"Charisma. . . style. . ."
No less an authority than Shaq said, tonight on SAS, that that's the measure of a great NBA player.
And the other guy in the picture, captured during his short-lived run at Rip's signature look? He's on Oprah tomorrow.
A brief thought on the two: Shaq brings all the charisma in the world to bear on a game that, except for those rare, unfettered displays of complete and total physical beastliness, is pretty style-less. Yet we love to watch him play, his style cup runneth over, because of the man inside the forklift monster. LeBron at this point—let's be real here—lags way behind Melo, Amare, and Wade (probably in that order) in the charisma department. He's a level-headed kid with some perspective on things, a goofy sense of humor, and a jock-ish inclination to think that saying not much of anything is saying the right thing. At least Magic had a mega-watt smile.
But like Magic, his on-court exploits are so sublime, so beyond the pale of style, that we give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to personal charisma. Like that brilliant musician friend of yours who never has much to say, or that author who mostly just mumbles in public, you figure you owe it to them to let a little extra in the department of the gods carry over into that which is merely the most amplified of man's.
Note upon notes: it is death unto a thousand coveralls to ever leave your charisma in hands of style. I mean, think that you can have mold a magnetic personality the same way fine-tune your sound, game, all matters of style. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, just think about Kobe for a second.
It's also probably not a good idea to play ball as if you want to love the world and be loved in return. See also Chris Webber.
Since I've typed this much already, I'll say it: the prospect of Spree headed to the Lakers. Could anything make my year better?