Friday, June 10, 2011

A Goodbye to Shaq

I'm gifting Shaquille O'Neal a post-NBA career that could keep him afloat financially for life.

A customizable mini-hoop, built to be dragged down without suffering permanent damage.  It includes a tennis ball so you can shoot free throws like Diesel- be Shaq in your own home.

Because that's what NBA basketball was for O'Neal- it was playing on a mini-hoop.  Superman wasn't actually out of this world, but merely outside the dimensions of a basketball court;  94 feet by 50 feet, 10 feet from floor to rim, and 16 feet in the painted area needed porn star-style augmentation to make Shaq look normal.  Or maybe they could have used Shaq's DNA to create giant clones of players, a la the storyline of Jurassic Park.  Or hell, just create a T-Rex and see if he could defend O'Neal.  (I heard Mark Cuban was funding his own T-Rex recreation scheme that was as hush-hush as Area 51, but stopped it after David Stern legalized the zone defense.)
So long, Shaq. 

He was and will forever be my favorite player.  I can shoot a jumper like Kobe Bryant or master a post move like Tim Duncan, but I can never be too big for a basketball court unless it's a mini-court.  That's what drew me to O'Neal as a kid, and not much has changed since.  A skyscraper or a large, beautiful scene in nature are things I could never accurately be like.  Shaq's only human, but he's halfway to that level at least.

The best Shaq performance I ever witnessed was during the last two games of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.  Dealing with numerous little injuries and his team down 3-2 to Sacramento, Shaq delivered menacing dunks, an alpha attitude and- yeah, check this out- excellent free throw shooting.  He told the team to give it to him and let him set the tone for game six, and he did just that.  Overall, he averaged 38 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks per game while hitting 75 percent of his free throws in the two victories.    

That takes brains and heart.  It's what another out-of-normal NBA court-dimensions star, LeBron James, needs to come up with in the 2011 NBA Finals if he wants his name up there with Shaq's on all-time lists.

Brains and heart.  If you've got enough of them, perhaps you don't need a mini-hoop to play basketball like Shaquille O'Neal.          

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