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Hoopsmeister
06-12-2002, 02:21 PM
Don't let the door hit your big butt on the way out
By Royce Webb
ESPN.com (http://espn.go.com/page2/s/webb/020612.html)


Dear Shaq:

We want it back. We want back the game you've devoured along with all the pizzas, Shaq Packs, Cap'n Crunch cereal and chocolate milk it takes to keep that 350-pound engine running. Big Aristotle, if you are as wise and generous as your namesake, the Original Big Aristotle, you'll give basketball back to the little people.

Please, if you will, let me explain:

First off, and with all due respect, Big Mug, your game is U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi.

You know, a lot of people say basketball at its best is like jazz ... in which case, you're a big fat tuba playing, "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Stumbling, bumbling, fumbling, rumbling, ramming, banging, bruising, elbowing, shouldering, bouldering … and that's just on your free throws. Your brutal game in the box is even harder on the eyes.

Second, and I mean this only in the kindest way possible, your skillz are wack, Shaq.

Big Fella, I realize that some people have flattered you -- for instance, a Very Famous Broadcaster recently said about you, "If he were 6-foot-1 and 190, instead of 7-1 and 310, I think he could still play in this league and play well."

But let's keep it real, Shaq. If you were 6-1, you'd be a point guard.

Can you imagine yourself as an NBA point guard?

Can you imagine a 6-foot NBA point guard who:


couldn't shoot from beyond 10 feet?
had hit one 3-pointer in 10 years?
had no handle?
had a negative assist-turnover ratio?
averaged less than a steal a game?
shot 53 percent from the line for his career?
missed five free throws per game?
couldn't make a spin in traffic?
couldn't shoot a left-handed layup?
couldn't play defense 15 feet from the basket?

I'm sure I don't have to tell you, Diesel, the guys with real skillz -- the Speedy Claxtons, Steve Nashes and Troy Hudsons, as well as the Iversons, Kidds and Kobes -- can do things you can only dream about. And I don't know how to break this to you, but they're not lying in bed at night saying, I wish I could be a 7-1 fat guy with no real game. I mean, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but every time I play pickup ball, I see five guys who've got more game than you do -- guys who can shoot pull-up Js, guys who can pick pockets, 40-year-old guys who pass behind their back like nothing.

But let's be fair -- size is a talent too. So I'll grant you this, if you don't mind a backhanded compliment -- you move well for a guy your size.

Third, speaking of size, you're too damn big.

And here's the problem -- you and the other big guys have a triple advantage.

In just about any sport, there is a basic advantage to being tall, and that's fine, because there is also an advantage to being short. But in basketball, there is a second advantage to being tall, which is that basketball is played up high, where the basket is. And, Shaq, when you're 7-1, there is a third advantage, which is why it's so hard to admire your game -- when you can play above the rim practically without leaping, how is that fair? Sure, you're unstoppable, but where's the challenge? You know, I do pretty well on 8-foot baskets against 12-year-old kids -- but what fun is that?

About 80 guys in the NBA are 6-11 or taller (and as you know, a lot of them appear to be in the league just to foul you). And the taller the league is, the less skilled it is. Hate to say it, Shaq-Fu, but you have more in common with B-Mill (Brad Miller) and D-Bag (Dalibor Bagaric) than with T-Mac and J-Will.

Fourth, Big Thumper, and I mean this as constructive criticism, it would be nice if you could find a way to get to the basket against a defender without fouling him. It's quite a bag of tricks you've developed down there -- the swim stroke, the hook with the elbow, the sledgehammer shoulder in the chest, the innocent elbow to the chops, the head-on charge -- and I would hate to cast aspersions on such a finely tuned repertoire, but perhaps a refresher on the rulebook would help:

"A dribbler shall not charge into an opponent who has established a legal guarding position.… If a defender is able to establish a legal position in the straight line path of the dribbler, the dribbler must avoid contact by changing direction or ending his dribble…. If illegal contact occurs, the responsibility is on the dribbler."

Fifth, Shaq, you've got a traveling jones. As much as I admire your, ahem, footwork and creativity, every kid knows it's not legal to pick up your dribble and then stumble-step-hop-jumpstop your way to the hoop. (No wonder you're "unguardable.") And, Big Bunny, that's not to mention the cute little shuffles and hops you take as you start your dribble.

Come on, Big Sarge, that's not the kind of discipline your stepdad, U.S. Army Sergeant Philip Arthur Harrison, taught you. This is a man who marched in military parades with his fellow soldiers, hundreds of feet in perfect sync with nary a bootlace out of place.

Maybe when the other Phil, your coach, gives out books to the team next season, he should put the NBA rulebook in your locker and dog-ear the page that explains traveling.

To sum up, I don't know how to break it to you, Big Guy, but you represent everything that people hate about the NBA game today. The players are too tall. Being big and strong is more important than being skilled and athletic. The refs never call traveling. They let the big guys camp out in the lane. The game is too rough down low, and post players bang and barge their way to the basket. And superstars get the calls.

Look, Big Man, I know all of this shouldn't be laid at your size-22 feet. If the NBA weren't so obsessed with developing larger-than-life superstars, they'd find ways to make the game more fair and exciting, regardless of size. They'd lengthen the court to force your big butt up and down faster (and to the sidelines for rest), they'd widen the court to allow shooters and creative players the space to operate, they'd widen the lane to open it up, and they'd raise the basket to reduce your advantage.

But until then, it's on you, Big Onus -- if you want to accomplish something that's even bigger than you are, shape up ... or, better yet, ship out.

With love,
A fan of the game

Royce Webb is an ESPN.com senior editor and the former editor of SportsJones

Drbio
06-12-2002, 02:41 PM
I think that this is a well thought out piece. I agree with a lot of what is said here. Good article.

Murphy3
06-12-2002, 03:06 PM
stupid piece from a bad writer

Fidel
06-12-2002, 04:15 PM
Agree with Murph here. What a piece of crap by a stupid hater. It´s not even funny or anything.

TheKid
06-12-2002, 04:27 PM
It was parts that made me laugh, but this guy is WAY off base.. If he's talking about traveling or charging, then he has a beef with the refs not Shaq, Shaq doesn't make the calls out there.

Drbio
06-12-2002, 05:24 PM
*sigh*


Sarcasm dies again.i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif

Rhylan
06-12-2002, 06:49 PM
I liked most of it, but it's not Shaq's fault they don't call traveling or offensive fouls.

This part, in particular, was why I liked it:



<< Can you imagine a 6-foot NBA point guard who:

couldn't shoot from beyond 10 feet?
had hit one 3-pointer in 10 years?
had no handle?
had a negative assist-turnover ratio?
averaged less than a steal a game?
shot 53 percent from the line for his career?
missed five free throws per game?
couldn't make a spin in traffic?
couldn't shoot a left-handed layup?
couldn't play defense 15 feet from the basket? >>




The thing that he misses, though, is Shaq's quickness. That's why he's not just a big fat guy.

Drbio
06-12-2002, 06:52 PM
I enjoyed the article...I actually agreed with a part but I was totally being sarcastic.

Fidel
06-12-2002, 07:21 PM
Doc I really like sarcasm. But it has to be intelligent or funny. This article had nothing of both. Sure he has some points, but the way he presents them is way off base. I wanna see any of his pickup friends shoot a J in the NBA. One word: airball.

Drbio
06-12-2002, 07:36 PM
I guess we just disagree this time.

Fourth, Big Thumper, and I mean this as constructive criticism, it would be nice if you could find a way to get to the basket against a defender without fouling him.

This is the best point of the whole piece. And it is dead on. How many times in this forum have we bitched about this. The more I read the piece the more I actually like it.

Murphy3
06-12-2002, 08:36 PM
yes, you can say shaq commits the offensive foul but you can also say that he's fouled on virtually every possession

but, i suppose you wouldn't want to mention that one

Drbio
06-12-2002, 09:55 PM
Sure Shaq gets fouled. But he nails the shit out of anyone in his way and it never gets called.

Murphy3
06-12-2002, 10:22 PM
and he gets the shit nailed out of him even more often.

Drbio
06-12-2002, 10:23 PM
I think Shaq initiates a lot more contact than the defenders.

Kat
06-13-2002, 01:34 AM
I just smiled when I got to the part that mentioned Nash. His name wouldn't have been #two on the list a year ago.

The guy does have some valid points. (And it got a chuckle or two from me). The delivery was a bit crude.

Overall, a biased article.

TheKid
06-13-2002, 10:31 AM
Shaq may initiate contact but tell me Reggie Miller doesn't initiate contact about 3 or 4 times a game when he's shooting those three pointers and he just sticks his leg out. He uses that to his advantage.. There are a lot of players that does it and it's up to the REFS to monitor that. If they're not going to call it, I would do it everytime too. Also like Murph said, they don't call it everytime Shaq gets hit also because he's so big and it doesn't effect him so they don't call every foul against him. That's a good trade off if you ask me.

Drbio
06-13-2002, 10:41 AM
If they're not going to call it, I would do it everytime

This is a good point.