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Charlie's Inside Corner: May 12

POSTED May 13, 2017 4:26 p.m.

Legendary retired NBA superstar-turned-basketball-analyst Shaquille O’Neal announced last week that he wants to run for sheriff in 2020. Move over Wyatt Earp, Batt Masterson and Sergeant Joe Friday. There’s a new sheriff in town!
O’Neal is a mountain of a man who has residences in Georgia and Florida and said, “I want to bring my community closer together. Obviously Shaq has a stage presence as he was All-Pro for years n the NBA and it seems his smiling face is constantly before us on television hawking everything from pain crèmes to charcoal grills!
How many of you remember the 1977 movie SMOKY AND THE BANDIT? The part of sheriff Buford T. Justice was played by Jackie Gleason but would have been done just as well by the hulking “gentle giant”, O’Neal. You can still catch replays of it on television today. It was a big booster to the careers of Burt Reynolds and Sally Field. I can’t get the image of Buford T. Justice played by Shaq out of my mind!
Though O’Neal gives the act of being a “gentle big dummy”, he’s far from that. He was an “army brat” and learned to speak several languages while his parents were stationed at bases in Europe. The future All-American at Louisiana State and NBA All Pro wasn’t always great at basketball and was actually cut from his high school team in his first year and was told he might “have a better chance as a goalie in soccer.”
Shaq actually has somewhat of a Kansas connection. In 1989, in his first season at LSU, the Tigers pared the 7’ O’Neal with Stanley Roberts (7’, 288lbs) and started off the season ranked number two in the world of college basketball. Those were the days of the preseason NIT and , after winning their first round game 91-80 over Southern Mississippi, they were matched with a young, inexperienced and unranked Kansas Jayhawk team.
Led by emerging star Mark Randall’s 25 points the young Jayhawks ousted LSU 89-83. Kevin Pritchard contributed 13 while Jeff Gueldner added 16. Kansas held the “twin towers” of O’Neal and Roberts to just 22 points, 10 by O’Neal. Mark Randall has had a long professional NBA career and then moved into the front office with the Denver Nuggets. Kevin Pritchard just last week was named general manager of the Indiana Pacers, replacing Larry Bird. Jeff Gueldner is seen frequently as a television analyst for networks carrying Kansas basketball.
So, in a couple of years from now, don’t get caught speeding in Georgia or Florida. Buford T. Justice (Shaq) is too big to argue with!

CHALK TALK
The Great Bend Panthers and the Larned Indians baseball teams come into Friday’s doubleheader on the opposite ends of the momentum swing. The Indians improved to 12-6 with another doubleheader sweep against Lyons on Tuesday while the Black Panthers were mauled by Liberal. Still, these will probably be exciting, hard fought contests in a renewal of this old rivalry!
Ellsworth’s Kaden Davis is a state-class sprinter. He holds all-class top-five times in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters. He is one of only three Kansas athletes to run the 400 below 50 seconds.
A look at the American League Central standings shows Kansas City in last place. At the time their winning percentage was .333. That will make you an All-Star if that’s your batting average but disaster if that’s your winning percentage. Fortunately, none of the other teams in the AL Central are playing that well and the Boys in Blue trail by only 7 games!
Speaking of Shaquille O’Neal, he was recently asked “How was your time at LSU”? He responded, “They paid me very well”. That caused quite a flap in Baton Rouge!
That leads us to the words of Orson Rega Card, “Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.”

Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at budtabler@gmail.com.

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