Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 13, 2014

SINGER: Locating the next Shaq or Bird?

Niagara Gazette — With hallowed college hoops programs thriving around here, plus March NCAA games held in Buffalo (featuring champ-to-be UConn, upstart Dayton and a winnowed ‘Cuse), will some new Shaq or Bird be located?

One thing in common concerning such phenoms: they generally endure numerous slings and arrows, both in early lives and careers. O’Neal, in particular (see his recent “Shaq Uncut”), has been anything but just a tall man; rather, an intelligent, courageous person who overcame a lot to get where he did. Starting in Newark of the ‘70s, he was tagged a clumsy Big Foot, and in a city full of poverty and violence could easily have followed the role model of drug dealers there. A kind mom and grandma, and rigidly military step-dad (nicknamed “Sarge”) helped place him on a better path.

Sarge’s toughness (including physical) remained constant, as Shaq learned via salutary moves to Georgia, Germany, and San Antonio both to toe the line and be himself. Believe it or not, he at first found basketball difficult, and dunking impossible! However, Sarge made him a fighter and he grew to love both.

As in “The Blind Side,” Shaq chose the right college offer of many (LSU), and Coach Dale Brown became another positive force there, orienting him toward the pros. Sure, he partied and rapped (and later did rap recordings); but avoidance of booze and drugs remained Shaq’s MO, and almost single-handedly, he made LSU basketball huge, rivaling other college stars like Angola’s Christian Laettner at Duke.

In the NBA draft lottery (May ‘92) Shaq was picked number one, and suddenly in Orlando, a river of money engulfed him, including via lucrative endorsements. He started buying Benzes, Bentleys, and custom-crafted Ferraris, and also procured for his parents and himself lavish new homes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Moreland panel comes back to haunt Cuomo Let's get this straight. That was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the microphone in the Syracuse radio station, Dec. 4, 2013, explaining the need for reactivating the anti-corruption panel called the Moreland Commission. "The commission clearly has the legal authority to look at anything they want to look at, including the governor, the attorney-general, the comptroller, etc.," the governor told the listening audience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: A taxing time for Lewiston town officials It's disappointing to learn that a seemingly financially sound community like the Town of Lewiston now finds itself facing 2015 budget crunch that could, of all things, lead to the creation of a new town tax.

    July 31, 2014

  • NIA Krause mug 073114 GUEST VIEW: Arnold represents a fresh start for local Republicans Two years ago, as chairman of the city of Niagara Falls Republicans, the committee and I broke from the traditional policy of the county republicans of endorsing state Sen. George Maziarz for reelection.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Immigration issue belongs to everyone I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my digital edition of the Washington Post yesterday and found something that I think captures part of the dilemma America faces right this minute; it's a simple question: Who are we, or to put it another way, what do we really stand for?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: Isaiah 61 Project breathes new life into city Friday was a big day for the Isaiah 61 Project. It may have been a bigger day for the Falls.

    July 28, 2014

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Pleased with increased police patrols It was good to see the Niagara Falls Police Department join forces with other local law enforcement agencies in response to a recent uptick in violent crime.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page