NBA rookies are supposed to be dumb. We know it, we accept it. Hell, we even expect it. And considering the fact that most of them enter the league with the equivalent of a fourth-grade homeschooling education, we should probably be happy they aren't sitting around eating rat poison or wandering into traffic.

But even given these already low expectations, Golden State Warriors center Ike Diogu recently set a new gold standard for rookie stupidosity. Prior to Wednesday night's game against the Miami Heat, Diogue was asked which NBA player most closely resembled monsterous behemoth Shaquille O'Neal. Black smoke immediately started pouring out of his ears as he tried valiently to wrap his brain around the question. many words, so very confusing. Once the gears of thought had ground to a loud and painful halt, he answered: "Greg Ostertag?"

Ike committed one of the classic blunders, worse even than going in against a Sicilian with death on the line, although not quite as bad as starting a land war in Asia: he insulted Shaq. He not only insulted him, he compared him to a guy Shaq has a history of hating. That's bad juju, man.

Seperated at birth
These two men were clearly seperated at birth.

All things considered, Ike got off easy. The Heat won the game rather handily, scoring a 110-96 knockout. Shaq played 30 minutes and "only" scored 21 points (on 10 of 15 shooting) to go along with 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Ike had 6 points, 5 rebounds, and Shaq was content to dunk on the rook only four or five times. So who knows what happened. Maybe Diogu bought Shaq an orange smoothie before the game. Maybe Shaq didn't even read the paper. Maybe Shaq can't read. The world...may never know. But I'm fairly certain that Ike's grateful the Warriors only play the Heat twice a year.

Editor's Note: I think this story is actually a sad commentary on the state of the center position in the NBA. At first, Diogu comparing Ostertag to Shaq seems preposterous. But stop and think about it for a minute. Can you name any other center that could carry Shaq's dirty jock halfway to the laundry hamper? Even an old, slow, bored-out-of-his-mind Shaq rules the paint with an iron-but-arthritic toe. I honestly can't think of a comparison that's demonstrably more appropriate. There isn't one. So maybe The Big Softy realized Diogu didn't give a better answer because he just couldn't. Or, you know, maybe he really can't read.