dEDGE Post Scriptum
The best 1-2 punch in the NBA… Superman and his sidekick… The Big Aristotle and the Mamba, together again with Head Yogi, Phil Jackson. The All-Star game if nothing else, provides us with a glimpse of “what if” and “wouldn’t it be nice if” scenarios as teams begin to jockey for playoff position. Assembling Superstars with such a high level of talent competing in one game rarely lives up to the enormous media expectations. But sometimes, brief moments of sheer athletic artistry actually shine through the hype and leave indelible memories. Remember Magic Johnson’s amazing three pointers at the end of the game in Orlando garnering him the MVP award, this coming after not playing at all during the season after he had retired from the Lakers with his HIV announcement? Or, when Kareem was relaxing on the bench late in the game, seemingly done for the evening in Chicago, when the fans started chanting for him to break the All-Star points record? He smiled in acknowledgment, looked at Riles, nodded in mutual agreement, checked into the game and promptly sank a skyhook that placed him atop of the scoring list.
Seeing Shaq and Kobe together again after all of their tumultuous seasons as teammates, the trade, and the offseason drama is indeed intriguing, but Shaquille O’Neal must finally acknowledge, that the Big 1-2 is now the Big 2-1. In order for this event to be ranked amongst other All-Star, all-time, greatest highlights, it can’t be Kobe feeding the ball into Shaq, it must be the Most Dominant Ever feeding the ball to the current MVP. The Shaqster is clearly on the downside of his career. He may not get off the floor like he once demonstrated in Game 7 of the 1999-2000 Western Conference Finals against Scotty Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Arvydis Sabonis, and the rest of the Portland Trailblazers as he almost ripped the basket down off a lob pass from Kobe to seal the game, the series, and propel the Lakers into the NBA Finals for their first ring together. But he is still capable of sheer dominance in brief stints, and he’s still in his prime when it comes to entertaining and appealing to the masses. Now, it’s Shaq-Fu’s turn to help Kobe shine as he sits atop the throne as the best in the league. Never one to shy away from the camera or to miss an opportunity to entertain the crowd with his antics, Shaquezie O’Neazie must for at least for one night, play second fiddle. He’s needs to be Robin to Kobe’s Batman, he needs to be Kato to the Green Hornet, he needs to be a true Lakers teammate once again.