while watching shaq's farewell press conference, a few things struck me. first and foremost, what i appreciated most was shaq's unique ability to be transparent, and to be believable in his transparency. this giant of a man, with his giant personality and wonderful sense of humor, exuded the definition of superstar, and he did it in a very human way. sure, his size, agility, power and talent were otherworldly, but he managed to find a way to take all of his physical gifts, stay true to his own nature and maintain an extraordinary level of competitiveness. watching shaq over the years, both on the court and in front of the microphone was an absolute pleasure. sure there were those years and stories around him and kobe battling for supremacy, but even then, shaq delivered messages of authenticity and perspective. simply, the dude was the best kind of beast. he played with ferocity, and without any hint of being about the money or the contract (not that it wasn't a consideration). he played with joy, but never at the expense of doing everything he could to win the game. and he played with recklessness on both sides of the ball... never putting his own ego above the purpose of the game... that being winning.
which is what brings me to melo... and even amare. in shaq's interview, he stated that the league was in good hands as long as lebron, wade, kobe, and yes, melo were around... and this made me feel both excited, and curious. it made me feel excited to know that we have a guy who is being recognized by someone as dominant and impressive as shaquille o'neal... and it made me curious to see exactly what melo does to honor such a mention.
so with all this said, and with the news that donnie has moved on and the speculation that d'antoni may be on his way out... i call melo and amare to the fore... and look forward to seeing what these two superstars can do to honor the legacy of an all time great competitor like shaquille o'neal.
as a knick fan, as well as a fan of any and all competitors who compete "the right way"... i hope that whoever takes the reigns of our knicks franchise does so with the goal in mind of bringing in players who respect the game, and honor the legends who refused to let ego rise above competitive spirit... and that melo and amare carry the torch of these legends.