By David Schuster-
(CBS) Shaquille O’Neal has had a lot of nicknames over the years (most self-bestowed). There was “Big Diesel,” “Shaq Daddy,” “Big Aristotle,” and “Big Shaqtus” among many others. But when it comes to his broadcasting comments as an analyst for TNT, I’ve got a new one for him.
“The Big Dummy.”
On the cusp of the NBA season, O’Neal was talking about Bulls big man Pau Gasol and said, “Pau is old and finished.” Well, we should all be so old and finished.
It’s only five games into the season, but Gasol is off to a great start in averaging 18.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. In his own words Gasol says he’s “re-energized” and is having fun playing again. Of course, anything would be fun after playing for Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers the last two seasons. Talk about a dysfunctional team there, with no set offense and absolutely no defensive philosophy at all.
But now in Chicago under Tom Thibodeau, Gasol is back in a structured system and has used it to all his advantages.
The 34-year-old Gasol isn’t the dominant and active player he was five years ago during the Lakers’ championship runs, but at 7-foot, he’s still capable of posting up anybody and invariably will command a double team, which frees up all the Bulls’ shooters.
There will be times during a long NBA season that Gasol will frustrate you when he gets stripped of the ball or his man beats him on defense, but to call him “finished” is absolute nonsense.
Like I said: We should all be so “old and finished.” Thanks for the laugh Shaq — or should I say the “Big Clown.”
David Schuster is a reporter, update anchor and weekend host for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @Schumouse.