Tag: Shaquille O’Neal

Kobe Shaquille O'Neal Lakers

Shaq says Kobe, sexual assault case blew apart Lakers


The reports of any truce between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal have been greatly exaggerated. Actually, where there any such reports?

Now that he is out of the game, Shaq has a new tell all book coming out: Shaq Uncut: My Story. Jackie MacMullan did the writing and it comes out Nov. 15. We like her and Shaq spins a good yard — even if the truth is stretched like taffy — so it should make an interesting combination.

Deadspin got some excerpts, including the parts where Shaq says Kobe’s Colorado sexual assault charges blew up the three-peat Lakers. And where Shaq threatened to kill Kobe. (Go read the whole thing, you want to see the part where young Kobe says he’s “going to be the Will Smith of the NBA.”)

So I’m on edge because I don’t have I don’t have a new deal, and Kobe is on edge because he might be going to jail, so we’re taking it out on each other. Just before the start of the ’03-’04 season the coach staff called us in and said, “No more public sparring or you’ll get fined.” … Phil was tired of it. Karl Malone and Gary Payton were sick of it. … So what happens? Immediately after that Kobe runs right out to Jim Gray and does this interview where he lets me have it. He said I was fat and out of shape. He said I was milking my toe injury for more time off, and the injury wasn’t even that serious. (Yeah, right. It only ended my damn career.) He said I was “lobbying for a contract extension when we have two Hall of Famers playing pretty much for free.” I’m sitting there watching this interview and I’m gonna explode. Hours earlier we had just promised our coach we’d stop. It was a truce broken. I let the guys know, “I’m going to kill him.”


Kobe stands up and goes face-to-face with me and says, “You always said you’re my big brother, you’d do anything for me, and then this Colorado thing happens and you never even called me.” I did call him. … So here we are now, and we find out he really was hurt that we didn’t stand behind him. That was something new. I didn’t think he gave a rat’s ass about us either way. “Well, I thought you’d publicly support me, at least,” Kobe said. “You’re supposed to be my friend.”

Brian Shaw chimed in with “Kobe, why would you think that? Shaq had all these parties and you never showed up for any of them. We invited you to dinner on the road and you didn’t come. Shaq invited you to his wedding and you weren’t there. Then you got married and didn’t invite any of us. And now you are in the middle of this problem, this sensitive situation, and now you want all of us to step up for you. We don’t even know you.” …

Everyone was starting to calm down when I told Kobe, “If you ever say anything like what you said to Jim Gray ever again, I will kill you.”

Kobe shrugged and said, “Whatever.”

Shaq deserves some of the blame for that Lakers team breaking up, too. And not just because he ran down the court at a preseason game yelling “pay me” at owner Jerry Buss (although that didn’t help).

That was Shaq’s locker room at the time and Kobe was the brash young kid. Shaq needled Kobe, pushed on him and Phil Jackson sided with Shaq because in the end he needed the locker room and the veterans to win. That just exacerbated the issues. (When Jackson returned to the Lakers and it was Kobe’s locker room, Jackson patched up that relationship because he needed Kobe.) Shaq was not mature and accommodating, he was Shaq. He helped push that divide. When their contracts came up it was going to be one or the other, and Buss had no choice but to go with the guy who was younger and had the better work ethic.

But the part about Kobe keeping those guys at arm’s length? Spot on. And the team didn’t like it.

And Shaq still doesn’t, apparently.

Shaq wants to own a team, bring it to Newark. He means it.

Shaquille O'Neal laughs as he announces his retirement from NBA at a news conference in Windermere

What is it with former NBA players who want to own NBA teams in markets where everyone else is trying to escape?

You’ve got Michael Jordan in Charlotte (a once good market where George Shin salted the earth) and now you’ve got Shaquille O’Neal is talking about Newark. Shaq is from New Jersey and Newark has a team — the New Jersey Nets — for one more season, then they are off to Brooklyn.

Shaq talked to the New York Times and said he still plans to buy an NBA team someday.

Yes. And I’m looking forward to bringing a team to Newark. I haven’t spoken to Mayor Booker about it yet, but I’m working on it. I know Newark can support an N.B.A. team. And I’m going to be one of the guys that’s going to bring a team there.

The Nets averaged 14,179 people per game last season, which was 80.6 percent of the building capacity (sixth lowest percentage in the league). Newark didn’t look like a strong market. To be fair, they had a team renting space in town until they could go to Brooklyn, so why should fans turn out? That said, Oklahoma City turned out in force when hurricane Katrina forced a temporary Hornets relocation, and that energy paved the way for the Thunder to come to town (screwing over Seattle fans in the process).

Take this with some salt. It’s not that Shaq doesn’t want to bring a team to Newark, it’s that he wants to do a lot of things and his follow through is not always there. Don’t take my word for it, ask Kobe.

Kobe Bryant smacks Shaquille O’Neal around. Again.

Image (1) Shaq and Kobe-thumb-275x260-13925.jpg for post 2602

This horse is dead, but we’re going to give it one more swift kick.

Turns out, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal don’t really like each other. Who knew? And if you think all the bitterness from those days is gone, you weren’t listening to Italian radio yesterday.

Neither were we, but someone with Sportando was. Kobe is out on a Nike-fueled tour of Italy right now and in a radio interview he was asked what was his issue with Shaq:

“I like players who work out. I used to do that 6-7 hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes. I need to say something to them”.

We knew that. Kobe has always had the crazy work ethic and Shaq balanced his work and play, leaning more toward the later. Phil Jackson stepped into that and made it hard on Kobe because he had to — that was Shaq’s locker room, Shaq’s team. Side with Kobe and Phil loses Shaq, side with Shaq and Kobe is more motivated. Phil is smart all the way around the block. He knew what to do.

Kobe, however, was not all that forgiving of Shaq. Stunning.

Shaq points to Joe Johnson to explain owners’ mistakes

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

Shaquille O’Neal pulled out the bad contract = lockout card again, but rather than going with the classics — Eddy Curry or Rashard Lewis — he went with the new and threw Atlanta’s Joe Johnson under the bus.

Which is both right and wrong at the same time. But we’ll get to that farther down the page.

First, here is what Shaq told the Times-Picayune when talking about the lockout (and notice how he still refers to the players as “we”):

O’Neal said a number of owners have overspent to keep players on rosters despite incurring significant revenue losses. O’Neal points to the Atlanta Hawks’ decision to re-sign guard Joe Johnson to a six-year, $119 million contract in July 2010 as a prime example of a franchise overpaying for a player when they not bringing in significant revenue to offset the costs.

“I love Joe Johnson and I hope he doesn’t get mad with me, but he’s not a $20 million a year guy,” O’Neal said. “Business-wise, Atlanta isn’t making that much money. But if you are going to offer a kid a lot of money, he’s going to take it. I think we need a system that protect the owners from each other.’’

First the disclaimer, the part where Shaq is wrong: Giving Joe Johnson a reasonable contract would not have impacted the overall health of the league. Under the old system, the players got 57 percent of basketball related income guaranteed — if the owners were smart and frugal with deals and came in under that percentage, then they had to write a supplemental check to cover the difference. Which is exactly what happened last season (and the players are just getting those checks now).

So whether it was bad deals or good ones, the players were going to get a cut the owners say is too high.

However, Shaq is spot on about the market size and owners writing contracts they knew they couldn’t afford. There was a buzz last summer that the Hawks wanted to keep Johnson at any cost to keep the fan base happy and the Atlanta Spirit ownership group was good with this oversized deal because they planned to sell the team and not be around for what will be the ugly end of that contract.

Middle and small market teams made terrible decisions about contracts then want out of them. They want protection from themselves. Don’t kid yourself, that is part of the “competitive balance” argument, that the Lakers can overpay Luke Walton and eat the deal then get another player, an option other markets don’t have.

In the end, I think even the owners would admit they have been part of the problem. But should the players have to pay for that?

Jerry West talks about his relationship with Phil Jackson… there wasn’t one

Jerry West

Last year, Roland Lazenby’s fascinating biography of Jerry West — detailing his childhood in West Virginia and how that shaped a man driven by a fear of failure. A man who felt relief more than anything when he finally won an NBA title as a player. A fear that drove him as an executive with the Lakers that built the Showtime Lakers and later the Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant era.

Now West is writing his own autobiography (due out in a couple months) and Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News got an advanced look (via Eye On Basketball). He says the book is very West — unflinchingly honest. And very interesting.

West is an iconic Laker, but when Phil Jackson came in to the franchise (the first time) he changed the dynamics of power structure and with that pushed West out. Almost literally at one point — Jackson famously threw West out of the Lakers locker room after a game. Phil needed power, West had it and that was the seeds of the issue. West talked about that relationship — to say that there wasn’t one.

“So one of the problems I had with Phil was this,” West writes. “His office was right near mine and when he would arrive in the morning, he would walk right past and never even bother to wave or duck his head in to say hello.

“He would later say that he felt the need to stake out his territory, that on top of that he was ’a wack job,’ but I am sure it was more than that…

“Phil and I had no relationship,” West writes. “None. He didn’t want me around and had absolutely no respect for me–of that, I have no doubt.”

Go read Lazenby’s book. You can bet when West’s comes out we’ll be reading it, too.