When one of theScore’s social media gurus, Toby Fowlow, first sent Scott and I this photo on twitter, my immediate reaction was, where did Toby find this photoshopped picture of Nathan Jawai under Shaq’s head? Then I remembered that Jawai wasn’t around during the purple years, which means it was either Shaq’s head photoshopped on another former Raptor’s body, or it was indeed legit.
Well, Toby followed through in ways only Score employees can, and found this absolute gem of a video: http://www.cdbproductions.com/ShaqSon.mov
I suggest watching it simply to decipher what exactly is going on there.
The opening screen tells us that this footage is from July 17, 2008 (while Shaq was a member of the Phoenix Suns and the Raptors had just completed a trade for another O’Neal), taken while Shaq was watching his son, Shareef, play in the AAU National Championships at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Florida.
What is never made clear though, is why Shaquille O’Neal is wearing a Raptors jersey (which was outdated, because the Raps had already moved to the red and white colour scheme) and why everyone seems so nonchalant about it.
The video does tell us at the beginning that Shareef wears No. 33, which got me thinking that perhaps Shaq’s son’s team nickname was the “Raptors,” and maybe they wore Toronto’s old threads, which would mean O’Neal was simply rocking his son’s jersey.
But no, as we see later in the video, his son wears a pretty standard AAU uniform. What I’d like to know is if Shaq had a personalized Raptors jersey, or if he was wearing an Antonio Davis jersey, because if I remember correctly, Antonio was the only Raptor to wear No. 33 during the era of that jersey style.
There is a brief exchange at the end of the video where you see Shaq standing from a side view, but it’s still hard to tell what’s written on his back.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t own a personalized Raptors jersey, which only gives us more reason to have Antonio Davis in the top-five of our Ultimate Raptors Rankings.
Is it odd that while other fan-bases can celebrate their All Stars at this time of year, we can find ways to spew out 300 words on matters such as these? Perhaps, but I think it’s much, much stranger that there is video evidence of Shaq wearing a Raptors jersey in public floating around the web.
Let’s all thank Toby for gifting us with this magical find.