Shaq Goes Hollywood

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ATLANTA: The Shaq Attack is going Hollywood. The Los Angeles Lakers announced Thursday that they have signed the motherlode of NBA free agents, Orlando's Shaquille O'Neal, to a seven-year, $120 million contract. The move to Los Angeles allows O'Neal, a recording and movie star in his spare time, to more easily pursue these other endeavours. While Laker fans are excited about the addition of a new megastar to the Los Angeles scene, the reaction in Orlando may not be as negative as one would expect. In a poll in the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week, 90 percent of respondents said O'Neal was not worth the $115 million the Magic was offerring. Apparently the Lakers didn't agree. The signing caps a stunning seven-day stretch of megadeals that begs the question how much is too much? Chicago began the frenzy by signing Michael Jordan to a one-year $25 million deal. The Knicks then committed $151 million for a trio of players. Miami followed by spending more than $200 million on Alonzo Mourning and Juwan Howard. But O'Neal's deal surpasses them all, making him the highest paid athlete in the history of team sports. The attention of this tulmultuous off-season has been on the Lakers run at Shaq. Los Angeles has made no secret of their desire to bring the 24-year-old superstar to the west coast, unloading players to clear room under the salary cap. O'Neal follows Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as great centers who came to the Lakers in the middle of their careers. Ironically, O'Neal and his Orlando teammate Anfernee Hardaway were often compared with Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, as the next great center-point guard combination in the NBA. But now that O'Neal has left the Magic, the question in Orlando has changed from whether the duo will match Kareem and Magic's five titles to whether the Magic will even win one championship. -->