After a pair of strong practices Sunday and Monday, the path has been officially cleared for Shaquille O’Neal to make his Suns debut Wednesday against the Lakers.
And the first Shaq-approved nickname of the Suns Era is also cleared for takeoff. O’Neal told ESPN this weekend that he wants to be known as “The Big Cactus” now that he’s set up shop in the desert.
Why? “Because if you come too close, you’re gonna get stuck,” O’Neal said.
IT IS WHAT IT OZ
After his team went from 99 wins to 72 in three seasons, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he thinks part of the problem might be that he lowered his biting, R-rated postgame comments to PG-13 and it cost him some of his mojo.
So Guillen told the Chicago Tribune that the Blizzard of Oz will be back this year, and last year’s policy of running his postgame comments on the stadium video screens might need to be changed.
Doesn’t matter. Guillen can be Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx combined, but the Southsiders aren’t catching the Tigers.
IT WAS A SLAM DUNK
That was one of the best NBA All-Star games ever, but the only thing people will remember is Gerald Green blowing out a candle on a cupcake and Dwight Howard tying on a dime store Superman cape and throwing a ball in from three feet away.
The best dunks of Saturday came when Howard threw the ball against the back of the board and still dunked it and when Green did a between-the-legs jam in his stocking feet. And what made them great? Unlike Nate Robinson in Houston, it didn’t take these guys a half an hour to get one right.
But let’s not forget Amaré Stoudemire’s dunk over Howard and LeBron James’ huge slam through traffic on Sunday — since they came in an actual game without props.
• Andy Pettitte is a huge story this week as he publicly apologizes for his involvement with HGH. But will this be a season-long issue for the Yankees? No. Isn’t Jason Giambi still with the Yankees? Didn’t he go through the same thing a few years ago? Once he got healthy and started hitting, he was back in the good graces of the team and fans.
Pettitte’s press conference Monday is a blueprint for all the performance enhancers to follow. Be honest, be contrite, answer the questions that pertain to you and hope to minimize the fallout.
How not to do it? See Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagne.
• New Orleans did a great job showing itself off over the weekend — except for whoever was in charge of designing the uniforms? Two-tone with gold, blue, white, silver … ugh. Pick a color and stick with it.
• The surprise isn’t that Mike Bibby was traded, but how about this for a stunner — everyone in Atlanta finally agreed on something. Pretty bad timing for the Suns, since this almost assures the Hawks will make the playoffs in the horrible Eastern Conference, keeping the Suns out of the lottery for the second and final time.