AGR Authentic Jersey Rule #18: Not all jerseys are created equally. While each of my jerseys has its own personal residence in my heart, some of these residences are middle-class row houses while others are glorious mansions with indoor gyms, elaborate pools, and enormous and circular 450 square foot beds with Superman’s emblem in the middle. Oh wait, I guess that house I just described is Shaquille Oneal’s Orlando mansion. It’s appropriate, though, given that this jersey, along with the Big Goofball himself, live in a comparable place in my heart.
Before I spill my heart out (and, if we are keeping true to the analogy, that will in effect ruin all the homes of my various jerseys), we need to examine the jersey itself. Authentic? Check. Vintage? Check. Sexy colors? Check. Kick-ass player? Check. Autographed by the Big Aristotle himself? Check. You may have an argument against the sexiness of the colors, but I promise that if you saw me wearing the jersey, you wouldn’t be able to think about anything else other than how the soft sea-blue of the jersey coupled with the the silvery thread of the embroidered star match my sexy sea-blue eyes and their accompanying trademark twinkle. The pinstripes add a little professionalism to keep people from getting too riled up–it’s like seeing a supermodel in a suit. Maybe this analogy has digressed and become too bizarre, but you get the point–the jersey, like my eyes or a supermodel in a suit, is downright gorgeous.
My affinity for the Big Fella dates back to preschool, when Shaq was a Magician. (I am not referring to Kazaam, despite the pure awesomeness of that film. I think that a member of the Magic should be referred to as a Magician. A member of the Hawks is a Hawk. It only makes sense.) My grandma tells people about how I would run around the neighborhood pretending I was Shaq. Because I was too young to hoop, apparently I resorted to dunking trash into trash cans and jumping off beds with a towel as my cape. I think the latter activity was me being Batman–another childhood pastime of mine–but to preserve Grandma’s legacy as a certified baller, we’ll just pretend I was doing my Shaq/Superman impression. And before you make fun of me for pretending Shaq can fly (did you see Kazaam or Steel? I am fairly confident he flies in both of them) or Shaq for his inability to jump, let’s not forget that in his youth (i.e. when I was young and the years he was a Magician) he ran the court like a graceful, gargantuan gazelle. Just watch Shaq leaping for alley-oops, commanding fast-breaks, throwing down 360 slams, and tearing down backboards. Maybe the last of those isn’t so graceful, but I would have felt guilty not sharing it with y’all.
My Shaq-appreciation continued through his prime as Shaq dominated the early 2000’s (literally, he dominated the NBA and the temporal years themselves. The new millenium was no match for the MDE). I didn’t have friends before high school, but when I pitched the idea for Shaq Appreciation Club (S.A.C.–yeah, I know, it rhymes with Shaq, thereby making me the man…tell me something I don’t know) all the sudden I was Mr. Popular. My new friends (including slickmilicic of AGR) and I founded the Shaq Appreciation Club at our high school, during which we watched his movies and highlights, listened to his hip-hop songs, and discussed his place among NBA greats and in today’s game. In fact, my current school, Tufts University, made sure to let me know that my Shaq-related initiative intrigued them enough to accept me when I applied for admission. I’d delve into my Shaq-love more, but I’ll save that for when we post on my other Shaq jerseys (that’s right, this bromance will have a sequel. Buckle up!). For now let’s just remember that he and this jersey hold enormous mansions in my heart and that Shaq is responsible for my childhood happiness, all of my friends in high school, and my admission into college, among other things. Kobe may have been first to five rings, but Kobe is also a homeless man in my heart while Shaq is drinking Cristal and ballin’ with Snoop at the Orlando estate (which has been scaled down and inserted in my heart). Personally I’d rather have four rings and the mansion inside my heart, but that’s just me.
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