Recognized as one of the top 50 best players to play the game, Shaquille O'Neal has made his contributions to Basketball and its popularity. However; his ego and mouth may have taken over a little too prematurely.
There are really no secrets about the feud between Shaq and Kobe and it was no surprise to anyone when Shaq left the "Lake show" for Miami. Shaq promised during his time with the Miami Heat he would deliver a Championship. Shaq made good on this promise in 2006 by helping Wade and Payton to win the title.
Shortly after the win, while at a party, Shaq performed a rap stating things such as:
"I did it all without Kobe!" and "Hey Kobe how does my ass taste?"
While Shaq was delivering these lines Kobe was in discussions with Laker management in a rebuilding status that would eventually pay dividends. "Kobe can not win a championship without me!" was another line Shaq was quoted as saying—words he would come to regret in the years to come.
After winning in Miami, Shaq continued on to Phoenix and it was during this two year run when something seemed to change with the "Diesel." The Suns stats really did not improve with the arrival of Shaq. At best, you could say they stayed pretty much the same during the first year and then declined drastically during the second.
Really the only thing you can say much about Shaq was that he put up a hell of a performance in the 2009 All-Star Game, where he was forced to share the spotlight with his one time teammate and arch rival Kobe Bryant. Winning Co-MVP awards, Shaq proved he could perform better with Kobe then the entire Suns team, even when he could not stand the Lakers star.
Shaq has since rubbed the feud and his comments off as, "nothing more than good business ."—which most everyone can see through as complete and utter bull.
During the interview on December 25, 2005, after the Heat beat L.A., Shaq was posed with the question: "Shaq during this entire game, not once did you look at your former teammate Kobe Bryant! Why is that?" Shaq simply looked a the interviewer for about five seconds and said, "Merry Christmas everyone!" —immediately leaving the area without a second glance.
Fast forward to last year with the Lakers winning a title and Shaq congratulating Kobe on his fourth Championship. Shaq immediately set the ball rolling to go to a team with a great chance to win another ring. We all know how that turned out. After a poor showing Cleveland fell in the Semi's and Shaq's hopes for a ring this year were banished.
Looking at everything statistically, Cleveland had a better showing last year without Shaq, finishing with a 66-16 record and making it to the Eastern Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Orlando Magic. This year they finished at 61-20—not a huge difference; however, they were eliminated by Boston in the Semi-Finals.
However, Shaq's former team, The Phoenix Suns made it through to the Western Conference Finals. Something they could not even come close to during his time there.
The major questions I pose to everyone are:
What do you think is going through Shaq's mind at this time?
What do you think Shaq's honest reaction would be if Kobe wins a fifth ring this year?
I want you to be completely honest with yourselves. Do you buy into this its all good business and it was nothing but a show explanation, or do you feel the Lakers winning would finally make Shaq realize he has a big foot in mouth problem?