I've posted several pieces calling into question whether Shaquille O'Neal deserves mention as a top-five player of all-time.
I haven't seen anything to make me reconsider my critique. However, I will admit that my sour opinion may have been influenced by the three titles Shaq won with the Lakers. The title he won with Miami actually gave me satisfaction, proving that the Ls had made a poor decision in trading Shaq (a poor decision from a business standpoint, but one I celebrated nonetheless).
Now word is that Shaq is much healthier than he appeared to be in Miami. Of course, that raises questions about his integrity, which, in part, was the reason I called him out in the first place.
All-time greats don't spend good portions of each year loafin' it.
But I don't much care about Shaq's integrity at the moment.
I am intrigued, though, by what he brings to the Suns.
A healthy and motivated Shaq spells trouble for the rest of the West. The Miami championship certainly represented a nose-thumbing event directed at Shaq's former team, the purple. I also have no doubt that Shaq uses nose-thumbing opportunities to motivate himself.
Is he ready to thumb his nose at the Heat and Miami?
It says here he still has unfinished business with the Lake-show.
The Lakers have been struggling, flailing if you will, to fill the pivot since the Big Fella departed. Anyone think Shaq isn't fully aware of this fact? Anyone think Shaq will do everything in his power to show Mitch and Kobe that Pao Gasol still isn't the answer?
So let me be clear: I want the Suns to come out of the West. I will be openly rooting for them.
As for being a die-hard Celtics fan, most of us have always accepted the following equation:
1. Celtics victories are always celebrated first.
2. Lakers defeats are celebrated second.
3. Teams gearing up to beat the purple become our second favorite team.
Nash deserves a chance at a title, and Shaq deserves another opportunity to dis his former team.
Here's to the Suns getting out of the West, but not having enough to get past the Cs in the Finals.
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