Shaq says he got in Pat Riley’s face in Miami, too

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Excerpts from Shaquille O’Neal’s new book hit the Web and of course our eyes are drawn to the Hatfields and McCoys that is he and Kobe Bryant with the Lakers. A legendary feud.

But that’s not all that is there in the excerpts Deadspin published.

There is also this description of his confrontation with then Heat coach Pat Riley.

My ticket out of Miami was punched in mid-February 2008. There was a lot of tension between Pat and the players. So we’re about to start practice and Jason Williams comes in about ten seconds late. Pat being Pat, he starts swearing at him and screaming, “Get the hell out of here!”…

I tell Pat we’re a team and we need to stick together, not throw guys out of the gym. Pat is screaming at me and says if I don’t like it, then I should get the hell out of practice, too.

That’s when I said, “Why don’t you make me?”

I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then Zo tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll. Now it’s me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I’m poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it’s getting nasty.

Noisy, too. He’s yelling “F— you!” and I’m yelling back, “No, f— you!”
Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, “Big fella, no big fella, big fella!” I finally turn around and tell him, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit the man. Do you think I’m crazy?”

Whenever Shaq tells a story, it takes on sort of a mythical quality and it can be hard to tell where the truth ends and the myth starts. My guess is that Shaq did not throw Alonzo Mourning around like a rag doll. Zo’s a strong dude.

We suggest taking this story with a few grains of salt. That said. But it’s also not that hard to see something going down like that.