The Boston Celtics held a press conference Tuesday morning at their Waltham, Mass., practice facility to introduce their newest free-agent acquisition — Shaquille O'Neal(notes), the Big This-Nickname-Gimmick-Grows-Less-Hilarious-With-Each-Passing-Moment-So-Let's-Just-Say-He's-The-Big-Basketball-Playing-Man-Who-Promotes-Back-Pain-Patches-and-Ben-Stein.
In case you missed the live broadcast of the pulse-pounding action that can only take place when a 330-pound 38-year-old sits at a dais and speaks softly into a microphone, Green Street recaps the comments offered by Shaq and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. The quick-fast takeaway (let's call them DevoRags — not quite YertNotes, but they'll do in a pinch):
• Shaq doesn't mind coming off the bench and playing a reduced role on the defending Eastern Conference champs, because "toward the latter part of my career, it's all about winning";
• Shaq will become the first Celtic ever to wear the number 36, selected because he's in his 30s and this is his sixth team (for real);
• Shaq will ground his children if they develop Boston accents, but also thinks the Boston accent is "sexy" (PRO TIP: This is false); and
• If we must talk about the nicknames, he prefers "The Big Shamrock" and/or "The Big Green Mile," but I'm sticking to my Twitterguns: There's more panache in the little finger of "Good Quille Hunting" than in any other name yet suggested (except for Zach Harper's "Boston Teat Party").
So, needless to say, the presser was a scream. Obviously: He wore a bowtie, you guys! (The Big Big Boi? No, let's go back to the previously prescribed stopping of the nickname game.)
There was one sad moment, though. During the press conference, the Celtics also announced (as first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski) that they'd signed second-round draft pick Luke Harangody(notes) to a two-year, $1.3 million contract. You may know the rookie forward from his stellar four-year career at the University of Notre Dame, including a sophomore campaign that earned him the Big East Player of the Year Award.
You may know him from that, but as we found out Tuesday, Shaq doesn't.
Announcer: Also, Luke [Harangody] is here today, and also signed today ...
Shaq: [turning to Doc] Who is that?
Doc: Rookie from Notre Dame.
Shaq: Guard or big man?
Doc: Big man.
Shaq: Big man. Oh.
Doesn't even know if he's a big or a li'l. That's pretty disappointing, because as basketball fans know, it's fun to know about Luke Harangody, and Shaq's all about the fun (except when he's all about the winning, which he said Tuesday he's going to be).
We can't be too mad at Shaq, though. While Harangody was working himself into a second-team AP All-America caliber player in South Bend, Shaq was snappin' necks and cashin' checks as a 34-, 35-, 36- and 37-year-old complementary piece on the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers. Also, he had to make two TV shows, rap about butt-tastin', get nominated for a 2009 Slammy Award, become a Twitter celebrity and challenge Jim Rome to a fight. It's been busy times.
Plus, at BDL, we believe not in tearing down the players, but in educating them. It's like we've always said: 18-year veterans are our future. So in the spirit of our love of lifelong learning, here are six things Shaq should know about Luke Harangody:
1. Harangody has a remarkably consistent face.
2. Based on the unerring calculations of the supercomputer at Shaqtion.com, Harangody is roughly 0.86 Shaqs.
3. The incomparable and buoyant Mark "Ca$h Money" Deeks of ShamSports.com loves Harangody and has nicknamed him "Skillz Train," presumably because of his skillful combination of rebounding, post game and locomotion.
4. Doc says Harangody is "quirky offensively," which is the basketball equivalent of saying you have no idea how your ugly friend consistently dates hot ladies but are impressed that he does.
5. Harangody has his own MySpace layout. BALLIN'.
6. Harangody is a noted quotesmith whose pithy commentary has earned him a page on ThinkExist.com. There, you can plumb the depths of statements like, "It definitely makes the game longer. You put a lot of energy in the foul shots."
It feels good to help. And don't worry about repaying our kindness, Shaq. We'd vastly prefer that you pay it forward, like in that movie, "Any Given Sunday."
- Luke Harangody