Okay, we get it — Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t really like Dwight Howard.
Maybe it goes back to the Superman nickname, or maybe Shaq disliked all challengers to his status as the best center in the game, but the thing has taken on a Hatfields vs. McCoys level of foolishness.
“I don’t have a reaction. You have to care to have a reaction. I’ve got businesses to run. I always tell people that in order to step in my shoes you have big shoes to fill. For him, he’s going to have to at least win three to get people’s respect.”
How do you feel about a big center like Howard following your same path to the Lakers following four years with the Magic?
“I’m flattered, if you want to put it like that.”
While he’s not exactly coming from a place of love, Shaq is right about this at the end of the day. Howard has dug himself one huge public relations hole, he’s followed Shaq in a way his people said he didn’t want to when they were pushing Brooklyn.
The only way out is winning. A lot of winning. That and staying out of other public relations disasters (for example, show up for the youth camps with your name on them). Work with sponsor Adidas to come up with a clever advertising campaign that ties into remaking your image (as Nike did with Kobe Bryant post Colorado).
But winning is the big thing. This is America, we forgive winners a lot of things. Get three titles and you’ll be in a much better place.