Will the real Shaquille O’Neal please stand up and twitter

Wow, this is a hilarious story out of cyberspace that I just heard about from our old colleague Howard Beck, who covered the Lakers during the Shaq-Kobe Era and now works at the New York Times.

Here’s the lead. I highly recommend clicking the link to read the whole story:

Shaquille O’Neal had a problem. An Internet impostor using his name was sending messages to unsuspecting Shaq fans. So O’Neal did what any sensible, 7-foot-1, muscle-bound mammoth would do. He started tweeting.

“This is the real SHAQUILLE O’NEAL,” came the message from The_Real_Shaq, via Twitter.com, early Tuesday morning.

A clarification was in order because, for the last several months, someone registered as ShaquilleONeal was sending frequent messages, or tweets, to hundreds of subscribers.

The synthetic Shaq sounded a lot like the real O’Neal. His blurbs were whimsical, boastful and creative, even adopting O’Neal’s unique grammatical flourishes.

“My tweets are Shaqalicious,” ShaquilleONeal wrote Nov. 11.