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SaltwaterChaffy
10-26-2003, 10:22 PM
By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers will open the season Tuesday night at home with all four of their future Hall of Famers starting against the Dallas Mavericks ... but nothing even close to total harmony.

That's because Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant are feuding anew, out in the open, after a long thaw in their historically icy relationship.

O'Neal and Bryant seemed to be interacting comfortably Sunday on the practice floor, sharing the ball freely during an afternoon workout. Then they traded nasty verbal jabs after the session -- arguably their harshest comments since L.A.'s second championship season -- all stemming from O'Neal's suggestion Friday night in Las Vegas that Bryant "should probably look to be more of a passer until he gets his legs strong."

Bryant, recovering from offseason knee and shoulder surgeries, didn't welcome the suggestion, saying: "I definitely don't need advice on how to play my game."

Not even advice from O'Neal?

"Definitely not," Bryant continued. "I know how to play my guard spot. He can worry about the low post, and I'll worry about the [perimeter]."

When apprised of Bryant's reaction, O'Neal lashed out harder.

"As we start this new season, we want [expletive] done right," Shaq said. "If you don't like it, then you can opt out next year. As long as it's my team, then I'll voice my opinion. If you don't like it, then opt out."

That was a reference to Bryant's plan to exercise an option in his contract at season's end and test the free-agent market next summer, a stance Bryant has said he won't change in the wake of his felony sexual assault charge in Colorado.

Asked to clarify his "my team" remark, O'Neal added: "Everybody knows that. You [media] guys may give it to [Bryant] like you've given him everything else his whole lifetime, but this is the Diesel's ship. So ... if you ain't right [physically], don't be trying to go out there and get right on our expense. Use the people out there, then when you get right you [can] do what you do."

Not since the middle of the 2001-02 season -- the second of L.A.'s three consecutive championships -- have O'Neal and Bryant sparred in the press like this. Their relationship seemed to blossom into friendship during the third championship and also appeared to survive last season's 11-19 start and subsequent crash out of the playoffs with a second-round loss to San Antonio.

Throughout this first month back to work, however, there have been thinly veiled hints from O'Neal that problems have resurfaced, starting from the veterans' first day of training camp in Hawaii. Bryant did not fly on the Lakers' team charter and reported to camp a day late. O'Neal said at the time that "the full team is here," leading some to speculate that he preferred to play this season without the distractions attached to Bryant's court case.

Days later, explaining why he was sitting out an exhibition game with a sore left heel, O'Neal said: "I want to be right for Derek, Karl and Gary.'' He was referring to Derek Fisher and new teammates Karl Malone and Gary Payton -- and O'Neal ommitted Bryant's name from the conversation more than once.

Malone and Payton, by contrast, have publicly supported Bryant as strongly as anyone in Lakers circles. But even Payton has urged Bryant to ease his way back into the team flow, after Bryant fatigued quickly and shot poorly in the second half of the Lakers' final two exhibition games.

Eyebrows were also raised when Bryant, for Thursday's exhibition in Anaheim against the Clippers, rode his motorcycle to and from the game instead of riding on the team bus.

Yet O'Neal, when pressed, insisted that the Lakers can play through any problems he's having with Bryant.

"I don't really worry about that," O'Neal said when asked about the state of the relationship. "I'm here to do a job. ... If he's open, I'm going to give it to him. If I'm open, I expect him to give it to me. I don't care about [expletive] else he does, and I know he don't care [expletive] else I do."

What's clear is that Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who spoke to reporters before his stars started volleying barbs, has his first real challenge of the season, less than 48 hours before the season opener. And it's right in his own locker room, not in a Colorado court room.

Asked about how he plans to play against the Mavericks on Tuesday night, Bryant said: "No change in my game whatsoever."

Said O'Neal: "Just ask Karl and Gary why they came here. One person, not two. One. Period. ... I'm not telling [Bryant] how to play his position. I'm telling him how to play team ball."

[i]Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Edit: Typo; add thoughts

just what the lakers need when everyone is talking about chemistry for their new players. A lack of chemistry from the old players.

Murphy3
10-26-2003, 10:26 PM
Shaq's right. The lakers are his team.

I think it's hilarious. I hope they get into a fight and shaq knocks the living hell out of Kobe. Someone needs to.

AdamAMMP
10-26-2003, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
Shaq's right. The lakers are his team.
I hope they get into a fight and shaq knocks the living hell out of Kobe. Someone needs to.

hopefully it happens tuesday

Murphy3
10-26-2003, 11:20 PM
the best thing that could happen for the rest of the West would be for Kobe to think that it's his team

MavsFanFinley
10-26-2003, 11:30 PM
I have a hard time with a lot of what Shaq says, but I've always agreed with him that this is his team. Kobe still doesn't realize how good he has it being able to play alongside a big man like that.

Shaq Attack2
10-26-2003, 11:33 PM
Agreed. Kobe has absolutely no room to instigate a fight through the media right now. He's woefully out of shape, and his sexual escapades could single handedly derail the Lakers hope of a title this year. It's certainly no surprise that Shaq has the maturity of an 8 year old and lashes out at Kobe like he did, but Kobe knew very well what he was doing when he made these comments. Even Payton is telling Kobe to back down, and rightfully so.

dirno2000
10-27-2003, 12:41 AM
The media is funny the way the run back and forth with the he said/he said. I know it's their job but I'm sure even they would admit it pretty juvenile.

Shaq is right in that it's his team, but I'm surprised he's so willing to openly jab Kobe. Kobe wants to be the best ever so bad that it's like Shaq turning the knife every time says it. Shaq might want to tap the breaks. While he is the most rare commodity in the league, Kobe's aren't growing on trees either. If Kobe opts our and refuses to do a sign and trade just to screw the Lakers, they won’t win it all with Shaq, a 41 year old Karl Malone and some mid level exception free agent.

Simon2
10-27-2003, 07:44 AM
If the Mavs don't win it this year, they'll be in great shape next year when Kobe and Shaq are no more with Payton and Malone a little older. Yes!

bogey
10-27-2003, 08:33 AM
Kobe needs to sit out. He's only a distraction...and a big one at that.

Max Power
10-27-2003, 08:48 AM
all stemming from O'Neal's suggestion Friday night in Las Vegas that Bryant "should probably look to be more of a passer until he gets his legs strong."

But this is a horrible comment. Did Kobe make comments like this LAST year when Shaq was fat and slow to rehab? Shaq is increasingly becoming a shrill old woman. The "pay attention to ME" type comments are getting old. He sounds like Barkley without the wit.

Could Kobe have won those championships without Shaq? Of course not. Would Shaq have won without Kobe? Probably not. But now Shaq feels like he can win without Kobe (because of Malone and Payton) so he is letting his true feelings out.

WayOutWest
10-27-2003, 10:04 AM
Why am I not surprised by these two going at it.

Hopefully Kobe will come to his senses, like he has for the past 4 years, and realize that Shaq is right in regards to who's the man in L.A. and back down and step away from the Daddy. Still, Shaq crossed the line with some of his comments and should have kept his mouth shut to the press and checked little brother Kobe in private. Jerry West is probably having mixed feelings about this situation.

Then again with the Zen-hen at the helm it's not surprising they play out thier little games in the press.

On the bright side it will be fun to watch the Lakers hand EVERYBODY thier @sses this year, especially in the playoffs.

LRB
10-27-2003, 10:18 AM
Sounds like Shaq and Kobe are having an immaturity contest. If they keep it up I don't know who will win, but the Lakers will be the losers. This is really the main reason why I dislike both Kobe and Shaq. Of course this does nothing but help the Mavs cause. Still it would be nice to play and beat the Lakers at their best. That opportunity may or may not occur.

And I definitely think that Shaq is jealous of all the attention that Kobe is getting even if a lot or even most of the attention is bad. Seems like Shaq is really insecure.

Murphy3
10-27-2003, 10:22 AM
I really don't think Shaq would have a problem getting along with 99% of the players in the NBA. Hell, almost all of his teammates have always loved him.

Kobe, on the otherhand... few of his teammates have even liked him according to all reports. Shaq's just a guy that speaks his mind. He doesn't like Kobe and he has no problem with people knowing.

It's rather humorous seeing Shaq voice his displeasure with Kobe knowing that NONE of Kobe's teammates would ever come to his aid.

LRB
10-27-2003, 10:36 AM
Murphy I agree with you in that Kobe is probably more of the problem than Shaq. However Shaq did some of the same grumblings at Orlando. Shaq definitely hates it when the spotlight leaves him to shine on someone else, but Kobe probably hates it even more. Shaq also probably has more positive interactions with his teammates than Kobe as well. Kobe's reportedly very aloof, while Shaq is much more sociable.

bogey
10-27-2003, 11:02 AM
The fact is that the Lakers are defined by Shaq. As Shaq goes, so do the Lakers. The man is the single most dominating force in the league. The baby-faced wonder owns the Lakers. Kobe is a star, but he should shut up and be glad he is even playing.

f l u r p
10-27-2003, 12:43 PM
Shaq's the guy who last year said he wasn't going to have his toe surgery in the off season because "i got hurt on their time, I'll get well on their time" or something to that effect. Instead, he shot commercials and ate cheeseburgers. Sure enough, he delays his surgery and then sucks for most of the year as he hauled 400 pounds around the court.

So now he's on Kobe for playing when he's not in game shape? Nice try. At least Kobe is out there trying to compete.

I hate both of these guys but Shaq is the one tha really gets me goin'.

Max Power
10-27-2003, 12:51 PM
Of course this "spat" could be just a game cooked up by Kobe and Shaq to get media attention away from Kobe's legal problems. I can just imagine the two of them laughing their asses off at the media who bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Shaq Attack2
10-27-2003, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by: Max Power
Of course this "spat" could be just a game cooked up by Kobe and Shaq to get media attention away from Kobe's legal problems. I can just imagine the two of them laughing their asses off at the media who bought it hook, line, and sinker.

I can't see this as construed before hand, but if it was it was pure genius.

LRB
10-27-2003, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by: Max Power
Of course this "spat" could be just a game cooked up by Kobe and Shaq to get media attention away from Kobe's legal problems. I can just imagine the two of them laughing their asses off at the media who bought it hook, line, and sinker.

I couldn't see Kobe and Shaq coming up with something like this. Phil Jackson I could see. Maybe PJ put them up to it. Who knows?

grbh
10-27-2003, 01:49 PM
Too me this is just same story different year. They won't implode, though the media will make you think it will happen. Egol will be tempted come playof time, and the Lakers will be ready to make a run at the title. Assuming Shaq is back to what he was a couple years ago.

MavsFanatik33
10-27-2003, 03:02 PM
Shaq is not just the leader of the Lakers, he's the leader of the NBA. He's just way too dominant, but saying that it's his team might cause some problems in the Laker locker room, hopefully at least...

FilthyFinMavs
10-27-2003, 04:58 PM
I laughed when Mavs fans where suggesting that the Lakers could implode. I didn't think it was possible while having the best roster in basketball. Looks like I was wrong and it may happen.

bogey
10-27-2003, 05:23 PM
Too many egos...not enough beat writers. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

ReDIRKulous
10-27-2003, 08:04 PM
Has anyone seen an article with these new comments from Kobe and Shaq? Such as "Shaq isn't really like my big brother" etc. etc.

superheadcat
10-27-2003, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by: ReDIRKulous
Has anyone seen an article with these new comments from Kobe and Shaq? Such as "Shaq isn't really like my big brother" etc. etc.

“HE IS NOT MY big brother,” Bryant said of O’Neal in an interview with ESPN. “A big brother would have called me to lend support.”
He pointed out that other teammates have called him, and even non-Laker athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan have voiced their support. O’Neal, however, has not.

“It doesn’t matter whose team it is. Nobody cares. But since it is his team, no more coming into camp fat and out of shape.”
“Leaders don’t beg for a contract extension and negotiate a $30 million contract in the media,”

“My knee is not strong enough to play yet. I know it,” Bryant told ESPN on Monday, “But I don’t need Shaq’s advice on how to play hurt. ... I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows isn’t that bad.”

Murphy3
10-27-2003, 08:36 PM
If shaq was Kobe's big brother..you can rest assured that Kobe would have been put in his place a long time ago...

Personally, I DON'T think Shaq owes him his support in this situation. This is a LEGAL situation where Kobe is accused of a very serious crime. Perhaps Shaq actually thinks that Kobe's guilty. Why would he give him his support?

ReDIRKulous
10-27-2003, 08:47 PM
Thanks superheadcat.

Here is the full article if anyone missed it.

http://msnbc.com/news/985536.asp?0sl=-23

Point, counterpoint: Kobe rips Shaq

Bryant says teammate is ‘not my big brother’
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant have been exchanging nasty words through the media.

Oct. 26 — The war of words between Los Angeles Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal escalated on Monday, as Bryant took time in an interview to point out that if he leaves via free agency after this season, it will be because of the childlike actions of his teammate.

“HE IS NOT MY big brother,” Bryant said of O’Neal in an interview with ESPN. “A big brother would have called me to lend support.”
Bryant was referring to his legal troubles this summer. Bryant has been charged with sexual assault, and is set for trial sometime next year. He pointed out that other teammates have called him, and even non-Laker athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan have voiced their support. O’Neal, however, has not.
Bryant also countered remarks made by O’Neal on Sunday, in which the center said the Lakers were “his team.”
“Just ask Karl Malone and Gary Payton why they came here,” O’Neal said on Sunday. “One person, not two. One. Period. ... I’m not telling [Bryant] how to play his position. I’m telling him how to play team ball.”
On Monday, Bryant told ESPN that “It doesn’t matter whose team it is. Nobody cares. But since it is his team, no more coming into camp fat and out of shape.”
He also disputed O’Neal’s insistence that he is the Lakers’ leader. “Leaders don’t beg for a contract extension and negotiate a $30 million contract in the media,” Bryant said.
The latest edition of the feud between the stars began when O’Neal offered Bryant advice — through the media — that he should be more of a passer than a scorer until he is up to full strength.
“He’s going to have to take his time,” O’Neal said on Friday. “If he is going to be on the court, he has to make sure everybody else is involved and not really try to do too much until he’s ready. But we’re going to be fine.
“I think he has a lot of help out there. When he has a lot of help he should use them. While he’s playing like he’s playing, he should probably look to be more of a passer until he gets his legs strong. When he gets his legs strong, he can do what he does.”
Bryant did not take kindly to the advice, and addressed the topic again on Monday, saying that he did not expect to play in the Lakers’ opener on Tuesday against Dallas.
“My knee is not strong enough to play yet. I know it,” Bryant told ESPN on Monday, “But I don’t need Shaq’s advice on how to play hurt. ... I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows isn’t that bad.” Bryant has stated in the past that he will test the free agent market following the 2003-04 season. On Monday he said that if he leaves, it will be because of O’Neal’s behavior. If you judge O’Neal’s comments on Sunday, he may not care.
“As we start this new season, we want [expletive] done right,” O’Neal said. “If you don’t like it, then you can opt out next year. As long as it’s my team, then I’ll voice my opinion. If you don’t like it, then opt out.”
__________________________________________________ __________________


Does anyone else think this sounds like more than one of their little tiffs?

superheadcat
10-27-2003, 08:55 PM
it really takes a lot to be a lakers fan.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The transcript of Kobe Bryant's interview with ESPN's Jim Gray:

GRAY: What was your reaction to Shaq saying the Lakers are his team, and everybody knows it?

BRYANT: It doesn't matter whose team it is. Nobody cares. I don't, Karl [Malone} doesn't, Gary [Payton} doesn't, and our teammates and the fans don't either. There's more to life than whose team this is. But this is his team, so it's time for him to act like it. That means no more coming into camp fat and out of shape, when your team is relying on your leadership on and off the court. It also means no more blaming others for our team's failure, or blaming staff members for not overdramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, "my team" doesn't mean only when we win, it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy.

GRAY: Do you consider Shaq to be a leader?

BRYANT: Leaders don't beg for a contract extension and negotiate some 30 million [dollars] plus per year deal in the media when we have two future Hall of Famers playing here pretty much for free. A leader would not demand the ball every time down the floor when you have the three of us [Malone, Payton, Bryant] playing beside you, not to mention the teammates you have gone to war with for years -- and, by the way, then threaten not to play defense and rebound if you don't get the ball every time down the floor.

GRAY: Shaq says that you have not been a team player. Is he right?

BRYANT: That's ridiculous. I have been successfully sacrificing my game for years for Shaq. That's what Phil [Jackson} wanted me to do, so I did it. Last year Phil told me Shaq was not in physical condition to carry the trust of our offense, so he asked me to do it. But then he saw Shaq was getting upset that the team wasn't running through him, so Phil asked me to pull back and I did. This year is no different; my role is whatever Phil want it to be. Period.

GRAY: Through out the preseason, your leg and conditioning has been lagging. Are you in the proper shape to start the season?

BRYANT: My knee is not strong enough to play yet. I know it. When it is I will play.

GRAY: Does that mean you will miss the opener [Tuesday] night and other games?

BRYANT: I probably won't play tomorrow night or until I'm ready. But I don't need Shaq's advice on how to play hurt. I've played with IVs before, during and after games. I've played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a fractured tooth, a severed lip, and a knee the size of a softball. I don't miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn't that serious in the first place.

GRAY: Kobe, Shaq said if you didn't like what he had to say you can opt out and leave next season. Will you leave the Lakers?

BRYANT: I won't make that decision until the end of the season. I told Shaq last year that I was planning on opting out. He knew before anyone. I told him out of respect for what we have been through together. I thought he should be the first to know. The fact that he acts like this is such a big shock is a mystery to me. If leaving the Lakers at the end of the season is what I decide, a major reason for that will be Shaq's childlike selfishness and jealousy.

GRAY: Do you feel Shaq has been supportive in regards to your legal situation?

BRYANT: He is not my quote unquote "big brother." A big brother would have called to lend his support this summer. I heard absolutely nothing from him. I spoke to Devon [George], Rick [Fox], Mitch [Kupchak], Phil, and our owner Jerry Buss. And Shaq's own Uncle Jerome called and left three messages. Other teammates like Derek [Fisher], Mark [Madsen], and [Stanislav Medvedenko] left messages as well. Opponents called like [Chris] Webber, [Mike] Bibby, and many others. So did a lot of coaches. Michael Jordan, who didn't have my home phone, tracked it down to lend his support. So did Tiger Woods. But yet from my so-called big brother, I heard nothing.

GRAY: Why not resolve this behind closed doors? Why is this so public?

BRYANT: I asked Phil on Sunday [yesterday] to say something to calm this situation down before it boiled over. But he backed away, so now here we are. I have been a bigger person every time something happened with Shaq, and I don't expect this to be any different. But somebody in this organization had to speak up, because his unprofessionalism hurt us last year, and I don't want it to hurt us this year.

WayOutWest
10-27-2003, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by: superheadcat
it really takes a lot to be a lakers fan.

You aint just wistling Dixie.

Hope the Mavs can play with a lack of oxygen. It's BRUTAL down here in Cali, half the state is on fire and there's this erie orange glow all day. Ash everwhere too. Strange, never seen anything like this in my 33 years on So Cal. There are 2 to 5 (FIVE) hour delays in all flights comming into LA because an air traffic control tower got taken out by the fire. LAX typically handles one landing ever 7 minutes, now because of the loss of that tower they can only have on airplane in the box, the airspace over LA COUNTY, so you can imagine the delays.

Good luck tommorow guys, hope for an exciting opening night.

Shaq Attack2
10-27-2003, 09:42 PM
Damn, Kobe won't be playing.

Max Power
10-27-2003, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
Personally, I DON'T think Shaq owes him his support in this situation. This is a LEGAL situation where Kobe is accused of a very serious crime. Perhaps Shaq actually thinks that Kobe's guilty. Why would he give him his support?

A leader always supports his troops. Always - even if its just a token display. If the Lakers were actually Shaq's team (and they aren't - how many championships did he win BEFORE Phil Jackson showed up) then he would have made that token phone call.

LRB
10-27-2003, 10:23 PM
Originally posted by: Max Power

Originally posted by: Murphy3
Personally, I DON'T think Shaq owes him his support in this situation. This is a LEGAL situation where Kobe is accused of a very serious crime. Perhaps Shaq actually thinks that Kobe's guilty. Why would he give him his support?

A leader always supports his troops. Always - even if its just a token display. If the Lakers were actually Shaq's team (and they aren't - how many championships did he win BEFORE Phil Jackson showed up) then he would have made that token phone call.


Totally agree. A good leader wouldn't have aired the dirty laundry in public either. Neither Shaq or Kobe come out smelling like roses in these exchanges. For sure they both are wallowing the the crap.

Murphy3
10-27-2003, 10:27 PM
I don't think i ever said that Shaq was a great leader.

Personally, as far as Shaq not verbally supporting Kobe with the rape ordeal.. well, I actually completely agree with what shaq said...about letting the legal system run it's course

as for saying that the lakers and shaq didn't win any titles before Jackson got there..well, there was only title up in the air to be one after the Jordan era.

It's rather difficult to put alot of blame on anyone there

Max Power
10-27-2003, 10:51 PM
I understand letting the legal system run its course but any leader would make that call. He IS innocent until proven guilty so a phone call is not going to do anything except be a token show of support.

Either this is a setup between the two of them or Shaq is acting like a punk

Murphy3
10-27-2003, 10:53 PM
sure, shaq is acting like a punk..
no doubt.
but..kobe's not without guilt in this matter..hell, i'm sure this stems from several other situations between the two.

and sure, legally, kobe is innocent until proven guilty.
but, as far as the lakers are concerned, i'm sure he's considered guilty of being a bad teammate until he proves otherwise

superheadcat
10-28-2003, 01:15 AM
It also means no more blaming others for our team's failure, or blaming staff members for not overdramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, "my team" doesn't mean only when we win, it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy.


i am glad that kobe pointed this out. shaq is a "leader" only when he is winning.

Murphy3
10-28-2003, 07:11 AM
Originally posted by: superheadcat

It also means no more blaming others for our team's failure, or blaming staff members for not overdramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, "my team" doesn't mean only when we win, it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy.


i am glad that kobe pointed this out. shaq is a "leader" only when he is winning.

well..kobe's not really much of a leader at all
so..i guess shaq at least has a leg up on him

Murphy3
10-28-2003, 07:16 AM
For the love of God...Kobe's knocking shaq for not playing with injuries.

Is there a bigger pansy in the league than Kobe?

Murphy3
10-28-2003, 07:17 AM
For the record, Kupchak and Jackson forbid Kobe or Shaq from speaking about this yesterday after practice...
Kobe bryant, the leader that he is, definitely didn't follow those instructions when he decided to go and pop off to Jim Gray.