Shaquille O’Neal will bring buzz, exposure and basketball frenzy back to the Valley. (NBAE Photos)
Charles took non-NBA fans and turned them into basketball fanatics who couldn’t wait to watch the next Suns game and witness the next unpredictable move by Sir Charles.
I also felt it was a curse because when Barkley left for Houston it was my belief that the Suns would never be able to generate that kind of passion, that kind of exposure, that kind of basketball frenzy ever again.
Well here we are witnessing the Second Coming with Shaq. His press conference and arrival in Phoenix has been met with a Barkley-like Buzz along with the skepticism which will only fuel the drama as this titanic trade plays out. Media outlets locally and nationally carried his press party live. Radio stations phones are lighting-up. The internet blogs are overflowing with “expert” opinions and predictions of whether this gamble by the Suns will pay off.
In my mind, it has already paid off in terms of interest and intrigue world-wide! Shaq flashed his flamboyant personality–displaying his wit, his playfulness, and his overall magnetic appeal. And like one of his vicious power james, he hammered home the message of leading this team to its first NBA title, all the while making the critics “eat their words.” Shaq is resolute about taking Amare to the next level and making Raja Bell an even better shooter. He stopped just short of guaranteeing a championship, but added that guarantee could come after a few practices with his new team.
This is one dynamic player and personality who has taken all 3 of his previous teams to the NBA Finals. Is he the same player he was even two years ago? Maybe not, but he doesn’t have to be when surrounded by Nash, Amare, Grant Hill, Raja, Barbosa and Diaw. Think about opposing coaches game-planning for this double-barreled attack. The Suns can now dismantle opponents with their speed game and new-found power play.
Believe me, I know what Shawn Marion provided. As I’ve said in the past, he covered more real estate than Century 21 and was the quintessential Sun in Mike D’Antoni’s system. But in the end, he wanted out. He asked to be traded. He could have opted-out and walked away after this season leaving the Suns with nothing in return. So the Suns made the bold move, and it’s no disgrace to be dealt for quite possibly the most dominating big man this league has ever seen. Now we will see if this roll of the dice works on the court. It’s NBA theatre at its best featuring the Biggest (and hopefully Baddest) star this league has to offer. Tune in to the Shaq and Awe of Suns basketball. I’m sure you will!!