Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Out of Body Experience

Tonight was the first time that I have ever cheered for Shaquille O'Neal. I did not even realize it until the 4th quarter, when I watched him shooting free throws, urging them to actually go in.

When Shaq entered the league with the Magic, I hated his game. There were many reasons for this. He's too big. He can't shoot a jump shot. All he did was to be big and slam the ball down. There was no poetry to the motion, no reason to make me respect the play.

When he moved to LA, my feelings grew in disgust, for how he was matched up against the Sonics. I saw many heated battles between Payton, Hawkins, and Baker. We beat them in the playoffs, they beat us in the playoffs. Hack-a-Shaq was born in this time period, and I never forgave him for how ugly he made the 4th quarter look.

He made terrible movies, including "Kazaam", which forever made me hesitant to congratulate the motion picture industry on anything. Seriously, wasn't there one person during the production of that movie who took a step back, watched the movie, and gagged? Who thought it was a good idea to pay Shaq money to act like a giant genie?

Next up was the Kobe feud. All I heard were two spoiled superstars bickering back and forth, then somehow putting it together against teams I respected more, whether it was the David Robinson-led Spurs, the Kevin Garnett-led T-Wolves, or the Reggie Miller-led Pacers.

To make a long story short, I have always been proud to set myself against the juggernaut that was Shaquille O'Neal. Then came this season. Maybe it was the move, but I saw Shaq in a new light. I saw how funny he was with the media. I saw how he valued, truly valued, his leadership role. I saw how much he cared about winning. I saw how well he fit with Wade. And I began to change. Now, suddenly, with little warning, I find myself cheering for Shaq tonight. Rooting for the man I once considered the worst thing to happen to the NBA outside of the Jail Blazers. Watching as they pulled out a close game against the World Champion Pistons, a team that I cheered for last season during that stirring upset. And I think to myself.... it's good to appreciate just how much this man has done for the NBA during his career.

I am now, somewhat reluctantly, a fan. (except against the Sonics, of course)

posted by colin_hesse @ 8:04 PM  0 comments

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