I have nothing significant to add. So instead, I’d like to talk about the fans that escaped death-by-Shaq in his heroic Superman flight into the stands.
For those of you who didn’t see the game, Steve Nash missed his shot and Shaq sprinted towards the sideline to grab the rebound. The drama began about a half-second later when it became clear that Shaq had run out of court but wouldn’t give up on the ball. He planted his feet squarely, then bounced up and over two young boys in court side seats, threw the ball back on the court, and then smeared a dozen adults in rows 2-3.
He landed much like a pole-vaulter crashes on his back into a pit of fluffy sponges. Except this pole vaulter was Shaq, and the fluffy sponges were ordinary people enjoying the game. Those of you who fail to have compassion for these people don’t understand Shaq’s size.� He is 7 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 325 pounds – roughly as large as the refrigerator in your kitchen.
Take a few seconds to look away from the computer and size up that big fat fridge in the other room. Now imagine that refrigerator flying at your head. Yeah, that’s pretty scary. The scene was so outrageous that the entire US Airways Center erupted. (An energy that carried through the final seconds of the fourth quarter.) Shaq struggled to pull himself up from the knot of fans and got back in the game.
Video of Shaq flying into the stands.
A few minutes later, one of the fan-victims got a primetime interview with ABC. Another sustained an injury to his lip, but he’s expected to be at the next game in top health. But the real winners are the two young boys who sat courtside. Why? Because they get to tell this story for the rest of their lives.
To help you understand where I am coming from, you have to first understand how much males enjoy telling stories about themselves. The most popular man stories will include one of the following:
- Almost dying. It doesn’t matter how you almost died. It’s just cool that you came close. (See Gladiator, 2000.)
- Someone saving your life. This is great because guys like loyalty. If someone saves your life, you owe them a big one. It gives your life purpose. (See Sandlot, 1993.)
- Fighting a bear. I don’t think I have to explain this. (See Legends of the Fall, 1994)
- An encounter with a celebrity. Most women are content with just meeting a celebrity, but men won’t be satisfied unless it’s a bizarre or absolutely normal experience with a celebrity. Let me give you an example. Bizarre means that you saw Michael Jackson hold his kid over a hotel balcony (2002.) Absolutely normal means you stood behind Sean Penn in a long bathroom line in a New York City nightclub or you went bowling in Los Angeles with *NSYNC. (Both of which happened to me, 2000.)
Those two young boys have the ultimate story because their story includes numbers one, two, and both sides of four. While the grownups only get a week to tell their story to jealous and unimpressed co-workers, these little guys have at least ten more years before they graduate high school. This story be retold to eager audiences of close friends, new acquaintances, and future girlfriends.
In twenty years when these two boys are grown men, one of them will meet Shaq at a charity event downtown. He’ll stand at the foot of Goliath and recall the details of the big Suns/Spurs game back in ’08. Shaq will chuckle at the memory, and then point to his 5th NBA Championship ring and remind them that it was a good season with the Suns, just like he promised.