Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Remembering Shaq

Remember how Wedding Crashers went from a hilarious movie full of one-liners to a romantic comedy? Or when How I Met Your Mother went from bro-tastic to sappy storylines about people dying and people having kids? Even though those two things got weird on me, I continued to watch. It wasn't the same kind of entertainment, but it still had value.

Shaquille O'Neal's NBA career went through stages:
-the unbelievably imposing genetic freak, ferocious but unpolished
-the slightly more refined genetic freak, smarter and more Hollywood
-the vengeful yet more cunning veteran
-the lazy veteran who could only play one-half of back-to-backs
-LeBron's Uncle
-the jolly bouncer on the Celtic bench

Yet no matter what, Shaq always retained his entertainment value. As a young fan, he scared the living daylights out of me. The guy smirked at Patrick Ewing like he was staring at prey. These days, he still scares the living daylights out of me, but only when he attempts to partake in that activity we healthy people call "walking." But bottom line: Shaq was a superstar personality that even the most sports-deprived girl still knew about...before reality TV and the social media explosion.

As for his NBA legacy, every Shaq tribute you'll read will contain the word "dominant." He was scarier than Dwight. It's not even close. Put it this way, you won't see Penny or Kobe telling Mike and Mike that their former teammate isn't as good as his current version. Dwight never brought down two BACKBOARDS...but I guess he had an excuse. In the '90s, the NBA reinforced all hoops with extra support because some dude decided to break them. That guy was Shaq. Seriously, he brought down the entire basket. Twice. Years went by, and he started getting old. And fat. His suits became his jersey. Then he left.

My favorite Shaq moment didn't involve anything related to the NBA. When I was a kid, I found out that Shaq was visiting sick kids at a hospital near my hometown. My doctor-mother gave me the VIP treatment, and I met the guy. I was legitimately scared at the sight of size 20-something feet, and that's before I knew what big feet translated into. Anyway, Shaq stayed there for hours. I tried to stay as long as he did, but I got hungry. Shaq stayed. Cool dude.

The previous paragraph is where this post went Wedding Crashers on you. So I'll stop.

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