Here’s an excellent short article by Chris McKendry from today’s Daily Dime on ESPN, which totally expresses my opinion on the latest news featuring Shaq generating buzz about Kobe, Phil, and the Lakers once again.
I don’t think there’s a way to link to #2 on the Daily Dime, so I’m gonna paste the whole thing here:
Shaq can’t beat them, so he’ll praise them. After the Lakers beat the Suns on Thursday night, Shaq said, “They’re the best team. They’re 9-1. They’re playing good. Kobe’s playing team ball, keeping everybody involved. He’s got a lot of shooters around him. They’re a very dangerous team.” O’Neal had 15 points.
It would strike me as gracious if it didn’t stink of insincerity. Shaq wants everyone to think he’s the bigger man. We know better.
At their worst, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were no better than brats in a sandbox. O’Neal called Bryant a ball hog and Bryant responded by calling O’Neal fat and out of shape. With half a decade now to reflect on their pairing, O’Neal calls it creative differences that Phil Jackson wisely used to motivate the team to victory. Revisionist history, according to Shaq. “Phil never called us into the office and said, ‘Both of you, shut the [heck] up.’ Never did that in four years. He knew that when I read something, I was going to get upset. And he knew Kobe was going to always come out and play hard. So I think it was all done by design.”
What was by design was Jerry Buss’ decision to keep a younger Bryant and ship an older Shaq out of town. It was the right move. And one Shaq cannot let go of, clearly. As Shaq’s career reaches its twilight and the spotlight shifts off of him, he drags Kobe and Phil into conversation and gets our attention, if not theirs. Then their paths cross and he apologizes, denies, expresses his unending love and respect. How desperate. How boring.