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If you’ve watched PBA games live at the different arenas, you may have seen him a few times. It’s hard to miss someone so imposing, a towering presence to whom only Greg Slaughter comes close. He is usually seen wearing the TNT blue nowadays as an assistant coach to Bong Ravena and Mark Dickel, but pre-game, he is often in sports attire working with the frontcourt players of the team, helping them get warmed up for the game at hand.

If you did not know him at first, you’d surely ask, “Who is that guy?”, and if anyone around you knows, he would tell you, “That’s Alton Lister. He used to play in the NBA.”

Curious, you’ll probably research on the man and find out that he did indeed play in the NBA and that he was just not a passing fancy – he is a 17-year NBA veteran who played for five different teams, and his teams made the playoffs in eleven seasons. His statistics overall were not outstanding, although he did average about six points, six rebounds, and one and a half blocks for his career as a defensive presence who protected the paint, shooting over 50% from the field and about 60% from the line.

With the high interest of Filipino basketball fans in the NBA, it seems crazy that not much ado is made about Coach Alton’s presence here, especially considering that he was able to play on some of the top contenders in NBA history, successful franchises (Bucks, Sonics, Warriors, Celtics, and Blazers), with some of the best players in league history, under some top-caliber coaches. On experience and stories alone, his collection should be worth a gazillion.

In anticipation of the resumption of the NBA season in the Florida bubble very soon, we spoke with Coach Alton about his time in what most still consider the top basketball league in the world.

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Favorite coach

Without a doubt, he chose his first NBA coach, Hall of Famer Don Nelson. “Don Nelson was my favorite coach and definitely made an impact on me as a person and in my NBA career. He drafted me initially with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round (21st overall out of Arizona State in 1981).” Five years later, Nelson traded Lister to the Seattle Supersonics in exchange for Cheap Jack Sikma Jersey, but when he became head coach of the Golden State Warriors, they were reunited in 1989 as Nelson traded a first-round pick to Seattle for Lister. “He (Nelson) was instrumental in both my personal and professional transition from college to the NBA. Don coached me 10 years out of my 17 in my NBA career.”

Talented teammates

In a lengthy career on some tough teams that played deep into the playoffs, Lister had many talented teammates. We asked him who is best (most talented) teammate was and who his favorite (he loved playing with them) teammates were. “My best teammate with the most talent,” he said, “was Cheap Bob Lanier Jersey,” his fellow center on the Bucks. Lanier, also a Hall of Famer like Nelson, was Lister’s mentor and “groomed me for the position of center as he would soon be retiring and I would become his heir apparent. He instilled in me the [idea] that few positions on the basketball court are as pivotal as the center position.” Lanier, a bulky center from St. Bonaventure, went to work every night despite bad knees from a long career that started with the Detroit Pistons, with whom he played for ten years before moving to Milwaukee and mentoring Lister.

Coach Alton then named an impressive bunch of players that helped enhance his career as his teammates. “My favorite teammates that I enjoyed playing with, but who were also very talented players, were Cheap Marques Johnson Jersey, Cheap Sidney Moncrief Jersey, and Cheap Paul Pressey Jersey (Bucks); Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, and Mitch Richmond (Warriors); Rick Fox (Boston); and Jermaine O’Neal, Arvydas Sabonis, and Rasheed Wallace (Portland), just to name a few.” Four players on this list – Moncrief, Mullin, Richmond, and Sabonis – are Hall of Famers.

Lister recalled that during his era, especially in the earlier part of his career, some of the best teams were in the East. “Although we didn’t have a clear-cut rivalry, our nemeses were always the Celtics and the 76ers. Even though we had future Hall of Famers Bob Lanier and Sidney Moncrief, and great matchups with some of the greatest players in the history of the game, we were on the losing end.” Lister played in an era when the Bucks were so good, but the Celtics or Sixers just seemed to be a notch better. “During my tenure with the Bucks, our team won the Central Division all five years and went on to the Eastern Conference Finals three out of five years, but lost to Boston or the 76ers!” he recalled. Lister was part of a trio of seven-footers on the Bucks’ frontline, with Cheap Randy Breuer Jersey and Cheap Paul Mokeski Jersey.

That Shawn Kemp dunk

While he was with the Warriors, in Game 4 of a 1992 playoff series against the Supersonics, Lister was on the receiving end of a thunderous dunk completed by Seattle forward Shawn Kemp. Recalling what happened, Lister said, “Kemp had the reputation as one of the best in-game dunkers in the history of the game and I just happened to be one of the recipients. My job as a rim-protector would always have players challenging me every night and, unfortunately, one of his monstrous dunks came at [my expense].” Coach Alton, though, recalls that he and Kemp had been going at it throughout the series such that Kemp’s dunk, in his opinion, was a form of “revenge.” “In Game 2 of the series, I did a good job of defending him and throwing him off his game. Kemp eventually lost his temper and punches were thrown. Kemp and I each received a technical foul and a $10K fine.”

Lister continued, “During my era I did not back down as a rim protector. I was challenged by a lot of players and sometimes I was successful and other times, not. But Game 4 was a whole different story. Kemp made sure he was going to have a good game, and that’s what he did. It was personal for him. That’s why he pointed at me after the dunk.” The sequence still gets airtime on highlight reels until today – a fact that Coach Alton is well aware of. “Over the years, it has gained more momentum and has become one of the top in-game dunks in the history of the game. If that dunk happened when social media was around, who knows the interaction it would have gotten from people!”

His secret to a long career

We asked Coach Alton what the secret was to his NBA longevity. He stated the obvious, which is physical fitness, but he went a step further. “Physical fitness is not my sole basis of being healthy; being healthy for me means being mentally and emotionally fit. Being healthy is a part of my overall lifestyle. I believe my maintaining a healthy lifestyle allowed me to last 17 seasons in the NBA. Physical discipline with my body, eating healthy, a positive attitude to be in the best shape of my life continues today.” In addition, Lister feels he was “a constant professional. I was a great team-first player that fit in. [I] maximized my roll and was all about winning – good in the locker room and every night I played hard.”

He has carried the same mentality in his post-NBA life. “I have worked with upcoming, gifted young athletes, emphasizing a healthy lifestyle on and off the court.” However, he sees that the game has changed so much since his playing days. “The game was different – big men had a major impact in the game [before]. In today’s game it is not as important to have a guy that only plays with his back to the basket as a scorer. [Centers now have] more versatility, with multiple skills sets [like] three-point shooting, ball-handling, and being able to rebound, push it, and make plays. The direction the game is moving toward now is ‘position less’, with emphasis on the three-point shot. I hope that the game of basketball will go back to the traditional center. A solution may be to extend the three-point line farther out so that all five players are now involved in the offensive aspect of the game.”

Coaching in the Philippines

So how did Coach Alton end up coaching in the Philippines anyway? He had dabbled in some coaching at a community college in Arizona and served as an Assistant Coach with the Atlanta Hawks for two years, when, after his contract expired in 2009, his friend Paul Howard, an Assistant Coach from his alma mater, Arizona State, contacted him. Howard had some connections with the PBA, and he recommended Lister to the San Miguel Beermen, as, naturally, a big man coach. He spent four years with the team.

When his contract expired, he returned to Southern California, where he was able to work for different entities in varying capacities, including San Diego University of Integrated Studies as Director of Pro Players transitioning to continuing their education, with former Boston and Clippers coach Don Casey on various basketball initiatives and non-profit organizations, training camps with former NBA players like Chris Dudley, one-on-one training of young boys and girls in the San Diego area (one of which was former NBA player Michael Cage’s son), and for the City of Chulavista during the transition of the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center from the U.S. Olympic Committee to the City.

Lister had been residing for a couple of years in San Diego, when in 2016, he received another call from Howard, who informed that there was a coaching position open with Talk ‘N Text of the PBA, now called TNT, particularly to help manage and work with import Ivan Johnson as a skills coach. Even after Johnson’s stint, Lister stayed on to continue working with the frontcourt players of the team. Last season, when TNT hired Dickel as a consultant to Coach Ravena, management appointed Lister as an assistant coach. While Coach Alton has been in that position, the team has gone to the Finals once (2019 Commissioner’s Cup), and he feels that the team “is going in the right direction now.”

Unfortunately, the current pandemic has put everything on hold and TNT has yet to test its line-up in the PBA’s 45th season. Hopefully, PBA games will return soon, with all possible safeguards and protocols in place. Meantime, the NBA looks to resume its season in a few days. Surely, Coach Cheap Alton Lister Jersey will be observing the goings-on over there as well, in the league where, for 17 years, he shared the hardcourt with superstars and icons and held his own.

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Inside a fan-less Fiserv Forum on Friday, the Milwaukee Bucks beat Golden State Warriors 138-99 in their home opener — the second-largest margin of victory ever on Christmas Day.

And although superstar Cheap Giannis Antetokounmpo Jersey struggled offensively, finishing 4-for-14 with 15 points, he has already noticed a big change in the new-look roster only two games into the 2020-21 season.

“The Milwaukee Bucks this year, we’re good … we’re better,” Antetokounmpo said after the win. “We have some great guys that we added to the team. They’re playing the right way, and once everything fits in together, we’re going to be good. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

New addition Cheap Jrue Holiday Jersey had 12 points with six assists, Cheap D.J. Augustin Jersey scored 13 off the bench and Cheap Bobby Portis Jersey contributed 10 points with 12 rebounds.

All-Star wing Cheap Khris Middleton Jersey shouldered the load with a game-high 31 points in 26 minutes, including six 3-pointers.

Middleton, who shined on both sides, joined Cheap Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jersey as the only Bucks players with multiple 30-point games on Christmas Day in franchise history, per ESPN Stats & Information research.

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Defensively, Middleton held the Warriors to 10 points as a primary defender. Offensively, seven of Middleton’s makes were contested field goals, while he allowed only one of 12 open looks by Warriors shooters.

After last season’s disappointing finish, when Milwaukee lost to the Miami Heat in five games during the Eastern Conference semifinals, Middleton vowed to return as a better player, which has been evident with 58 points through the first two games.

Milwaukee is now 1-1.

“That’s what it’s all about. In some ways you want to drive yourself crazy by telling yourself there’s always something you can be better at and try to be perfect even though you never can be,” Middleton said. “But I think that’s what it’s all about, just trying to find ways to be better just as a complete basketball player, not just as a scorer or a shooter.”

Milwaukee also had 20 3-point field goals in a game for the fifth time in franchise history, with all five instances coming under coach Mike Budenholzer.

After a 66-56 halftime lead, Milwaukee pulled away in the second half, outscoring Golden State 72-43 and holding the Warriors to 34% shooting.

The Warriors also missed 35 3-pointers, the second most in a game in franchise history.

“I think there were a lot of good things on both ends of the court. So, credit to our players and it just kind of came together for us,” Budenholzer said. “It’s a pretty difficult start for Golden State to be on the road after a pretty short preseason to go to Brooklyn then come here.

“Some days everything just comes together for you, and it was a good effort for us.”

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The Milwaukee Bucks concluded their first team practice Sunday by singing “Happy Birthday” to back-to-back reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Cheap Giannis Antetokounmpo Jersey.

Teammates Cheap Khris Middleton Jersey and Cheap Pat Connaughton Jersey thought of the perfect gift for the 26-year-old Antetokounmpo as he mulls over his decision on whether to sign a supermax extension to stay in Milwaukee for the long term.

“We definitely sung a ‘Happy Birthday’ after practice. Me and PC thought the perfect gift to him from our teammates is just to give him a pen,” Middleton said. “So there were pens in his locker for his birthday present. I told him those should be some of the best birthday gifts he’s ever gotten, so hopefully he enjoys it and uses it.”

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Antetokounmpo has until Dec. 21 to sign the extension, but he could agree to the same deal with the Bucks next summer if he does not test the market as an unrestricted free agent.

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As Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed that everyone on the roster reported to practice on the first day, new addition Cheap Jrue Holiday Jersey vowed to bring “extra toughness” to the roster, which Budenholzer noticed immediately on both ends of the court.

“Even though it’s our first practice, you just see a physicality that Jrue brings to the defensive end of the court and really the offensive end of the court,” Budenholzer said. “There’s a few plays to me that stand out from today where there’s just a physicality that’s a part of Jrue’s game. It comes naturally.”

For Holiday to celebrate Antetokounmpo’s birthday on the first day of practice was a unique experience as he is still getting to know the Bucks’ leader on a personal level.

“Just getting to know a lot more about them, I feel like that also can help build chemistry and help speed chemistry up,” Holiday said. “So just from that point of view, it’s been great and everybody here has been super accepting. Everybody here, I feel like, knows their role, so that also makes it easier.

“Again, for Giannis, he’s a good dude,” Holiday added. “And you can tell that he’s a good dude and he’s about business, but he’s a family guy who takes care of his people, and that’s why they have him here.”

Is Giannis going to sign the supermax contract extension?

It’s the No. 1 question on the minds of Milwaukee Bucks fans, and they’ve been anxiously awaiting word one way or another since the window opened Nov. 22 for Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a long-term extension to stay with the Bucks.

On Saturday, Giannis posted to social media a simple picture of him smiling while behind the wheel of his car. What could it mean?

Is he driving to the Bucks facility to sign the extension? Or is he just trolling us? The anticipation is too much!

Obviously, this could just be a run-of-the-mill post; Giannis has never been shy about posting images or videos when the moment moves him. But could it be similar to what Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari posted late Nov. 14, around the time he reportedly signed his own contract extension — a deal revealed the following day during the Packers game?

It’s not lost on everyone that Antetokounmpo will celebrate his 26th birthday Sunday, and he hasn’t yet been among the players or coaches on the Bucks to speak to media during Zoom interviews as preseason preparations begin. Antetokounmpo has until the season begins Dec. 22 to sign the supermax, or else the two sides will need to wait until after the 2020-21 season to negotiate again.

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If he hasn’t done it yet, and we haven’t heard that he anticipates not signing, then … Sunday would seemingly be a landmark occasion for such a career move.

Or it’s just a picture of a dude in his car.