by Lang Whitaker

A couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned to me that Phoenix guard Alando Tucker was also a rapper. I knew he could act, but had no idea he could rhyme. So I made some calls, sent some emails, and last night I got three tracks from Alando Tucker.

Alando called me a few hours ago, and I asked him about his hip-hop ambitions.

“For me, it’s something that I do,” Tucker said. “It’s a second talent. I write music and I just want everybody to listen to my music first, because I think it explains itself. It’s not a gimmick, it’s not something to make money. It’s something I’m passionate about and have spent hours doing.”

alandotuckerRaised on Chicago’s South Side before going to school at Wisconsin and ending up in Phoenix, Alando grew up around music. “My Mom was always playing The Temptations and Smokey Robinson.” He liked Chicago artists like Twista, and said he was a huge fan of both Tupac and Biggie. (I asked him to pick a side and he admitted he was “more of a Tupac fan.”)

In Phoenix, Tucker has had a chance to pursue his rap ambitions. Tucker says he works with 5th Coast Records, where he records and gets production help. “I write all the songs. I structure what I want the singer to sing. I write everything top to bottom. It’s a long process. Traveling and playing so many road games, we spend a lot of time on planes and hotel rooms. One of the things I like to do is write. Grant Hill and Shaq do a lot with trying to make beats, too.”

Wait, Grant Hill is making beats?

“Yes,” Tucker laughed. “You know, he plays the piano. I heard his beats and they’re pretty good.”

He doesn’t try to rhyme, though, right?

“Um, no. But me and Shaq might have something in the making for the world. Something for YouTube, a song maybe…”

Until then, here’s Alando Tucker’s hip-hop debut. (And hopefully Alando is going to stop by the comments section later…):

Track One: “Someone”

Track Two: “I’ll Holla”

Track Three: “Role Play”

A few other things real quick…

• David Aldridge is always great, but this column taking on the NBA conspiracy theorists is a home run. Or a slam dunk. Or a hole-in-one. Or a golden goal. Or a…whatever, it’s really good.

• Also a tremendous column from Bill Simmons about the NBA refereeing mess. I especially love his point about how the refs keep getting older and the NBA doesn’t seem to mind.

• Weird story about Sheryl Swoopes, who apparently didn’t know her ex-husband had a storage unit full of her belongings that he decided he didn’t need anymore. And so they all got auctioned off.

• Thanks to the Human Highlight Blog, a great Hawks blog, for giving me some love in their Hawks blog awards.

• Bet you didn’t know you could do this with Legos…

• And finally, an email from Linkstigator Andi:

Hi Lang,

I’ve been reading the Links since the old Slamonline site was up, I’m not sure how long ago that was probably more than 5 years? Anyways, I have been running around town, in Vancouver, trying to bring attention to the end of game inbounds plays where Lamar and Trevor have basically stolen two games from the Nuggets. It is a simple thing that I noticed and I have searched high and low on TV and online to see if anyone else noticed or cared.

In both situations Lamar is about 3 inches away from Anthony Carter (Game 1) and K-Mart (Game 3). If I am not mistaken, they can ask the referee to move the man who is guarding the inbounder a few feet away. In Game 3, K-Mart called a time out and still did not do this. I have blamed Coach Karl for not advising his players to do so, but am I missing something here? Is Lamar allowed to be all over the inbounder like he was? He is basically jumping up and down on the out of bounds line. In Game 3, K-Mart is leaning back to make the pass because Lamar is so close to him. It makes me really angry that something so simple has gone unnoticed, especially since both of the plays came at such crucial points of the game. It has been driving me nuts, please shed some light on it!

Good email, Andi. The two plays you’re talking about are below…

I went to the NBA rulebook and looked this up. Check out Rule 8, Section III, Clause A:

The throw-in starts when the ball is at the disposal of a player entitled to the throw-in. He shall release the ball inbounds within 5 seconds from the time the throw-in starts. Until the passed ball has crossed the plane of the boundary, no player shall have any part of his person over the boundary line …

Now, I’ve seen refs make defenders back up before handing the ball to the inbounder, and I’ve seen refs call a delay of game warning on inbounds plays when a defender has crossed the out of bounds line. But I guess the only written rule that applies here is that “until the ball has crossed the plane of the boundary, no player shall have any part of his person over the boundary line.” So basically, as long as the defender stays inbounds, he’s fine.

(There’s also no rule that I saw about how far the inbounding player is allowed to stand from the out of bounds line, which I suppose is why a lot of guys on inbounds passes from the baseline back up a few feet. But on the sideline you’re screwed, especially on passes in front of the scorer’s table.)

One thing I thought of, and I’m surprised more teams don’t try this:

Years ago I was playing in a high school game, and our coach had the point guard inbounding the ball on every inbounds play. (In retrospect, this seems like a George Karl decision, to have your shortest guy always inbounding. Then again, our starting point guard was 6-5.)

Anyway, the starters weren’t in, which explains why I was in, and I was inbounding the ball, looking for an open man. I pump-faked a pass. The defender reached out to try and block my pass, and he ended up touching the ball while I was still holding it and standing out of bounds.

The ref immediately blew the whistle and called a technical foul on the defender for reaching across the line and making contact with the ball. We shot a free throw and got the ball back out of bounds.

So my question in response to your question is this: Why don’t more NBA teams try this? What if Kenyon had just reached out with the ball and touched Odom with it? Wouldn’t that have been a technical? Why not just hold the ball out in front of LO and hope he swats at it?

Then again, the refs would probably blow the call anyway…

[podcast]http://slamonline.com/audio/2.mp3[/podcast]