Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shaq Reminds Us What Kind of Child He Is


The blog world is abuzz over this video from TMZ.com that has Shaquille O'Neal doing a freestyle rap at a club and takes shots at one Kobe Bryant. 

Here are some of the lyrics:

"I'm a horse. Kobe ratted me out. That's why I'm getting divorced. He said Shaq gave a bitch a mil. I don't do that 'cause my name's Shaquille. I love 'em, I don't leave 'em. I got a vasectomy, now I can't breed 'em."

That doesn't include him getting the crowd involved in chanting, "Kobe, how's my ass taste!?!?"

In our new world of cameras and the ability to record video darn near everywhere, it doesn't take long for something like that to come to light.  When called out on this, Shaq had this to say:

"I was freestyling. That's all. It was all done in fun. Nothing serious whatsoever. That is what MC's do. They freestyle when called upon. I'm totally cool with Kobe. No issue at all. And by the way, don't forget, six albums, two platinum, two gold. Anybody who knows me knows I'm a funny freestyler. Check the NBA DVD when I was rapping about Vlade Divac during my first championship run. Please tell everybody don't make something out of nothing."

Stuff like that is only "funny" if the other person is there with you ... laughing along.  When it is across the country without the guy there to defend himself, it really isn't.

Even if he is being truthful, what the heck is that?

KOBE BEEF:  We were all led to believe that this beef between Shaq and Kobe was in a cease fire.  Maybe they are cool; maybe not.  But it has been three years since the hatchet was seemingly buried and we could all get along with our own lives. 

So where does this come from? 

Look, we all knew that if Kobe and the Lakers had beaten the Celtics in the NBA Finals last week, he would have had the ultimate stamp on his career.  As of now, Kobe detractors will always point to his three NBA rings and say, "yeah, but Shaq was the reason you got them."  And, yeah, they'd be kinda right.  Of course, Shaq needed a young Kobe and (really needed) a young Dwayne Wade to get him his rings, too.

Still, Kobe just took a team that really isn't molded into anything and won the toughest Western Conference in a long, long, long time.  He has as many MVP awards as Shaq has. 

WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?:  There is also that little issue of talking smack to a guy who led his team to the Finals ... while you sat at home watching. 

This is the same Shaq that was bailed out of Miami (ya know, cuz they really sucked) and went to Phoenix.  Mind you, the Suns had the best record in the conference when they made that trade.  They ended up as the #6 seed, losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

Kobe's Lakers beat those Spurs in just five games in the WCF. 

To me, it is hard to come at a guy who had a season as Kobe had.  Remember, before the Gasol trade, the Lakers were right there in the mix as one of the best teams in the West.  And that team was playing Kwame Brown a lot. 

I understand there are the people that loathe Kobe Bryant and I understand most of their issues (as a Laker fan, I know he is a first class jerk).  Still, you have to be quite the moron to fault Kobe for not singlehandedly beating a 66-win Celtics team.

HOME WRECKER:  The worst part is Shaq pinning his failed marriage on Kobe.  What?

Sure, maybe Kobe crossed the "code" by squealing on Shaq during his Colorado fiasco of 2004.  Was he lying?  If so, then how could that ruin Shaq's marriage?  If he wasn't, I guess needing a little on the side means your marriage was already ruined.

Plus, it has been several years since this all went down.   Why would what Kobe said affect Shaq's marriage over the last few months? 

Because of the language of this rap, Shaq has lost his crime fightin' badge.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tiger Woods Touched Me and Walked Away

Last week, I was laid up in my house with kidney stones (uh, don't ever, ever, ever, every get 'em) so sleeping and watching TV were my two hobbies.

The US Open brought me some quiet relief as I got to just chill and listen to the soft sounds of the great game.  DirecTV (you aren't a sports fan unless you have it) had a package of four channels covering the event ... with one of the channels devoted to "the premiere group".

Needless to say, that premiere group included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott on Thursday and Friday.

I am like many sport-lovin' Americans: I like golf, but don't really sit and watch it like that.  I will admit that I'm more apt to tune in to Sunday's final round if Tiger is involved than if he wasn't.  I hate that I'm like that ... but it is the truth.

So, this weekend was great.  Friday's action was tremendous ... I didn't get to see much of Saturday's play ... but Sunday afternoon I got in Tiger's back 9 and saw some great golf.  Monday's drama was great and -- for once -- all the post-hype around it is very deserved.  If only the people who were hooked in would stick around.

Since Tiger is done for the season, there will be a ton of fans that will be lost for the year too.  They, like me, want to see the Big Bad Tiger and all his greatness dominate (or pull out the tough victory).  Most don't want to see ... well ... those other guys.

That is a shame ... and a reality. 

I just hope that someone or a couple of someones do something extraordinary during this Tiger-free season.  Just as the NBA went a few seasons without Michael Jordan ... we need to see someone else try and take that place near or at the top of the golf world.  Maybe when Tiger comes back, someone will have the cojones and confidence to challenge him on a weekly basis.

As the whole Rocco Mediate Love Fest shows you, fans do long for someone to walk beside Tiger and make him ... at least ... work to win.

Hopefully I will stick around and watch.  I honestly will try to do so.

Lakers Seem to Always Duck Out of the Playoffs in Heartless Fashion


I am a Laker fan, and while I'm not surprised the Celtics beat us in the NBA Finals ... it was a bit frustrating to see them get punked in Game 6.  Losing by 39 points when your season (and a championship) is on the line is unbelievable.

However, should I have expected any different from the purple and gold?

To show us the point is a good friend LBerg who threw up some great numbers on the Lakers recent past in exiting playoffs.  Folks, it ain't pretty:


During the other night's debacle, it dawned on me that this was pretty much a rerun of how the last several Lakers playoff runs have ended.  So I went back and had a look at the scores of the last games of our last several playoff appearances:
2003 - SA 110 @ Lakers 82
2004 - Det 100 Lakers 87 (game was not as close as score - Lakers were down 30+ in second half)
2006 - Phx 121 Lakers 90
2007 - Phx 119 Lakers 110 (another game not as close as final score iirc)
2008 - Bos 131 Lakers 92
With the exception of 2006, all of these were series in which the wheels came off, where we were completely dismantled.  But 2006 of course might have been the worst one of all as we became only the 8th team in the history of the NBA to blow a 3-1 series lead.  And we were also destroyed in Game 5 of that series by a score of 114-97.
These playoff meltdowns don't paint a pretty picture for a team that has the best player in the game (and also had the Most Dominant Ever in 2003 and 2004) and the best coach.  It's one thing to lose in the playoffs, it's another to lose while getting humiliated.  Over and over again.
We had a great season and the future appears bright.  But Phil's 9th championship and Kobe's 3rd are getting more and more distant in that rear view mirror.  Most troubling is that when we've lost at whatever respective point in the playoffs the past several years, it's been in series in which we couldn't find sustainable answers for what the opposition was doing to us and we basically fell apart and then flat out quit in the final game of these series.  Not a pretty picture.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Junior Hits #600


Congrats to Ken Griffey, Jr and his 600th career home run.  He becomes only the sixth Major Leaguer to do it ... and the first in decades that didn't have a whiff of steroids surrounding the achievement.

I'm one of those people that never want to see Griffey out of a Reds' uniform.  Sure, the past eight seasons haven't been very good for the Red Legs, but it isn't all his fault (yes, he's the highest paid player and has had injury issues).

I just don't want to see the Reds pimp Griffey like the Giants did Bonds:  after Bonds collected the all-time HR record, the team all but wanted to push him out the door.  I don't want to see the same thing happen to Junior, even if his contract is expiring.

One of the great things about the Reds is their ability to embrace their history.  The Big Red Machine is still beloved whenever they get together.  Tom Browning is a hero.  Joe Nuxhall has been a legend.  This is the one city (besides Las Vegas) that Pete Rose can go and people still love him. 

It hasn't been like that for a while, at least not since the end of Barry Larkin's career.  The Reds fans haven't embraced anyone in the manner they used to.  It is a shame, because while he haven't had a front seat for Ken Griffey, Jr's prime ... we have been privileged to have one of the greatest players in baseball history call this town home.

Why would we push him away?