View Full Version : Is Shaq Great?

09-24-2002, 11:06 AM
This was an article written by Royce Webb of E---.com concerning Shaq.

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.

Shaquille O'Neal's assault on the NBA game has got to stop.
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?

Shaq, can't you improve upon your 53 percent free throw shooting?
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."

Defenders must be wary of a runaway Shaq.
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.


Now, these are things I've been saying about Shaq all along. Any comments?

09-24-2002, 01:08 PM

Selected in 1996 as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History
Three-time NBA Finals MVP after leading the Lakers to back-to-back-to-back NBA Finals victories (2000, 2001, 2002)
Voted the 1999-2000 Most Valuable Player (regular season) by media
Four-time All-NBA First Team selection (1997-98, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02), two-time All-NBA Second Team selection (1994-95, 1998-99) and three-time All-NBA Third Team selection (1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97)
Two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection (1999-2000, 2000-01)
Nine-time All-Star selection (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002)
Co-MVP of the 2000 NBA All-Star Game after tallying 22 points and nine rebounds
Two-time regular season scoring champion after posting 29.3 ppg (1994-95) and 29.7 ppg (1999-2000)
Led the league in field-goal percentage five times (1993-94, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01)
Won the 1999-2000 IBM Award, determined by a computerized rating that measures a player's overall contribution to a team
Named 1992-93 NBA Rookie of the Year, and to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, after averaging 23.4 ppg, 13.9 rpg and 3.53 bpg
Member of gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team in Atlanta (1996) and World Championship team in Toronto (1994)
Three Rings and unfortunately counting...

Is Shaq Great?


Can he be stopped?


09-24-2002, 01:28 PM
Stats very rarely lie, I can't doubt that. However, it is true that for every charge not called on Shaq there are 4 hack-a-shaq's that aren't called either. Now the question is though if a foul were called every time he charged would he be nearly as dominant? If the foul were called, the hack-a-shaq approach would not be necessary. I believe that he would be a less than average player if the fouls were called. I believe that if the charges and travels were called, Shawn Bradley (which I despise by the way) would be a more dominating player than Shaq! Just my opinion. Any thoughts?

09-24-2002, 02:01 PM
Any thoughts

Thought #1: Shaq might stuff anyone into a trashcan who told him to his face that Shawn Bradley would be a more dominant player than him if they called more charges and travelling violations...

Thought #2: Shawn Bradley is a person and not an object, so you should say: "Shawn Bradley (*who* I despise by the way)", not "Shawn Bradley (*which* I despise by the way)"...

09-24-2002, 02:06 PM
My bad. I am so sorry that I didn't know that you were an English teacher. I won't hold any possible typing errors that you might make against you. However, you did not dispute my point as to the fact that Shawn would be a better player than Shaq if fouls were called. I am sure that C-Webb would throw me into a trash can if I told him Shawn Bradley were better than him. So the fact that an NBA player would get mad at me for saying Shawn Bradley were better than him is a no brainer. But the point at hand is that Shaq's dominance is due to the fact that charges and travels aren't called.

09-24-2002, 02:35 PM
Ask yourselves one question, what's so great about Shaq? He's overweight. Is that great? He could dunk the ball over someone. Is that great? To me, there is nothing great about Shaq.

09-24-2002, 02:39 PM
Thank you Nash! Don't get me wrong, he is the man to be reckoned with. But I don't believe he would be if the playing ground was level.

09-24-2002, 03:23 PM
LOL... The rings is the thing with Shaq...

Shaq says "Three"

Hopefully the dynasty won't continue, but I think a three-peat is a quite convincing argument for "Greatness"...

Read all about it... (http://www.nba.com/publications/dynasty_jackson.html)

09-24-2002, 03:26 PM
Shaq's quickness and passing abilities are what, unfortunately, make him more than a guy with a big ass.

09-24-2002, 03:29 PM
And hopefully that "big ass" will destroy his knees and back within a few years... Otherwise Shaq may be wearing a few more rings before he is done...

09-24-2002, 04:05 PM
This is silly. Isn't this the NBA equivalent of saying that Michael Johnson wouldn't be a badass track star if he wasn't so damn fast?

Come on.

09-24-2002, 04:17 PM
The above posted article is stupid enough to kill brain cells...

09-24-2002, 05:53 PM
Not really Doc, and here is why:
if Micheal Johnson were cheating to win his races by cutting people off then yes it would be. But Micheal Johnson is faster than other fast people. He is not given leeway just because he is Micheal Johnson. Shaq not getting called for charges and traveling just because he is Shaq is what makes him so dominant. Superstars get the calls. AI travels like a little B*tch, as does almost all of the guards in the league. But if you have AI against some Joe Schmoe in the league AI won't get called for traveling where as Joe will. I like what Cubes is doing trying to hold the Refs accountible so that the game is fair for all. Shaq said in the Western Conference Finals that if Sacto won then Vlade would be the first center to flop into the finals. Let's call it like it is...the day after Shaq said that, the calls basically stopped for Vlade and started for Shaq. However, if Shaq was called for the charge when he charges, then Vlade wouldn't have had to flop into the finals. It would be a fair game. Why is Shaq the most dominant force in basketball? The Refs allow him to be. Not because he is.

09-24-2002, 08:46 PM
Shaq does not cheat. (Dear Jesus I can't believe I am backing Shaq) He plays within the rules as they are called. His size, etc cannot be discounted by the "If Shaq this....If Shaq that...horsecrap speculation. Just like Michael Johnson's speed cannot be discounted. He is a dominant star because he uses the gifts God gave him to the maximum ability. To classify him in any other light is disingenuous.

With that said, I hate that fatass tub of lard when he bull rushes over other guys...but unfortunately that is the law of the land.

09-24-2002, 08:48 PM
Oh I see... So Shaq's dominance doesn't have anything to do with his being an incredibly agile 7-1, 320 pounder who runs the floor and has incredible touch within 10 feet...

And if you take away the refs' calls, he and Vlade Divac play to a draw in the finals...


09-24-2002, 08:59 PM
My apologies, cheat is a strong word. Also, it isn't cheating if it isn't called. Like you aren't lying unless you get caught. I hope and believe that it will come to pass that Cuban and the commish will eventually see eye to eye on something and the Refs will be held accountible and only then will we see if this is even worth all of the posts made today. Thank you for the fine discussion gentlemen.

09-24-2002, 09:20 PM
Oh I see... So Shaq's dominance doesn't have anything to do with his being an incredibly agile 7-1, 320 pounder who runs the floor and has incredible touch within 10 feet...

You gotta give Shaq credit for his abilities.

09-24-2002, 09:47 PM
Look Joey, like AI, Jordon or any other aggressive superstar, the refs are going to let Shaq play the game. If the refs called every little ticky tack call on aggressive players, there would be a million Vlade's looking to exploit this.

But if there is going to inquiry into how certain teams tend to get more calls in their favor, it needs to begin with the Spurs and the Kings. Those two teams had the biggest foul call disparity by far in the NBA last year. I believe the Lakers were 9th.