Shaq: Great centers never die; They just “Wilt” away

It sucks getting old….

 Whether you are an athlete (professional or self proclaimed weekend warrior) or a bystander fan, couch potato or otherwise, it’s hard for us to come to terms with our “not being like we used to”, our declining performance, our aches and pains…those little things…A sprained ankle, a heel spur, plantar fasciitis, all can sideline us for weeks.

 It was hard for me to watch Shaq, at the ripe old age of 39, play basketball this year (when he actually took the court).  Plagued by injuries, he was strong of mind, but weak of body.  It took him a while but he realized that there was no coming back from his Achilles tendon injury, a frequent malady of the older athlete (professional or otherwise).  Just ask my orthopedic surgeon brother, who continues to limp after an Achilles tear he sustained during a basketball game.  Tough to recover from, often career ending.

 It is a sad passage. We don’t like to see our superstars struggle.  As I look at the picture of the young Shaq of yesteryear on my refrigerator door, looking ferocious in his Laker uniform underneath the caption “Want a piece of me?” I wonder if it is this hard for me to watch him try to be the player he once was, what’s it like for this aging athlete?

 Many have trouble realizing it is time to move on and hang on… unfortunately, going out on a low note rather than a high note…perhaps tarnishing their legacy a bit on their way out.…Brett Farve, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada (almost gone), Shaq….

 Quite the character since entering the NBA 20 years ago, during his glory days Shaq was the “Diesel”. Truly unstoppable under the basket, we should remember him for his 4 NBA championships, his leadership role in LA andMiami, his inside game, more than 2,000 baskets and 28,000+ points.  We won’t mention his foul shooting prowess (yes, I jest).

  During his waning years, he traveled from team to team in search of just one more ring.  His travels led him toPhoenix, Cleveland and lastly, Boston.  It was a little comical.  We never knew where he was going to turn up. A wild ride..A journey   On a mission, perhaps a mission to turn back the clock, yearning for one more title, one more big win.  Looking to contribute, to be essential once again.

 An imposing figure both on and off the court, Shaq will be missed.  He was one of the greats of the game, a true Hall of Famer .  The big man changed the face of basketball.

 It is hard to see him go. His legacy will live on.  So for now, he can kick back, chill and watch his Kazaam DVD for a little while, but it will likely only be for a short time, he can’t live off the royalties from that flick.

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2 Responses to Shaq: Great centers never die; They just “Wilt” away

  1. jeremy says:

    Good job. Keep writing 🙂

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