Tag: Shaquille O’Neal

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat

Shaq compares LeBron, Wade in clutch; smacks Bosh


It’s Tuesday, time for another installment of “Shaquille O’Neal smacks someone is his book.”

Chris Bosh, come on down, you’re the next contestant.

Here is what Shaq wrote about the third wheel of the Miami Heat, as reported by Ethan Skolnick in the Palm Beach Post (via I am a GM).

“Some guys come into the league without a ton of props, so there’s not a whole lot of pressure on them. Then they sign a big deal and all of a sudden they’re thrown into the spotlight. Chris Bosh is like that. He’s getting all this attention, so he starts believing he’s really good. C’mon now. We know better. He’s a player who can put up some numbers, but he’s not an elite player. He was in Toronto eight years and they were never a factor, never a playoff team. Don’t get with those other two guys and start pounding your chest. I ain’t buying it, and I’m not the only one.”

Shaq also has an interesting way of looking at the Heat and who takes the last shot.

“People ask me all the time: If you had to choose between DWade and LeBron, which would you take? Which one would you make the CEO? It’s really a tough question. LeBron is a better decision maker. DWade will hit more last-second shots. Lots of superstars in their position want and need to take the last shot. LeBron is more of an ‘opportunity’ CEO. He’s not afraid to take the last shot, but he won’t hesitate to pass it to an open Mike Miller either. So where do these two guys measure up against Kobe? Kobe is a scientific dawg. He works out every day, practices every day. Most of the other stars are just dawgs, not scientific dawgs. Me, I’m a freak-of-nature dawg because of my size. LeBron could be a scientific dawg like Kobe, but he’s got a lot going on like I did, so that’s preventing him from being one.”

I’m fairly sure that is the most use of the word “dawg” in a paragraph in the history of American literature. Well, at least until Randy Jackson writes a biography.

Shaq’s interesting interpretation of his final days in Miami

Shaquille O'Neal Heat

The feeling of the people in Miami about Shaquille O’Neal and his book may best be summed up by a tweet from Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel:

There is the truth and then there is Shaq’s spin on his Heat departure.

But Shaq’s spin makes for an entertaining read. The chapter of his new book — Shaq Uncut: My Story — that deals with his final days with the Heat was published on ESPN over the weekend.

As we detailed before, Shaq says his ticket out of Miami was punched when he stood up to Pat Riley for being too hard on the team. Specifically, Riley threw Jason Williams out of practice for being “10 seconds late” and that Shaq had enough. As Shaq tells it, he and Riley did not get along and after that incident they almost came to blows. Soon after the Heat were shopping him around.

When he traded me, Pat denied we were having any problems. He told the media, “I loved Shaq when I got him and I love him today.”

He didn’t mean it. He hated the way I called him out. He didn’t like to be challenged. I’m sure he thought I was trying to destroy the culture he created. He was probably right. I thought his “culture” needed some tweaking.

Winderman recounts a different telling after the Shaq trade, when Heat owner Micky Arison spoke about how things went down.

Foremost, in the wake of the unloading of O’Neal, Arison spoke of the center’s push for a trade dating to December 2007, with the Dallas Mavericks the object of the center’s affections at the time….

Amid that unease, O’Neal’s Heat teammates at the time told stories of how the massive center would engage in horseplay in the locker room prior to games only to tell the team’s training staff he was physically unable to play.

Did free spirit Shaq and harda** Pat Riley have a clash of styles? You bet. But just be careful buying the idea that Shaq was the good guy in all this. Shaq was Shaq, and any time he ran into a culture that really pushed him to better use his talents (Kobe Bryant, for example) he pushed against it.

Still, Shaq makes a good read.

Author: Shaquille O’Neal’s father abused him as a child

Former US basketball star Shaquille O'Ne

Through all the entertaining anecdotes in the new Shaquille O’Neal book about his clashes with Kobe Bryant (and Pat Riley and LeBron James and Big Baby and…) there is another, darker episode.

There is Shaq’s upbringing, and how his father physically and mentally abused him. Like punching him in the face out of the blue abusive.

Phillip Harrison, Shaq’s military-member father, crossed the line from raising a tough child to abuse, according to Jackie MacMullan, who wrote the book with Shaq. And he crossed it a lot, she said.

Here is what MacMullan told Jason Whitlock on a FoxSports.com podcast (transcribed by Eye on Basketball).

“It gets lost in the shuffle because people want to talk about Kobe, Pat Riley, and LeBron and all these other famous people, but another fascinating part of this book is his father. ‘Sarge,’ Phillip Harrison, who, frankly, abused him all the way through his life. Physically abused him, beat the living daylights out of him at every turn…

“We’re not talking about spanking. We’re talking about a belt. Beating him badly. Something that disturbed his mother greatly. Of course, Shaq’s mom and his dad aren’t together any more. I think that’s in part why. Sarge was a military guy, that’s how his father raised him, and that’s how he was going to raise his son. I don’t think he thinks there’s anything wrong with it still. Shaq understands it, his dad was ‘trying to help’ him. He believed his dad had the best intentions, so Shaq gives him a pass on it. As a reader, you can’t help but go, ‘Wow, this is tough, this is over the top.’….

“His father came home from work one night, Shaq is sitting there, he punches Shaq in the face. Shaq says, ‘Well, what’s that for?’ [Harrison] said, ‘We’re going to see this guy play basketball. We’re going to see him play tonight. He plays in the NBA. You’re messing around, you’re goofing around, you’re not serious about your game. This guy makes $15 million and he can’t play at all. And we’re going to go see him.’ Punches him again and takes him to go see Jon Koncak play basketball and says, ‘See, if you applied yourself, you could be in the NBA making $15 million.’ You can say that’s a good story, it makes my skin go pale, and I’m pretty pale to begin with.”

As a father, it makes me angry. I get how challenging it can be to motivate children, I get how hard it can be to get them to listen, be structured and follow rules. They’re kids, they want to push you at every turn. But there is a line that cannot be crossed. Not in a civil society.

It should be noted that Shaq says his father made him the man he became and Shaq loves his father dearly. Shaq praises his dad throughout the book.

Shaq also said in the book he would never treat his own kids the same way. Let’s hope that is true. Let’s hope he has ended the cycle of abuse. If so, he deserves a lot of credit.