Game 68 - at Phoenix

Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a man.

I don't care if everyone thinks he's spent and wants him traded. Seeing him succeed makes me smile, makes me cheer.

Remember his first big game in purple? At Phoenix, third game of last season. Dude had 31 against Shawn Marion, including the eventual game-winner. I couldn't have been more stoked about the Reef Era. Chris Webbwho? The entire offseason defined Reef as a smart, gentile, decent man and a ferocious ballplayer. He confirmed that in Phoenix.

Though the Kings lost often, Reef was solid through November and December that year. He and Bonzi Wells were the only legs of the foundation providing support, with Mike Bibby's beefcake mode failing and Peja Stojakovic sitting out with mildly strained pinky fingers. Then, Z-Bo happened. A spare elbow from buddy Zach Randolph broke a jaw. Reef finished the game and was on his way with the team to L.A. when a doc told him his grill was broken.

Got it wired shut. Ate meat smoothies for two weeks. Told Rick Adelman he wanted back in. Came back after missing only 10 games to play the Lakers. Dude is a man.

Had a really nice game against The Show, too. Best part? He got called for a tech for mouthing off to the refs. His jaw was still wired shut.

Again: Shareef Abdur-Rahim got called for a technical foul despite the fact his jaw was wired shut.

Dude takes basketball seriously. Tell me he doesn't want to win, coming back two weeks after the tied his face together with metal wires and still yelling at a ref for a bull call.

So yeah, I love Reef.

He should be starting again tonight, either at center or power forward. It's a 7pm start in Arizona. If you think Big Brother's watching you through the PeopleMeter, bring your paper bag. It could will get ugly.

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