There was no 'California Love' lost between Kobe and Shaq before they parted ways.
Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images
It took three years of whining, but it's finally over. Shaq and Kobe have broken up, each moving on to what they probably each feel are bigger and better things. To commemorate their bust-up, I've crafted The Official Shaq/Kobe Mix CD. The tracks are sequenced in a linear fashion. They begin by setting the theme, then celebrate what the duo had, move on to when things went bad, dwell on what went wrong and finally sum up their current situations.
Fellas, your copies are in the mail.
TRACK 1: Basketball
BY: Kurtis Blow
"Basketball is my favorite sport/ I like the way they dribble up and down the court/ Just like I'm the King on the microphone so is Dr. J and Moses Malone/I like slam dunks take me to the hoop/ My favorite play is the alley-oop."
WHY THIS SONG: Gotta start with a throwback, a song both guys probably grew up on. This reminds us that even though there are hundreds of millions of dollars and millions of fans at stake, it's just a hoop and a ball at the middle of everything.
TRACK 2: You Can't Stop The Reign
BY: Shaquille O'Neal
KEY LYRIC: "Seven-foot-oh/ towerin' inferno/ invincible smooth individual/ who wanna test it/ foreign or domestic/ no matter where you're from/ I'm not the one you wanna mess wit'."
WHY THIS SONG: Recalls the early years, when Kobe was still coming off the bench and shooting every time he touched the rock. At the time, no one would test Shaq. He was so unstoppable that no one told him to stop rapping. That would end soon.
TRACK 3: Friendship
BY: Tenacious D
KEY LYRIC: "Friendship is rare/ do you know what I'm sayin' to you?/ Friendship is rare/ My derriere/ When you find out much later/ That they don't really care."
WHY THIS SONG: While they were getting along, Shaq and Kobe made the Lakers amazing. Turned out much later that they really didn't care. Also, had to use The D just for the basketball reference in the band name.
TRACK 4: Can't We Be Friends?
BY: Frank Sinatra
KEY LYRIC: "I thought for once it couldn't go wrong/ Not for long/ I can see the way this ends/ She's gonna turn me down and say, Can't we be friends?"
WHY THIS SONG: Always important to have a big band song, though I can't imagine Shaq really rolling on I-95 with this on blast. As for the song, it reflects the cracks that began appearing in Shaq's and Kobe's relationship back in '01. We had an idea of how things were going to end, though we all hoped it would never come to that.
TRACK 5: Game Over
BY: Lil' Flip
KEY LYRIC: "You just an opening act, but I'm the headliner/ I'm 'bout to ship 3 mil off the top/ You got your deal off your man/ I got my deal off props."
WHY THIS SONG: We heard rumors all season long, but the nail went in the coffin when the Lakers fell to the Pistons. Franchise, season, dynasty ... all game over.
TRACK 6: Fool Of Me
BY: Me'Shell Ndegeocello
KEY LYRIC: "Was I blind to the truth/ just there to fill the space/ 'Cause now you have no interest in anything I have to say/ And I have allowed you to make me feel dumb/ What kind of fool am I that you so easily set me aside."
WHY THIS SONG: I like to think that this is something similar to what Shaq had going through his head just before he sat down at the press conference after Game Five of the Finals and said it was going to be a "different" summer for everyone. And from a musical standpoint, this one slows things down for a few minutes.
TRACK 7: All Falls Down
BY: Kanye West
KEY LYRIC: "It seems we living the American dream/ But the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem/ The prettiest people do the ugliest things/ For the road to riches and diamond rings."
WHY THIS SONG: At the end of the day, this whole thing is about ego and money, isn't it?
TRACK 8: Takeover
KEY LYRIC: "Had a spark when you started but now you're just garbage/ Fell from top 10 to not mentioned at all."
WHY THIS SONG: Perhaps the ultimate diss song, aimed at Nas. Jay-Z, part of the Nets' new ownership group, delivered a very public blow. But ...
TRACK 9: Ether
KEY LYRIC: "What's sad is I love you 'cause you're my brother/ You traded your soul for riches/ My child, I've watched you grow up to be famous/ And now I smile like a proud dad, watchin' his only son that made it."
WHY THIS SONG: ... Nas responded just as viciously. Shaq and Kobe have yet to speak publicly about how the big split went down, but I'm assuming these songs are fairly representative.
TRACK 10: Wish Me Well (Go To Hell)
BY: The Bouncing Souls
KEY LYRIC: "We were so different a short time ago/ Love is supposed to make us happy supposed to make us grow/ But I just wanna punch you in the face/ I love you I guess I needed the space/ Oh well another time and another place/ Say goodbye/ Kiss my ass/ I hope you die."
WHY THIS SONG: A punk rock song that seals the deal. Our guys will never say it -- right now, at least -- but you know this is what they're thinking.
TRACK 11: Miami
BY: Randy Newman
KEY LYRIC: "Gee, I love Miami/ It's so nice and hot/ And every building's so pretty and white/ And I always get into so much trouble/ When I'm down there."
WHY THIS SONG: Because I couldn't bear to include Will Smith's Miami on a mix album.
TRACK 12: California Love
BY: 2Pac and Dr. Dre
KEY LYRIC: "Let me serenade the streets of L.A./ From Oakland to Sac-town, the Bay Area and back down/ Cali's where they put they mack down/ Give me love!"
WHY THIS SONG: Thought it was only fair to give Kobe the final song, since he's the one who ended up winning the power struggle while cashing in. And now, Cali is his. Give him love!
Quote of the Week
"I know [there are] going to be nights when I'm in my apartment crying, but I like the direction this team is going." --Al Harrington, delivering a ringing endorsement upon signing with the Atlanta Hawks
Game of the Week
Several people have e-mailed me this link to a German Web site where you try to keep an addled guy steady as he totters along a darkened street. It's tougher than you'd think.
"Celebrity" Event of the Week
Someone named Frank Murphy who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was hosting the aptly named Frank Murphy Celebrity Weekend last weekend in Tampa. During the meet-and-greet at a local bar, partiers ran up a $1,670 bar tab, which Murphy then refused to pay, causing a fight. I got lost after the "Frank Murphy Celebrity Weekend" part.
One Promising Season and It Goes To Their Heads Note of the Week
A group of former Bengals season-ticket holders is alleging that the Bengals are threatening to ruin their credit if they won't renew their ticket plans. The Bengals deny their claims. We're talking about the Bengals, by the way.
Tiger Woods Revitalization Idea of the Week
Forget re-uniting with Butch Harmon. With Tiger Woods 0-for-his-last-9 in majors, he doesn't need a swing coach. He needs this. I suppose you don't even need the golf bag anymore, except to carry the cartridges.
Too Much Information Note of the Week
Ever wondered if France's Zinedine Zidane was the first soccer player to vomit just before taking a penalty kick? Your answer is here.
Baldwin Link of the Week
If you've ever wanted to look like any of the Baldwin brothers, this link's for you. And if you have actually ever wanted to look like one of the Baldwin brothers, please don't read this column anymore.
The Week Ahead
HE IS READY -- If you missed last night's season premiere of Da Ali G Show, check it out this week in re-runs on HBO. Who else could get Sam Donaldson to give him a pound? Or confuse deaf people with gang members throwing up signs?
HE GIVES THIS COLUMN HIS FULL ENDORSEMENT -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have designated Fred McGriff, the official first baseman of The Links, for assignment. The D-Rays now can send him to the minors, waive or trade him. McGriff ends his Tampa tenure with 493 career home runs, tied with Lou Gehrig for 21st on the all-time home run list. We now call upon the Seattle Mariners, who are 30 games under .500 and have been using utility players at first base, to give him one last chance. You know, for the kids.
Lang Whitaker is the online editor at SLAM magazine and writes daily at http://www.SLAMonline.com. He hopes Chipper Jones remembers how to hit. Soon.