If you can keep track of the Miami New Times's Hack-a-Shaq saga, then we salute you. It is an overlapping jumbled mess of blackmailing and threats and nearly indecipherable text messages. We tried drawing a visual aid for all of the accusations cataloged here, but we gave up, because there are, like, three mistresses named Vanessa, and they all think that Shaquille O'Neal had it in for them.
(That's inaccurate. All that I'm saying is, Shaq had a lot of mistresses. Allegedly.)
Today, Gus Garcia-Roberts of the New Times published a feature that brought together the claims he's been documenting on the paper's blog for the past month or so, and then some. The piece is centered around Shawn Darling—he's pictured above, and described in the New Times as Shaq's "rogue IT guy"—who has filed a lawsuit claiming that Shaq attempted to frame him by planting child pornography on his personal computer. Darling now possesses "somewhere between 13,000 and 19,000 messages" from Shaq's personal email and chat correspondence. (His chat handle, for the record, was King of Diesel Dog Mafia.)
In court on Aug. 26, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Marc Schumacher said that the emails contain "allegations against so many people in so many different positions in society...that their release would really wreck lives."
If you can keep up with all of the claiming going on here (some variation of the word "claim" is used 18 times throughout the article), then there really are some delightful anecdotes amidst the wrecking of the lives. In August 2006, for example, Shaq allegedly joined a SWAT team bust in rural Virginia:
In August 2006 in the sticks of Virginia, one pumpkin farmer got well-acquainted with Keystone Shaq's special brand of law enforcement. That's when a cavalcade of police cars screamed onto A.J. Nuckols's farm and disgorged barking cops in SWAT gear, including the tallest man he had ever seen.
Told he was suspected of possession of child porn, Nuckols was tossed against his Ford pickup. The giant officer reached into the truck's gun rack and hoisted the rifle like it was Pablo Escobar's coke spoon, booming victoriously, "We've got a gun!"
The farmer studied the behemoth.
"Are you... Shaquille O'Neal?"
The officer grumbled, "No. My name's Tony."
Nuckols, it turns out, was innocent. Nine days later, the local sheriff, who admitted that O'Neal had accompanied the raid, attributed the blunder to faulty information from an Internet company.
There's much more over at the New Times, including a lot of complaints from former mistresses. Have a look and, if you're able to coherently map this mess, let us know. We have no idea just how this will end for Shaq, the puppy dog whose shit never seems to smell, but if Darling has his way, he won't have a job with NBA on TNT next year. He told Garcia-Roberts that he "will ruin Shaq."