In Hollywood, they give out something called the Razzies, which honors the worst films of the year. To give you an idea, “Gigli” cleaned up during last February’s awards. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck took the top awards, joining such Razzie legends as Madonna, Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore in the pantheon of the pitiful.
I always felt there should be a similar award for hip hop music. I like hip hop, but bad hip hop is excruciating. I’d rather listen to a jackhammer at a construction site. I wish they’d come up with something called the Hip Flops, which would single out the dregs of that music genre. And I have an idea who would instantly become synonymous with the Hip Flop:
That rhymin’ fool Shaquille O’Neal.
Recently he bashed Kobe Bryant in a new CD. Here’s a sample: “Even with wings you never as fly as me. You remind me of Kobe Bryant trying to be as high as me. But you can’t. Even if you get me traded. Wherever I’m at, I’m Puffy. You Mase, and you’re still hated.”
The Bryant-bashing lyrics made news, but they also conveniently overshadowed the fact that O’Neal might be the worst rapper in history. He has had a stranglehold on that distinction for years. If you added a pounding bass track to the sounds of a sewer pipe backing up, it would approximate Shaq’s contributions to music.
Apparently he has even more of those than he does potential Hip Flop nominations.
Shaq really should shut his blab trap. Logic would suggest that in order to prove he was an indispensable part of the Lakers’ success before he got traded to the Miami Heat, he should low-key it, play his butt off and silence the doubters and the critics by lifting his new team to glory.
Shaq is all about Shaq. Always has been, always will be. His infantile rants against his former team and teammate just reinforces the fact that even while he was the class of the league at his position, he was classless. He mostly kept it under wraps as a Laker, because the team was doing well and he was recognized as a major reason why.
But now, adversity has befallen. I don’t mean real-life adversity. This is NBA-style adversity, the phony kind. Adversity for an NBA superstar is when the Bentley has a flat tire, and he is forced to drive the Escalade.
For Shaq, it involves the scrutiny that comes with the Lakers’ falling short against the Pistons in the NBA Finals, a Cold War with Kobe, a trade to Miami and the perception that he is aging and overweight. Instead of taking on that faux adversity like a man, he has chosen to chuck verbal grenades here and there to make the public understand that he was the aggrieved party in Los Angeles.
Besides Kobe, Shaq has also had harsh words for the Lakers’ ownership and management. He blasted GM Mitch Kupchak, even though the village idiot understands that when the owner makes a major financial decision involving personnel and the direction of the franchise, the GM’s primary role from that point on is to fill out the paperwork. He accused the Lakers of making him a “scapegoat,” then posed the question: “Who’s going to be the scapegoat now?”
I still think it was foolish to trade Shaquille O’Neal. What the Lakers had — a three-cornered power base manned by Shaq, Kobe and Phil Jackson — was special and extremely difficult to manufacture. But I feel that way purely in basketball terms.
In terms of human relations, good riddance. The two most vivid indicators of his character remain these nuggets:
And here it is, late September, and Shaq is back at it. He cries about the Lakers needing a scapegoat, suggesting they are unwilling to take responsibility for the club’s recent failures and need to blame somebody. But he is the one who came to camp every fall looking like Haystacks Calhoun. He is the one whose free-throw shooting has worsened to the point where his mere presence on the floor in the fourth quarter is a serious danger to his team’s fortunes. He is the one who has allowed his physical conditioning to deteriorate to the point where he can no longer dominate the competition in back-to-back games.
Yet, he is the one seeking payback?
What I like most about hip-hop music is its authenticity. Like the best rock or rhythm and blues, it comes from the soul. But Shaq’s raps sound like they come from the brain, and specifically from the same part that controls his free throws.
It looks like it’s going to be a long, long year.
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