View Full Version : Shaq disses Kobe....makes Doc smile.

10-15-2003, 08:42 AM
I now love Shaq. Is this the first kink in the Lakers implosion? i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

SAN DIEGO -- Shaquille O'Neal was in a chatty mood, neither mumbling nor meowing as he sat in a sweltering locker room and said so much with what he did not say.

Asked why he was sitting out with a sore left heel, O'Neal replied: "I want to be right for Derek, Karl and Gary."

Notice a name missing there?

O'Neal's omission of Kobe Bryant was not a mistake. He repeated that quote again, giving unspoken insight into the feelings inside a locker room that seemed at ease Tuesday night without Bryant around.

One can only wonder: Is O'Neal feeling some sort of perverse pleasure in seeing his superstar teammate's life in turmoil as he defends himself against a rape allegation in Colorado?

O'Neal and Bryant have never been close during their seven years together, their relationship ranging from icy at its worst to tepid at its best.

O'Neal is always capable of taking a veiled shot at Bryant, and this was a sequel of sorts to his pronouncement on the first day of camp that "the full team is here" when Bryant failed to report because he was "under the weather."

O'Neal sat at his locker Tuesday wearing a garish red and white sweat suit, with one new teammate -- Gary Payton -- listening in from his left, and another -- Karl Malone -- eventually plopping down in the seat to his right.

That threesome has a combined 42 years of NBA experience, and all three were talkative on a night when Bryant did not travel with the team for two reasons -- a sore knee would have kept him from playing, and a judge in Colorado had mandated his presence Wednesday at Part II of his preliminary hearing.

"Didn't want him here," coach Phil Jackson said. "I know he'd be a distraction."

O'Neal switched to an all-black ensemble and watched from the bench as Payton, Malone and the rest of his supporting cast lost 104-86 to the Phoenix Suns before a sellout crowd of 13,144 that included legions of fans wearing Lakers jerseys -- and yes, some of them were clad in Bryant's No. 8.

The Laker Girls made the two-hour trip south, as did longtime public-address announcer Lawrence Tanter.

Bryant did not, and he might not be in uniform Thursday night, either, when the Lakers play at the Staples Center against rookie LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bryant's first game could be Friday against Phoenix or Sunday against the Cavs, Jackson said.

One byproduct of the Kobe waiting game is the mood measuring around a team with an inner dynamic that is markedly different from a year ago.

Gone are three of last year's part-time starters, Robert Horry, Mark Madsen and Samaki Walker, replaced by an assortment of the very old (in NBA terms) and very young.

The presence of Malone, 40, Payton, 35, Horace Grant, 38, O'Neal, 31, and Bryon Russell, 32, gives the room an old feel. There are eight rookies and second-year players, with Devean George and Slava Medvedenko the only ones with more than one and less than seven years of NBA experience.

It has been more than two weeks since the team assembled in Honolulu, and the players are growing accustomed to the circus atmosphere that surrounds them to varying degrees on different days.

When the news is Kobe-driven, everyone in the organization has to deal with added and unwanted attention. O'Neal has been answering "Meow" to most questions concerning Bryant -- the big fella's slang for "CAT" or "can't answer that."

With Bryant away, the unease was temporarily absent.

Payton gabbed with reporters about what he has seen in early preseason games (he chided Keith Van Horn for his eight turnovers in Sunday's Spurs-Knicks game); Malone described the huge sense of loss he has felt since the death of his mother last summer; and O'Neal discussed his weight (339 pounds as of Monday) and the type of money he'd want if he gets another three-year contract extension ("Put it this way, I won't take a BMW from somebody when I know I can get a Maybach from someone else.").

But Shaq sent a message, too, by omitting Bryant from the list of those he's playing for -- a list that included only Derek Fisher, Malone and Payton.

It may have spoken volumes about what's being felt inside the team.

10-15-2003, 08:48 AM
I can hardly believe that Shaq is still talking about getting a contract extention. Maybe they should do an MRI on his head. Or at least shut up until his supposed "heal injury" is better. It looks like it's going to be a wild ego coaster ride in LA this year.

10-15-2003, 08:56 AM
Sounds to me like even if showbe comes back that the best fthe Lakers can hope for is playing 4+1 on 5. I'm telling you...that team is going to go through some seriously difficult times. Most teams will implode. If they can get through it it could be bad for the rest of the league, but I can't see a reasonable expectation of the lakers doing much with so much in-team turmoil.

10-15-2003, 09:00 AM
Wondering what the chances are that someone (either the league or the Lakers ) will communicate to Kobe that he should focus fully on acquitting himself, and maybe possibly take some time off--maybe a year or so, pending the outcome of the trial.

Then again, wonder how warmly Shaq and the Lakers (and the league) would welcome KB back if they were in the midst of a television ratings-grabbing playoff push, and needed KB to solidify their championship chances.

Ebb and flow.

10-15-2003, 09:44 AM
One things for sure, if you love Soap Operas besure to tune in to Day of Our Lakers.

The only thing to worry about is if this is an elaborate smoke screen developed by PJ. I seriously doubt it, but you never know. If it is, it would be the best acting performance by Shaq. Of course considering his film credits that's not saying much.

10-15-2003, 10:43 AM
I don't know how people cannot like shaq. He's brutally honest. I'm not sure if Kobe's ever had more than a teammate or two that has actually liked him. Most reports have usually placed most of the blame for the infighting squarely on Showbe's shoulders.

Shaq is the man in LA. He has been since he arrived and he will continue to be.

Shaq, keep up the good work. Throw out pud-downs whenever you get a chance regardling Kobe. I enjoy it. Everyone else enjoys it. It's definitely entertaining. I might not always agree with Shaq, but his honesty is definitely enjoyable to behold.

10-15-2003, 12:04 PM
Shaq wouldn't talk -this time "no talk" about Kobe- by himself on such a delicate matter, at least not knowing the opinion of the Laker's upper levels.

And I haven't heard (read) any official pronunciation from the Lakers orgnization about Kobe.

Remember that he was having two surgeries without getting his bosses noticed.

Did this Shaq's comment -the omission and the CAT- will be the opening for a future official position from the Lakers about Kobe's case and situation?