Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - Love It Or Hate It...Shaq It Like A Salt Shaker?
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Love It Or Hate It...Shaq It Like A Salt Shaker?
By Sarah Spain
Love of Sports Correspondent
Monday evening, TMZ.com released footage of everyone's favorite NBA center and part-time sheriff/rapper/genie, Shaquille O'Neal, getting wicked on the mic at an NYC club.
Shaq-Fu briefly dissed fellow big men Patrick Ewing and Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, but focused most of his vitriolic verbiage at the Heidi to his Lauren Conrad ... Kobe Bryant.
The fallout from the outrageous rap has some wondering whether Shaq has forever tarnished his legacy in Los Angeles.
Shaq and Kobe led the Lakers to three straight NBA championships from 2000-02, but became bitter enemies when Shaq was traded away at Kobe's behest. In 2006, the hardwood hotheads finally cooled down a bit, shaking hands and embracing before a Lakers/Heat matchup at the Staples Center.
Those who believed the two superstars had forgiven-and-forgotten may be shocked by Shaq's very public, and very personal, attack on his former teammate.
Here are just a few of the gems in O'Neal's lyrical beatdown ...
First, Shaq calls out Kobe's inability to win it all without him as a teammate, noting the Lakers' loss to the Celtics in this year's NBA Finals: "You know how I be, last week Kobe couldn't do without me."
Later, Shaq blamed Kobe for his divorce.
"I'm a horse. Kobe ratted me out. That's why I'm getting divorced. He said Shaq gave a [woman] a mil. I don't do that 'cause my name's Shaquille. I love 'em, I don't leave 'em. I got a vasectomy, now I can't breed 'em."
(You may remember that Kobe threw Shaq under the bus during his 2004 rape trial. The Los Angeles Times reported that Kobe told police "he should do what Shaq does ... that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything ... Shaq has paid up to a million dollars already for situations like this.")
And, of course, there was an easy-to-learn chorus to get the crowd involved.
"Kobe, tell me how my a** tastes."
Shortly after the video was released, ESPN, L.A. sports radio and other media outlets began questioning Shaq's intent. Was the notoriously funny big man just poking fun at the duo's well-publicized falling-out? Or was Shaq fanning the flames of a still-smoldering feud?
According to Shaq, the rap was just the natural reaction of an "MC" being handed a mic. He told ESPN's Steven A. Smith: "I was freestyling. That's all. It was all done in fun. Nothing serious whatsoever. That is what MC's do. They freestyle when called upon. I'm totally cool with Kobe. No issue at all … Please tell everybody don't make something out of nothing."
Shaq may be waving the white flag now, but the video (particularly the section about Kobe's role in his divorce) tells a different story. Entertaining as it may be, the rap is an obvious jab at the Lakers star — and a clear sign the two men won't be sharing a bicycle built for two anytime soon.
After the Kobe/Shaq blowout, most Angelenos took Shaq's side. Shaq was just easier to like than Kobe. The big man's easy smile and hilarious soundbites — not to mention his MVP-winning stats – made him a fan favorite. Despite their nasty breakup, L.A. loved Shaq and continued to love him for his contributions to the Lakers, even after he'd moved on.
Now, some L.A. fans question whether Shaq has worn out his welcome in the City of Angels.
Was Shaq warranted in his attack on Kobe? Maybe.
Was a club the right place to air years-old dirty laundry? Probably not.
Will Shaq's legacy in Los Angeles be affected by his outburst? It shouldn't be.
I'm have to admit I'm biased.
I love anyone and anything that reinforces the centerpiece of my "Kobe will never be M.J." argument, that Kobe has never won it all without a dominant big man (and wasn't even the MVP when he did win).
So, what do you think? What about all you Shaq fans out there?
Do you think he'll be remembered more for the championships he helped bring Los Angeles, or for his public attacks on L.A.'s current MVP?
Will Jerry Buss and the Laker brass still be willing to hang O'Neal's number from the rafters in Staples?
Did you Love It or Hate It?