August 05, 2010
Shaquille O'Neal(notes) strikes me as the kind of guy who would be entirely cognizant of anyone saying anything about him anywhere. He's probably reading this post right now. (Hi Shaq! Loved "Kazaam," and my sister still has her notepad from when she joined your fan club when she was a kid.) And because he's so up-to-date on what people are saying about him, there's no way anyone can sneak anything negative by him.
The latest to try to zing Shaq without him knowing is ESPN's Jim Rome and it didn't go so well. On his show "Rome is Burning," the host denounced both the Boston Celtics for signing the future Hall of Famer and O'Neal for not dominating the NBA for his entire career. Basically, he said what everyone thinks. Well, that didn't sit so well with The Big Huge.
Burn? I am not so sure. I mean, Jim Rome does have a legacy of that time Jim Everett tried to fight him, and of being one of the goatee's biggest celebrity endorsers. Not to mention being the worst, almost all the time. That is definitely a legacy. And hey, if Shaq's happy with his career, then that is good. We would have liked it if he tried harder, but you can't put effort-leaves into a rap-horse's mouth, as no one says.
Seems like that would be the end, right? Shaq gets criticized, Shaq responds, end of story. Bingo bango.
Nope. Things got Shaq-diculous, almost immediately.
As anyone who has seen "The Negotiator" can tell you, the best way to deal with someone criticizing you is to challenge them to a nationally televised boxing match. Standard conflict resolution procedure. I'm sure ESPN would be interested. After all, it does involve an NBA superstar. If only there were a tacked-on charity contribution...
Sounds like an hour-long special to me. Set it up, because I'm sure this is what Celtics fans were hoping for when Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on picking up Shaq — total and complete dedication to winning another championship, except for not really and on TV. It's the full Shaq package at this point. The Shaq-age, I guess.
Now, Shaq is joking (probably) and he doesn't want to really fight Jim Rome (probably), but it's nice that Shaq actually does care enough about his legacy to want to fight a television personality. Pay no mind to the fact that Rome was right, it's just good to see a little fire in Shaq's belly next to all that queso fundido.
(h/t Los Angeles Times)