A neat little sidebar running with Chris Broussard’s ESPN.com story about the impending trade of Shaquille O’Neal from Phoenix to Cleveland (dude just stays getting put alongside All-Eternity wings, huh?) provides a win-loss breakdown of the impact that the Emperor of Big Men has had when coming to a new team. Nestled within said sidebar is an interesting nugget about how Shaq’s arrival in the desert was a little different:
At first glance, you might think this a simple mistake — that in his/her haste to assemble the sidebar and get it posted up as soon as possible, the ESPN.com staffer accidentally wrote “abomination” when “aberration” was the intended choice. (Mr. Todd Ruffin has cast his vote for this possibility.)
But the screen-grab was taken at about 8:30AM Eastern time; it’s now 12PM, and the word remains unchanged. Which leads me to believe that there’s another, more frightening, way more stupidly obvious explanation:
When he was traded from Miami to Phoenix, Shaq realized he’d have to do battle with a variety of skilled, agile and quick big men in the Western Conference — many of whom are younger and more gifted than he is at this stage in his career. And the Diesel knew he needed a leg up.
An upleg that came from a series of injections of an experimental, gamma-irradiated serum.
While the typically morally bankrupt Suns-employed doctors warned of potentially horrifying side effects, things worked out pretty well for Shaq, who averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds a game (those are Mehmet Okur numbers!) in his only full season with Phoenix. But as the aforementioned sidebar indicates, it didn’t work out so hot for the Suns, who are now a not-so-good team that makes mad Internet kids sad, because does anybody remember Seven Seconds or Less and when fun times were going to last forever?
But now, Shaq’s revitalized unholy strength and speed come to a new city. One can only hope that the rumored apocalyptic reptilian freakouts that allegedly led Steve Kerr to pull the trigger don’t manifest themselves in Cleveland.
Lord knows that downtown can’t take much more destruction.