It's really too bad that Shaq ain't playing in the Miami Heat's only visit to Sactown. I love that guy.
No no, wait... Don't go away. I have five good reasons for liking the guy that trump his old team's evilness.
Here we go:
1) Shaq Fu: Possibly the most hilarious video game of my youth. I mean, the plot lines of most fighting games sucked, but this one has to take the cake. Shaq is sightseeing in Tokyo on the day of his big All-Star charity game, walks into a dojo, follows an old sensei into a portal, fights a gypsy that turns into a tiger and an Arabian prince and an evil monk and a giant red alien named "Beast." Classy. I beat this game using only light punches and jumps once. True story. I miss my Sega Genesis.
2) The Shaq-Kobe feud: Do I need to explain? "I'm not the one buying love. He's the one buying love," pretty much says it all, right? The fact that the feud broke up a dynasty is just icing.
3) Second best. Punk'd. Ever.: Seriously, the one prank Ashton Kutcher has pulled off (and been allowed to broadcast) was the one where he had Justin Timberlake weeping on the phone to his mom. This was so good because a) Shaq absolutely knew Ashton was gunning for him (Diesel claimed he couldn't be Punk'd the previous day), b) Shaq wasted no time in almost committing assault, and c) a 7'1, 350-pound dude running in street clothes is always high comedy. Ashton gets a free pass for all of his crappy movies because of this prank. (And the JT one. And the Beyonce one was pretty funny, too.)
4) Shaq Central: The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has a complete section of their website devoted to Shaq. People laugh about ESPN assigning Pedro Gomez to cover Barry Bonds nonstop last season, but that's essentially what they've done at the Sun-Sentinel. Just for kicks, since Diesel is injured, here's the top story on Shaq Central right now: "Shaq sees a lot of long-term potential in Curry." Slow news week?
5) Shaq-ramento?: Probably the best headline in the sports section of The Sacramento Bee ever. If you don't remember, the Bee ran this when the Lakers were starting to look at trading O'Neal. Webber, Bibby and draft picks were Sactown's supposed bounty, at that time. Needless to say, a city was in shambles. This is probably the story that led to the current blaise environment of "Take the Kings to Anaheim, who cares." Would've been interesting, though - Shaq and Peja and Bobby Jackson and Brad. Would've been interesting.
So there you go - five reasons I wish Big Daddy was playing tonight. There are another 28 and 12 reasons I'm glad he's not, though.
Onto the starting lineups:
PG - Le Chocolat Blanc
SG - The Flash
SF - James Posey, Quality Small Forward.
PF - Udonis Haslem, Quality Role Player.
C - Alonzo Mourning, Paradoxical Character.
PG - Le Chocolat Marron
SG - The Clash
SF - Peja Stojakovic, Injured Small Forward.
PF - Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Consistent Power Forward.
C - Brad Miller, Chewer of Fine Tobaccos.
The line: Even. Good call. I think the Kings can and should win, given Shaq's absence. Sign me up for $2 on Les Rois.
Fun bet o' the night: Jason Williams' flashy assists to the Royal Court Dancers. I think he's good for four, just like the old days.
Sideshow most likely to be entertaining: Dwyane Wade has to light up when he realizes he's going up against such a poor defensive rebounding team, right? Three putback dunks isn't out of the question.
Best matchup: Brad and Reef vs. Zo and U. If Stan Van Gundy doesn't put Udonis on Brad and Zo on Reef, he doesn't deserve an NBA job. Brad is so good for this reason: He can completely take Mourning's defensive presence out of the picture because of his shooting skills. I wouldn't mind seeing a lot of Kenny Thomas tonight, just to keep Zo out of the paint. Brad could get 8-10 open jumpers tonight - I'm not exaggerating.
To refer to us as Queens.
No - it's a good thing.
It's only a matter of time before some official association of haiku writers sends me a cease-and-desist order, right? Let's go Kings! Back to .500!