As if this guy hasn’t done enough damage to his credibility this summer…
Suffice to say I haven’t read the book yet, but I think I’m qualified to take an educated guess at what happens within it’s pages. Something tells me Shaq will place the majority of blame for everything that ever went wrong during his time with all 6 NBA teams he played for on everyone else’s shoulders, from Kobe to Steve Nash to Maurice Williams to the Miami Heat medical staff to the goddamned Phoenix Gorilla.
Yeah, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, especially since he’s already said all this stuff before, (as detailed here). Thing is, you can always count on this guy to do two things: A) Whatever it takes to keep himself in the public consciousness B) Badmouth people after the fact.
All we’ve seen so far is an excerpt or two floating around and boy, I hope they are taken out of context. I mean, the one published by Deadspin today presents the Kobe/Shaq saga as having started over Kobe’s assault case and the drama surrounding it, with Shaq specifically citing Kobe’s interview with Jim Gray as the thing that set him off. While he’s at it, the Big stinkin’ revisionist phony is basically blaming Kobe for the dissolution of the Lakers’ should-have-been dynasty. Not demands for a new contract (and publicly showing up Jerry Buss in the process), or the team’s lack of chemistry, or Buss’ reluctance to continue paying Phil Jackson’s salary or any of the dozen other contributing factors. Certainly, it couldn’t have possibly had anything to do with the simple notion that Shaq’s years and years of publicly and privately burying Kobe to anyone would listen forced management to chose between a 31 year old center with a history of nagging injuries and a tendency to let his weight get away from him, and a marketable 25 year old superstar with an unparalleled work ethic and an unquenchable thirst to be the best player on the planet. Nope, in the end it all has to be that dirty, wart-infested, ball-hoggin’ Kobe’s fault.
Look, Laker fans already lived through this nonsense 8 years ago when Shaq lost the power play and whined and cried his way out of town. All these years of Shaq’s petty comments and negative sentiment toward Kobe was annoying to be sure, but most of us who lived through it knew better. Watching the dude burn bridge after bridge and be exposed as a liar and possibly worse is only further proof about the essential nature of the man. Watching him do an about-face in recent years and go so far to suggest Kobe was the greatest and that a reunion between the two could work was downright embarrassing and tough to stomach, but still somewhat predictable considering the source. Yes, he’s probably the funniest, most entertaining player of his generation, and yes, his need to be loved, adored and constantly in the spotlight is likely born of some deep-seated insecurity. Whatever the cause, it’s transparent, tiresome and severely annoying, and by god I had hoped it would stop when he finally got around to retiring.
Hey, it’s all pretty simple to me, and I can honestly take the good Shaq with the bad. Good for him if he wants to remain popular and well thought of. There’s plenty of worse ways to be in this world. Just don’t be a bullshitter and expect the smarter among us to swallow it.
Hey, it’s not all bad. There really have been few players who were as utterly silly and fun as O’Neal was. He liked to perform, and he was damn good at it. This is one of my favorites, taken from the 2002 Laker Championship DVD. Shaq and the rest of the guys were offended at Vlade Divac’s assertion that the Lakers couldn’t beat the Sacramento Kings without homecourt advantage. He wrote a song about it and everything.