Posted on: June 28, 2008 6:44 pm

Shaq, shut up

By most accounts, Shaq was the one guy every player in the NBA wanted to be teammates with during the late 90s and early 2000s.  He was charasmatic and fun-loving, not to mention the most dominant player in the Association.  I really used to like the guy, in spite of his verse in "What's Up Doc?" and his music video appearance with Fu-Schnickins.

I don't understand why Shaq has to keep opening his mouth and talking crap about Hall of Fame NBA players.  Earlier this season, Shaq took shots at Bill Walton.  In the video, first Walton suggests that Shaq was lying about his injury while on the Heat.  Considering one day Shaq couldn't play and then a week later he was guaranteeing a championship for Phoenix, I'd have to agree with Walton.  Shaq snipes back stating that Bill Walton is below Shaq on the big man pecking order, and therefore can't talk about someone higher on the list because it is disrespectful.  Why does Shaq feel a need to say anything at all about Walton's playing ability?  What does it have to do with whether or not Shaq is hurt?  I guess it was a very slick way of being funny, making headlines, but not answering a difficult accusation.  Notice that Shaq doesn't really ever say he was hurt.  Instead, he calls Walton a hypocrit and lower on the big man food chain. In my estimation, everytime he makes comments to boast and claim greatness, it hurts his legacy (or place on the big man pecking order.)

More recently, many people saw this unbelievable freestyle rap by Shaq.  The media talked about the shots he took at Kobe Bryant, most notably, "Last week Kobe couldn't do without me," and "Kobe, tell me how my ass taste?"  I think that's kinda funny, and he's obviously still mad that Kobe threw Shaq under the bus during his police interview in Colorado.  I'm not bothered by the shots at Kobe, but there are two things I did not like. 

#1 I was annoyed by Shaq being influenced by the crowd like he was a 14 year old.  After he says the part about Kobe tasting his ass, he saw the reaction, got a goofy smile and asked it about 43 million more times.  Shaq is a 35 year old man.  At some point, he has to grow out of this dumb stuff.

#2 Why is he talking about being better than Kareem?  Right now, Shaq is no longer in a position to be taking shots at top 50 NBA players.  It makes him look bad and leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. 

Shaq, let the rings and your dominance do the talking, because you really suck at it.

Posted on: June 20, 2008 8:58 am
Edited on: June 20, 2008 9:08 am

Someone who actually is underrated

One of the reasons that I enjoy watching soccer is the announcers.  European commentators don't feel the need to sugarcoat every play and glorify each and every athlete on the field.  I can't tell you how many times Phil Simms or Troy Aikman said that a player in the game they were calling was one of the best. "Patrick Crayton might be one of the best route runners in this league!!" "Alex Smith might have the quickest release since Dan Marino!"  Really? 

And I won't even start talking about the all-time blowhards Tim McCarver and Joe Buck.  I'm pretty sure we could file a class-action lawsuit against Fox for putting those two in the same box at the same time. 

What most American announcers have in common is describing players as either underrated or overrated.  It happens every game, but they never clarify who is underrating them or who is doing the overrating.  For my purposes, I'm going to say that the mainstream sports media and casual fan tends to overlook the player this post is ultimately about.  I'll make this assertion with the caveat that I live in Houston and moved to Chicago for the summer. For some of you, you'll already know this guy is the man.

Take a look at the chart below.  Which player would you want most?

  • 28 yrs old 346 AVG/ 16 HR/ 42 RBI/ 52 BB/ 478 OBP
  • 26 yrs old 293 AVG/ 20 HR/ 63 RBI/ 27 BB/ 359 OBP
  • 32 yrs old 289 AVG/ 14 HR/ 44 RBI/ 30 BB/ 352 OBP

Oh! Did I mention that player C makes $13.25 million player A $13.8 million and player B makes $850,000?  Still want player A?

Player A is Pujols, player C is Derrek Lee and player B is Adrian Gonzalez

I say Gonzalez is underrated since he's not even in the top 5 first basemen in NL voting for the All-Star Game.  He simply doesn't get the credit he deserves.  For one thing, he plays in the (by today's standards) gigantic Petco Park and has a crappy ass lineup around him.  As a team the Padres hit .246, which isn't a shock.  Seriously look at the lineup in yesterday's game. 

You know, as I'm writing this I decided to see if he's underrated by people that "know baseball" and I think the answer is yes.  He has only been intentionally walked 4 times all season.  By comparison, Nate McLouth and Brad Hawpe have both been intentionally walked 5 times.  Carlos Delgado? 7 times. Ken Griffey 12 times and Pujols leads the league with 18 IBB.   It seems like managers, who are paid millions to make winning baseball decisions, don't even give Gonazlez the respect he deserves.

I just hope that the Padres don't sneak into the playoffs in the crappy NL West and do to Adrian's profile what it did to Matt Holliday's last season.  I'd love to steal this guy in the 4th and 5th rounds of my fantasy drafts next season.

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