Shaq is heading to Beantown.
I intended to make my article on the Boston Red Sox win over the Detroit Tigers the last I would write before heading to Washington for eight days of hiking, fishing, and lounging, but I couldn’t pass up writing about a pair of stories from the Associated Press on Shaquille O’Neal shaqqin’ up to Boston (a phrase dreamed up by Dan Devine, who has implored his followers to use its cleverness as a headline, hence my usage) and LeBron James’ newspaper ad.
I’ll start with Shaq turning into St. Shaqtrick. The Big Aristotle is close to signing a deal with the Celtics. The future Hall of Fame center is 38 years old, so he should fit right in with Boston, the NBA’s version of AARP.
He may not have much left, but he’s ginormous, will get opponents into foul trouble, and has one of the greatest personalities in all of sports. He’s the kind of player that should stick around forever.
Believe it or not, Shaq fits a Celtic need even though he's over the hill. Someone young and energetic would have made more sense, but with Kendrick Perkins' future in jeopardy, and Jermaine O’Neal 's J.D. Drew-esque health a concern for Boston, proven insurance is needed.
Having both O’Neals probably isn’t the best idea for a team trying to reach the NBA Finals again, but if Shaq can still run up and down the floor and throw down, and if Jermaine can stay moderately healthy, the investment may pay dividends for the Eastern Conference power.
Boston’s youth consists of star point guard Rajon Rondo, shooting guard Nate “KryptoNate” Robinson, Perkins, and rookie Avery Bradley. That’s it.
This means their championship window is open just a crack. A mild gust of wind—injuries or ineffectiveness—could slam it shut.
With that said, the Celtics have plenty of talent. It’s just old talent.
Boston's Big Three—Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett—do not have much left in the tank, but the trio is battle-tested and can be more than just glimpses of their former selves. Despite an average age of nearly 34 years old, they led the Celtics to 50 regular season wins and an NBA Finals appearance last year.
Even if Shaq makes a consistent and positive impact, Boston may have a difficult time keeping up with the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat in the bolstered East. But they looked dead in the water in the early part of last season and ended up nearly winning a title. They certainly shouldn’t be counted out; even if age catches up to them and they struggle, the season will still be an entertaining one with Shaq in the fold.
Now to a member of the latter team that could give the Celtics trouble, LeBron James.
LeBron James' "Chosen One" tattoo exemplifies how large his ego is.
I have voiced my opinions on him. I thought he lost respect in his decision-making process, and remained moderately calm in discussing his “Decision” to take his talents to South Beach. I don’t care about the Heat. And I, like those who live in a certain city in northeast Ohio, certainly could care less about James.
He had a chance to possibly win some of his Cleveland fans back. Though it would have been a long shot given what he did to the city, he has managed to ruin that chance.
Did he thank Cleveland? No.
Instead, he thanked his hometown fans.
Did he at least mention Cleveland? No. Not one mention.
He doesn’t get it at all.
Many would have taken “I would like to thank the city of the Cleveland, the Cavaliers, and their fans for their support over the past seven years” with a shrug, but saying that would have repaired his image, albeit minimally. Sure, he thanked his fans in Akron for their support, but what good does that do? He has friends there, and all of them are probably Miami Heat fans now.
The problem is he thinks he has more friends than he does. He doesn’t understand what leaving Cleveland did not only for the city but to the state. It’s amazing how he refuses to even acknowledge that he was a Cavalier.
Safe to say, he’s not all too bright.
He takes out an ad and doesn’t even mention Cleveland? How stupid can you be? Yes, he made sure his message hit close to home with its placement in Akron’s paper, but not even everyone in Akron adores him. The wound is helplessly deep when you go on ESPN as part of your own special and turn a cold shoulder to a city and state that hasn't won anything professionally for more than 50 years.
With that said, now I can go hike and fish, with hopes that the smoke engulfing the Oval Lakes area doesn't put a damper on my vacation away from sports.