Bickley: Cleveland, beware of Shaq the Hack
by Dan Bickley - Aug. 24, 2009 04:55 PM
The Arizona Republic
Heads up, LeBron James. Your new teammate doesn't really care about you. He doesn't really care about the good folk of Cleveland, most of whom are starving for a championship and too blinded by stardust to see what's coming.
Shaquille O'Neal is no longer Superman. He's a guy riding on someone else's cape, stealing someone else's idea, taking someone else's credit. Along the way, he's playing the country for a bunch of fools.
Of course. Why not? Shaq's a funny guy, mirthful, full of charisma. He knows when to turn it on, and when to shut it down. Whenever he gets into trouble, he acts like an overinflated cartoon character, and everyone forgets why they're mad. He rarely gets called out the way he should.
Seriously. The guy verbally assaulted Kobe Bryant in a disgusting, petty rap song. He took needless shots at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who merely dominated his position for an entire era.
He was accused of stalking a female rapper in Atlanta. He made fun of Stan Van Gundy and Chris Bosh, both upstanding members of the NBA. He's a bully with a dark side and zero rebounding titles, and at some point during last season, he got around to telling Suns teammates about his new television show.
For the most part, O'Neal has skirted public condemnation for allegedly stealing Steve Nash's idea and parlaying it into his own prime-time platform, "Shaq Vs." Some critics think Nash should've kept his mouth shut, or just sold the idea himself. Some think Nash couldn't have pulled off that kind of starring role, while many in the national media are hesitant to criticize O'Neal on the eve of a new season, a season in which the Cavaliers will be a dominant story and full access will be a must.
Those people are missing the point entirely.
When Shaq came to the Suns in February 2008, he promised to fit in. He said he knew his role, and understood the team's run of heartbreak. He said he was sent here to shape Amaré Stoudemire into a Hall of Fame player. Like a kind giant, he vowed to push Phoenix over the top. It was all about us, not him, and everyone cheered. Everyone loves a bully when he's on your side, protecting you.
Yet in his first full season with the team, he cared so little about team chemistry, team harmony and the team leader that he blatantly swiped Nash's idea. That's almost as bad as stealing money out of another guy's locker.
Remember when Bryant was at the center of rape allegations in Colorado, and during interrogation, told police how O'Neal often paid his women hush money to keep them quiet? O'Neal didn't like that bit of teammate betrayal one bit. So what's the difference? And spare me O'Neal's slippery non-denials. The smoking gun is Nash's name on the show's closing credits.
Bottom line: O'Neal came to Phoenix understanding that the situation was delicate, that the window of opportunity was closing fast, and he told us all a bunch of lies. It was always about him, not us.
He started complaining about his touches. He danced with the JabbaWockeeZ at the start of the 2009 All-Star Game, and in a staged production, won the game's co-MVP award. He became the face of Twitter, drawing more than 2 million followers. And then he broke a bond with the most important player on the Suns. The sudden renovation of his image trumped the team he played for.
Worse yet, I bet O'Neal thinks it's all square. After all, O'Neal finished second to Nash in the 2004-05 MVP voting. O'Neal believed that award was stolen from him, and would later call Nash's awards "tainted," refusing to provide any form of explanation. Was he playing the race card? Was he kidding? Was he bitter?
When he got to Phoenix, O'Neal brushed the whole thing off, like it was all a big joke. That's how it works with Shaq.
So, heads up, Cleveland fans. You've been burned by Michael Jordan, concussed by the Steelers and disappointed by those great Indians teams of the mid-'90s. Now, you think you have the missing ingredient, the one that'll help bring a title to the shores of Lake Erie and make James stick around forever. Be warned:
The big guy will make you laugh. But Shaq is no sidekick. He's not the kind of guy to be content in the background. And if you've got a really good idea for a television show, I'd nail it down now, lest it be gone in the morning.
Reach Bickley at [email protected] or (602) 444-8253. Check out his online column at bickley.azcentral.com.
lol, didn't even read the whole article, but i liked the first half enough...
This guy went all out on Shaq.....Damnn
great article, thanks
As a Laker fan, i can't stand Shaq. I respect what he did for our franchise, but I'm glad he is gone. Thie writer hits one thing square on the head with how Shaq doesn't get called out enough for some of the stuff that he does. Here's a little list of some of the things Shaq did that irritates me:
He wrote very candidly how he refused to play hard for Kurt Rambis when Kurt coached the Lakers one season. Shaq said the team never had a chance to win because he wasn't about to play hard for someone he didn't respect. I guess the 20+ million wasn't enough.
He told the media in Miami that he vowed to get in shape, and he never lost weight in Los Angeles because they never asked him to lose weight. I think everyone in LA got a kick out of that one.
In his aoutobiography, he has ripped on just about anyone he's ever played with or for. Kobe was a ball hog, Penny was selfish, Eddie Jones was a choke artist, Elden Campbell was weak, Cedric Ceballos was garbage, I can continue this list for quite awhile.
He has ripped on every team he left except the Suns. He called out Jerry Buss for being an old man who hangs out with young girls. He trash talked the Heat training staff as well as Chris Quinn and Ricky Davis, even though he was gone and could have just said nothing. But saying nothing would mean he had to take responsibilty for why things haven't always worked throughout his career.
He talked crap about Doug Christie's wife, he said he wouldn't want to play on any olympic team that included sorry players like Mike Bibby. He screamed at Buss for an entire half during a preseaon game telling him "pay me" everytime he made a play.
Good luck Cleavland.
Just listen to the album "Shaq Fu" and there is another reason not to like the guy. My ears were never the same...
Ha, I actually bought his first CD. All his songs talk about how he is awesome and he dunks on everyone. I honestly can't hate on him for that though, I was feeling it when I was like 13.
I remember when he asked me this one day
who I wanna be like, I said Dr J
Then he said good, now you got a goal
take the damn ball and slam it through the hole
Mom cracked a smile, daddy gave a frown
I said to myself I can't let them down
So make way, I'm coming in for a landing
Nothing's gonna stop me, from being outstanding
aww come on Spnece. Game 5 was offciaited in your guys favor almost as much as game 6 was for us. Plus, if the Kings had held onto a 20 point lead in game 4, Horry never hits that 3 and you guys would have been up 3-1. And game 7 was just a choke job by the Kings.
I moved from Los Angeles to Sacramento about a month after that series, and the Laker hate in Sac was ridiculous.
No it's a fact,that those games were rigged for the series to be in L.A.s favor.
Anyways Shaq also did play dirty with Nash by taking his idea for the show.
yeah , Spencer is right on this one, Kings were robbed.
come on mikenike, it is a "fact"?Like I said, game 6 might have sucked, but the Kings had nothing else to gripe about in that series. They blew it. Like I said, they held a 20 point lead in game 4 and had the Lakers by the balls. That was Sacramento's title, and one poorly officiated game didn't make Christie and Peja throw up airballs at the end of game 7
Geez Bickley, do not be that angry at Shaq for the Suns not providing the personnel to compete or win a title in the West. They were close once, and even than it was not at all a sure thing in 2007. Keep Shawn Marion and see how well the team would have done (not to mention Shawn wanted to opt out if he would have stayed in Phoenix in 2008, plus he went down with an injury). No, Shaq is not what he used to be, but he played his butt off last year, best he has played since 2006. He has won 4 rings homes, and steal Nash's stupid (yes, it would have been just as stupid as Shaq's show is right now) show idea or not, this gfuy is seriously hating on the wrong person. Shaq is not at all a pillar of maturity, but even I felt he should have won MVP or had a better shot than Nash on 2004-05, and did Nash help his team to a ring the next year (yes, he was help with Amare carrying the scoring load, though in 2006 it was a long shpot as he was not in the line-up). This guy is just hating on the wrong person and upset as Shaq did not carry the Suns to a ring, as every team expects from the Big Fella. Yes, he is a complimentary player at this point, but a big dominant at times and still scary presence of a complimentary player. He still commands double teams, takes up tons of space and has shown a new dedication to playing in good physical condition, which showed last year. I always say, Robert Sarver is the guy to blame, as his frugal spending habits and willingness to trade first round pick after first round pick depleted the Suns of depth, especially any quality big guys behind Shaq/Amare. Bickley, you may not like Shaq for whatever reason, but to say he does not care about his fans or the team he plays on is foolish and he is very determined to wn a ring, plus he knows who the best player is. I guess you did not see him play with Dwyane Wade, or see how well he played with Amare when given the chance (which he was not in Terry Porter's system). Face it that Nash is not what a championship team is built around and just get over the fact that your franchise dropped the ball big time when it came to building a team.
I dont really care for shaq
I dont really care for shaq