There Goes The Boom

MIAMI – One of my favorite Shaq memories from on the court came way back in April 1994, when he dropped 53 points on a really bad Minnesota Timberwolves crew, back in that team’s pre-Kevin Garnett era. Wait, did I say “dropped?” Thundered down, like Thor’s lightning bolts, was more like it. In fact, the Magic used to have a big “BOOM!” sound effect whenever one of its players would dunk and Shaq was raining down so much pain, it sounded like a rendition of the “1812 Overture” that night. Cannons blazing!

The thing is, when I think of Shaq now and surely later, it will be less about his skills than about the fun he had flexing them and the joy others got from his game, his frame and his personality. It was staggering to see him amble up to opponents generally considered to be NBA “big men,” only to have Shaq completely eclipse them. I mean, they would disappear, right to left, top to bottom, somewhere behind him.

You might have called that the “dark side of Shaq,” except that he was so playful, there wasn’t really any dark side in a public way. Yeah, the feud with Kobe was silly, yet understandable. It’s just that Shaq’s playful ways — the biggest Labrador puppy in pro sports — made you smile and his struggles through injuries, weight issues and multiple teams brought out a little empathy. Most NBA stars, you never get past the admire stage.

All-time? I’m still partial to Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell as my top three centers. Shaq will have to settle for a spot on my second roster of 12. But he surely would sneak into the first-stringers’ locker room, turn up the thermostat and turn off the lights on them.

9 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Later in Shaqtus’ career, he hit a three when was with Orlando!

  2. Shaq is the only player that forced the league to Shaqproof the hoop and the floor. and we should remember the many times Shaq almost had the entire starting 5 of the opposing team foul out because they could not stop him. no other player has ever done that. and not even the greatest player to ever played the game. His Airness Micheal Jordan

  3. Shaq is the greatest center or to ever play the game. Wilt played amongst midgets when there is no 3 second violation and no offensive fouls called. Kareem played in the same era too. Bill Russel pretty much in the same era as Wilt and there are only 9 teams back then. and no 7 footers. so those barbershop records of the ancient era of basketball are questionable. the only reputable record came only in the shot clock era. put Wilt Kareem and Russel in their primes against Shaq and maybe Yao and watch them get owned.

    the funny thing is. that Kareem is taking his statistic as if he played and got those stat in todays NBA standards. when if you do a reality check you’ll see that the skills of the NBA players of Kareem Wilt and Russ era is about the same or a bit lesser of today’s highschool basketball. and comeon. try watching some of those grimy tapes from the stone age of the NBA and you”ll see what i mean

    • MackDaddy says:

      exactly.

      could anyone score 100 points in todays game? no way. not even if the team specifically force fed a single player (like kobe)…. not gunna happen.

      could anyone ever average a triple double over an entire season? no way. not with the calibre of todays athletes.

      wilt was awesome, no doubt. but other than a few other exceptional big guys in his time, everyone else on the court was barely 6’6″…. and not being racist here, mostly white.

      not the finely tuned professional athletes of today. science, medicine/treatment of injuries, training, transport, just technology in general… far superior to back then.

      wilt would dominate today, no question. but ask yourself this…. what would shaq have done back then against all those much smaller players? this guy dwarfed everybody in todays league…. they had NO WAY to stop him legitimately. Hack-A-Shaq anyone? Back then- in a smaller league of old school players half the size of todays players and lets be honest, half the average skill? scary.

      its unfair to put Shaq at #4, because its unfair to compare the old league to the newer one.
      best center in the old league, wilt. no question.
      best center in the new league, shaq. no question.

      championships to not dictate greatness… the player does.
      how may does Steve Kerr have again from Chicago and San Antonio?
      i rest my case :).

  4. SixerFanEurope says:

    Good riddance, King of the Paint ;)))

  5. Kevbowj says:

    Nets Fan here I can’t remember most Nets games but I’ll never forget Shaq coming to the swamp and leaving our hoop in pieces. The original Superman

  6. ROBERT EQUILLA says:

    Shaq is one o the greatest players ever had in the nba , He led the NBA in Shooting percentage and in F/G , His presence in the paint is still a stinger even in the his old age… Good luck shaq , yoo’re a good movie actor bleh…. http://sportales.com/sports/top-10-nba-defensive-players-of-all-time/

  7. Shaq says:

    I’m gonna retire so all you fools can dunk on other fool, coz if i’m there you aint gonna be dunking on me!!

  8. john says:

    with all due respect if you consider kareem, wilt and bill russel better than shaq…….go find another job cz there’s noone deadlier than the deisel sadly those guys didn’t face shaq so they weren’t poundered by his presence !! SHAQ is the best center to play the game and that’s that peace