Kazaam. seven-foot-one, listed at 324 pounds, with a flashy smile and a wild attitude. Combined, those features only describe one man: Shaquille O’Neal.
Once upon a time Los Angelenos loved him. Even though he couldn’t sink a free throw to save his life, he averaged 27 points per game alongside 11.8 total rebounds while playing for the Lakers. He and Kobe put on a show, giving the City of Angels three consecutive championship parades.
Then it ended in an instant with the infamous Kobe-Shaq fallout in the season of 2002-03. Before anyone could bat an eye, O’Neal stood before a crowd in Miami and promised the Heat fans a championship. In 2005-06, with the help of Dwyane Wade and crew, he delivered.
I guess all the villains take their talents down to Florida to break hearts.
However, Shaq never won another ring after that. Meanwhile, former teammate Kobe Bryant never let up, securing the Lakers two more Larry O’Brien trophies.
Now, Shaq spends his days commentating with the likes of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on TNT. He also added a doctorate in teaching from Barry University in Florida to his resume.
Considering he’s the guy who said, “Doesn’t matter. If I would’ve had a beer before the game, I would’ve been drunk. So I don’t believe in ‘if,’” Shaq surprised most by returning to the classroom and finishing with a 3.8 GPA.
And now, the original Superman proceeds to his next mission. As of this week, he owns a piece of the Sacramento Kings. Mull over that slowly.
Shaquille O’Neal, who played on the Lakers’ era team that had a fierce rivalry with the Kings, decided to dip his hand in the franchise. While his actions may be questionable, his reasoning is classic Shaq.
As reported by the Bleacher Report for the LA Times, he said: “I’ve seen the [arena] plans. I don’t know if they’ve talked to you about the plans, but woo–wee. That’s all I can say: woo-wee. Oh, you know what, that’s our new slogan: ‘Sacramento: woo-wee.’”
Woo-wee is right. His journey from young, brash center to movie star to partial team owner can be accurately described with no other phrase.
Perhaps he can lift the Kings out of their precarious state in the League, or perhaps the move is just for show. Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Bobcats. Sometimes I honestly believe non-NBA fans don’t know that a team called the Bobcats exists.
At 41 years old Dr. O’Neal has a lifetime ahead to crack more jokes and delve into anything else he’s ever dreamt of. If next up he runs for the governor of Florida or POTUS, I’ll question nothing.
Whatever he chooses, to me, he’ll always be the one LA big man that shattered backboards and refused to cut Kobe a break in the media limelight.
Can you dig it?
Follow Alysha Tsuji on Twitter: @alyshatsuji
As published in the Sept. 26 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.