Dwight Howard is clapping his hands inviting Shaq to test his defense while Shaq was holding the ball he made a pass behind Dwight’s legs to Chris Paul and Paul return the favor with a no look pass with Shaq dunking the basketball. It was a fun atmosphere and the crowd applauded their star center. It was Shaq’s night having played his entire career as an All-star dancing with Jabbawockeez and grabbing the co-MVP award with his former teammate Kobe Bryant.
Shaquille just turned 37 this year. The ever reliable center the dominant force of the NBA is now slowly having signs of vulnerability although there are flashes of an old Shaq who bulldoze his way to the ring. He got 45 points in Toronto and averaging 17.4 points a game with 8.8 rebounds but the Suns are spending a hefty $20 million contract for an aging center who doesn’t command a double team anymore. Shaq is looking at a mirror in Dwight Howard a young and likeable center who wears the same charisma and wears the same nickname with Shaq… Superman…Dwight is now the new dominant force of the NBA the 6 foot 11 center from the Orlando Magic leads the league in Shot blocks and rebounds. At still 23 years old his life as an All-star has just begun while Shaq is slowly on his way out. Shaq has a habit of bashing his old teammates and coaches. We knew what happened with him against Penny Hardaway, the bitter exit against Kobe Bryant and coach Jackson and now his bashing against his former team’s coach Stan Van Gundy who incidentally coaches Dwight in Orlando. When Shaq was on Orlando Stan heard all the trash talk against Howard. Shaq hated Howard’s defensive presence, he hate knowing his 14 years younger and playing on the same team that drafted him. Stan Van Gundy had to make a stand and because Howard doesn’t fight back and go down to his level Stan fought Shaq with a barrage of his own.
His indispensable contract made him harder to trade and with the Sun’s strings of bad decision like trading Bell and Diaw for Richardson they might as well deal with what Shaq has left to offer. He will forever be the Big Aristotle or the Big Daddy in the NBA but he has to face the music. There is nothing to prove he has done what he had to do. 37 is just a number but in the NBA it’s a time where you think hard about your career and move on. Maybe Shaq needs to grow up before he calls it quits.
After his dunk against Dwight Howard in the All-Star game, everybody was having fun. But deep inside the big Aristotle’s head…He means business.