Among the seemingly countless interesting bits coming out of Shaquille O’Neal’s new book — hitting stores next week, if you still buy your books in stores — were some swipes at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Shaq said that Kareem offered him no help through his NBA career. Which seems believable because Kareem is a bit standoffish.
But Kareem responded on his Facebook page (via the Los Angeles Times) that Shaq didn’t ask for advice and didn’t take it the one time it was given.
“As a pro I never approached Shaq because I thought he was pretty successful dunking everything and I assumed he didn’t want my help,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Additionally, I was never on the coaching staff of any of his teams. I was never unfriendly to him and I would talk to him, but Shaq was enjoying his success, doing it his way. He never asked me of what I thought he should be doing and he never tried to reach out to me for any instruction and I respected that decision.”
“If I had any idea that Shaq wanted to learn from me, I would have been happy to have worked with him, but all indications that I had received was that he felt he was doing fine and he didn’t need or want my help,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I am totally surprised by Shaq’s comments as I tried to respect his privacy and never got any indication from anyone that he wanted or needed any input from me with regard to how he played the game. Shaq had a great career, and I, like everyone else, respect what he has achieved.”
Shaq’s dad is right — he didn’t really need the skyhook. People dismissed Shaq as a guy who could just dunk, but as our own John Krolik likes to point out the goal of an offensive player is to create a high-quality shot for himself (or a teammate) and they don’t get much more high quality than a dunk. If Shaq could power his way to the hoop for a dunk, he should.
But Kareem was more than one shot. Kareem came with tremendous footwork, passing skills, great court awareness, a very high IQ for the game. There were a lot of things he could have passed along.
But their personalities never really let that happen.
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.
Think there might be a Kobe chapter?
According to WEEI in Boston, Shaquille O’Neal is working on a new book with one of the nation’s best sportswriters, Jackie MacMullan (via Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register).
“She knew things that I’d forgotten about. We were sitting at the house talking — we meet twice a week for three hours. She asks me questions, and I ‘ve got to dig in my old Shaqodex. I’m like, ‘That’s 13 years ago.’ It should be a very exciting book — no holds barred. ‘Tell-all’ wouldn’t be the correct term. ‘Truthful’ would be the better term.”
That could be an interesting read. Especially if he is honest with how he has dealt with going from the ultimate alpha dog in the league — one Phil Jackson sided with in Los Angeles because he dominated he locker room over Kobe — to a role player trying to help teams along.