In a recent article, the author of an anonymous blog about her experiences as a waitress in New York City wrote that she was “tired of being constantly harassed by men” and that she had to make a choice between staying and working for her wages or going on vacation. She chose vacation, but not before leaving one scathing review of her former boss at the restaurant where she worked.
This be the verse is a song by American rapper Eminem. It was released as a single on December 18, 2017, and is featured on his eighth studio album, Revival.
Shaquille O’Neal’s choice to leave the Orlando Magic and join the Los Angeles Lakers is one of basketball’s greatest what-if scenarios. The Magic, headed by Shaq and Penny Hardaway, reached the NBA Finals in 1995, and the team was on the rise. Two years later, O’Neal was the league’s most valuable free agent.
His choice to join the Lakers linked him with Kobe Bryant and ultimately Phil Jackson, resulting in three more championships for the club and the birth of one of the most exciting dynasties in NBA history.
The Diesel’s journey from Orlando to Los Angeles was loaded with controversy, and there wasn’t much drama in the 1990s without Charles Barkley. Chuck, in fact, had a little role in O’Neal’s choice to go west.
Shaquille O’Neal was one of the NBA’s most sought-after free agents.
In 1992, Shaq was the first overall selection. He joined a Magic team that had just been in the NBA since 1989 and had yet to establish its footing. Orlando had begun to assemble young assets like as Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott, but its destiny was forever altered when it won the lottery in 1992 and chose the LSU center.
Superman had a rookie season when he averaged 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds. In his second season in the league, the Magic reached the playoffs for the first time as a franchise.
The next year, the club reached the NBA Finals, and in Michael Jordan’s first season back from retirement, the squad went to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Chicago Bulls.
Shaq and Hardaway had led a rudderless club to the verge of an NBA championship, and it seemed that the Magic’s youthful pair would only grow better as time went on.
The Big Aristotle’s free agency drama started following the team’s loss to the Bulls.
During the summer of 1996, Barkley offered Shaq some funny advise.
During a stoppage in the first half of a game against Argentina at the 1996 Summer Olympics, USA teammates Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, Charles Barkley, Grant Hill, and Gary Payton huddle. | Getty Images/AF/AFP/AF/AFP/AF/AFP/AF/AFP/AF/AFP/
As O’Neal approached free agency, it appeared certain that the Magic would give him a large sum of money to keep him in Orlando. That, however, was not the case. Not at all.
With its initial offer, the franchise undervalued Shaq, and things only got worse from there. When Jerry West and the Lakers joined the bidding, things began to favor LA. The Magic panicked and countered, but it seemed like it was too little, too late to save the franchise’s crown jewel.
Then there was the notorious Orlando Sentinel poll.
On the front page of the July 16, 1996 edition of the Sentinel, there was a poll asking, “Is Shaquille O’Neal Worth $115 Million Over 7 Seasons?”
According to Jeff Pearlman’s book Three Ring Circus, 91.3 percent of readers voted “no” at the conclusion of the voting. Shaq’s decision to leave the Magic was essentially sealed after that.
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were both members of the 1996 US Olympic Team, who happened to be practicing in Orlando at the time. According to Pearlman, when Barkley learned of the poll, he didn’t mince words when telling Shaq what the future four-time champion needed to do:
“Are you f****** serious?” And this is what people think of you because you bring honor to this redneck, one-horse town? Get out of there as quickly as possible. “F*** these jerks.”
Shaquille O’Neal’s guidance from Charles Barkley in 1996
Barkley also stated, according to a story published in the Sentinel later that summer:
“I heard the newspaper conducted a survey to see whether Shaq was worth the millions they’ll have to pay him, and 85 percent of the respondents answered no. That simply showed that 85 percent of Orlando’s residents are idiots.”
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Barkley discussed O’Neal’s free agency.
Later that summer, Shaq signed with LA, and the rest is history.
When Shaquille O’Neal joined the Lakers, he established a long-lasting dynasty.
Bryant, an 18-year-old out of Lower Merion High School, was chosen by West in the same offseason. The Lakers won their first of three consecutive titles in Shaq and Kobe’s fourth season together.
That year, O’Neal was awarded the league’s MVP as well as the Finals MVP.
The 15-time all-transfer star’s from Orlando to Los Angeles is one of the league’s most significant sliding doors moments. If Shaq had stayed with the Magic, the following 20 years of NBA history would have unfolded in a very different way.
Perhaps Chuck’s counsel to the Diesel wasn’t the last nail in Shaq Fu’s decision’s coffin. It was certainly harsh on Orlando, but given the one-sided reaction to the local paper’s survey, it was maybe justified.
In any case, it wasn’t the first time Barkley gave Shaq some harsh advise, and after seeing the two on TNT’s NBA on TNT, it certainly won’t be the last.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
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Get out as Soon as You Can. F*** These People is a quote from Philip Larkin that can be found in his book of poetry, The Whitsun Weddings. Reference: philip larkin parents.
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