today is the opening night for the nba.

the marquee game of the evening will be your LA Lakers against the young upstart Dallas Mavericks here at the Staples Center in downtown tinseltown.

My man Tim from end of the bench emails me asking whats going on with all the Shaq + Kobe mudslinging.

For those of you out of the loop Shaq the other day said that Kobe should probably work on his passing game and getting back into shape for the first few weeks of the season, to which Kobe took offense and said some nasty things about Shaq.

two things are at work here Tim.

first of which is Kobe has always been a troubled soul.

second of which is Shaq has always been a big baby.

third of which is Coach Phil has always given kobe + shaq free reign to be the young bucks that they are, which includes letting them be the flamboyant rockstars that they are.

fourth of which is kobe is facing a life term if he is convicted of ass raping that teenage white girl.

fifth of which is kobe is recovering from two pretty serious surgeries.

six six sixth of which is the Lakers are experiencing heavier-than-normal pressure to win it all because of the unprecedented moves by Karl Malone and Gary Payton to move to LA at super-reduced salaries so that they could get their rings before they retire.

seventh of which is Shaq and Kobe both probably dont like the idea that they couldnt win it all without the help of those two future hall of famers.

eighth of which is chick hearn is still dead and very much missed.

ninth of which is dallas might win it all now that they have antoine walker and tony delk.

tenth of which is minnesota has quietly assembled a pretty good team themselves with the addition of latrell sprewell.

eleventh of which is the defending champs san antonio spurs are only stronger since letting the admiral retire and signing Hedo Turkoglu from Sacramento and Ron Mercer from Indiana and Rasho Nesterovic from Minnie and Robert Horry from the Lakers.

so if the question is, am i surprised that kobe is cracking a little under the pressure of possibly not sliding through the regular season grind and making mincemeat of the West in the playoffs while possibly going to jail for life for a fling he had right before he was about to go under the knife?

uh, no.

im not surprised.

and im also not surprised that shaq isnt being super sensitive to the super sensitive kobe.

and i would also not be surprised, tim, if this was just a smoke screen to make people think that the lake show is ripping apart at the seams.

a distraction from the rape charges.

and a fakeout that the lakers are so damn deep that its scary.

watch karl, gary and shaq destroy the mavs tonight on tnt.

floor pie + popie + end of the bench

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