I know that when Jim Brown refers to modern black athletes as the "most embarrassing collection of individuals I've ever known," he's talking about guys like O'Neal.
But Shaq is just too entertaining to dismiss... until he passes the kind of comment he did to Newsday about having the 2008 All-Star Game in NOLA:
"I'm not sure if the city of New Orleans is ready for something like that," said O'Neal, who played at LSU. "I would rather see it come to Miami or even New York. I don't know what New Orleans' situation is, but from watching the Spike Lee special and watching the news, it doesn't look like it's ready for something like that."I've only seen one episode of the aforementioned Spike Lee Joint, and as far as documentaries go, it sure seemed like a nice kick in the nuts. Which I mean in a good way.
But this is an issue where O'Neal could have a very deep rolodex of people to talk to and advocate for if he wanted to pick up the phone. Or he could have no comment. Just blabbing away Shaq-style is not really helpful, though.
These kind of events are crucial to New Orleans' economy. And attaching his name, as an LSU alum, to an anti-All Star meme without looking into the issue is really just lazy. It's another moment suggesting that history may be a hell of a lot kinder to Brown than to O'Neal or anyone else in his generation.