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 feels like a lot of Celtics fans do — that the Celtics shouldn’t have traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City at the deadline last season. But Shaq went a step farther telling GM Danny Ainge he might not be back and not to make the trade.
That’s just one of the interesting things the future Hall of Famer told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Shaq was back in his old stomping grounds of Baton Rouge as LSU unveiled a new statue of the best big man ever to come out of that school.
Here is what he said of the Celtics.
My mind was on winning the whole thing, and we had a chance to get the second spot (in the Eastern Conference), and we ended up getting the fourth spot. I even told (Boston General Manager) Danny Ainge not to do the Kendrick Perkins deal with Oklahoma City. I told them I might not be ready, and I’m definitely not coming back. Those guys did what they’ve got to do. I wasn’t surprised; I’ve seen it before. They say all that blah, blah, but you know it’s always going to be something different.
Shaq on comparing Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
They were all different. Coming in, I had to bring Kobe along. Coming in with D-Wade, I didn’t want to lose a friend like I lost Kobe, so I was real delicate with him. LeBron already had everything, so I never had to say anything to him.
Shaq on how the league has changed since he entered it.
Business-wise, it’s different. When I was in high school, every team had a star and a Hall of Famer. You don’t have that now. Let’s be real: Orlando, Boston, L.A., Miami — that’s it. Maybe Memphis, the Spurs, maybe Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. Only nine or 10 teams have a star. In my opinion, it’s kind of gone down. You’ve still got some young guys that are very exciting. They understand and grasp the power that they have.
If you want to remember the young, almost skinny Shaquille O’Neal, you need to head on down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Sure, you could also go to YouTube, but Baton Rouge is a lot more fun.)
On the LSU campus Thursday they unveiled a new statue of Shaq — dunking of course — from his days as a Tiger. Back when he was thin, agile and just starting to dominate.
This is not Shaq pretending to be a statue in Boston, this is an actual statue. And while Shaq put on a few pounds as his career went on, he never got up to the 900 pounds the statue weighs. Probably.
Shaq, of course, accepted the statue with his usual subtle grace (via the LSU basketball twitter feed).
“That is the best sculpture in the country.”
Shaq nicknamed the statue “The Big Bronze.”
Shaq also told the crowd he was disappointed he could not bring a national title to Baton Rouge and that calling coach Dale Brown with the news he was going pro and not returning to LSU was one of the hardest things he has ever done.
Dan Patrick got Kevin Garnett to open up about negotiations with the Celtics (or lack thereof) and about almost going to the Lakers in 2007. But there was one more little tidbit we left out.
Garnett talked about playing with Shaquille O’Neal, which KG said made last season one of the most fun he has had in the NBA in a long time. And that led to an interesting note from KG about Shaq, as quoted at CSNNE.com.
Garnett told Patrick that the host had a better chance of hitting a ball over the Green Monster than scoring a basket in an NBA game. That led to an exchange in which Garnett recalled a softball game that the Celtics played at Fenway Park. Garnett said he hit one ball off of the Green Monster. He said Rajon Rondo hit two off the Wall and Shaquille O’Neal, of course, knocked one over the Monster.
Honestly, the fact that Shaq knocked one over the Green Monster does not shock me — he got heavy and injured late in his career but the man was freakishly athletic for his size. Remember how quick his spin moves were back in Orlando?
But Rondo hit the Green Monster twice? Now that does shock me.
There are moments — crucial end-of-close-game moments — when Stan Van Gundy has to sit his best player, Dwight Howard. Or they can’t trust giving him the ball.
Because Howard will get fouled, and he shot only 59.6 percent from the free throw line last year (which is pretty much right at his career average of 59.8 percent). It’s a liability.
So Howard is working with free throw guru Ed Palubinskas this summer to change his game, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Palubinskas, an Australian national and Olympian, hit 87.5 percent of his free throws while at LSU and has become a coach to many big names.
Palubinskas worked with Magic teammate Brandon Bass a few years back and Bass’ free throw percentage jumped from 75 percent to 82 percent.
The biggest name he worked with Shaquille O’Neal, but it didn’t seem to help — Shaq shot 51.3 percent his season with Palubinskas. He did get better the next two seasons and shot a career best 62.2 percent two years later, but you can decide for yourself if Palubinskas gets the credit for that. You can also decide for yourself how good a student Shaq would have been for any teacher.
Will it help Howard? Well at least Howard will be a willing student. But we’ll wait until we see Howard hitting 70 percent or better and not having Van Gundy worried abut keeping him on the floor at the end of close games before we decide.