Shaq Speaks His Mind
"I'm a quotacious kind of guy," is how Shaq, who announced his retirement on June 1, has described himself (well, one of many ways Shaq has described himself). Indeed, O'Neal -- when in the mood to engage the media -- tended to have a zinger or biting remark (or failed attempt at humor) at the ready for everyone from backup centers to his former teammates or coaches to even one of his ex-team's training staffs. Here are just some of Shaq's attacks over the years.
Shaq added another chapter to their on-again, off-again feud (which he said was "designed" by Phil Jackson) when he blasted Kobe during an infamous freestyle rap after the Lakers lost the 2008 NBA Finals. Shaq, in one of his more tasteful riffs, sang, "You know how I be. Last week Kobe couldn't do without me." O'Neal also took shots at Patrick Ewing and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during his on-stage appearance at a New York nightclub.
After Jackson questioned his work ethic, then-Heat center O'Neal responded in December 2006, "How can Benedict Arnold be reliable in what he says?"
Apparently upset with the Admiral for his tepid response to O'Neal's autograph request years earlier, Shaq referred to him as ''Punk Ass David Robinson'' in his book Shaq Talks Back . O'Neal also wrote that he wanted to dominate Robinson on the court ''because I got tired of the goody-two-shoes image he was throwing out there.''
Stan Van Gundy
After Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy called him out for flopping against Dwight Howard in a March 2009 game, Shaq unloaded on the man who coached him over two seasons in Miami: "Flopping to me is doing it more than one time, and I realized when I tried to take the charge, as I went down, I realized that that play reminded me of his whole coaching career. And one thing I really despise is a front-runner, so I know for a fact that he's a master of panic, and when it gets time for his team to go in the postseason and do certain things, he will let them down because of his panic. I've been there before, I've played for him."
Midway through the 2008-09 season, Shaq wasn't buying talk that Howard was poised to replace him as the next larger-than-life NBA center. ''He's a good player, but everything he's done, I've invented. So I'm not impressed,'' Shaq told CBSSports.com.
After Shaq shredded the Raptors for 45 points on Feb. 27, 2009, Bosh said O'Neal "was camping down in the lane" without being called for three-second violations. Shaq's response: "I heard what Chris Bosh said, and that's strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men. I'm going to do the same thing [in their next meeting] I did before -- make him quit. Make 'em quit and complain. It's what I do."
Of the Lakers' pursuit of the Duke coach in 2004, Shaq, then a member of the Heat, said: "Phil [Jackson] took us to the Finals [four] out of the five years, and you want to fire him and bring in Mike Krzyzewski? Come on, man. That's like being married to J.Lo, then dropping J.Lo for a girl that's 5-10, 480 pounds."
Shaq referred to the former Dallas center as "Erica" and said he'd dominate in the WNBA. (In a running theme for Shaq, he has called ex-Nets coach Lawrence Frank "Laura Frank," characterized George Karl as a "woman" who "cries all the time" and described the Spurs as a "great WNBA team.") When he was struggling with a leg injury with Miami during the 2005 playoffs, Shaq said, "I've been playing like Erick Dampier."
O'Neal labeled Nelson a "clown coach" for employing the Hack-a-Shaq strategy. Nellie responded by wearing a clown nose before a Lakers-Mavericks game in 2001.
Shaq took issue when Bibby of the "Sacramento Queens" -- as O'Neal was fond of calling one of the Lakers' main rivals from their championship seasons in the early 2000s -- was named to the 2004 Olympic team "Any Cub Scout [Bibby] with Boy Scouts [the Kings] can do Boy Scoutish things," Shaq said. "But when the [bleep] was in the Cub Scouts, he was a Cub Scout. When the [bleep] was in Vancouver, nobody hears about his punk [butt]. Now since he's on Sacramento ... That's some [mess] that he's on the team."
Pat Riley and Miami Heat
In March 2008, a month after being traded from Miami to Phoenix, Shaq insulted former Heat teammates Ricky Davis and Chris Quinn -- "We have professionals who know what to do. ... I'm actually on a team again," he said of the Suns -- and ripped the Heat's training staff. Riley called Shaq's criticism "sad" and defended Miami's medical staff: "He can do whatever he wants to do to me. That's OK, I don't care. But those men, they tried. ... That upsets me more than anything."
The Lakers' owner said in May 2005 that Shaq got in shape only because he was motivated by his trade to Miami. "I didn't need motivation," Shaq fired back. "I needed a real owner, not a guy that parties with girls three times (younger) than him. When you're 60, hang out with 60-year-olds, not 20-year-olds. You can quote me on that. I've got nothing else to say about Jerry Buss."
Shaq and Penny briefly reunited in 2007, a few years after O'Neal made an unflattering remark about the guard while comparing his three star sidekicks: Penny, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. "The difference between those three is the Godfather trilogy," Shaq said. "One is Fredo, who was never ready for me to hand it over to him. One is Sonny, who will do whatever it takes to be the man. And one is Michael, who, if you watch the trilogy, the Godfather hands it over to Michael. So I have no problem handing it over to Dwyane."
"Tell Yao Ming, 'Ching chong yang wah ah so,' " Shaq said, in a fake Chinese accent, before facing the Rockets' center for the first time. The Organization of Chinese Americans condemned the racially insensitive remark, for which Shaq apologized by calling himself an "idiot prankster."
In March 2006, Shaq called out the NBA's discipline czar for upgrading his foul on Andres Nocioni to a flagrant-2 foul, which carried a $5,000 fine. "'When I retire, I'm going after his job,'' O'Neal said. "If I don't make sheriff, I'm going after his job. He's not that good. You can quote me on that."
O'Neal has gone out of his way to single out the Blazers' backup center, who plays a physical style against Shaq. "Przybilla can't guard me when I'm 27, 37 or 47," Shaq said in November 2008.
Shaq wasn't a fan when the commissioner instituted a dress code for players and (briefly) replaced the leather basketball with a synthetic version. O'Neal said Stern "should get with the mothers of the NBA and let the moms decide what the dress code should be," and the big fella likened the new ball to "touching an exotic dancer and then touching a plastic blowup doll."
After making a surprising 12-of-14 free throws in Game 2 of the 2002 Finals against New Jersey, Shaq thanked the then-Kings coach for motivating him. It was Adelman who complained about O'Neal's stepping over the line on free-throw attempts during the Western Conference finals that season. "I'm at home, I'm in the bathroom, trying to [do my business], flipping through the channels, and he's complaining [on TV] about how I'm stepping over the line. I can't even do a No. 2 in peace. ... So that game's dedicated to him. Can I go one day without somebody saying something negative about me?"