View Full Version : Sacramento Queens

10-21-2002, 03:49 PM
Kings rivalry keeps bored Shaq amused

By Ray Ratto
Special to ESPN.com

Maybe it's a bad reaction to the anesthesia. Maybe the pain killers aren't quite hitting on all CCs. Or maybe he's just got a mad-on for the California political establishment.

Shaquille O'Neal can't wait to do this against the Kings on Dec. 25.
And then maybe Shaquille O'Neal is just trying to have some fun and market the NBA at the same time.

But whatever the reason for him seizing on the name "Sacramento Queens," he's made his point. He doesn't like them very much. And for that, we owe him thanks.

The new NBA season is less than a month away, and there is less buzz than ever. The Lakers are runaway favorites in the NBA's Western Conference, nobody knows or much cares who the best team in the East is, and once the last team takes its first trip into New Orleans to watch per diems fly out of their pants pockets and into casinos (March 30, San Antonio), there's nothing new to see here.

But since we know that the NBA always has done its best when there have been two equal combatants out there, and there seems to be nothing east of the Mississippi to catch our fancy, there can only be one logical reason why Shaq and his angry big toe is picking this fight.

Instant rivalry.

The Kings in and of themselves are a fairly inoffensive lot. Vlade Divac flops a lot, and as such does a better job against O'Neal than most. Mike Bibby has bulldozed his way toward the top of the point guard list. Rick Adelman does that annoying thing with his face when he gets a call he doesn't like but is otherwise a perfectly fine coach.

There is, in short, nothing to point to the Kings as a foil for O'Neal's less-than-pointed wit, except that he can't carry off real annoyance with, say, the Denver Nuggets.

It is our guess, then, that Shaq is trying to make something of the Lakers-Kings rivalry that doesn't exist with Portland, Dallas, San Antonio or Minnesota. He can't wait to see if the Jordan-fortified Wizards ever catch a star, the Bucks can overcome their pig pile of hardheaded personalities to make even one run at greatness, or the Sixers to expand their threat to the natural order beyond Allen Iverson.

And the West isn't much more threatening. Portland's window closed when they surrendered that fourth quarter a few years back. Minnesota still is two playoff series short of even making the conference finals. The Spurs are thin, and the Mavericks are still too easy to push around.

So who's left? The Sacramento Queens. And you know that a queen doesn't beat a king.

But the NBA needs to have a team that could threaten the head of the king, and until another candidate rises from the heap, Sacramento is it.

Now we don't discount the possibility that O'Neal just hates Sacramento, though we do wonder why he would bother. I mean, O'Neal and the Lakers have basically confronted the rest of the NBA the way a shoe confronts a piece of gum. So why is he bothering to waste a good hatred on them?

Well, one other possibility exists. Maybe he needs to vilify the Kings just to keep his basketball heart beating. This is a man with many interests, including show business. Athletics and show biz run on two things -- money and adrenaline. Well, three things, actually. Money, expensive and often elective surgery and adrenaline.

Maybe it isn't the NBA that needs the alternative to the Lakers, but O'Neal who needs the alternative to the dull, wrenching sameness of winning every year. I know, sounds too weird for most folks, maybe even too weird for Shaq-Fu, Shaq-Zilla and all the other members of the Shaq family of cartoon characters.

But the idea of Sacramento as a villain worthy of someone's time and loathing is as clear a case of jackhammering the squirrel as there is this side of the WWE at least while there still is a WWE.

Ray Ratto, a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com

Mike Bibby and friends in action?

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10-21-2002, 04:26 PM
Haha... the moderators removed my thread from QueensFans.com...

10-22-2002, 11:33 AM
it aint that funny,the sacramnto queens,good thing he got a sense of humor but its still aint funny.
if i was shaq i wouldnt make joks about them,he almost single heandedly lost #3 when he missed the tip in,they just had alot of luck that robert was there.

10-22-2002, 02:29 PM
ya'll may think i'm crazy, but i think the Lakers are not going to make it past the 1st round.

Base Line Guy
10-23-2002, 02:28 PM
So you really think the Lakers, with maybe the 2 best players in the league, 3 time world champions with virtually the exact same roster as last years title team, will lose in the 1st round to the likes of MIN, LAC, POR, SEA, UTA, or HOU? Do I think your crazy? No, just rediculous. LAL will make it past the 1st round with or without Shaq. I think they get beat in the WCF, but not sooner, by your Dallas Mavericks.