Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So Long Wilt Chamberneezy

When the topic of athletes comes up nowadays many themes are bandied about. Some talk of the criminal activities of some, others talk of the narcissistic attitudes that are shown by others. When it comes to Shaquille O’Neal I think in all fairness the only word that you can use to describe him is fun. Yes the childlike center was prone to bouts of immaturity during his storied 18 year career, but his love for the game was never and nor should it be questioned.

In an era where the back to the basket centers appeared to be dying as the only true dominant centers at the time were David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwan and Patrick Ewing. It appeared that once these giants reached that juncture in the road when their skills would erode after years of banging in the post there would be no one left to take their place. Then a man who used his large size on the court to dominate opponents and his large personality off the court to dominate the fan’s affections entered the NBA. His name was Shaquille O’Neal.

He came into the league as a young boy of 20 but believe me anyone who saw this big man play knew he was a grown man. As powerful as he was quick, he was the most dominant center of the 1990s and arguably the most dominant save for a certain Jumpman logo inspiring guard from Chicago. As a rookie he came in and dominated averaging a cool 24 points and 14 rebounds. He did not stop there however. After four of the most dominating seasons by a big man people wondered where O’Neal could take his game. The answer was Hollywood.

I could sit here and go on and on about the amazing mobility, surprising speed and deceptive athleticism that the big man exhibited but then this would go on and on forever. I will say that I will miss his hilarious quotes, joyful exuberance he exhibited on the court and the countless nicknames. While he wasn’t a member of my beloved Bulls, and usually destroyed them in fact I will miss the big guy. So happy trails to Shaq aka The Big Aristotle aka Hobo Master aka The Diesel aka Shaq Fu aka The Big Daddy aka Superman aka The Big Agave aka The Big Cactus aka The Big Shaqtus and of course The Big Galactus aka Wilt Chamberneezy. You were a character that breathed new life into the game and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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