The Love Shaq
By Eric Immerman
Special to Page 2

News Item: Shaquille O'Neal and longtime girlfriend Shaunie Nelson were married last Thursday night in a private ceremony shrouded in secrecy. The couple, which have two children together and are expecting another boy in May, exchanged vows in front of friends and teammates at The Beverly Hills Hotel, where plainclothes security guards (Richard Grieco and Jim J. Bullock) began chasing out reporters and photographers during the afternoon.

So, what happened that evening at The Big Aristotle's nuptials? The following timeline was gathered with the help of surveillance cameras, audio bugs and eyewitness accounts:

Shaquille O'Neal
From the looks of things, daily female fashion advice could only be good for the big guy.
5 p.m. Tailor makes final alteration to Shaq's customized tuxedo; classy, understated garment features "Blaq Supaman" emblazoned across the chest.

5:19 p.m. Citing sources within the Lakers organization, "Inside Stuff" correspondent Summer Sanders confirms to KCAL-TV that Shaq is only getting married to collect on the sizable dowry.

5:53 p.m. When asked for identification, an absentminded Samaki Walker explains to the security guard, "I left my wallet in El Segundo. I gotta get, I got-got ta get it."

6:02 p.m. E! Entertainment Television fashion aficionados Joan and Melissa Rivers compliment Derek Fisher on his matching headband and cummerbund; tell Dyane Cannon that she's never looked more "leathery."

6:17 p.m. Attorneys for Shaq hastily draft prenuptial agreement declaring that in the event of a divorce, Shaunie Nelson is entitled to 50 percent of Shaq's residuals from "Steel" and a coupon for one free MexiMelt.

6:34 p.m. The beautiful bride begins her procession down the aisle accompanied by a soulful organ rendition of Shaq's "The Bomb Baby" from his "Respect" CD, featuring Deadly Venoms and K-Raw.

6:35 p.m. Congregation emits a collective gasp upon the realization that Shaunie Nelson and Marv Albert are wearing identical strapless, Champagne-colored Vera Wang gowns.

6:47 p.m. Former Laker A.C. Green recites passages from the Old Testament and delivers a sermon on how entering into the bonds of marriage will finally enable Shaq and Shaunie to make love without the fear of a disapproving God.

Pat Riley
Pat Riley was on hand to remind guests that "three-peat" was his wife's idea.
7:09 p.m. In the ceremony's most stirring and poignant moment, Shaq looks deep into Shaunie's eyes and vows to never commit a 24-second violation and promises to "three-peat" in bed.

7:10 p.m. Just seconds later, an enraged Pat Riley screams out "trademark infringement" and demands to be compensated $250 in royalties.

7:22 p.m. Incorporating different religious traditions into their ceremony, Shaq breaks a piece of glass, which in the Jewish culture symbolizes the frailty of marriage, the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and wayward free-throw shooting of biblical proportions.

7:30 p.m. Priest warns congregation to "speak now or forever hold your peace"; several NBA players instinctively reach for their gats.

7:35 p.m. Having lost something in the translation, Yao Ming douses the exiting couple with red beans & rice.

7:58 p.m. "Czar of the Telestrator" Mike Fratello diagrams on a cocktail napkin just how Jack Nicholson has positioned himself to snare the hot tray of crab puffs right as they emerge from the kitchen.

8:15 p.m. During reception, occupants at Table No. 14 (including Rasheed Wallace, Lamar Odom and Damon Stoudamire) begin "pookin' out" and commence smoking the chrysanthemum centerpiece.

8:20 p.m. Occupants at Table No. 14 officially deem centerpiece "cashed."

8:32 p.m. "Shaq's All-Star Comedy Roast" veteran Tommy Davidson toasts Shaq with a glass of gravy.

8:51 p.m. A disgruntled Phil Jackson removes his glasses, pinches the bridge of his nose, and decries the shameful lack of floor spacing during the Electric Slide.

9:28 p.m. The following awkward exchange ensues in Conga line -- Magic Johnson: "Hey Dennis, how did you ever get Carmen Electra to marry you?" Dennis Rodman: "I just whispered those three special words. Magic Johnson: "I Love You?" Dennis Rodman: "I've been tested." Magic Johnson: "Oh." Dennis Rodman: "Hey, Magic, you got any openings in your TGIFriday's Management Training Program?"

Mark Madsen
Mark Madsen was cutting the rug while Shaq was tying the knot.
10:12 p.m. Wedding history is made as Mark Madsen becomes the first person to ever attempt the Cabbage Patch and Running Man during the mid-tempo "Pina Colada Song.".

11:00 p.m. For the third time in less than an hour, Bill Raftery approaches the video guy and enthusiastically encourages Shaq to "Send It In Big Fella!" on his honeymoon.

11:43 p.m. During a raucous rendition of "Wild Wild West," Brian Shaw pantomimes a lasso movement in an effort to pull a Laker Girl across the floor; to his chagrin, he inadvertently wrangles in Penny Marshall.

12:04 a.m. Re-creating a pivotal scene from the epic Guns 'N' Roses video "November Rain," commissioner David Stern, fueled by Red Bull and vodkas, dives headfirst through the uncut wedding cake.

12:37 a.m. Dodgers' ground crew forced to roll tarp onto dance floor after Shaq and Patrick Ewing accumulate several inches of sweat during a hellacious, nonstop dance stretch that includes "Mony Mony," "Hot Hot Hot" and "Sex Machine."

1 a.m. Guests seen leaving party with gift bags; contents include Jeannie Buss-Playboy/Vanessa Williams-Penthouse collage and 10 shares of Dunk.net.

Eric Immerman is a contributing comedy writer to ESPN The Magazine and "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn." His material also has been featured on Laugh.com. He can be reached at eimmerman@hotmail.com





THE LOVE SHAQ

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