I’m on vacation and I can look out my bedroom window and see nothing but beach and waves. I went to sleep with my (beautiful) girlfriend next to me in bed. And I’m still dreaming about Shaq? I’m obsessed, damn it.
But there Shaq was, calling me on my phone and asking me if I wanted to hang out. “You’re my favorite Celtics writer in the world,” Dream Shaq told me. “Let’s go grab some dinner or something.” I sure am optimistic in my dream life, huh?
Dream Shaq came by in his Cadillac Escalade (I only remember that because Dream Me asked Dream Shaq what kind of car he was driving) and for some reason I sat in the back seat while Dream Shaq chauffeured me to his favorite restaurant. Which, for some weird reason that can only be explained by the insane power of dreams, was Arby’s. “Arby’s???” Dream Me thought. “Seriously, Shaq?”
We ate for a little while, as Shaq — in between bites of his roast beef sandwich — told me he was ready to accept a diminished role and come off the bench for the first time in his career. Just so you know it was definitely a dream and not real life, I wasn’t even skeptical. I believed Shaq’s every word. I came away from Arby’s thinking that Shaq’s ego was completely overrated. What can I say? Dream Shaq was a humble dude.
After Arby’s (I’m still in disbelief that Dream Shaq’s favorite restaurant was freaking Arby’s), Dream Shaq and Dream Me hopped back into the Escalade and The Big Dreamy chauffeured me to his house. I walked in and it was a lot like Tony Gaffney’s room. The floors were parquet, posters of the Original Big Three hung everywhere I looked, and a small hoop with the Celtics logo painted on the backboard was in the corner of the living room. I mean, this place was a Celtics shrine to end all Celtics shrines. The only thing it was missing, in my estimation, was a Jiri Welsch autographed, game-worn jersey. Other than that, Dream Shaq owned just about every Celtics artifact you could think of. He had a piece of the original Garden floor. A chair from the Garden stands. Dream Shaq even owned a white towel autographed by M.L. Carr. A bone chip from Bill Walton’s foot and a heating pad for Larry Bird’s back. Okay, not really the bone chip or the heating pad. But I’m telling you, this house would give you goosebumps like you wouldn’t believe.
We got to talking, and Dream Shaq droned on and on about winning a championship. “I’ll do ANYTHING to get me that fifth ring,” he told me. Since it was a dream and I believed every word coming out of Shaq’s mouth, Dream Me didn’t even ask him whether ANYTHING included hedging the pick and roll. And Dream Shaq just kept spitting humility: “I respect Doc Rivers more than any coach in the league,” he told me. “I just want to take a back seat behind all these other guys and do whatever I can to help them win a championship. Even if that means playing only 10 or 15 hard minutes a game.” I’m telling you, Dream Shaq was more convincing than Pat Riley. I was feeding on his every word, and it all sounded so good. “Shaq,” Dream Me thought, “is going to be perfect for the Celtics.”
And then I woke up. I’m pretty sure Shaq tried to Inception the hell out of me.