Thursday, June 02, 2011

06/02 (Shaqadelic) Quickie

Shaq retires: Shaq and I are almost the same age, and I vividly remember him at LSU (worth a trip to YouTube), then -- of course -- when he took over the NBA.

My favorite part about all the tributes from the past day (you've got to see the Quickish "Shaq" stream for the best of the best) is this:

Shaq intuitively understood the intersection between sports and entertainment. From the Pepsi ads to his rapping to his early adoption of Twitter, he was a populist at heart.

Yes, he didn't necessarily maximize his talents by working out maniacally -- then again, he was so good, he didn't have to; he won multiple rings and individual awards anyway.

He had work-life balance in a way we don't see or appreciate in the NBA anymore -- now it's all "Rise and Grind," with Kevin Durant's work ethic as the standard.

And that's all fine and good -- I certainly find a lot to admire about Durant's approach. But there is something to be said for Shaq's way, even if he was uniquely talented to pull it off.

More on the radar today:

*Stanley Cup: Oh my god, I can't believe this happened.

*NBA Finals Game 2: Must-win for the Mavs? Pretty much, yes. (All eyes on that injured left finger of Dirk's.)

*Ricky Rubio coming to the NBA: Can't shoot. Can't play D. But a showman! (And, frankly, that's what the T'wolves need. If you're not going to contend, you might as well be entertaining. And between Rubio, Kevin Love and -- presumably -- Derrick Williams, Minnesota will be.)

*Steve Spurrier wants to pay college football players: They already get massive extra benefits, so a little bit more cash will hardly tilt the balance. (But again: Where does it stop? If your standard is "The school makes millions off of them," then a few thousand bucks extra will never cut it.)

*Spelling Bee: One of my favorite events of the year, a sports event far more pressure-packed than an NBA Finals game or NHL Stanley Cup final game. As is my penchant, I tend to favor the competitors with previous experience -- I'll take Laura Newcombe.

Much more all day. Please pop by Quickish for the best takes on the biggest topics (moments of "breaking news" like Shaq's retirement are always a lot of fun).

-- D.S.

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