Every day more excerpts from Shaquille O’Neal’s new book come out, and every day we move a little closer to buying the book when it comes out.
We’ve heard stories from Shaq’s Lakers era, Cavaliers era and Heat era, on tap today is Boston. The Boston Globe has excerpts from the book about Shaq’s time in green.
That starts with the day Shaq threatened to punch Glen “Big Baby” Davis in the face while playing the Lakers.
“Big Baby” Davis kept looking me off and taking it himself. Doc is shouting at him to go inside, but he won’t. So Doc calls timeout and draws up a play for me. I go out there, and I back Andrew Bynum way under the rim. I’m loose, I’m ready. I’ve got Bynum under the basket and again, Baby won’t give me the ball. So I go up to him and say, “If you ever miss me again I’m going to punch you in the face.” I was hot.
Two nights later we’re playing in Sacramento and here we go again. I take three shots the entire game and again I’ve got my man isolated underneath the basket, and Baby ignores me and takes a jump shot. So the next time we’re in the huddle I let Baby have it.
I tell him, “Pass the [expletive] ball inside.” He comes back at me a little bit and now I’m really heated. All hell is breaking loose. We’re going back and forth. Doc is standing there and he’s not saying a word. The message is pretty clear: Work this out yourselves. I tell Baby, “You’re a selfish player. Everyone on this team knows it.” Hey, all the fans knew it. He takes shots when he shouldn’t.
That is not going to help Davis and his acceptance issues.
Then there is the story of why Doc Rivers never really loved Nate Robinson the way most fans did.
I wasn’t surprised at all when he got traded. Nate was always trying to get noticed by the public. He was always tweeting videos of himself punking his teammates … Some people are a little too focused on Twitter and Nate was one of them. He was too worried about how many followers he had. He kept saying, “Shaq, I need more people. Help me out.”
Shaq also retells the story of President Barack Obama shaking the confidence of Rajon Rondo.
Shaq’s book is going to be a lot like the player — a little overhyped at times but always entertaining and a crowd pleaser.
Shaquille O’Neal is a hit in Boston. His big, playful personality has been embraced by the city — did you see how many people came out to watch him be a statue?
Next up? Going on the “T” (Boston’s quaint subway system) dressed as a woman named Shaquita, he told WEEI.
“That’s a good idea. I’m going to do that. What’s today? Sunday? I’m going to do that next week.”
Shaq is loving his time in Boston and with these Celtics, who just a couple years ago were considered very serious and intense.
“This is the funnest team I’ve been on in my life,” O’Neal said. “These guys are great. Usually I’m the ring leader of bringing fun to a team, but I haven’t even done anything yet. These guys crack me up. Big Baby and Nate, they need their own TV show. Those guys are funny. Just having certain conversations with all the great players, me and Kevin [Garnett] going back to our LA, Minnesota days. It’s just fun. It’s a close-knit group already. We go to dinner together, movies together, play cards. It’s just a fun group. It’s going to be a fun 735 days for me.”
But before he can focus on the next two years, he’s going to have to start playing some ball. Some serious ball. The Celtics start the season Tuesday against the Miami Heat and Shaq will be starting at center. He will be one of the keys to the Celtics winning that game and getting off to a fast start.
If Boston or Shaq struggles to start the season, he’ll learn quickly about the other side of Boston fans. They can be fun loving, but they also can be intense. Very intense.
Glen Davis plays like a drunk seal, often falling over on routine shots, belly flopping like he’s trying to earn a cracker. He’s a thick-fingered power forward with minimal elevation and low athletic upside. He shot 43.7% from the floor this season and was criticized for not having his focus ready.
Well, the seal’s grown fangs and is destroying his opponent. He was shooting 47% from the field in the 2010 playoffs coming into Game 4, and then dropped a 5-9 shooting performance on his way to a game-high 17 points. As a comparison, in last year’s playoffs he shot 49% in the playoffs. But, when you factor in free throw shooting (and perimeter shots which aren’t part of Davis’ game… yet), you have a stat called True Shooting Percentage. In last year’s playoffs, Davis had a TS% of 54% (53.8%). This year he has a TS% of 56%.
Meanwhile, his rebounding has improved as well. He’s grabbing 12% of all rebounds when he’s on the floor versus 9% last year. So even with bigger, better rebounders on the floor versus last year in Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett, Davis is outdoing his work last year.
Davis isn’t necessary for the Celtics to win. That’s the scary part. He’s the player you hope comes into the game because he’s not as disciplined as Kendrick Perkins and not as skilled as Kevin Garnett. But his performance makes an already indomitable Celtics team near unbeatable. That flailing around? He’s collecting fouls on each fall, and knocking down shots while he’s doing it. He repeatedly knocked down mid-range shots in Game 4, despite only shooting 33% from mid-range in the regular season.
Davis has been a significant part of the Celtics’ dominance. There are dozens of reasons the Celtics are taking it to their playoff opponents, but when Big Baby Davis brings his game, it’s blotting out the last rays of sunshine on their already dying worlds.
Oh, but he still doesn’t get to be called “Uno-Uno.” You don’t get to make your own nicknames until you’re the dominant player on a Finals team, Davis. You’re Big Baby Davis for life. But it’s a name he’s made into something fearsome.