Friday, November 08, 2002

TOWARDS A SHAQLESS LEAGUE: Steel O'Neal realizes his mortality in this Boston Globe article:

''I don't bounce back like I used to bounce back,'' O'Neal said. ''It's just one of those things. They know and I know I'm not the same person I was when I came into the league.

''I was 19 years old, and I could do anything. I never got hurt. But the sun doesn't always shine forever.''

In fact, O'Neal revealed last night, he can see the end of his career coming, and it could be much sooner than most Laker fans think.

''I always said when I wasn't winning championships, `All I want is to win one, then I can stop,''' Shaq said. ''But now that I have three rings, I want to get five. After I get five, I'm going.

''And, when it comes time to [write] my book, I want everyone to say, `He was dominant to the end.'

''Patrick Ewing was once a dominant player. At the end of his career, he's coming off the bench for Orlando.

''That's not how it's going to go for me. When I win that last championship, I'm going to say, `You know what? I'm done.' You won't ever see me out there, playing eight minutes a game, trying to hit short jumpers instead of dominating inside like I'm supposed to.''

My own enthusiam for the Lakers losing to the Celtics last night was tempered by the knowledge that it'd all be different if Shaq was out there. But I'm enjoying this unpredictable Shaq-free part of the season, and looking forward to a time when there isn't just one guy with such a huge impact on the rest of the league--or at least when said guy isn't on the same team with Kobe Bryant.

No comments: