It’s the “Romper Room” Effect With Kobe and Shaq; Just Down Right Childish

By Gregory Moore
Updated: October 7, 2004

Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O'Neal

Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O'Neal

SAN ANTONIO, TX — There’s an old song that I think Tom Jones would sing. It goes something like this: “What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheels, going round and round.” Now maybe I don’t have the lyrics and/or the artist right but I do know one thing with the NBA season coming up in a few weeks and that is this: Kobe and Shaq need to squash all this noise and just play ball. Who do they think they are, a couple of five year olds? Evidently so because while the NFL is in their fourth week of play, the NBA is being subjected to the antics of two of its biggest stars. Definitely not what David Stern may want for the upcoming season.

The “Romper Room” antics that these two mega stars have portrayed over last season in Los Angeles and its continuation up to this week shows one thing: sometimes the new breed doesn’t understand how the old guys got it done. Sure there were probably bickering between MJ and Scottie or Karl and John. Heck it has been widely known that Magic didn’t get along sometimes with his teammates. But what separates those issues of teammates squawking and what Kobe allegedly did just crosses all barriers of trust in sports circles. If Kobe did indeed rat Shaq out to the Colorado investigators last season, then what Dr. Jerry Buss should have done was wash his hands of both stars and beg for a new beginning.

A friend of mine told me the other week that she thought that the biggest problem between Kobe and Shaq was the fact that Kobe didn’t attend college and therefore didn’t get the ‘formal’ training of being a team player at that level. Maybe she’s right. That could explain a lot of the issue that he has gone through lately but that does not explain how O’Neal could be acting just as ridiculous. O’Neal has every reason to be hot but to use the media to get his point across? C’mon that’s a sophomoric act that I would expect from some high school jerk that got jilted at the prom.

Maybe what isn’t being said is how both of these two individuals simply are as misguided as their many fans who think they are akin to Jesus himself.

In the dozen years that I have been covering this league, I have never seen, read or heard anything as childish as the mess that I am referring to. Evidently that situation doesn’t seem to bother anyone at the league level or at both teams right now but it should. After the showing in Athens, Greece you would think that the league wants to have a smooth season with a new team online and a realignment that makes geographical sense. Evidently not but somebody in New York needs to halt this madness. It’s time for David Stern to separate these two from the sandbox and send them home to their parents; so to speak. This childish game has gone on long enough and I for one am getting weary of it. After all if I want to watch a toddler show and get entertained, I can tune into PBSKids and watch the Teletubbies.