From the NBA’s Department Of Left-Handed Compliments comes this submission from Shaquille O’Neal, who is in the midst of his first season with the Boston Celtics. O’Neal had a colorful comment about Celtics coach Doc Rivers, the guy that, in 2008, took that team to its first NBA title in over 20 years. Yes, there is a Department of Left-Handed Compliments at NBA Headquarters. I was there. Trying to shake hands with all of them was pretty funny.
“I’m going to call Doc an ebonic Phil Jackson,” said O’Neal. “And what I mean by that is Phil Jackson has his Buddha ways, but Doc got his homeboy ways because he was once one of us and he really relates to us very well. I think the guys respect him for that. You know, he treats us like men. He only expects one thing from us: Do what he says and play hard. If you could substitute a better word than ‘ebonic Phil Jackson,’ I’d like you guys to put your degrees to work. But it’s sort of like that, on that level.”
I guess calling a guy The Black Phil Jackson isn’t the worst thing that you could say about the guy. I mean, that language illustrates Shaq’s point perfectly. I guess the big man really knows how to turn a phrase. He’s like the ebonic Michael Chabon, or some other white writer that you’ve heard of that doesn’t end phrases with prepositions. Books? Am I pronouncing that correctly?