Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Shaquille O'Neal(notes) has made a career out of walking the line between charming and infuriating, or at the very least charming and annoying, and you'll just have to make up your own mind where this one falls.

In talking with Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley after Celtics practice on Monday, Shaquille O'Neal described himself as a "camouflage geek," before delving into the depth-o-city of his smart-o-tude.

To wit:

"If I wanted to, I could attend a couple of classes at Harvard and hold my own," Shaq said yesterday after the Celtics completed their morning practice in Waltham. "That's how smart I am. I could even go to MIT if I had enough time, and actually hold my own. Those Harvard and MIT guys, those are like Bill Gates and guys like that. They're brilliant minds."

Yeah.

For one, though I like the idea of Shaq terming himself a "camouflage geek" (as in someone who is really, really into camo; probably working as a moderator on some sort of outdoors-y camouflage message board), he probably meant "camouflaged geek," as in someone who is pretty geeky despite all outside appearances.

As for O'Neal's prospects at Harvard or MIT? Well, he has graduated college, which is good, but it is possible that Shaquille is underestimating (here's where I'm pulling on my collar with one finger) the level of intelligence (or "Star Wars" appearances) needed just to get a foot in the door.

And if you want to get real nit-picky, well, this is the jockish version of a nebbishy know-all proclaiming that he could "average 30, easy" if he was blessed with O'Neal's massive frame and athletic gifts. It goes a bit beyond that, both sides.

"Big Camouflage Geek" works, though. I can dig it. And I do love the picture on this post. This isn't a shot when I say that never has a man so large, and so strong seemed so charming and funny even while giving a fake-glower at the camera. Reminds me of Jackie Gleason, more than anyone.

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