A Little More on the MDE
Andy covered the bases on Shaq's courtside appearance on Sunday, so there's no need to rehash at length. I agree that there was no reason for Shaq to stop by, other than to get the huge applause, his face on the Jumbotron, and to rub Kobe's face in the pageantry. It was pretty bush. My question is this: Why did the Lakers play the Superman theme, announcing his presence as if a hero had come home? Yeah, he's a hero for many LA fans, but one who plays now for another team, certainly played a role in his own exit from town, insulting the owner (verbally) and fans (through a lack of fitness) during the year or so before he was traded.
Put his face on the Jumbotron. Let fans know he's there (like they wouldn't have noticed anyway?). Let fans applaud him for the years he gave to this city. When his playing days are over, retire his number. He deserves all that. But to play the music while the man sat courtside, watching his rival struggle to carry a thin team, added something I thought was wrong. On another team whose locker room soap opera wasn't the lead night in and night out on SportsCenter, it might have been okay. But here, where every action is laced with meaning, it sent out the wrong message. Yeah, Shaq put the team in an awkward spot, but the Lakers (perhaps in an effort to seem diplomatic) made it even more so.