Pat Riley understands Shaquille O’Neal.
Understood he needed to push the big man hard if the Heat were going to win the championship in 2006. Understands him now as Shaq goes around promoting his “Shaq Uncut” biography.
That’s why Riley was not offended by Shaq saying talking about Riley’s “Gestapo conditioning,” as the coach told Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
“He’s marketing. He’s a marketer. He’s just marketing right now,” Riley told the Sun Sentinel with a dismissive laugh. “That’s all he’s doing….”
“I’m trying to figure out whether or not Hannibal Lecter, the Gestapo or John Gotti, I don’t know which one is worse,” Riley said of the characterizations he’s received from O’Neal over the years. “They’re all equally insulting.”
He smiled, then paused, “but Coach is good enough for me.”
Shaq is about selling books. Well, Shaq is about selling the Shaq persona, right now that is books. Someday (soon I hope) it will be selling Shaq the TNT analyst. There will other Shaqs to sell after that.
Riley gets that. We all should get that.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:
Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.