So here I am, a rabid MJ fan (back in the day), who naturally hated the Pistons back when they were mercilessly pounding Da Bulls out of the playoffs year after year. And I’m forced to pull for these same Pistons against the Most Evil Lakers, mainly because the Lakers had beaten everybody else (including the Spurs, which is just insane) and the D.P. were all I had left.
And lo and behold, not only do the Pistons pull it off, but they do so in grand style. If you watched the finals, you didn’t just see a victory by one team over another. You saw an utter and complete domination, top-to-bottom, of a an old, slow, washed-up has-been team by a new, fast, young, eager, hungry, athletic, and most of all, fearless team.
The exception to this domination? The one player on the Lakers who actually impressed me? None other than the Diesel, the Big Man, the walking foul factory, Shaq. Now I can’t stand Shaq. Couldn’t stand him in Orlando, and can’t stand him in L.A. I’ve always thought that he’s utterly overrated, lazy, arrogant, fairly stupid, selfish, and generally given an even bigger pass by the refs than Patrick “the Walkin’ Man” Ewing with his 6-step shuffle.
But yet…but yet…in these weird and wacky finals, the ONLY Laker who consistently showed heart, who ACTED like he wanted to win, who passed and assisted and played team ball with abandon was Shaq.
So I’m pulling for the hated Pistons, I’m impressed with the play (and effort, of all things) of Shaquille O’Neal. And what next?
Well, now I’m trying to come to terms with the appalling rumor that my beloved Mavericks, the most fun team in basketball, are actually considering trading half their team for the big, slow, creaky ball-hog Shaq. Granted, it wouldn’t be as bad if it turned out to be not just Shaq, but T-Mac + Shaq, but still…why trade in the fast, fun, furious, uptempo MAVs to hire a wildly overpaid big man that Detroit is going to continue to spank from here until Ben Wallace decides to become a Hare Krishna? WHY, I ask you?
Ah, the NBA…if I could figure it out, maybe I’d be a GM somewhere.