I know it seems that we dump on Kobe every chance we get. I know that. And maybe we’ll slow our roll soon. But that day is not today kids.
Last night I was surfing channels before I settled down on reruns of “The Office” when I saw that commercial for Shaq’s new TV show. You know, the one where he helps overweight kids lose weight and live healthy all the while dropping Shaq-isms on us. My favorite is when he’s holding the feet of the boy doing crunches and the kid is working so hard he squeezes out a fart, prompting Shaq to say, “You can’t be farting on me, Walter.” It cracks me up every time. Anyway, the commercial brought about two thoughts: 1) I want to watch that show, and 2) Shaq is infinitely more likable and marketable than Kobe is three years after the Shaq trade.
Remember the days when Shaq was pushing 400 pounds and eating his way through the offseason? The Lakers moved him as a preemptive measure for what ultimately turned out to be Lamar Odom, a one year lease on Caron Butler that turned into Cake Brown, and Brian Grant’s decaying corpse. The Lakers were worried that Shaq was not going to be the same athlete anymore. He was eating everything in sight. I even heard that one day when Shaq couldn’t find his stack of club sandwiches a towel boy went missing and all they ever found was his shoe covered in barbecue sauce.
After the trade, Big Diesel decided it was time to drop a few pounds and show his former team what a big mistake they made in the trade. He ended up with another championship in 2005 and all the Lakers have to show for their troubles are a couple first round playoff losses to Phoenix. Meanwhile, Kobe has had some great individual performances. But he’s also become the most attention hungry, me-first pro athletes this side of Terrell Owens. People are tired of hearing about him. (Which makes me question if I should be writing about it, hmm…)
Now Shaq is doing a TV show and is still one of the most enjoyable personalities the League has to offer. Kobe has few endorsements and most fans just want him to grow a pair and live with the situation he made for himself. (Or is that just me?)