We've become hype-resistant. We've learned to resist the charms of snake oil salesman like Walton or charlatans like Stephen A. We've learned to wait.
We've been fooled before.
When Jordan's heir was to be revealed, we were impatient, impetuous. We saw hope in every Miner. We tried to climb a Hill, save a Penny, catch Vinsanity, and double-down on a Stackhouse. We pushed young Tracy forth, only to skewer him when we were wrong. Desperate, we even tried to saddle a young Rider no matter how violently he bucked. After one heir Jordan after another failed to pull the sword from the stone, finally, we became patient. Kobe? Let the young man prove himself.
And yet, distracted by the search for the one that would resemble Jordan the most, we had missed the heir all along. The next Jordan was Shaq. For a decade and a half, Shaq has reigned over the Lig, balling like no man had done, like no man should be able to do. He defied imagination. He entertained like no other. He was Superman.
Now, the boy wonder has grown old. A month and a half ago, I wrote a guest post on Free Darko about the death of Superman. Sad protests aside, Shaq's career has reached its end. In the end, Kerr's court will indeed be proven the Fool. No Phoenix rise. No crown for Nash.
And yet, I was wrong too. I erred as they did and so many others: we saw Shaq as Superman, and assumed Superman was Shaq. In the end, we mistook the man for the myth. He may not be scoping golf courses in Phoenix, but ladies and gentleman, Superman has returned.
The King is dead; long live the King!
It was fitting that Shaq was absent from All-Star weekend. It is time to move on. If NOLA showed us anything, it was that we do, indeed, have an heir among us. There's only one catch: which one is he? Was NOLA the time when Lebron became King or when Dwight became Superman?