Deemed by Rolling Stone to be the first poem ever to crash a website, Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” retirement ode spread like wildfire through social media, the sports world and academia virtually as soon as it was published on Nov. 29.
Everyone -- from professors to poets to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- seems to have had a strong reaction to it. Everyone, that is, except sworn enemy sworn friend who knows Shaquille O’Neal, who claims, at least, to have had no idea that Bryant announced the end of his career via free verse last week.
When Seth Meyers told him about the ode on his show Monday night, O’Neal’s reaction was a mixture of (supposed) surprise and suppressed delight.
His verbal responses were, in order:
- No he didn’t.
- He did?
- Hold on, like, hold on, like, "Roses are red, violets are blue" type thing?
- No way, no he didn’t.
- A poem, seriously?
- You’re pulling my leg, stop it.
Considering both that Shaq knew Kobe had announced his retirement and that the poem was nearly everywhere in the past week and a half, O’Neal may very well have been aware of Kobe’s ode to the game. But this is Shaq and Kobe we’re talking about -- and this wouldn’t be the first time that Shaq has ignored one of Kobe’s moves.
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