When the Phoenix Suns take on the San Antonio Spurs this thursday Shaquille O'neal will be seeking to surpass his "idol", and former NBA great, Hakeem Olajuwon. Currently the Diesel is 5pts shy of the Dream's all-time mark of 26, 546pts scored in the NBA (159 games short of Hakeem in that regard). With all the emerging superstars in our society today, it has become very easy to dismiss this achievement however, The big Aristotle needs to be celebrated more often.
Shaq has dominated at every level has as played on dating back to his high school days when he went 68-1 before winning the State title in Texas. Then he dominated the college ranks during his 3 year stay at LSU. I think his LSU days helped him learn how to become the big bully that he is today because he flat out dominated all challengers. The closest thing to the next Shaq in the Association right now is Dwight Howard but he appears to lack that bully / aggressive mentality that Shaq was able to harness at LSU. It is a lot of credit to Shaq for going to LSU as opposed to trying to jump to the NBA right out of high school like Howard did and should serve as an inspiration to any talented high school prospect out there - Do it like Shaquille did, go to school first, the benefits are priceless. Now Dr. Shaqcasso has his Bachelors, a MBA and is working on his PhD. There are not many athletes who can say the same thing. It seems he is not just satisfied with bullying on the court, he is taking his bullying into the real world now and that is commendable.
His NBA Career speaks for itself. Since being drafted by the Orlando Magic, Big IPO has been money for all the teams for whom he has played. He lead the Magic to promised land in the '94-'95 season, won 3 consecutive titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000-2002 and won another title with the Miami Heat in 2006. It is safe to say that the minute Shaquille adorns a uniform he automatically gives a team a chance to get to the promised land and the opportunity to win one for the fans. I am a big believer right now in the Big Stock Exchange in that every now and then his value might go down but he will find a way to go back up again. I believe that time is now. The Phoenix Suns are a little bit under the radar this year and that should serve them well when the playoffs come around. The window of opportunity is surely closing as Steve Nash has begun to contemplate life North of the Border (or worse, in NY). If the Suns are going to make a legitimate run at the NBA title it will have to be this year and Shaquille O'neal has stepped up to the plate.
As hard as it is to go against the Spurs again this year I have to put the Suns in the NBA Finals this year versus the Boston Celtics. It definitely will be an interesting match-up. One thing is for sure, Shaq is not done dominating the league and I hope he celebrates surpassing Olajuwon on the scoring list this Thursday. No one deserves it more. Thank you Shaq for bringing fun to basketball.