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Shaq’s Thursday News and Views

For the past week, basketball fans have done everything short of wearing “Team Jordan” or “Team LeBron” as they’ve battled among themselves to determine whether His Airness or King James is a better basketball player.  While ESPN continued to beat comparisons and arguments into the ground Wednesday, the man who shared the NBA superstar spotlight with both quietly rode into the sunset as Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement through Twitter after 19 NBA seasons.  Over the course of his final four seasons, which were spent with three teams, Shaq faded a bit from the national spotlight (though he posted a quiet 18 and 8 for Phoenix in 2008-09), but there was no player not named Michael Jordan who loomed as large off the court as he did on it.  His stronghold of the center position in the early 2000s is still, arguably, the most dominant run I’ve seen from any player, though I’ll willingly admit he wasn’t exactly facing Kareem and Russell out there.  He made millions for guys like Matt Geiger and Erick Dampier and changed the way teams drafted while being accused of being out of shape and only focusing on the last three months of the season.  Through it all, he mastered acting in Blue Chips and Kazaam, saved Nezu, raised the awareness of Taco Neck exponentially and asked the world’s most important question:  “Kobe how’s my a** taste?”.   It’s safe to say that the world may never see anyone like Shaquille O’Neal again.  It’s been fun, big fella.  Best of luck in retirement.  You should be warned, though, if you want to dominate my rec league, you’re going to have to finally work on those free throws.

Now onto a few UK notes…

 – The big news of the day came late Wednesday when it was announced that the SEC would do away with divisions in basketball beginning next season.  The decision came after the athletic directors approved the recommendation made by the coaches, under the leadership of John Calipari, to eliminate the East and West divisions.  Coach Cal said Tuesday that he was going to encourage his fellow coaches to be very involved in the process, but that his ultimate goal was to find a way to get more SEC teams into the NCAA Tournament.  By making this change, the SEC will now avoid situations like this past season where Alabama was so dominant in the West, but did not earn an automatic bid and teams like Vanderbilt do not get forced into a first round game.  For the upcoming seasons, the scheduling will remain the same, so it’s possible that we won’t see the full benefits of a completely open conference, but no matter how they decide to make the schedules in 2012-13, the league should be in better position to send an extra team or two into the NCAA Tournament.  Additionally, should they all home-and-home scheduling league-wide, the teams formerly in the West can benefit by guaranteed home games with Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt.  Those guaranteed games likely mean a boost in ticket sales, as well as a better shot at national attention.  Overall, it seems to be a huge positive step forward for the conference as a whole.

 – One of the other big topics as the SEC meeting was the idea of paying players and both John Calipari and Joker Phillips opposed the notion.  Calipari emphatically stated his opposition to the idea, while the football coaches were presented with a plan by Steve Spurrier that would allow football players to earn $300 per game.  Spurrier’s proposal was signed by Nick Saban, Will Muschamp, Les Miles, Houston Nutt, Dan Mullen and Derek Dooley, but Joker chose to abstain.  His reasoning was not that he thought that it was a bad idea, just that he didn’t feel good about jumping on board with something that wasn’t set in stone.  However, all parties seemed to agree that the most important part of the proposal was simply the dialogue that it opened up and most seem optimistic that it will at least continue.

 – The football coaches came together on a different issue, however, and voted unanimously to keep the number of football signings per class at 28.  Despite the coaches voting 12-0 against changing the rule, it’s still possible that changes could be in the future.  The SEC presidents and chancellors will vote Friday and have the ultimate decision regarding the rule.  The current rule allows for 28 players to sign and 25 to enroll, allowing the flexibility of using grayshirts.

 – On a completely different note, the posturing for draft position continues to be strong in the Enes Kanter camp as his agent, Mike Naiditch, dropped a few bold quotes Wednesday.  Naiditch said that he expects Enes to go in the top two picks – top three at worst – and likened the Turkish big man to Dwight Howard and said he rebounds like Dennis Rodman.  Kanter remains in Chicago at the ATTACK facility with Tim Grover and will be visited by the Jazz (#3 pick) this week and the Raptors (#5 pick) Monday.  Despite the widespread assumption that Derrick Williams will go #2 overall, whispers remain that the Timberwolves are still intrigued Kanter. 

 – It’s been a fairly quiet summer so far for Terrence Jones, who most assumed would be going through the draft process right now.  He turned down an invitation to participate as a member of Team USA earlier in the week and Wednesday, his almost coach, Lorenzo Romar, offered up some refreshingly friendly words when asked about Jones working out and playing pickup games at the University of Washington.  This is what Romar had to say to Sportspress Northwest:

“I have no problem with it. I think any time you have good players coming to your gym, it’s a plus. A lot of people will want to say, well, he turned his back on you. No, he didn’t. He went where he thought was best, and I understand he made a decision publicly and all but, man, if I live my life based on people who did things differently than I thought, I’d be a pretty miserable guy. So, I kind of tend to move on.”

Well said, Coach.  Good thing too.  Anything questionable and Cal would have been forced to take something from you.  Again. 

– Hey, remember DeAndre Daniels and all the times we kept saying he was going to make a decision on (insert date here)? He pushed his decision back again. I know Kentucky is not involved, but I know we all like smiling, so that’s enough reason to continue following this. Right?

 – It was a basketball-free night, so there weren’t a lot of fantastic television options besides the Nasty Boys on Man vs. Food.  And that’s why you should kick yourself if you didn’t watch at least the final few minutes of the Stanley Cup Finals game between a blue team and a white team.  Vancouver skated off with a win after scoring the first goal of the game with 18.5 seconds remaining, making for a great story on the fourth or fifth page of your local sports section.  Ok, no more hockey.  I promise.

 – After watching roughly 5 million playoff basketball games in the last month, I somehow forgot that Wednesday was also the premiere of Franklin and Bash on TNT.  Matt says it was good.  I’m going to watch the replay right now.  I’ll get back to you next week.  If you saw it, throw your opinion in below.

That’s it for now.  Make sure you stick around all day as we celebrate our first day together as a united SEC.  Matt will get the fun going with Kentucky Sports Radio at 10am on Talk Radio 1080.  From there, things should be fun, though I can’t promise I’ll be fully focused.  I’ll be in Miami violating my strict “Grown Men Shouldn’t Wear Jerseys” rule with pride.  Go Mavs.  In the meantime, remember that it’s gotta be T.W.I.S.M. for life…

See you in a few…

Article written by Thomas Beisner

33 Comments for Shaq’s Thursday News and Views

  1. fatcar
    11:22 pm June 1, 2011 Permalink


  2. bleedblue
    11:34 pm June 1, 2011 Permalink


  3. kycager
    11:36 pm June 1, 2011 Permalink

    Jesus Beisner, stop sucking the shaq diesel!
    Remember when REGGIE HANSON beat shaq and chris jackson? unfortunately as likable as he is SHAQ IS OVERRATED! many men with his talent would have dominated so hard they would have had to change the rules….wait. that did happen, with players who didn’t have his physical attributes but were LIGHT YEARS beyond him as a competitor.
    he was great but he was no john wall.
    i bet the LAPD cant wait for their newest rookie…

  4. AKA cold buckets
    11:52 pm June 1, 2011 Permalink

    Tomlin’s Franklin&Bash tweets had me rolling. Funny stuff.

  5. Drew Franklin
    11:52 pm June 1, 2011 Permalink

    3. – That might be the best comment I’ve ever seen on KSR.

    C’mon, Beisner! Shaq was great but he was no John Wall.

  6. mocha
    12:08 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Drew, Kato from japan sends his love. You’re still his homeboy.

  7. hahahahahaha
    12:09 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…but seriously though shaq isnt reggie hanson and is definitely no shagari alleyene also. I mean shagari would whoop shaq like he dominated big baby davis when he was LSU. I mean Big Baby played better than shaq this year so big baby is better than shaq and therefore shagari is better than shaq. damn you beisner!

  8. AKA cold buckets
    1:29 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    I mean….Patrick Ewing was good but he was no Eric Bledsoe.

  9. phraKture
    2:36 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Charles Barkley was turrible, no doubt, but he was no Terrence Jennings.

  10. Blaineman
    3:35 am June 2, 2011 Permalink better watch yourself wearing that Dirk Jersey down in Miami….I hear those Heat fans are Skrate Gangsta…Just ask Chuck Barkley

  11. Bg Cat
    6:17 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Going To 1 Division In Bball Helps The Other Schools More Than It Does Uk. I Hope They Dont Add More Conference Games In The Future Because We Might Lose Some Out Of Conference Marquee Games. There Is No Value Of A Home And Home With Auburn.

  12. Grammar King
    7:51 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Please don’t respond to #10. It’s what he wants.

  13. Al's IndiCats
    7:55 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    12, does Auburn have a basketball team? Shaq was just flat out lazy once his fat azz got in the pros. He thought he could intimadate by hard fouling then crying to the officials once he fouled out. So help me, Shaq’s first two years in the pros I would’ve bet the house that Dale Brown would’ve ran on the court to cover him up like he did against (put team name here) in the SEC tournament.

  14. JeffC
    8:13 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Shaq announced his retirement on Tout not Twitter

  15. Gilchrist on D
    8:17 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Shaq’s rapping = Saul Smith

  16. Major
    8:25 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    It’s not possible to go back to the classic home-and-away every year. That would be 22 games a season. That was the reason for the divisions in the first place. They could maybe go back to 18 games and have two permanent home-and-away opponents from the other division. Like, maybe we could play all of the east schools, plus Arkansas and LSU home and away, but continue to only play the other four west teams once per year.

  17. Manbearpig
    8:30 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    I’m just sad that the last playable character from the original NBA JAM retired…..

  18. Manbearpig
    8:30 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    crap should have been *last active

  19. Al's IndiCats
    8:32 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Karem Abdul Jabbar was great, but he was no Mark Coury!
    On another note……Nope that was it.

  20. littlericky555
    8:32 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Franklin & Bash was great.. Im hooked!

  21. mores
    8:44 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Abstaining doesn’t mean opposed. It means you didn’t vote. It’s not a difficult concept.

  22. bung
    8:48 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    throw out Ark and SC and go back to a 10 team round robin schedule like it used to be, restart UKIT, drop sec tourney, hire Ky people (Cal can stay), sign at least one Ky kid every year, and play on Mon and Sat

  23. westernhillspg
    8:48 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    How can they get away with paying players?

  24. westernhillspg
    8:50 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    and 12- Whye dew yew kapituliize evry werd yew tipe?

  25. westernhillspg
    8:52 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    oh and 23- do we need to go back to segregation too?

  26. Buckets
    8:54 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    If they don’t put Shaq on “Inside the NBA” with the Chuckwagon, the Jet and Ernie, they’re nuts. Great TV. It’s already great, but it would be even better.

  27. El Dude
    8:55 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    #23- Too bad I wouldn’t be able to see the games, because none of us would have cable or satellite.

  28. dougie
    8:57 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    shaq was definitely hanging with steven segal at the 134 mark of the rap video. Sweeeeet cameo. You have to love that.

  29. uk6man from Loserville
    11:43 am June 2, 2011 Permalink

    who cares Shaq sucked. HE walked every time he got the ball back into players and used his size to foul people to tget them out of his way but they never called it, went over the line on frethorws evey time he shot one, no call, I guess the rules did not apply to this guy. My thought, if you can not conform to the rules of a game maybe you should be in a different game. But who am I kidding, the NBA sucks and does not call fouls or violations hardly ever anyway. So way to go Shaq you are the best of the rule breakers from down low. Whoopty freaking whoop.

  30. Jordan
    12:00 pm June 2, 2011 Permalink

    franklin and bash was hilarious

  31. Don't nobody bother the Mayor
    12:04 pm June 2, 2011 Permalink

    Well put beezy.

  32. Rhymes With Thespian
    5:21 pm June 2, 2011 Permalink

    please please please don’t expand the SEC schedule to more games. Get rid of the divisions, but we play enough games already.

  33. Fort Worth Cats Fan
    7:10 pm June 2, 2011 Permalink

    kycager is a blogger, but he’s no Kige Ramsey. Hater. Bro. O’Neal will be missed on the hardwoods. Roo to the Ques!