I was disappointed after he left L.A, and it made my head roll to see him win a championship with Dwayne Wade in Miami, but to be perfectly honest I never really hated him. I never even really disliked him until he started talking smack about Kobe and the organization. I liked Shaq when he was a Laker. I liked him a lot…. I just didn’t like him as much as Kobe.
Kobe was my favorite, and it always seemed that you were either a Shaq or Kobe person. No one ever liked both equally; you had to fall into one of two camps. It reminds me of middle school- girls always said you could like either NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys. You had to pick one, you couldn’t like both, and whichever one you chose somehow defined your personality. I of course played devil’s advocate: I liked Backstreet most, but I liked NSYNC as well, and that’s how I feel about Shaq and Kobe.
I will admit, I was very disappointed in Shaquille this past season when he joined the hated Boston Celtics. It felt like a stab in the heart, to see a Laker great go to the Dark Side just to chase rings and elongate his career. It seemed like a bad joke at first- a poor Photoshop job even- the first time I saw him in that green uniform.
As the season wore on though, it became sadder to me than anything. He had a number of injury problems, and even when he was on the floor he wasn’t the same dominant player he used to be. I’m still irked that he joined the Celtics at all, but at least it didn’t end in a ring.
I fully believe that he deserves to have his jersey retired in Staples Center and was pleased when the Lakers organization announced their intentions to eventually do just that. I do believe that he should pay some sort of time penalty for all his ring chasing and especially his shenanigans in Beantown though. If the Lakers planned on waiting until he was in the Hall of Fame, as is customary, that’s five years right there. I say we tack on an extra year at least.
I’m not in the camp that we have to wait for Kobe’s jersey in the rafters first; that makes no sense. He might end up being the greatest Laker of all time, but Shaq is older, had a longer career, and contributed mightily to the purple and gold. It’s a chronological thing to me: it makes sense that if Shaq retires first, he gets his jersey hung up first.
Next Page: The Big Accomplishment