Tonight marks the beginning of the NBA Finals between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers, and while some are anticipating many things to occur, there’s one thing, in particular, that will occur as well. It’s one thing that has haunted the Lakers for the past five seasons, but it looks like it is finally coming to an end, hence the title of this post.
I make no apologies about being a huge fan of Shaquille O’Neal, aka The Big Homie as we like to refer to him at ETSF. Yesterday, we posted an e-mail exchange between Ed and The Great Philip Barnett of Talk Hoops, and it got me to thinking: do I really hate the Lakers, do I truly hate #24, or do I just hate some of their dastardly deeds, fraudulent-ass fan base, and their overall heir of superiority over the years? Well, the answer is all of the above, but it mainly stems from the summer of 2004.
The Lakers were just pummeled into oblivion by the Detroit Pistons in the ’04 Finals in five games. We all remember that time; Shaq had two monster games in that Finals, which usually result in automatic wins, except Detroit won both games. Once the series was over, and the dust settled, Jerry Buss got his “Goldie from The Mack” on, and chose Kobe over The Big Aristotle. Now it may have truly been a case where they just had to go in another direction, but I didn’t understand how you part with Shaq, especially while he was still the most unstoppable force in all of sports. Once they did that, I wished a slow and excruciating basketball death upon the Lakers entire franchise, their fan base, and one of the orchestrators behind it; none other than Kobe Bryant.
For five years, the Lakers have been to hell and back. They’ve missed the playoffs altogether, been blasted in the first round, and even made the Finals last year, just to get sprayed again. While others seem to chalk it up to lack of support for their star, better competition, and hungrier opposition, I chalked it up to one thing: the Ghost of Shaquille O’Neal’s past, and their failure to repent for their sickening deeds. They had to be humbled to the lowest point, before they were actually prepared to get The Ring. However, it looks like the Lakers have finally turned the corner, and are on the verge of winning their first championship since 2002, and who is right there to root them on: none other than The Big Homie himself, Shaquille O’Neal (via his Twitter page).
So that’s why I’m picking the Lakers to win this series. What Orlando has managed to do is truly remarkable, but it stops here. They have yet to die by the three, which will surely occur in this series. Like I said via Facebook recently, the only way Orlando wins this thing is in five games, because they must close out the Lakers in Orlando. There’s no way in hell they will close out the Finals in Staples Center, and I’m willing to bet damn near anything on that. Also, there’s another reason why they won’t win, and it’s because the Ghost of Shaquille O’Neal’s Past will finally be lifted, and it starts tonight.
(Ed's pick - Orlando in 7, I'm a sucker for heartbreak. Thanks.)