I'm sure you're thinking, "A little late, isn't it?" Yes, it is. I apologize. Things have been hectic getting the website started so I haven't had a chance to share my two cents regarding the Shaquisition in Boston.
But judging by the title, isn't it obvious what I'm about to share?
Well, it may not be clear to you right away, much like the toxic green waters of Santa Monica beach (Ugh, I hate all things green), but I feel like I'm standing on the shores of Tahiti island. I've already planned that as my honeymoon spot.
There have been rumors circulating this off-season that Shaq might play for China, and with the demand for the 7 feet giant trickling down to a few teams and no contract in sight, I would have believed it if someone told me Shaq decided to play alongside Stephon Marbury in Shanxi Brave Dragons. Needless to say, it threw me off guard when the news came in. Shaq in Boston. He has officially defected to the other side.
At the same time, it doesn't come as too much of a surprise. Yahoo! released an article today, with the headline: "Celtics fans can blame Kobe for the Shaquille O'Neal signing." Interesting.
The Kobe-Shaq feud is already nearing a decade. The inadvertent comments that sparked the drama still loom ominously despite Shaq and Kobe winning Co-MVP titles in the '09 All-Star game. Can you remember Shaq's interview on his relationship with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant couple years back? He dismissed it as a marketing strategy. I say, take it with a grain of salt. Kobe was very intentional with his last post-game commentary: "Just got one more than Shaq." Kobe says it himself that he doesn't forget anything. Can you honestly believe that Shaq will?
Ainge, Celtics president, knew he could motivate Shaq. If money was the only incentive, Shaq would have made much more in China. They will idolize him there, which is probably what Iverson is heading into. The big man didn't want to settle for less than mid-level exception during his free agency. He ended up signing for $1.5 million. Do your math, kids. It doesn't add up. We're talking about a man who got upset by the fact that a 21-year-old Howard supposedly stole the title of "Superman." [Insert picture of Shaq flashing his Man of Steel tattoo here.]
So we know he's not being entirely up front when he says that Kobe's five rings don't bother him at all. But this is a beautiful thing. Kobe and Shaq aren't exactly Magic and Bird, but for this blogger, at least they're headed in the right direction: away from each other. These days, everybody wants to play nice. They hang out at each other's parties, they tweet to each other like text message just came out for the mobile phone. Carmelo tweeting Lebron to keep his head up? Not much rivalry there.
I've come to appreciate this feud, much like I appreciate our own animosity for all things Boston. I hate the Celtics, but I wouldn't miss that matchup for the world. Kobe was bold when he said "You can take that to the bank... I don't forget anything." This is a drastic contrast of attitude from Lebron saying he's taking his talents to South Beach to play with his two best friends. Kobe's rattled Shaq's cage, and I'm expecting some big things from the Green monster. (ShreQ, anyone?) They're not exactly Bird and Magic, but I think we can expect to see some good competition that we haven't seen in a while between two individual players.
So as much as Shaq is hated even more here in Laker land, you have to give credit where it's due. He still brought us three rings, and he's one of the most dominant centers the league has ever seen. And his defection to the enemy side? I'll take it as a parting gift before he retires with the Celtics. It's a gift that is undervalued in this generation, and it is a gift that we must treasure. The gift of competition.
So thank you, Shaq. Even for the "Kobe, tell me how my [Swearing is not permitted at Clublakers. You must edit this post prior to submitting.] tastes" video. No hard feelings, really. You did us all a favor. You gave us one more reason to watch the NBA this season.