June 12, 2001


 Issue #4

A Tangled Web of Intrigue
Published Weekly

McDonalds Mishap Makes O'Neal and Lue Late for Game 4

Philadelphia—Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O'Neal and Tyronn Lue were reportedly detained before the start of game 4 of the NBA finals on Sunday evening in Philadelphia. The two were accosted by children at a Philadelphia restaurant, and were able to reach the First Union Center only twenty minutes before tip-off. No Injuries were reported as of press time.

     Sources say that the two had stopped at a McDonald's restaurant on Centre Street in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m., en route to the First Union Center. The two went unrecognized for ten minutes after entering the restaurant, but while on line, a child spotted them and yelled, "It's Grimace and Hamburglar!" This started a mob scene that lasted over four hours and required twenty-two Philadelphia Police officers to break it up. Witnesses described the two star players as amused at first, when surrounded by several children -- a familiar scenario for the multi-millionaire stars. 

     As the mob grew, their attitude became one of concern and finally complete panic as they realized the scope of the scene growing around them. The two apparently did not realize that their true identites were not known to the unruly and steadily growing mob of 5-9-year-olds, who had mistaken them for the decades-old McDonald's characters. O'Neal, 7'1" and 330 pounds, was dressed in what was described as a bright purple suit, as well as a similarly colored shirt and tie. Lue was dressed in a black and white horizontally striped shirt, sunglasses, and a leather beret.

     The restaurant, an unusually large one even by McDonald's standards, was hosting five separate childrens' birthday parties when the two entered the restaurant, according to the manager, Mel McDermott. "Yeah, they got pretty swamped - I've never seen anything quite like it!" exclaimed an overwhelmed McDermott after police had ordered the restaurant closed. "Damned if they didn't look just like Grimace and Hamburglar though," he added.

     John Farkas, professor of American Studies at the University of Manitoba and recognized expert in fast-food iconography, offered an explanation. "It has been years since the lovable and cuddly characters of Grimace and Hamburglar appeared in a McDonald's advertising campaign. Kids don't forget great characters like that, even if they're very young -- they're exposed to them through such sources as the internet, word of mouth, and old discarded happy meal boxes they can easily find in the street.

     Grimace used to make appearances at McDonald's restaurants all the time, but hasn't been seen in public since 1991. Most of these kids weren't even born then, so in a way, it's understandable how excited they got. How would you feel if you walked into Bennigan's and saw the Beatles ready to perform? It's kind of like that."

     When asked for comment, coach Phil Jackson quipped that "To my recollection, neither facial recognition nor any other aspect of human intelligence have never been the strong suit of Philadelphia fans."

     Philadelphia Owner John Pat Croce summarized the general reaction of the city with some eloquence Monday. At the daily press conference, Croce commented, "Phil Jackson is a fucking dickhead. Yeah, I KNOW the mike is on...."

Staff Writer C. Maroussi.

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