In searching for a fair and unbiased sample group of sports fans from outside of Cleveland, I stumbled into my family re-union this past weekend. While I can’t say that my extended family is unbiased, or particularly fair, I can say that they’re from Philadelphia. And the only thing that I can say about Philadelphia is, at least its not Pittsburgh. To that point, my uncles told me repeatedly about how the Phillies won the World Series this past season. Like I missed it. And I also heard that even if they don’t get Roy Holliday, the Phils are still a shoe-in to win it again this year. All that rhetoric was to be expected, but I was a bit surprised to hear their take on the Cavaliers landing the Shaq-alier this offseason.
After telling me that they thought of me when the Magic eliminated the Cavaliers last season, and that they figured it was probably Cleveland’s year going into the Eastern Conference Finals, they proceeded to ask me my thoughts on Shaq.
I have the exchange detailied below for your reference:
Uncle ‘A': Brendan, what are your thoughts on the Cavaliers adding Shaquille O’Neal?
Me: I think its great. No way he doesn’t improve the team if he stays healthy. The Magic really exposed the fact that the Cavaliers had a gaping hole inside last year, Shaq will help there.
Uncle ‘A’: So you think he makes them better?
Me: Yeah, for sure.
Uncle ‘A’ then turns to Uncle ‘B’, rolls his eyes, and makes a snide remark under his breath, to which I said in response…
Me: What? You think he hurts the Cavaliers? How do you figure that?
Uncle ‘B': Because he’s Shaq. How’d he do in the playoffs last year?
Me: The Suns didn’t make the playoffs last year.
Uncle ‘B': That’s my point.
Me: That’s not a point. That doesn’t even make any sense.
Uncle ‘B’ and Uncle ‘A’ exchange a laugh, and a high five in a manner similar to the way most middle aged white guys high-five.
Uncle ‘A': Shaq’s washed up…that’s going to be a bad move for you guys.
Me: Shaq averaged 18 and 7 last year. If he averages 14 and 6 he’s still at least going to be better than Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic – combined.
Uncle ‘B': Sasha who?
Me: Have fun with Sam Dalembert and Willie Green this year.