Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Shaq Is Really Old

Brittle, useless, washed-up old people sometimes move to the Phoenix desert after they’ve retired to enjoy their final years on earth. They pack their Winnebagos and head towards the Arizona sun to relax and start the countdown. You know the types I’m talking about. They have gray hair, big ears, smell like moth balls, and walk around hunched over pointing at random things. They break hips, play bingo, and eat dinner at 2:30pm. They walk around malls for exercise and cause car crashes. Sometimes you’re even forced to listen to one of their ridiculous soliloquies. They almost always start with “Back in my day” and end with “only cost a nickel” –regardless of subject matter or context. All sagacity they once had is gone. Replaced with logic even a local party clown would find a little brain numbing.

Shaq fits this stereotype perfectly. He’s old and should be entering his “golden years”. Yet, it seems like he might be moving to Phoenix to continue his NBA career with the Suns. A proposed trade sending Marion to Miami and Shaq to the Suns could happen as soon as today. Retiring doesn’t seem to be an option for Shaq. O’Neil says he’s “a man of his word and honors a contract.” I say it’s pretty hard to turn down 2 years at $20 million. It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last, intelligent men disagree.

Nonetheless, I find the move extremely strange on so many levels.

1. Shaq has been injured all year. In fact, I think his hip has been ailing him for the past few weeks. If a hip problem doesn’t scare the Suns away, I guess nothing will. Usually, when an old person’s hip goes, they end up in a nursing home no more than 3-6 months later. I don’t see Shaq being an exception to this rule when he falls and breaks his.

2. The Suns up-tempo game and Shaq’s rickety knees don’t seem like a good fit, but I just heard Chris Webber’s been named Golden State’s new starting center, so maybe these NBA executives know something I don’t.

3. Phoenix must think that Shaq automatically makes them a favorite out West. This might be an ill conceived notion; at least with the “current” Shaq, who is more likely to been seen on an Icy Hot commercial than on a basketball court.

Maybe Shaq’s divorce has spurred the trade talk. He could be looking for a change. Or maybe it’s the conflict that’s been brewing between him and Pat Riley the last year and a half. They seem to be at odds on how to fix the struggling Heat. Honestly, I’m hoping it’s the latter. That way, we could be looking at a made for TV movie that fills the void created when the makers of Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men decided against what would have been an epic trilogy.

Either way, I’m confused.

Matt Arrowhead