Sunday , Aug , 24 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Have Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal switched places?

When one is up, the other is down. Of course, we’re referring to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s careers following their 2004 divorce from the L.A. Lakers. After their break-up, O’Neal was clearly on the up in South Beach. Superman’ and ‘Flash’ (Dwyane Wade) won an NBA Title together. Reality shows, sponsors, and the world loved Kazaam’s charisma. And fair or not, he was deemed the good guy, enjoying a get-out-of-jail-free-pass when poor conditioning set in …

Have Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal switched places?When one is up, the other is down. Of course, we’re referring to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s careers following their 2004 divorce from the L.A. Lakers.

After their break-up, O’Neal was clearly on the up in South Beach.  Superman’ and ‘Flash’ (Dwyane Wade) won an NBA Title together. Reality shows, sponsors, and the world loved Kazaam’s charisma. And fair or not, he was deemed the good guy, enjoying a get-out-of-jail-free-pass when poor conditioning set in.

Meanwhile, Bryant was down and out in La-La land. His team never advanced past the first round of the playoffs. Off-court, he couldn’t shake the negative ‘pub’ from various indiscretions. Fair or not, he was dubbed the bad guy, bottoming-out in June of 2007 with a series of bizarre trade demands.

Well, the tables have officially turned.

For the past ten months, Kobe’s career has been on the up. He won the 2007-08 regular season MVP through facilitating for others. He helped his teams advance to the NBA Finals. And he just received a gold medal with ‘Redeem Team’ USA.

His public relations reps made sure ABC/ESPN beamed shots of him hugging his daughter around the world. Most importantly, he has avoided nightmares like …       

And …                                         

“NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has been ordered to steer clear of an Atlanta-area woman who took out a restraining order Thursday. 

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks granted Alexis Miller’s request Thursday after reviewing her allegations that the basketball player stalked her, threatened her with bodily harm and made harassing phone calls in which he breathed heavily into the phone before hanging up.”  (Atlanta Constitution Journal)

Interesting. One week earlier, The Atlanta Consitution Journal reported that

“The wife of Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal said Thursday that her marriage to the NBA star is on the mend.

During an interview about the launch of her new video-sharing Web site, Shaunie O’Neal told the Associated Press that the couple plans to stop  divorce proceedings soon.

Neither  one of us could probably answer why we were getting one in the first place, " Shaunie O’Neal said."  (Atlanta  Constitution Journal)

Okay, O’Neal is clearly down. Nobody knew what to make of his free style rap; right or wrong, it was his decision. And every couple has problems. However, a restraining order is never good, especially when the one being ‘restrained’ is supposedly rebuilding his marriage with his longtime wife.

Like I said, when one is up, the other must be down. Only now Shaq and Kobe have switched places.

Have O’Neal and Bryant switched places? Is it fair? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe the Blog for further NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of The Jeff Selis.