25th Edition – July 3, 2004
Dear Shaq, So you want out of town. Apparently, you’re so displeased with the direction in which the Lakers organization is headed, that you’ve demanded a trade. Recently, I heard that you said, “the organization is not about team anymore and that they have gotten fat and happy over the years after winning three championships.” Now Shaq, you’ve said a lot of humorous things throughout your career, but that has to be the funniest. Fat and happy?! I mean isn’t that like the sink calling the tub white? Now don’t get me wrong, I love you and as a Laker fan, it saddens me to see my squad go out like the S.S. Minnow while you attempt to abandon ship. But all this fuss you’re raising is falling on skeptical ears.
Now you may try to make the world believe that your beef with the Lakers is not about the money, but to quote 50 Cent, “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!” It’s ALWAYS about the money. Remember, “Cash rules everything around me?” And I have no quarrels with that philosophy, it is what it is, capitalism at its finest. But just say so; spare me the political correctness and cut to the chase. Your ego is SEVERELY bruised because the Lakers have essentially said that they’ll offer Kobe the maximum, and that you would have to take a pay cut similar to the one Kevin Garnett agreed to. However, as you so eloquently stated, “I will not be devalued,” (even though you’ll still be paid more than Kobe) and since the Lakers have not waned on their stance, you’re bitter. And now you want to take your basketball and Superman logo off to Dallas or Sacramento because you know Mark Cuban or the Maloofs will pay you what you want.
Still, if there is a player in the NBA who deserves the riches they receive, it’s you. You’re an incredible basketball player who has led the Lakers to three consecutive titles. But, Dr. Buss and crew have a business to maintain. If they sign Kobe (which is still in question) to the maximum and they give you the dough you want, then the team will be financially strapped for years to come, preventing them from surrounding you and Kid Kobe with talented players who can compete for the Glory. That wouldn’t be cool. Take one for the team since you’re SO team oriented. They’ve always given you what you wanted in the past. Remember when you wanted Phil to be the coach? They got ’em. Remember when you wanted Brian Shaw on the team? They got ’em. Remember when you wanted that contract extension after you won your first championship? You got that too. So, why the hard line all of a sudden?
Oh yeah, it must be the fact that you’re in denial about your declining skills. Listen Shaq it’s natural. You’re getting older and with your struggle to stay in prime condition, along with your newfound propensity to injuries, your abilities are bound to suffer. We all know that if you were 25 instead of 32, the organization wouldn’t hesitate to give you the contract you want and all this would be a moot point. But that isn’t the reality we’re in huh? The fact is Kobe’s younger and he’s a megastar and when you refused to compromise, the team had NO choice but to choose him over you (even though he or a jury will have the ultimate decision). They’re only thinking about their future, which because of your stance–may not include you.
Anyway, so now we’re back to your trade demand and you’ve already reiterated that you have no desire to perform for the Lake Show anymore. And as difficult as it’ll be, that wish will most likely be granted. But you know what’s really going to annoy me? You’ll probably get in the shape folks in L.A. have been BEGGING you to be in, and play like the Shaq of old just to prove a point. Unprofessional if you ask me.
But enough already, I’ve said all I want to say on the matter. If you are traded, thanks very much for the titles and all the memories (the goods ones at least). Take care of yourself and good luck trying to win the Glory somewhere else (I’m being extremely sarcastic). As much as you may not like to hear this, I don’t think you’ll every find a running mate as great as Kobe (and vice versa), but that’s just me. But you gotta try, right? Just like the Lakers and their fans will try to move on without you. So just kill the noise about the Lakers’ atmosphere being poison, and be truthful about your intent to get the money. We understand, just like I’m sure you’ll understand when most of the fans BOO THE HELL OUTTA YOU when you come back to Staples.
Be easy Big Fella.
As for the draft, it did nothing for me and consequently, I don’t have much to offer. But I guess that parallels the effects most of the players selected will have. Still, I like Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. And Dwight Howard seems promising, but we’ll see…I guess.
The off-season is shaping up to be even better than the season. Along with Shaq wanting a new address, Coach K possibly leaving Durham for “The LA,” and Kobe perhaps becoming a Clipper and/or an inmate, now Steve Nash is going back to Phoenix, Vince Carter wants to be traded, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are rumored to be on the trading block. I love this game!
Aiight I’m putting Tracy McGrady on notice. He’s 25, he’s on his THIRD team and each time he’s orchestrated the move because he was unsatisfied about something. Towards the end of last season he missed the final nine games because he wanted to rest his knee for the Olympics, and then he subsequently backed out of that. Now he’s in Houston playing with the center of the future, and he’s going to have to play second fiddle again (Vince Carter). If he complains ONE MORE TIME, I pullin’ his card and wearing it around my neck. So let it be written, so let it be fact!