Shaq, Redd Speak About Kobe in Sports Illustrated

A pair of unrelated articles in the November 10 issue of Sports Illustrated contain some interesting quotes about Kobe Bryant. In Dan Patrick’s “Just My Type,” the former SportsCenter anchor interviewed Shaquille O’Neal. Here are a few of those questions and answers:

Patrick: “O.K., if you’re going to teach your kids how to play in the pivot, do you have them look at your footwork or Tim Duncan’s?”

O’Neal: “No, I have them look at all the guards. I let them watch Kobe and T-Mac.”

Patrick: “What is the part of Kobe’s game that you say to your kids, ‘Just watch what he does, nobody does that better’?”

O’Neal: “His ferocity.”

Patrick: “Most intense player in the league?”

O’Neal: “Oh, yes, by far the best player in the league.”

A Chris Mannix article titled “Redd State” talked about how Michael Redd is transforming his body and his game. New Milwaukee Coach Scott Skiles is trying to change the mindset of the Bucks. “People who watched the Bucks the last couple of years know that when the team got behind, [the players] caved in and took a loss,” Skiles said. Teams tend to follow the mindset of their leader, so that is hardly a ringing endorsement of Redd. Indeed, Mannix quoted a scout who said of Redd’s defense, “He’s O.K. off the ball but you can go at him one-on-one.” Skiles is challenging Redd to elevate his defensive game by assigning the sharpshooter to guard the opposing team’s top perimeter player. To his credit, Redd has enthusiastically accepted this new role, reducing his weight and body fat so that he is in better condition to exert himself at both ends of the court. Redd’s trainer said, “Michael was someone who relied on basketball to stay in shape and keep his legs strong.” Of course, anyone who knows anything about sports and personal training realizes that you work out to get in shape to play basketball–you don’t play basketball to get into shape. It is good that Redd has finally understood this. Mannix noted that part of the transformation of Redd’s attitude took place as a result of playing for Team USA and observing up close the work ethic and practice habits of Kobe Bryant. Redd explained, “In our practices everybody wanted to stop everybody. But Kobe, man, he never took a possession off.”

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