The Weekside: Why Shaq and Scottie Pippen should stay off social media

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nba the weekside
nba the weekside /

If tweets sold — truth be told — Shaq would probably be, socially, Talib Kweli

Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen are having an Instagram feud. Welcome to 2015, a dark, strange world where nothing makes sense, and famous people behave like former high school classmates you are never quite sure why you follow on Facebook.

It all started simply enough: O’Neal posted an Instagram image of potential all-time starting fives for the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls while noting that “We would beat em by fifty.” Pippen responded back with a photo of his six rings.

Or something. I’m not exactly sure and it’s worth neither your time or mine to delve into a timeline of the back and forth. The key point is that there was a back and forth, and it boiled well beyond the territory of friendly-barbs being traded by two members of the Hall of Fame.

O’Neal has been keen to keep up the nonsense.

This week, he spewed more bile on the cleverly named “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” something I recommend not listening to. Here is — merely a small — portion of what the Large Diesel Person said about Scott Pippen on the podcast, per the Washington Post.

"“He made it personal when he said, ‘Oh, at Shaq, hey I don’t believe in hypotheticals.’ So he swung first, so I’m going to swing second, and I’m going to swing last,” O’Neal said on his podcast (via ESPN). “Because I don’t let bums disrespect me. “Yeah, he was a great player, but I’m the bridge, he’s the water. He will always be under me. Every now and then he will rise to the occasion and get to the same level as the bridge. But when reality kicks in, I am bridge, he is water, he is under me. Scottie Pippen can’t disrespect me. So he comes at me, I’m coming back. And we can do this all day, because I have nothing to do.”"

There was more.

"“He made it personal when he put ‘At Shaq, we’ve got six rings,’ like he was the main focus of the six rings,” O’Neal said. “You were not the main focus of the six rings. Don’t make me put out the scouting report. “He wasn’t even a factor in the scouting report. It was all about [Michael Jordan]. … You double Mike, Scottie was open, Scottie hit a couple shots … Stop it, Scottie. We all know you were second fiddle. You’ll always be second fiddle. … You’re Robin. You’re not Batman. You’re not Puffy, you’re Mase.”"

Shaq is, of course, an expert on many things, and I personally agree that an all-time Lakers starting five would wax the best five Bulls. But seeing these awkward social interactions unfold has been like watching the worst episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. (Ironically, the best episode of Curb Your Enthusiam is titled and features “Shaq.”)

It’s funny, though, that he should bring rap into this, using an analogy about Puffy and Mase, the two leaders of the hottest rap crew of the 1990s after The Notorious B.I.G. got shot. Because around the same time those two were stacking dough and inventing shiny-suit rap, another New York duo broke out of the underground scene to offer an alternative. There were plenty of other less-flashy options in rap at the time, but Mos Def and Talib Kweli — as solo artists then with the team-up, seminal album Black Star in 1998 — became, for lack of a better term, backpack rap’s closest thing to a mainstream act.

Almost two decades later, Kweli joined Shaq in the silly headlines department by getting in a Twitter squabble with ESPN’s Bomani Jones. The sports analyst and Highly Questionable co-host was born in Atlanta, and stated that he strongly prefers Outkast’s Big Boi to Talib. He suggested that this is the only reasonable opinion for a music fan to have on “planet earth.” Kweli didn’t approve of such “corny” disrespect, and they traded a few messages.

That wasn’t the big rap event this week, however.

Recent days also featured a dustup between Drake and Philly’s Meek Mill. The latter started things on — stop me if you’ve heard this before — Twitter by saying that Drake does not write his own lyrics, a mortal sin for any rapper who wants to be respected by his peers.

The Canadian super-rapper and Toronto Raptors mascot reportedly proceeded to “demolish” Mr. Mill by responding to he-can’t-write-lyrics claims with a diss record in which about half the bars don’t even rhyme. The “Summer’s best beef” had additional sports-world appeal because the Drizziest-one released his track alongside a photo of Joe Carter, the Toronto Blue Jays Hall of Famer who famously beat the the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series with a walk-off home run.

Really, this was a perfect T-Dot vs. Illadelph proxy war in what is normally a social media showdown to see which city has the most sensitive NBA fans.

And this is where we are.

Apparently, grown-ass millionaires across the whole spectrum off entertainment can’t stop catching feelings about nothing important and embarrassing themselves on social media about it.

The world has become a strange place, and frankly, I might be too old to understand it anymore.

Mostly, I suppose I’m just glad about this. It’s nice to be too old to still consider famous people I don’t know as heroes. It was a lot easier to pretend these people were mythical ideals of greatness and wonder back in the 1980s when they weren’t airing themselves out as petty and thin skinned. Now the whole world gets to witness that many of them are just sensitive dudes with social media accounts and without self restraint.

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