Judge Ryan Keefer thinks that when it comes to missing free throws then, yes, Shaquille O'Neal is like no other.
Thirteen-time NBA All-Star. League MVP. Three Championship Rings.
What's not to like about a 7-foot-tall, 350-pound man who is one of, if not the most physically dominating forces in basketball history? Shaquille O'Neal (Blue Chips) is powerful and mean when he has to be, but is one of the most affable and approachable stars the sport has had in its history as well. Throughout his career, the self-proclaimed "Big Aristotle" has never hesitated to provide a smile to a child's face or provide a humorous word or thought to the reporters that cover him.
The product of a military family, O'Neal was first spotted early in his career at Louisiana State University, were he bent basketball rims and generally drove opponents nuts. Drafted by the Orlando Magic, he lived up to the endless hype and became a star early in his career. After some playoff heartbreak, he signed a multimillion dollar contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won three consecutive NBA titles with the help of former Chicago Bulls coach (and perhaps more importantly, Michael Jordan's mentor) Phil Jackson and star guard Kobe Bryant. After a falling out at the end of the 2003-2004 season, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat, where he has helped revitalize a once-dormant franchise and bring it into championship contention, and it's his career that is the focus of Shaquille O'Neal: Like No Other.
Filled with highlights of Shaq's career and interviews with those who have played with and against him, this feature takes a look at some of the key moments in his career as well. His early career playoff disappointments are talked about, but not so much because, hey, it's his video, so he can do what he wants. He talks about when he first met Jackson, and the feelings of winning the Most Valuable Player award and the NBA Championships. Now with any sports release whose subject provides any sort of participation, it's understandable that the subject would have some control over it. Shaq's co-star in Orlando was Penny Hardaway, and he is occasionally mentioned. And it's a given that current rising star (and Heat teammate) Dwyane Wade is given some face and interview time as well. What's curious about this release is of course, the obvious omission or exclusion of former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find any mention of Bryant on the disc at all, even though quite a few highlights are of Kobe passing to Shaq for an easy dunk, or of Kobe and Shaq celebrating their championships.
There's even a little bit of bonus footage on this disc as well. There's an episode of a reality series called Shaq TV that shows Shaq recalling life during a road stretch of some sort. This aired on ESPN at one point, and it's a compelling look at the team, because O'Neal scales back the clowning around. The "Top 5 Dunks" are next (where's the one in New Jersey back when Shaq was a young'un and obliterated the backboard?), along with the "Top 5 Blocked Shots." A look at a pro basketball camp O'Neal sponsors completes the viewing experience, as he and Wade play with some lucky child finalists and generally give the kids a memorable experience.
While there's an expected level of propaganda involved with a video release surrounding one athlete, the disappointing part was that Shaq didn't come off as funny and entertaining as I was half-expecting. For sports fans who see highlights and interviews with him every night, there's nothing much new here, and it's a rather plain look at the basketball superstar. For more novice fans, this is something to check out.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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