Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins had a 10-year NBA career, spanning from 2001 to 2011. The 6-foot-11 center reminisced about his playing days with a funny story on the Runnin’ Plays Podcast, saying the player who gave him the most trouble was former Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal.
“His physical strength was incredible,” Collins recalled.
Collins and his twin brother, Jason, would talk often about strategies to defend Shaq. “We would flop, quite frankly. We’d try to draw offensive fouls and try to get him out of the game that way.”
Jarron and Jason did not play on the same team during their NBA careers, but Shaq was familiar with the Collins brothers.
“Shaq knew my brother and I would flop, so his very first post move and very first foul, he’d get his money’s worth,” Jarron said.
“He’d be on the right block, take two hard dribbles to the middle and drop step back to the baseline. When he would drop step, he’d put all 340 lbs into his right arm and just take this whole thing ..."
Collins paused to demonstrate a wrecking ball slamming into the side of his body. "... And put me to sleep right there!”
Former San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan also gave Collins trouble.
“That guy is so skilled as a basketball player," Collins said. "You try to take away players’ A move, you take away their counters, their B moves, and when a guy goes to their C moves and he’s still killing you, it’s like, alright man. I need some help. When’s the double coming?”
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Collins scrolled through his memories for more players he enjoyed competing against, too.
“Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett, Elton Brand," Collins listed. "Every night, go down a list of guys. Guys are talented in this league.”
Logan Murdock and I asked Collins on the podcast if he could play in today’s NBA. His retirement in 2011 isn’t too far in the rearview mirror.
Collins joked and puffed his chest a little.
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“You guys have been to the gym early. You’ve seen my corner threes. What I’m saying is, I’ve expanded my game," Collins said. "I saw the viral video of Big Perk doing the ball handling. I’m about to put my own video out. I saw the Shamgod. He only did it right to left. I can do it left to right AND right to left.”
You could hear the smile in Collins’ voice.
“All I’m saying is, my game has grown immensely," Collins said. "I’m more like my guy Channing Frye nowadays.”