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Tony Pizzle: All Sizzle, No Steak

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Shaq DieselRemember back in 1993 when Shaquille O'Neal was on top of the world? He was a 20-year-old rookie that just exploded onto the scene -- he was always on TV, whether it was highlights of him tearing down baskets or commercials of him selling products for Reebok and Pepsi.

We loved the guy, and when he came out with his first rap CD -- Shaq Diesel -- a lot of us played along and bought it. Remember, this was a time when gimmicky hip-hop still reigned -- the 14-year-old rapping duo Kriss Kross was still playing on the radio and the pre-teen group Another Bad Creation was still in the public consciousness, so when Shaq busted out rhymes like: "Now who's the first pick? me, word is born and/ Not a Christean Laettner, not Alonzo Mourning/ That's okay, not being bragadocious/ Supercalifragelistic, Shaq is alidocious," everyone just laughed along.

But then Shaq Diesel was followed by Shaq-Fu: Da Return. . . and You Can't Stop the Reign. . . and The Best of Shaquille O'Neal, whose title would suggest the end of his musical career, but instead merely set the stage for Respect and Volume 1 - SuperFriends. Did Volume 2 come out? I don't think so, but maybe that's just when Amazon drew the line and stopped stocking his albums.

Eva LongoriaSince Shaq, countless NBA players have pursued a career in hip hop, from Allen Iverson to Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant to Ron Artest. The latest? Mr. Longoria himself, Tony Parker... who's releasing a French rap album. Or should I say, Tony Pizzle, aka, The Machine, as he's decided to bill himself.

Now, just because a guy is rapping in French doesn't mean he's not hardcore (didn't they try to pin all those recent riots in France on rappers?), but TP just doesn't quite seem very "tough" to me. What's he going to rap about, sippin' Cristal in the green room at Oprah? Or how his girlfriend gets lippy with the police?

Parker, umm... I mean Pizzle, put on a party over All-Star weekend in Houston dubbed "Tony Parker's International All Star Weekend".

How'd it go over?

The Philadelphia Inquirer put it like this after the 2 a.m. gig in Houston: "Based on eyewitness accounts of Parker's skills at his release party Friday, it's more likely that his album will go wood than platinum."

Ouch. Maybe the folks from Philly just didn't understand rap, or French, for that matter. What are his (mostly) bi-lingual fans saying on the Official Tony Parker Message Board?

When you understand the french you think ohhh TP must stp the rap!! In french his lyrics was very bad, personnaly I love Tony when he play Basket but when he rap it's horrible...

ps: sorry for my poor english.

Hmmm. Still want to see him perform live? Well, you can catch him twice in the next couple of weeks, first doing a gig at the, ahem, San Antonio's Gentleman's Club on Tuesday, Feb. 28 and then at Club Antro on Saturday, March 4.

A "gentlemen's club?" Classy. At least the proceeds from that performance benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, though that seems to send a twisted message to our country's youth.

You thought it stung watching the Spurs beat the Pistons in Game 7 last year? Well that was nothing to the pain poor Tony felt being left out of the All-Star game some months earlier:

"I wanted to make the All-Star team bad. I always loved those (NBA) championships, but I want to get the recognition, too, as a player."

So just in case if you were still undecided on the poll we have going, maybe reading this will help you make up your mind. Consider voting for San Antonio's little rhyming Frenchman, aka Tony Pizzle, aka The Machine, aka Mr. "I've always loved those championships, but...".

(Me? I voted for the Nets. There's no rhyme or reason to it, I just don't like the team. But Pizzle and Balki Ginobili are a close second.)