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RJ: You have another person who, on a lot of nights, you're going to have to double-team. Shaq can win a game, easily. Especially in the playoffs. He's very good at pacing himself and peaking at the right time. It means a lot less stress for [LeBron James].
DP: What's it like to guard LeBron?
RJ: It's tough. People always assume that he's that much bigger or that much stronger. It's really not his strength, because if you ever notice, he's not really a post-up player. He doesn't back you down and beat you up. He's not like Ron Artest in that sense. He has a unique combination of skills that just make it very difficult: his ball handling, his size, his quickness, his strength, his athleticism. There are not many players probably ever that have had that combination. His shooting range and shooting touch continues to improve. And the more confidence he gets, it makes the rest of his game even more difficult to cover. He just has a set of skills that, combined, are pretty much a beast.
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Cowboys tackle Marc Colombo, who moonlights as the lead singer of the heavy-metal band Free Reign, said he shies away from singing in the team shower. "We keep it to shows and practices," he said. And when I asked which had better groupies—music or football—Colombo didn't hesitate: music. And when he explained why, it was tough to disagree. "Football groupies," he said, "are mostly male."
Like all of Steve McNair's former teammates, Eddie George was stunned by the quarterback's death. "Steve was never about throwing for 400 or 500 yards. He was just concerned about winning," George told me on Monday. "He was a total team player, and that carried throughout the entire team. We took on his personality. When he played hurt, we couldn't miss a day [if we were hurt]."