I Want The Thrill Of A Winning Home Team

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There is no crying in baseball.

I know that because Tom Hanks, as coach Jimmy Dugan, said so, in what some might say was a chick flick, "A League of Their Own."

I assumed that meant there was no crying in basketball, until the Suns traded the Matrix, Shawn Marion for a Diesel, Shaquille O'Neal.

A teeny-bopper-blond-Nickelodeon-rapper by the name of Aaron Carter sang a candy pop song in the 1990s about Shaq.

I know this, because my own pre-teeny-bopper played it many times.

Carter sang:

"I had a plan, I could change the pace

I said, Yo Shaq you didn't tie your shoelace

He looked down, I stole the ball

I'm taking him the scoon now watch me all

A 3-pointer, nothing but net

Come on Shaq, had enough yet?"

Carter wrote about his idol, ‘twelve foot, three inch' Shaquille O'Neil putting them in the hoop for his second team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Shaq is actually seven-foot-one and weighs about 300 pounds.

As a Laker, his points scored average from 1996 to 2004 was 26.925, according to statistics I researched on www.basket-ball.reference.com.

Carter dreamed:

"It's like boom (boom)

I put it in the hoop

Like slam (slam)

I heard the crowd screaming

out jam (jam)

I swear that I'm telling you the facts

Cuz that's how I beat Shaq"

Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004. From then to January 2008, when he moved to the Valley of the Sun, his point average dropped to 18.6.

He is winding down his career with a hip ailment.

As a Suns fan, I cried out, what are the Suns thinking!

You didn't know Suns basketball was a sport unto itself, did you?

Several sports fans have told me that since I only follow a single team, I am not a true fan of the great sport of basketball.

I don't feel that is a problem.

The first glimmer I had that Suns basketball was something special was when, early on as a Roundup reporter, I went to one of the elementary schools to ask several students' who their sports heroes were, as my street talk question.

One young man talked about the Matrix (Shawn Marion) and Stat (Amarie Stoudemire) like he knew them, personally.

I wonder what that young boy thinks of the trade.

When the Marion/Shaq trade rumor arose, my significant other e-mailed: "I might be sick."

Watching the pre-game show that evening (Feb. 6), President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr seemed oh-so-pleased with himself at the press conference and said Coach Mike Di'Antoni did, too. I thought this was galling at the time, as Di'Antoni barely looked into the cameras and certainly did not have the face or body language of a happy man.

Fans from whom the sportscasters deigned to show comments at the game were pro-Shaq, or at least not anti-Shaq.

Not so, the fan-made sign held behind the sportscasters: "The Suns have a purple palace, they don't need a Shaq."

Clever.

Would Marion have helped Nash and Barbosa win the double overtime game against New Orleans?

Probably.

When I was interviewing Suns fan Belia Reid last week for server of the week, he thought that that Suns had given up more than they got.

"I think Shaq has been a great player and he's still a youngster, but he is old for a basketball player. I think he'll slow the team down," Reid said.

Yet, as I have seen the footage repeated of Shaq pointing to the finger a championship ring slips nicely onto, I must admit I felt hopeful.

I still do.

I imagine (remember, I have not been any sort of fan very long) that watching the home team win is nothing short of thrilling.

The first game the Suns play after the Feb. 17 All Star Game is Wednesday, Feb. 20 against the Los Angeles Lakers and their newly acquired power forward, Pau Gasol.

At a glance, Gasol's stats are lower than Amare's.

That he will have to maneuver around a Diesel to block Amare, should make for lots of comments and shouts from the couch.

I want Amare to stay out of foul trouble.

I also like the fact that all these trades are taking place midseason because it seems to me, they level the playing court.

Maybe Shaq can stand at one end and tilt the court in favor of the Suns.

Leading us to the question of Shaq's ability, or lack thereof, to run and gun with Steve Nash, the Brazilian Blur and Grant Hill (who needs a good nickname).

I am with the sportscasters on this debate. I do not think he has to run super-fast.

However, he does have to remember that pulling the hoop to the ground during a slam-dunk will delay the game.

By the time you read this, I hope we learn that number 32 is talented, lucky and not out of gas.

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