'Shaq Vs.' returns, America cringes


NBA_o'neal1_250.jpgAccording to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shaquille O’Neal’s…shall we say, interesting reality show, Shaq Vs., will be returning for a second season on ABC. It’s the perfect show for that 7’2”, attention-crazed NBA star in your life, but for everyone else? Well, it’s a bit silly. I’m sure Shaq has a lot of fun hanging out in front of the camera and making sure all the spotlights are on him. But for the rest of us? The first season of Shaq Vs. was almost unwatchable.

But have no fear! There’s still plenty of potential left in the concept, even if some of Shaq’s challenges were unimaginatively designed and poorly executed. Season one is in the books, but season two could still really find a rhythm with the right guests:

  • Apolo Ohno, Olympic speed-skater – Momentum is equal to mass times velocity, and what better way to establish some momentum for the series than put an NBA star with a ton of mass and attempt to get him moving at the highest velocity possible?

    The Handicap: Shaq obviously won’t be able to outrace Ohno, even with a sizable head start. So instead, we’ll put O’Neal (Ohneal?) and Ohno on the same starting line, but use a giant slingshot to hurl Shaq towards the finish line. And if I know anything in this world to be a universal truth, it’s that having a big guy go that fast on ice skates can only end well.

  • Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder – In keeping with our established tradition of putting Shaq in situations where he’d be completely out of control, let’s put his giant feet on a tiny skateboard and watch hilarity ensue. Hawk also happens to be a pretty charismatic showman, providing ample yin to Shaq’s yang.

    The Handicap: Shaq actually wins this challenge by default, as long as he can last through the entire competition. Hawk is the leader in a five-turn game of H-O-R-S-E; all Shaq has to do is attempt to replicate skateboarding moves of Hawk’s choosing. Completing the moves could net some kind of bonus points or prizes, but the important thing is that O’Neal gives them an honest try. Grinds and any half-pipe tricks are strongly encouraged.

  • Dwight Howard, professional basketball player – Should they see which among them is faster than a speeding bullet? Who is really more powerful than a locomotive? Which one among them can jump tall buildings in a single bound? Or maybe just make them go head-to-head in a free throw competition? No matter the contest, there’s plenty at stake.

    The Handicap: Whatever the competition, Shaq is given a nine-point, five-rebound handicap, per last night’s evaluation.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.