor do I find fault with standing tight to the service box when returning — it is an act of intimidation, and a perfectly legal one as well.”

McEnroe points to Robin Soderling angering Rafael Nadal during their 2007 Wimbledon third round by complaining about the Mallorcan’s methodical pace of play and mocking his pre-serve ritual of tugging at the seat of his shorts as an example of real, raw friction between players ratcheting up the intensity and dramatic tension tennis can offer.

“Obviously, I maybe had a shorter fuse, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with Soderling and Nadal getting into it at Wimbledon,” McEnroe says. “In a no-contact sport like tennis where you’re not hitting each other like setting a pick in basketball or a check in hockey then you need some sort of release on some level. So remember last year at Wimbledon when they had all the rain and players started melting down mentally? From a fan’s point of view, I enjoyed what happened when all that rain happened and players were getting annoyed: basically it got to them and it would have got to me too. It made for some memorable events and I think that’s interesting for tennis.”

Grand Slam finalist Todd Martin, widely respected as one of the best sportsmen of his generation, suggests a rule change may be the only way to deter rampant gamesmanship.

“Rafael Nadal frequently takes longer than the allotted time between points. That is against the ‘rule’ (that is rarely enforced), but a VERY far cry from gamesmanship,” Martin said. “Rafael is obviously idiosyncratic and is the best at not playing a point until he is ready to play. However, the trainer visit rules and such can be abused ad nauseum. As much as I like to advocate professional and personal responsibility there might be no other recourse than to create stiffer rules and punishments for bending or breaking of those rules. Despite the blurring of the etiquette, decency, honor lines over these many decades of open tennis, I will always contend that each player has the responsibility to call ‘touches’ and ‘not-ups’ on themselves. Frankly, these are not calls that umpires can make easily rather they are instances when most often the player knows what the correct call is.”

The advent of the Hawk-Eye replay system has greatly reduced on-court arguments over line calls. Has tennis has been transformed from grand theater featuring a compelling cast of characters — Connors, McEnroe, Nastase, Becker — into bland, big business with commerce supplanting creativity in players and a tennis Renaissance replaced with a paint-by-numbers product ruled by agents and administrators, who admonish players for straying slightly outside the lines? Does gamesmaship add an additional element to the game and should the players be left to police it themselves?
Carillo, who grew up with McEnroe partnered him to win the 1977 French Open mixed doubles championship and debated the topic of gamesmanship with him in the CBS broadcast booth during the Open, emphatically rejects the notion that gamesmanship adds entertainment value and drama to tennis and argues all the fake injuries turns tennis into theater of the absurd.

Carillo asserts that stall tactics can not only disrupt a match for players and fans such actions can also undermine the core values the game aspires to embrace.

“Gamesmanship in the form of stalling is rampant, whether for phony bathroom breaks, phony injury time-outs, excessive time between points,” Carillo said. “There is not one bit of good in any of that, and the rally cry years ago — that there was too little real action in tennis, too much time in between points to sustain the viewer — all that has just gotten worse with the bending, twisting and breaking of rules meant to keep a match moving along. If playing tennis is supposed to teach independence of thought, problem solving, confidence, self awareness and self reliance, what goes on in the pro game is also teaching — and, from many voices in the game, endorsing — deception, obfuscation, blame shifting and both winning and losing without honor.”

In an effort to flush the bathroom break as a gamesmanship tool, the WTA Tour will permit players whose opponents take breaks to consult with their coach during those timeouts.

“There’s obviously a fine line to balance between medical timeouts and toilet breaks and fair competition and avoiding gamesmanship,” WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott said. “What we’ve actually found and we’re quite hopeful about is with on-court coaching for any player that does take a medical break, the other player is going to be allowed access to their coach during that period of time. What we’ve found is that’s sort of a disincentive and keeping players a little more honest about their toilet breaks.”

But with Grand Slam titles at stake and massive pay days on the line it seems inevitable that the games some players play will not be confined to action between the lines.

“There will always be people who feel that rules weren’t made to be followed; they were made to be broken,” Carillo said. “It’s up to us as caretakers of the game to come out on the right side of this issue. I hope people do that.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

THE BALCO SCANDAL – CLOUD OF UNCERTAINTY

Sacramento Bee – Dec 4, 2004 – Nick Peters – There are more questions than answers
Recent revelations regarding sluggers Barry Bonds’ and Jason Giambi’s use of steroids squarely placed the responsibility on Major League Baseball to adopt a tougher drug-testing policy, doctors and ethicists said Friday.

Giambi told a grand jury that he used steroids provided by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Bonds said he used substances from BALCO but did not know they contained steroids.

Despite his insistence he used steroids unknowingly, Bonds’ reputation has been tainted as he chases Hank Aaron’s all-time home-run record. And Giambi is facing the possibility of having all or part of the remainder of his $120 million contract with the Yankees voided.

The revelations come at a bad time for baseball, which saw record attendance last season and was riding the wave of positive reaction to the Boston Red Sox winning their first World Series title since 1918.

The escalating BALCO scandal is creating a cloud of uncertainty over the integrity of the game.

“As I have repeatedly stated, I am fully committed to the goal of immediately ridding our great game of illegal performance-enhancing substances,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a prepared statement Friday.

“The use of these substances continues to raise issues regarding the game’s integrity and raises serious concerns about the health and well-being of our players. … I urge the players and their association to … join me in adopting a new, stronger drug-testing policy modeled after our minor-league program that will once and for all rid the game of the scourge of illegal drugs.”

Giants players and management would not comment on Bonds’ alleged involvement with steroids. A club spokesman said, “We can’t comment. It’s a legal matter, and we’ve been asked to direct questions to the Commissioner’s office.”

BALCO founder Victor Conte went on ABC’s “20/20” Friday night and declared that more than 50 percent of the athletes are taking some form of anabolic steroids.

He also said he saw track star Marion Jones inject herself with steroids that he provided.

Asked specifically about baseball’s dealing with drugs, Conte replied: “I think they still believe there’s a Santa Claus. … They’re not in contact with reality. … The program they have put together is a joke.”

Selig told reporters Thursday in Washington that he hoped to have the minor-league program instituted at the major-league level by spring training. Minor-leaguers are tested in and out of season four times for illegal substances and face increased punishment for each positive test. A fifth positive test brings a lifetime ban.

Under an agreement between MLB and the players’ union, there was increased testing in the majors last season, but it was infrequent.

Here’s how the current system works:

* The first positive test results in treatment and continued testing.

* Any subsequent positive testing means a fine and suspension, beginning with 15 days and up to $10,000. By the fifth violation, the penalty is a one-year suspension and up to $100,000 fine.

* The suspensions would be without pay, and the reason for the player’s absence would be disclosed.

Why would athletes take the risk of using illegal substances?

“It’s a combination of extremism and perfectionism, and a lack of education (on the dangers),” said sports performance psychologist Dr. John F. Murray, who works with the Miami Dolphins and golfers in Florida.

“I don’t buy the argument athletes don’t know what’s in their bodies. They’re aware of what they’re doing. In some ways, it’s good this is coming out. How many more are doing it? It’s just the tip of the iceberg. … We need to be more strict and have better measures in place.”

Dr. William O. Roberts, a team physician in St. Paul, Minn., and president of the American College of Sports Medicine, commented in an e-mail Friday on the unresolved issue of steroid use by professional athletes and the need of reform.

“Too much of the focus this week has been on competition and performance issues such as records and cheating,” Roberts wrote. “Not enough attention is being paid to the messages being sent to impressionable young athletes.

“… Without an appropriate level of focus on the negative health implications of steroid use, young athletes may be led to believe that steroids can help them achieve greatness on the playing field, and that the only danger is getting caught.”

He pointed his finger squarely at baseball.

“No other entity in American culture is in a better position to address this than Major League Baseball,” he wrote. “Baseball and its players union simply cannot shun their ethical responsibility to society by failing to eradicate steroid use by its players.”

Baseball’s relatively soft stance on drug testing at the major-league level has been under scrutiny for some time. While Selig gets much of the blame, the biggest culprit could be the strength of the Players Association.

“It is stronger than what the other sports have in place, and they hide under the guise of privacy issues,” said a former player who spoke on condition of anonymity. “(Union head) Donald Fehr and (legal counsel) Gene Orza are unwilling to compromise.”

The union’s stance also explains why players are reluctant to condemn teammates who cheat. There was an uproar two years ago when former MVPs Jose Canseco and the late Ken Caminiti admitted to steroid use. Canseco estimated 85 percent of major-leaguers took the illegal substances; Caminiti put the figure at around 50 percent.

Sacramento’s Pat Gomez, a former major-league pitcher and now an assistant coach at Del Campo High School, recalled baseball’s lax attitude toward drugs when he pitched for the Padres and the Giants from 1993 to 1995.

“Basically, if they said they suspected you (of drug use), that was it, and you didn’t have to do anything,” he said. “You had to darn well be caught with a needle in your arm.

“The temptation is very real and the money is very large when you move into that category of player.”

Gomez said baseball needs a strict policy for the players’ health and the integrity of the game.

“If a guy who spends $18 on a ticket realizes if he loaded himself up, too, he could be out there, that’s not good for the game,” Gomez said.

Despite Selig’s recent get-tough stance, he came to the defense of Mark McGwire last spring when reminded that the former A’s and Cardinals slugger used a since-banned supplement while hitting a record 70 home runs in 1998. Selig said he’d never put an asterisk by McGwire’s records.

By comparison, the NFL and the NBA have their share of off-field problems, yet steroid use is not one of them. The NFL’s drug policy is regarded as the most stringent of all major sports.

It was established through a collective-bargaining agreement between the league and the Players Association in 1993. It has been updated to address concerns about whether the NFL is doing all it can to eliminate its biggest concern: steroid use as a means of a competitive advantage.

Each year, the league routinely tests all players for recreational drugs. They are given a specified date and advanced warning, usually at the start of training camp. If a player fails a test for recreational drugs, it is kept confidential.

The league considers recreational-drug use a medical issue and wants to treat instead of punish the player.

It is not until he fails a second test that he receives a four-game suspension. A third positive test can be a year’s suspension.

Steroid use, which can be detected through weekly random testing of six players per team, is a more serious matter. The first positive test means a four-game suspension. A second is six games, and a third will result in at least a one-year suspension.

In addition, the league also tests for masking agents.

If a player tries to pass a test by using a masking agent, that also means a suspension, even if a steroid isn’t detected.

In the NBA, where drug issues have been a familiar dark headline for decades, there has never been a perception problem with steroids that comes close with marijuana, alcohol or even cocaine.

Steroids were added to the list of banned substances in March 2000, and without fanfare. Officials don’t recall anything close to heated negotiations between the NBA and the Players Association after the union conceded key points to end the 1999 lockout.

Eight types of steroids later became an addendum to that deal, most notably Androstenedione, which within years would become known as Andro and a focus on the debate regarding steroids in sports when McGwire went on his home-run spree.

A player testing positive the first time would be suspended for five games and be required to enter a program under the supervision of professionals jointly selected by the league and the union.

A second positive test would result in 10 games and re-entry into the program, and any subsequent violation would mean 25 games and another re-entry Also, a player would be banned from the NBA if he is convicted or pleads guilty or no contest to a crime involving the use or possession of steroids.

Selig was questioned after the San Francisco Chronicle published grand-jury testimony in which Giambi admitted that he had used steroids.

His testimony was given a year ago to a federal grand jury investigating BALCO. An investigation into the leak was ordered by a U.S. District judge Friday.

Selig said he has instructed Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations and human resources, to continue working with the Players Association to implement a tougher testing program in baseball.

“I instituted a very tough program on steroids in the minor leagues in 2001,” Selig said. “We need to have that same program at the major-league level.

“I’m going to leave no stone unturned until we have that policy in place by spring training. We need a tough policy, and I’m going to be very aggressive in the implementation of that policy.”

TEAMS NEED TO TAKE MORE PROTECTIVE MEASURES

Stuart News Oct 21, 2008, 2004 – Kevin Van Brimmer – In the days since Friday’s fight between NBA players and fans in Detroit, commentators, writers, coaches, players and fans have been expressing their outrage, disgust and shock that such a thing could happen in American professional sports. But the question is: Should we be shocked?

“I think this issue has been brewing and accelerating for a long period of time,” says Jupiter-based (correction – Palm Beach based) sports performance psychologist John Murray. American culture is more and more becoming one of violence. It sells in the news and it sells in entertainment, from professional wrestling to blockbuster movies. So was it any surprise it has spilled over professional sports like a tidal wave? Friday night’s fracas isn’t the first case of athletes and fans tussling in American sports. But the tsunami crested and broke in the 15-minute melee in Detroit on Friday when Indiana’s Ron Artest charged into the stands to mix it up with a fan who threw a drink on him and was followed by his teammates. Artest received a season-long ban from NBA Commissioner David Stern for his actions and eight other players on both sides received suspensions of various lengths. But will Stern’s actions quell any future player-fan confrontations? Murray says no, not by themselves.

He says there needs to be proactive measures taken by teams to ensure its players don’t get so close to the breaking point again. “I do believe in discipline, suspensions and fines,” Murray says. “I think it’s a great move by Stern. I think (Artest) being out the whole season is the way to do it; tighten up the grip a little more. You have to stand up and have some bite behind the bark. Otherwise, it’s just talk. There needs to be a policy of no-tolerance. “My pitch is, each franchise needs to have a genuine sports psychologist that can work with these athletes and give them perspective. A sports psychologist may also help athletes express themselves in positive ways instead of exploding.”

But it’s not just the moral compass of the professional athlete that has been progressively skewed in recent years. The other part of the equation Friday was the behavior of the fans, Murray said. “I think the opportunity for people to become part of the limelight has changed,” Murray says. “Especially with reality television. Everybody wants to become part of the action.” Murray also believes the media perpetuates the growing culture of violence and aggressiveness in America. The best example is the fact that footage of Friday’s fight has been playing continuously on sports and news channels since the incident. “We’re intoxicated as a culture, so we need a detox program,” Murray says. “We need to think smart as a culture. “The most important thing is our kids see this and think it’s acceptable. It’s not. We need to wake up.”
Edition: All Dailies
Section: Sports

NEW YORK CITY MARATHON

Palm Beach Post -Oct 21, 2008, 2004 – Hal Habib – Radcliffe wins closest women’s race. Four seconds help to cure Olympic heartache.

{Note: Dr. Murray appeared on BBC to talk about Paula Radcliffe along with Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen. You can hear the entire interview in the Audio & Video section of this website}

NEW YORK � They say the New York City Marathon can be a brutal race, spanning all five boroughs and countless hills and bridges over 26.2 miles.
Lies, all lies.

Britain’s Paula Radcliffe surges past Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei in Central Park during the final stretch of the New York City Marathon.
England’s Paula Radcliffe was crowned champion Sunday afternoon by winning a race that required 11 weeks and 5,393 miles of endurance.
Remember, Radcliffe was the one who failed to win the Olympic marathon in Greece. The one who failed to even finish either of her two races in Greece. The one who failed, period. “Radcliffe dream dies in gutter,” read one British headline, which wasn’t even the worst of it.
Here’s one headline that might work for this morning: Fleet feet beat Fleet Street.

Sunday, Radcliffe fought off the critics and Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei to capture the closest women’s race in the New York City Marathon’s 35-year history, winning by fourseconds in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 10 seconds.

“This wasn’t about redemption,” her husband, Gary, kept saying afterward, except the more he talked, the less he sounded like even he was buying it.

“When you go through something as traumatic as that,” he finally said, “I guess there’s going to be some mental thing, mental scars. It’s a trauma.”

Radcliffe herself admitted as much. By Mile 24, it was unclear what was causing her more distress, her Saturday night dinner of cold spaghetti Bolognese or Chepkemei turning up the heat with stride-for-stride pressure. Someone asked her whether she had any flashbacks to Athens. “Nothing like that horrible feeling,” she answered.
Who could have known that as the world-record holder and overwhelming favorite sat crying on that curb in Greece, the seeds for triumph were planted?

Watching the scene unfold on the video board at the old Olympic stadium were Mary Wittenburg, executive vice president of the New York Road Runners, and media relations director Richard Finn. Wittenburg, a former champion of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, knew precisely how to help Radcliffe.

“We were standing at the top of the stadium and I said, ‘Paula should run New York,’ ” Wittenburg said. “I knew she could win it. After a major disappointment like that, we kind of stand back and take more of a supportive approach â€â€? we started working on 2005 â€â€? but personally, immediately I thought this is what she should do.”
She e-mailed Radcliffe: “Why don’t you come to the race this year as a spectator? You and Gary can spend a weekend in New York.”
Sure, the Radcliffes said. Then, on Oct. 18, Wittenburg received an e-mail: “I’m somewhat keen to thinking it might be good to run this year. What do you think?”

Wittenburg wanted to reply, “We’d be quite keen to have you,” but played it straight. “We would welcome you with open arms.”
By the time financial details were worked out and the announcements were made, only 12 days remained until the starting gun. It was hard to tell what was more shocking â€? that the world’s premier marathoner would commit to a race so late or that she’d even consider competing so soon after also dropping out of the Olympic 10,000 meters.

The British wondered if, at age 30, Radcliffe had much left, even though it was only last year that she smashed the world record with a 2:15:25. In the past several days, Liz McColgan, the last Brit to win New York, questioned why Radcliffe would enter, and the headlines included, “Why is Radcliffe risking it all?” Questions abounded on how much New York was paying her to appear and whether she just wanted to promote her upcoming book, The Story So Far.

“I don’t think it was about sending out messages,” Radcliffe said of the victory. “It was about running well and enjoying it and just being back to racing normally. And in its own right, winning New York is very special to me.”

It should be. The women upstaged the men in a race that lived up to its billing as having the best women’s field in New York’s history.
“Dreams can sometime come true and it came true today,” race director Allan Steinfeld said.

The field included the Netherlands’ Lornah Kiplagat, who had complained that Radcliffe’s late entry was “a bit selfish” and forced her to change her tactics. Kiplagat stayed among the lead pack until shortly before the 20-mile mark; she faded to seventh.
Radcliffe, meanwhile, looked like Radcliffe, which is to say her head bob made it appear she was suffering from the first step. She was a stride ahead of Chepkemei along Central Park South, but Chepkemei, her arms flailing, pulled even as they entered the final 400 yards toward the finish at Tavern on the Green. If Radcliffe was going to win, it would require one more surge. She had it in her.

“Paula was out here to prove herself as one of the best marathoners in the world and she did that,” said American Deena Kastor, the bronze medalist from Athens who failed to finish Sunday because of leg cramps. “She had a rough race but that’s the nature of this sport â€? when it’s bad, it’s really ugly and when it’s good, we can come out with shiny medals and strong performances.”

True, but there’s one medal Radcliffe still doesn’t own.

“I don’t think you can really quantify today and relate it to Athens,” Gary Radcliffe said. “I mean, Athens was Athens and this is a unique event. Obviously she’s very happy and she can move on. This wasn’t about redemption. It wasn’t about saying ‘look at me’ or whatever. This is about her turning the page and moving forward.”
And if that page has a rosy headline today, all the better.

Media

See Comments about Dr. John F Murray

There is a reason why Dr. John F. Murray is the most quoted psychologist in the general media. He has an extremely rare professional and educational background making him an authentic licensed sports psychologist. He also has the experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge with the media as a national spokesman on issues related to psychology and sport psychology. He has appeared as a guest on most of the major television networks (e.g., ABC Good Morning America, the Fox News Channel’s “Your World” with Neil Cavuto and “The Big Story” with John Gibson, MSNBC) and is likely the most frequently interviewed in his field over the past six years, with over 2000 contributions to print and broadcast media. Dr. Murray enjoys talking about high performance and general psychology, sports, relationships at work and home, mental skills such as confidence, focus and goal setting, business issues such as management and leadership, and a variety of other educational and social issues.

“Dr. Murray, thanks for a great appearance on the show”
–Producer of “The Big Story” with John Gibson, FOX National Television

“John….YOU WERE A GREAT GUEST…you played along with our sisters well … Again, great information and the on-air product was WONDERFUL! Thanks.”
–Jennifer Dominguez, Associate Producer, ABC Radio Networks

Below is just a small sample of where Dr. Murray’s insights have appeared. This list was first compiled in 2004 and has probably doubled since that time.

ABC TV Good Morning America
ABC Radio Atlanta
ABC Radio Network (National)
ABC TV West Palm Beach
ABC TV Philadelphia
ABC.net
6ABC.com
ACE Magazine
AFCA.org
Akron Beacon Journal
Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Tribune
AlphaDeltaGamma.org
am New York
AmericasDoctor.com
AOL Sports
Apria.com
Arizona Daily Sun
Arizona Republic
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Associated Press
AthleticInsight.com
Athletic Management
Atlanta Journal Constitution
AuctionBytes.com
Augusta Chronicle
Augusta Free Press
Axelis.com
AZBilliards.com
The Bahama Journal
Baltimore Sun
BaseballProspectus.com
BBC.com
BBC Radio
Beaumont Enterprise
BenMaller.com
Bergen County Record
BetUs.com
BidRobot.com
BlackAmericaWeb.com
Bloomberg Radio
Bloomberg News Wire
Bob Larson’s Tennis Wire
Boca Raton News
BondMovies.com
Bonita Daily News
Boston Globe
Boulder Daily Camera
Bradenton Herald
BriefMe.com
British Tennis Magazine
BritishTennisParents.com
BuffaloBills.com
Buffalo News
Burlington Hawk Eye
Business.com
Calgary Herald
Canadian National Radio
The Capital (Anapolis, MD)
Casper Star Tribune
CBC News
CBFans.com
CBS Network Radio (National)
CBS Radio Atlanta
CBS SportsLine.com
Chicago Daily Herald
Charleston Daily Mail
The Charleston Gazette
Charlotte Observer
Chicago Tribune
Cincinnati Enquirer
CNET
CNN Radio
CNNSI.com
CollegeAndJuniorTennis.com
Colorado Springs Gazette
CommanderBond.net
The Commercial Appeal
Conditioning & Training Magazine
Contra Costa Times
Cox News Service
The Daily Camera
Daily Comet Thibodaux
Daily Evergreen of WSU
Daily Herald
Daily Journal
Daily Mail of London
Daily Messenger (Canandaigua, NY)
Daily Press
Daily Sentinel of Nacogdoches
The Day
Delaware Parent
Deluth News Tribune
Denver Post
Deseret News
Detroit Free Press
Diet News
The Dispatch
DonPenny.com
Doug Stephan Radio Show
Eagle Tribune (Massachussets)
Education Week
ESPN.com
ESPN Radio Toronto
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN TV Canada
Examiner.com
Express & Echo of Exeter
Family Lifestyle Magazine
Financial Post Business Magazine
Financial Times of London
Fitness Magazine
Florida Sunshine Television Network
Florida Tennis
Florida Times Union
Florida Today
FlowInSports.com
FootballOutsiders.com
Fort Wayne News Sentinel
FoxSports.com
Fox National Television
The Free Lance-Star
Fredericksburg.com
FromTheBalcony.com
Futures and Commodity Market News
The Gadsden Times
Gainesville Sun
Gatorsports.com, FL
Giants.com
Globe and Mail
GlobeSports.com
Golf Course Management
GoTennis.com
Grand Rapids Press
Greenacres Press
Greenwich Time
The Grinders.TV
Gulf Daily News of Bahrain
Hamilton Journal News
Hamilton Spectator
The Happy Herald Monthly
The Happy Times Monthly
Hartford Courant
Hays Daily News, KS
Hendersonville Times News
HeraldTribune.com
Hollywood Reporter
Houma Today
Houston Chronicle
The Huffington Post
Independent Alligator
Independent of London
Indiana Gazette
Indianapolis Star
Innerworth.com
International Herald Tribune
Investors Business Daily
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Journal Sentinel
Jupiter Courier
Kansas City Star
Keralanext.com
KGO Radio San Francisco
KMVU Fox TV
Knight Ridder
KnowledgeHound.com
KSBI TV
Lake City Reporter
Las Vegas Sun
The Ledger
Lexington Dispatch, NC
London Evening Times
Los Angeles Times
Louisiana News Day
Louisville Courier-Journal
Loyola University Magazine
LTA Tennis Nation
Lufkin Daily News
Lycos Top 5%
Mansion Grove House Publishing
Maroon of Loyola University
Marquis Who’s Who in America
Men’s Fitness Magazine
Men’s Health Magazine
Metro Toronto
Miami Herald
Mid-Atlantic Matchpoint
Middletown Journal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Mirror (UK)
Mobile Register
Modesto Bee
Monterey County Herald
MSNBC.com
MSNBC TV
MSN Sports
MyFox Birmingham
MyFox Chicago
MyFox Tampa Bay
MyFox Utah
MyTelus Sports
Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel
Naples Daily News
National Post of Canada
National Public Radio
NBC TV Sacramento
Netguide Magazine
Netscape Sports
The-Next-Big-Thing
Newark Star Ledger
New Orleans Times Picayune
The News and Observer of Raleigh
Newsday
News Journal
News-Press of Ft. Myers
Newsweek.com
New York Daily News
New York Times
North Carolina Tennis Today
Northwest Arkansas Times
NWITIMES.com
OhioNewsNow.com
The Olympian
Omaha World-Herald
Orange County Register
Orlando Sentinel
Ottowa Citizen
Ottowa Herald
Oxford Press
Palm Beach Daily News
Palm Beach Post
Pan American Sports Network
Peoria Journal Star
PHHP News of U. Florida
Physical Magazine
Pioneer Press
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
PlantationEagles.com
Pocono Record
PowerSellersBlog.com
Power Tips Journal
Press Enterprise
PsychCentral.com
PsychedOnline.org
Psychology.com
Pulitzer Prize News
QualityWriter.com
RealTime Fantasy Sports
Radio France
RaidersOnline.org
The Record
RedsZone.com
Reference.com
The Register Citizen
Remedy RX
Reuters
Richmond Times Dispatch
Riyadh Daily News
Rocky Mountain News
Sacramento Bee
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salem News
San Antonio Express-News
San Francisco Chronicle
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
San Jose Mercury News
San Mateo Daily Journal
Sarasota Herald Tribune
Satellite Sisters National Radio
Saudi Gazzette
Savannah Morning News
Scripps Howard News
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Seattle Times
SelfHelpMagazine.com
Shanghai Daily
Shawnee News-Star
Short-Biographies.com
SI.com
SignOnSanDiego.com
SIRC Sports Research
Slam! Sports
Smash Tennis Magazine
South China Morning Post
SouthCoastToday.com
South Florida Business Journal
Speaker Focus
Sport Aces
SportingNews.com
The Sporting News
Sports Business News
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated for Kids
Sports Illustrated for Women
Sports Industry News
SportsInjuryHelp.org
SportsReview.com
SportsTerminal.com
SportsTicker.com
TheSpread.com
Springfield News
Springfield News Sun
Stamford Advocate
State-Journal.com
The State
The St. Augustine Record
St. Catharines Standard
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Petersburg Times
The State (South Carolina)
StarArticle.com
Stonebridge Press
Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News
StumbleUpon.com
Sunday Telegraph Magazine
Sun Sentinel
Supercoach Magazine
Surfwax.com
Sydney Swans Official Magazine
Tallahassee Democrat
The Team 990
The Telegraph of Calcutta
Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Tribune
The Tennessean
Tennis Celebs
Tennis.com
TennisChannel.com
TennisInternet.com
Tennis Magazine
TennisMagazin Deutschland
Tennis Oggi
Tennis Pro Magazine
TennisRulz.com
TennisServer.com
Tennis Week
Tennis-X.com
Texas Court Report
TheBioFile.com
Thinkers.net
This Week in Pro Football
Time Out Magazine London
Time Out Magazine New York
TimesDaily.com
The Times of London
The Times of Northwest Indiana
Times Union of Albany
Topcat Sports Radio
Topix.net
Torrington Register Citizen
Tribune Business news
Tuscaloosa News
Ultimate Football Coaches Guide
University of Manitoba Magazine
The Urban Radio Network
UriGeller.com
USA Today
USA Weekend Magazine
USTA Magazine
VegasInsider.com
Vancouver Sun
Ventura County Star
VinceSpadea.com
Vision Magazine
Waco Tribune Herald
Wall Street Journal
WannaLearn.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
Watertown Daily Times
WBAL Baltimore
WCNN Radio
Whittier Daily News
The Wichita Daily Eagle
Wilmington Star
Wireless Flash
WNEM TV
WNTP Philadelphia
Women’s Sport & Fitness
Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
WorkInSports.com
WorldHistory.com
World Talk Radio
WSU student newspaper
Yahoo Internet Life Magazine
Yahoo Sports
Your Time
ZD Net UK
1stServe.com
3Clix.info

Dr. Murray has stopped listing all the media outlets where his Pre-Super Bowl Radio and TV Interviews have appeared because there are far too many. Dr. Murray annually discusses the Mental Performance Index (MPI) ratings prior to the game and the MPI has been more accurate than the official spread in four of the first six Super Bowls in which it has been used (2003 to 2008). The purpose of the MPI is to help football teams and coaches more accurately assess team performance, and this scoring method also demonstrates the important influence of mental performance in football and other sports too.

Here is a very small sample of where the MPI report has appeared and there are many more impossible to count or remember:

ESPN Canada, ABC TV West Palm Beach, ESPN Radio, WAXY, WBBR, WDJA, WGLR, WGNX, WXLP, KBLL, KDBR, KFIS, KGMY, KKAR, KNFX, KOB, KWEB, CJME, Y100, Oldies 103, WTKW, Syracuse, NY, RED FM Radio, Cork, Ireland, KFOX Vancouver, WKQZ Saginaw, Michigan, WYVN Holland Michigan, Rock 102, Springfield, MA, WBBR New York City, WDJA West Palm Beach, WAXY Miami, Y100 Miami, WGNX Vero Beach, WGLR Indianapolis, Oldies 103 Boston, WXLP Davenport, Iowa, KNFX Rochester, Minnesota, KWEB Rochester, Minnesota, KKAR Omaha, Nebraska, KBLL Helena, Montana, KDBR Flathead Valley, Montana KGMY Springfield, Missouri, CJME Saskatchewan, Canada, KFIS Portand, Oregon, KOB Albeq. New Mexico … and many hundreds more.

ESPN The Magazine featured a story called “Shrink Rap” on the MPI in its infancy in the December 23, 2002 issue. Many others have written about the MPI including the Tampa Tribune, Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Modesto Bee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, LA Times, Indianapolis Star, Wichita Eagle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Daily Messenger, Palm Beach Daily News, Tampa Bay Times, CNNSI, Sportsline.com, Grand Rapids Press, Lake City Reporter, Peoria Journal Star, Press Enterprise, Times Union, Vancouver Sun, Florida Times-Union, and Salem News.

Thank You for Visiting. Call 561-596-9898 or send an email to johnfmurray@mindspring.com

Bowling

Dr. John F. Murray has worked with bowlers at the professional and amateur levels.

At first glance, bowling might seem rather straightforward in its mental demands. When you look closer, however, you soon realize the enormous complexities of changing lane patterns and wax placements, surfaces, challenges of qualifying, and the killer instinct needed to win on the final day of an ESPN televised championship to name a few. It’s a great sport with tremendous mental demands, and like all sports the training off the lanes is just as important mentally.

Dr. Murray recently attended the Bowl Expo in Orlando, Florida as a guest of Tommy Delutz Jr., former #2 ranked bowler in the world and a regular client who asked to make this public. Tommy recovered from major wrist surgery and made a big comeback.

This page is still under development. Thanks for your patience.

Golf

Dr. Murray works with lots of pro and amateur golfers to help them improve their mental games and we all know how important that is in this wonderful sport. Stay tuned as this page is under develoment

SHAQ HAUNTS MAGIC FANS

FLORIDA TODAY – Jul 12, 2004 – Jeff Dalessio and John Denton – Impending deal to Miami means more meetings against Orlando.

He’s 7-foot-1 and 340 pounds with arms like Popeye, tree trunks for legs and three NBA Finals MVP awards on his mantel.

And he’s coming to your division, 18-year-old Orlando Magic rookie Dwight Howard.

“Who wants to play Shaq and get in a wrestling match with him all night?” Howard said as news broke that Shaquille O’Neal was on the verge of joining the Miami Heat. “He could probably just put a finger on me and push me out of the way.”

Word of a pending trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and Heat isn’t just the worst nightmare for the 6-11, 243- pound Howard, who’s sure to be on the receiving end of a few O’Neal elbows when the two teams tangle at least four times next season in the newly formed NBA Southeast Division.

It’s also sure to bring frowns to the faces of Magic fans, who had a tough enough time watching their former center collect three NBA titles three time zones away in Los Angeles.

Now, pending NBA approval of the trade, O’Neal is headed back to the Sunshine State in a move that will reportedly net the Lakers Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, another player — possibly Caron Butler — and a future draft pick.

First, Tracy McGrady is sent packing. Now, the guy who led Orlando to the 1995 NBA Finals joins its biggest rival.

Hang in there, Magic fans.

“Magic fans are going to be struggling with this for a long time,” said John Murray, a South Florida sports psychologist. “It would be like Larry Csonka or Dan Marino coming back to play for the Jets. The only solution for Orlando is to sharpen their mental skills and beat Miami. This would give them double satisfaction.”

The trade can’t be completed until 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, when the NBA’s two-week player movement moratorium expires, but it’s reportedly a done deal. Perry Rogers, O’Neal’s agent, told the Los Angeles Daily News, “As of right now, there is an agreement to agree” and spoke of his client’s love for the city of Miami and admiration of Heat president Pat Riley.

O’Neal also was high on Orlando, where he still maintains a home eight years after leaving the Magic for the bright lights of L.A. But because of his massive contract — O’Neal is due to make an NBA-high $27.7 million next season — Orlando GM John Weisbrod last month called a Shaq-Magic reunion “pretty close to mathematically impossible,” adding, “We’d be fielding a roster of seven guys.”

The 32-year-old O’Neal soured on the Lakers after the team was eliminated, 4-1, by Detroit in the NBA Finals. When discussing the Lakers’ future afterward, general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters he never would trade star guard Kobe Bryant, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility of sending O’Neal elsewhere.

The next day, O’Neal demanded a trade.

Despite a dip in O’Neal’s statistics this past season — a career-low 21.5 points with 11.5 rebounds and 2.48 blocks — Magic coach Johnny Davis calls him “the most dominant player in the game.”

“There’s just nobody else like him in our league,” Davis said. “He’s so big that he’s almost unstoppable.”

His presence in Miami is bad news for the rest of the new Southeast Division, which includes three teams coming off forgettable seasons — Orlando (21-61), Washington (25-57) and Atlanta (28-54) — and the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

With O’Neal in the middle, the Heat (42-40 in 2003-04) would go into next season as the undisputed team to beat and a possible NBA championship contender. Even with the loss of three starters — Odom, Butler and Grant — they return Olympian Dwyane Wade at point guard and Eddie Jones, their leading scorer each of the past four seasons, at shooting guard.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Lakers fans are hoping O’Neal and the team will have a change of heart before 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

That also sums up the feeling in Orlando.

“I think he’s OK right where he was,” Davis said.

____________________________________________________

The NBA’s other big trades involving the big men

1965

The deal

Two days after the 1965 All-Star Game, when he had 20 points and 16 rebounds, two-time reigning NBA scoring champion Wilt Chamberlain is sent from the Golden State Warriors to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and $150,000.

The impact

The 76ers went on to post the NBA’s best record the following season, then knocked off their nemesis, Boston, on their way to the NBA title the following year.

_____________________________________________________

1968

The deal

Following his fourth, and final MVP season, Chamberlain is shipped from Philadelphia to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff.

The impact

Chamberlain spent his final five seasons in L.A., helping the Lakers to the NBA Finals four times. At age 35, he grabbed 19.2 rebounds a night and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

_____________________________________________________

1975

The deal

Unhappy in Milwaukee, three-time MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar requests the Bucks trade him to either New York or Los Angeles. He gets his wish, going to the Lakers in a deal for Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters.

The impact

The Kareem-led Lakers win five NBA titles — 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 — and he picks up three more NBA MVP awards, giving him six total.

_________________________________________________

Why Shaq’s still got it

1. As bad as he is at the line, no one shoots better from the field (NBA-leading 58.4 percent last season).

2. Anyone catch that 36-point, 20-rebound effort in Game 4 of the NBA Finals?

3. When he’s motivated and in shape, no one can stop him down low.

Why Shaq’s slipping

1. He’s coming off a career-low season scoring — 21.5 points a game.

2. He made just 49 percent of his free throws — down from his 62.2 clip the season before.

3. He’s been injury-prone and overweight, not playing in more than 67 games in any of the past three years.

— Jeff D’Alessio, FLORIDA TODAY

______________________________________________________

AP file

Sunshine Superman. Shaquille O’Neal is coming back to play in the Sunshine State and that could mean trouble for Orlando Magic rookie Dwight Howard and their fans when they meet four times.
Edition: F Final All
Section: Sports
Page: 01

“PATRIOTS FOOTBALL WEEKLY” INTERVIEWED DR. JOHN F. MURRAY TO HELP THEIR TEAM COPE WITH PRESSURE AND GO UNDEFEATED

Jan 30, 2008 – The writers for the official New England Patriots Magazine – You can read this article by clicking here!

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.