I said about six years ago when I started getting older, I wanted my legacy to be about winning championships. It's all about winning.
Shaquille O’Neal, 34 years old USA Today 6/11/2006
Practice what you preach brother.
Aside from his four NBA rings and arguably being one of the most dominant post players in NBA history, O'Neal's legacy will also include his track record as “The Big Whiner.
Shaq’s latest tell all (about everyone else’s flaws but his) autobiography - Shaq Uncut: My Story - trashes former teammates, coaches, organizations he played for and retired players—here’s a taste:
All of these supposed Lakers leaders who care so much about the franchise, all these Lakers legends, none of them ever had the courage to say anything to Kobe and me. Not Kareem, not Magic, not Mitch Kupchak, none of them.
On the surface, he is a lovable guy who is entertaining as hell. But beneath his criticisms of everyone he’s played with, we see an emerging insecure person who has an issue with anyone who gets more attention than him.
If Shaq would have just kept in in shape and used his NBA wisdom/maturity to nurture Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Dwayne Wade, then he had a real chance of winning 8 to 10 championships. Shaq did not or could not accept the fact that these young guns needed to carry “his” team which would mean more shine and headlines than O’Neal received.
The lovable giant had problems with every franchise he played for, going back to the Orlando Magic days with Penny Hardaway.
On Hardaway and Bryant:
The young Shaq and the young Penny could have worked, but the young Shaq always had to have control. The medium Shaq and the young Kobe could have worked, but the medium Shaq had to have control.
USA Today 6/11/2006
I always believed he could turn it on at any moment, but for some reason he didn’t against Celtics in 2010 and Mavericks in 2011. It was weird. It’s one thing to be a passer, but you are supposed to the One.
Look in a mirror Shaq!
You were a player who needed to hear how great you were instead of working on your greatness— a lack of work ethic and eroding skills that ultimately contributed to your pathetic and unsuccessful quest for more championships. Shaq thought he was an older version of Kareem Abdul Jabbar but was really an older Bill Walton. Both hall of fame centers ruled the middle during their careers but it was Jabbar who still dominated his position at 38 years old while Walton was only a contributor to a Boston Celtic championship.
It’s amazing how Shaq (and this generation of superstars) do not know when use to use the pronoun “I” for accountability during or after his career: “I take this lost because I did not hit my free throws…I take this lost because I’m a little out of shape…I would have been a better player if I….” Professional superstars are allowed to use “I” because your teammates know that no one person loses or win a game: but your leader is accepting his flaws and willing to correct them sends a message to your less talented teammates that we all need improvement.
So far, only sensational negative excerpts have been pulled from Shaq’s book. One excerpt offers a explanation and the foundation of the soap opera Shaq-Kobe rift:
Kobe stands up and goes face-to-face with me and says, "You always said you're my big brother, you'd do anything for me, and then this Colorado thing happens and you never even called me." I did call him. ... So here we are now, and we find out he really was hurt that we didn't stand behind him. That was something new. I didn't think he gave a rat's ass about us either way. "Well, I thought you'd publicly support me, at least," Kobe said. "You're supposed to be my friend." Brian Shaw chimed in with "Kobe, why would you think that? Shaq had all these parties and you never showed up for any of them. We invited you to dinner on the road and you didn't come. Shaq invited you to his wedding and you weren't there. Then you got married and didn't invite any of us. And now you are in the middle of this problem, this sensitive situation, and now you want all of us to step up for you. We don't even know you.
But Shaq’s failure to acknowledge his mess ups and shortcomings takes away credibility from his complaints.
Maybe there are passages in the book where he reflects on his shortcomings as a player and demonstrates how he has grown as a person…nothing wrong with wishful thinking, right?