Shaquille O’Neal Exposed

» June 24, 2008 5:18 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

“He’s been great all year. He was great in the playoffs and he’s showing everyone what he’s made of. He’s on the verge of being the latest great one with four rings.  He’s come a long way. All I can say is, I’m happy for him. And I’m proud of him.” – Shaquille O’Neal on Kobe Bryant as reported by Stephen A. Smith of ESPN just three weeks ago

Shaq’s compliments came days before Kobe’s Lakers squared off against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.  Bryant had averaged 32 points per game on 51% from the field in the three preceding rounds and the Lakers had lost only three playoff games leading up to the Finals.

But Bryant struggled in the NBA Finals and the Lakers were defeated in six games by the Boston Celtics.

So what did Shaq do?

O’Neal took the mic at a New York City nightclub two nights ago and freestyled:  “check it, you know how I be, last week Kobe couldn’t do without me.”

What Shaq fails to mention is that Kobe couldn’t win a ring with O’Neal the last two years he played for the Lakers either. In large part because O’Neal delayed offseason surgery until shortly before the 2002-2003 training camp.  Explaining himself by stating,  “I got hurt on company time, so I’ll heal on company time.”

The Lakers dynasty ended that day and it may as well have marked the beginning of the end of Shaq’s time in Los Angeles.

The Lakers struggled through the majority of that season, ended up as the 5th seed in the playoffs, and were defeated by the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in the second round.  Rather than recommit himself to the organization that had payed him a total of $119,999,717 million over the previous seven seasons, Shaquille arrived to the 2003-2004 training camp grossly overweight.

The Lakers lost to the Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals and Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat on July 14th, 2004 for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a first-round pick.

But I digress, the “six albums, two platinum, two gold” hip-hop legend didn’t stop with the dig at Kobe for losing in the Finals.  Shaq also blamed Kobe for his divorce:  “I’m a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that’s why I’m getting a divorce.  He said, Shaq gave a ***** a mill, i don’t do that cuz’ my name’s Shaquille.”

O’Neal was referring to the 2004 Los Angeles Times story that quoted a police report as saying Bryant told detectives in Eagle, Colo., “he should have done what Shaq does … that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything” and already had paid up to $1 million “for situations like this.”

I remember Shaq vehemently denying the allegation and taking another shot at Kobe for thinking about him when Bryant was backed into a corner.

So what does this say about Shaq?

Why does he feel justified in criticizing Kobe after Bryant’s first Finals loss without him?

Is it because he won a ring with the Heat?

I’m sure Shaq feels responsible for Miami’s 2006 NBA championship.  And to his credit, he was instrumental in Miami’s title run.  But Dwayne Wade — not Shaq — won the 2006 NBA Finals MVP.  Wade was also Miami’s leading scorer in the three rounds leading up to the Finals.  Not to mention the fact that Miami benefited from a relatively weak path to the Finals (Chicago, New Jersey, Detroit) and some questionably officiating in the championship series.

The Heat were swept in the first round by the Chicago Bulls in 2007 and had the league’s worst record (9-37) when they traded Shaquille to the Suns this season.  Shaq arrived in Phoenix for the Suns-Hornets game on February 6th and received a loud, standing ovation when introduced on the big screen.  O’Neal greeted the Suns faithful by pointing to his ring finger, and giving a thumbs up — all but promising a championship.

He hasn’t delivered.  Shaq and the Suns were taken out by the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the first round of the playoffs.  The player Shaq was brought in to contain — Tim Duncan — averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and shot 50% from the field.

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant won the Most Valuable Player award this season and led his team to the NBA Finals.  Defeating the same San Antonio Spurs team that elminated the Suns in the process.

Shaquille will be 37 next season.  Steve Nash will be 35.  Due to Shaq’s $20 million per year contract, the Suns have the eighth highest payroll in the league.  Any improvements will have to come through trades or from the desire of a veteran to take a lesser deal for the opportunity to play with O’Neal and Nash.  Don’t count on the latter.  With two first round exits on his resume, Shaq is no longer a guarantor of championship contention.

The Lakers — on the other hand — have one of the youngest rosters in the league.  Kobe is 29 years old, one year older than Shaq was when he won his first championship.  Pau Gasol is 27.  Lamar Odom is 28.  And the Lakers center (Andrew Bynum) of the future hasn’t even purchased his first alcoholic beverage (20).

Kobe’s championship window (without Shaq) has just opened.  O’Neal’s has slammed shut.

And deep down inside –  Shaq knows it.  More than anything else, that may have prompted his embarrassing display two nights ago.  O’Neal loves the limelight, craves the attention.  But his numbers have steadily declined over the previous three seasons and he’s no longer the most dominant big man in the game.

O’Neal will continue to say the right things to the media.  But his true colors are beginning to show.  It’s no coincidence that he’s left every team he’s played for (Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami) on bad terms.  The common denominator in all of those ugly departures is Shaq.

Shaq’s criticisms didn’t end with Kobe either.  He also took the opportunity to bash Patrick Ewing and imply that he’s had a better career than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:  “Ain’t nobody in the world do it bigger than me.  That’s like Patrick Ewing having more rings than me.  That’s like Kareem saying to himself he’s better than me.”

Patrick Ewing never won a championship.  He was denied by Michael Jordan five times.  Hakeem Olajuwon once.  And the Tim Duncan led Spurs in 1999 when Ewing was injured.  Shaq is more than familiar with all three of those guys.

Olajuwon gave O’Neal the lesson of his life when Hakeem’s Rockets swept O’Neal’s Magic in 1995.  MJ’s Bulls swept Shaq and the Magic the following season.  Duncan has defeated Shaq three times (1999, 2003, 2008).

O’Neal comparing himself to Kareem is downright laughable.

Jabbar won six NBA championships, six Most Valuable Player Awards, and retired as the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored and fourth in career blocks.  Simply put, Shaq can’t hold a candle to Kareem.

In his younger days, Bryant might have put together an equally embarassing battle track.  But after winning his first MVP and knowing that he’s the better player and has the better team, he’ll probably elect to let his play do his talking.

The Lakers and Suns are Pacific Division Rivals and will meet four times next season.  Every one of those matchups will be circled on my calendar.

The 2007-2008 NBA season’s last “There Can Only Be One” commercial featured Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.  Bird and Johnson ended their promo by saying that “rivalries never die.”

Apparently, neither do some feuds.

13 Responses to “Shaquille O’Neal Exposed”

  1. King_Kaun Says:

    yeah, I couldn’t believe it when Shaq compared himself to Kareem. You have to be kidding me…

    What odds do you give for the NBA making Suns-Lakers and Hornets-Jazz the two Christmas Day games this year?? Im thinkin’ 50-50…

  2. Basketballogy Says:

    VERY nice job, Hoff. I have to admit, I have always finished your Shaq articles unconvinced, but not this time.

    I do, however, give Shaq the benefit of the doubt with his free styling rap.

    Just as Shaq says the right stuff to the media about Kobe, the right stuff in that genre of music is to talk too big and too tough. I HONESTLY don’t think Shaq thinks himself to be better than Kareem, and I DO think he’s gotten past the Kobe thing.

    It’s very much like talking smack, much of it is about the shock and braggadocio.

    Shaq had not paid homage to the basketball gods with the dedication to the game like Kobe has, and won’t likely see another NBA Finals as a player, but the way isn’t paved for Kobe either. The Hornets are a young team as well.

    At any rate, this was a really great job. I very much enjoyed it.

  3. Basketballogy Says:

    Kaun – Suns vs. Lakers and Hornets vs. Jazz sound ideal, but don’t they like to make one of the games Eastern and one Western for staggering the games? I don’t know, maybe I’m remembering funny.

    If so though, I think the early game might be Celtics vs. Cavs, and the 2nd game Lakers vs. Suns (or Hornets). If it were Hornets, that time zone might work.

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  5. Jak Says:

    Its amazing how no one in the media is picking up on the offensive line talking about being more (n word) than white boys. Just disgusting. Maybe he can hangout with Bernard Hopkins

  6. Hoffman Says:



    I think Shaq is fake. I think he’s been fake for a long time. I know you’re a busy man but if you’d like to take a look at the inner workings of the Lakers, buy ‘The Show’ by Roland Lazenby. It’s an all interview account of the Lakers history. There are some pretty shocking revaluations about Shaq in the book.

  7. Hoffman Says:


    Of course I noticed that lyric but I didn’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole. It’s offensive, but is it any more offensive than his parody of Yao Ming a few years ago?

    There were a lot of people of Asian ascent who were upset when he mocked the Chinese language.

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  12. keno Says:

    Shaq is the biggest crybaby. He is a little kid in a man’s body aching for attention. He always says that he can speak well in front of the camera but when you hear him talk its mumbo jumbo. His vocabulary is 5th grade at best.

    He took care of his body and wanted to be the best in the NBA prior to winning a title with Kobe in 2000 and every year after that, he got more lazy and more fat which attributed to his injuries like his toe. Then it finally caught up to him in 2003 when he was pathetic in the spurs series. Then following year he does the surgery during “company time” so he missed first 15 or so games and that put lakers in a bad position to start the year. Kobe does his surgery the minute the season is over. He doesnt wait for “company time”. When Shaq is asked about his weight and health he says “..we were still winning so why does it matter?” Umm, yeh u were winning….but each year you got fatter til u finally cost the team. And youre the captain? This is your team? Please give me a break. Shaq gets all the credit for being mvp in finals but kobe deterred his game for the better of the team (at phil’s request). However, what about the finals? 2000 you are guarded by Rik Smits wtf? 2001 mutombo? 2002 todd mccullough? Why dont we emphasize the true tests the Lakers had those years: 2000 portland game 7, shaq was shutout the whole game until the end and kobe and his teammates lilke brian shaw carried them in that comeback. Ok without Shaq there is no game 7 but man lets talk about the moment. In, 2001, the true challenge was beating the Spurs (who woulve won the title if lakers lost to them) i dont think anyone would argue that. (nets have no chance!) Who stepped up those games ..kobe? and he did it against the best defense in nba. Finally, 2002, beating the Kings was the “actual championship series”..both of them wouldve beat nets hands down. When kobe and shaq couldnt score that basket in Game 4 , horry saved the day. So yeh, once lakers reached finals, shaq just has his way and wins finals mvp 3 times but the series i mentioned were the true ‘championship’ series and kobe played just as good.

    The worst thing that pissed me off about Shaq is how he thinks he is bigger than the great Laker franchise when he disrespected management shouting ‘’show me the money during preseason of one of the 2003 year forgot” How classy is that? Thats straight out childish and unprofessional ..u dont call ur employer out! Why would they pay him the money he wants when he shows up to camp overweight year after year. Then when he gets traded, he starts to lose weight and get back to shape just so he can impress Miami. Why didnt you get in shape when u were a Laker? Why are u working out now? Cuz he knows he has to impress Miami and show up the Lakers. What happens next, he wins a title with Wade and even though Wade is MVP. Now he must feel like “YEH I SHOWED LAKERS WASSUP THATS WHAT THEY GET!” Im a laker fan and u didnt show me shit! If you stayed a Laker you wouldnt care bout your health and wouldve been fat and injury prone. You just got back to shape cuz youre on a new team. So No, i dont see it as a loss like hey Lakers made a mistake. I dont agree. If he stayed a Laker, he wouldve been fat. Even when he was injured and Kobe was asked by Phil that he needs to score so he did that and Shaq got jealous saying that he wont play defense if he doesnt get the ball, etc. Man, that guy cant even stand Kobe get even a lil limelight. Remember this is the same guy that congratulates kobe before celtics finals and then dogs him in his rap after. Now, that kobe has chance to win he is on kobe bandwagon again saying kobe is right (shaq couldnt win without kobe, derek, horry,etc) Oh sure!! When kobe says it you say its true but you couldve said that long time ago yourself?

    Remember this is the same guy that dissed Dwight Howard now during Finals saying all his moves are copies of his and he is overrated, the same guy doggin Pat Riley after Miami stint, dogging lakers after laker stint,etc. Oh did i mention he disses Pat Ewing and says he is better than Kareem. Man now dissing Ewing is one thing but saying youre better than the all-time greatest nba scorer and 6 time nba champion Kareem is just “nonsensical”!!! I wrote this post cuz of that last Kareem diss!! Thats where I draw the line. Talk about kobe all u want, I already backed him up but you got balls saying you’re better than Kareem!! When an individual says things like this….you really know that everything that comes out of Shaq’s mouth is just pathetic!!! I respect Shaq’s game and only his game and ONLY during when he actually gave 100 percent which is 2000-2002 (even though his effort was diminishing by summer 2002). For this i thank Shaq for helping Lakers win 3 in a row. Just dont think you did it alone and dont EVER EVER EVER dog Kareem like that you P.O.S.!!!! (hint: the “S’ is NOT for superman!)

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