The price was right 

I love the Sixers and Allen Iverson. I hate the Lakers and Shaquille O’Neal. Tonight is game four of the NBA championship playoffs (9 p.m. on NBC) and everyone has long since conceded the NBA crown to those LA pretty boys. Even when Philly loses, Iverson is an artist whose skills of improvisation and creativity match those of Jackson Pollock or John Coltrane. O’Neal is a big lug who succeeds with brute force, but is about as boring as your partner in the missionary position. Off the court, O’Neal is even more annoying as a bland corporate tool. In his new book, Shaq Talks Back, he admits, “I’ve been corporate because that is the politically correct thing to do.” Financially rewarding too; see the Shaqdaddy in commercials for Pepsi, Taco Bell and, now, Nestlé Crunch. No, there is no new Shaq candy bar (he ain’t cool like Reggie Jackson and his Reggie Bar), just regular Crunch bars with new (w)rappers (check out Shaq’s new rap CD at www.shaqmusic.com) and a contest that could net you Lakers tickets and a chance to meet Shaq. Find the details at www.nba.com where you can also find the Nestlé “Crunch Time” ranking gimmick that rates the NBA’s best clutch performers. Going into the Finals, Iverson ranks No. 1; O’Neal is not listed.

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