One of the ironies of the Miami Heat winning the NBA Title last night has to do with the role Shaq played in the victory. The big reason the Lakers traded him after the 2004 NBA Championship debacle (besides the fact that they had grown tired of him acting the role of the Whiny-ass Titty Baby) was that he could no longer co-exist with Kobe Bryant, who had supplanted him as The Man on the team. When he went to the Heat, he was seemingly the big star, competing only with a player, Dwyane Wade, who had had a big rookie season but nothing else.
In the course of two years, Wade has gone from being a prodigy to being the Greatest Player on the Planet, while Shaq has just gotten old. It is safe to say that the Heat were carried to the championship on the tired shoulders and injured knees of Wade, while O'Neal spent a good portion of the 4th quarter in the games the Heat won on the bench, with Miami too paranoid to let him perform his clown act at the free throw line unless it was absolutely necessary. He won another ring, of course, and he still is one of the top centers in the game, but he now even less The Man in Miami than he was in L.A.