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Evilmav2
11-21-2003, 10:08 PM
Heartfelt thanks to Shaq and many others
http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:HHwGhdvSqioC:cache.katrillion.com/images/s/shaq.upi_0829_160.jpg

November 21, 2003

BY LACY J. BANKS SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

Credit Shaquille O'Neal with an assist for helping to prevent a heart attack that could have killed me two weeks ago.

I had driven to Milwaukee with the intention of interviewing O'Neal after he completed a morning shootaround with his Los Angeles Lakers, who were to play the Bucks that night at the Bradley Center. But after I arrived at the hotel, parked my car and tried to pull some 20 pounds of luggage on rollers, the scariest thing happened. Every 15 to 20 steps, I had to stop, bend over and catch my breath.

Still determined to interview Shaq after checking into the hotel, I felt I'd have no trouble walking the two blocks to the arena with just my tape recorder in my pocket. I was wrong.

When I got to the Bradley Center, sweating and out of breath, I was met by Cheri Hanson, chief publicist for the Bucks and a friend for 25 years. She called Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, who put me in a wheelchair and took me into the team's dressing room. Hanson, who knew I had undergone a triple-bypass operation two years ago, called an ambulance.

I felt no pain, simply extreme fatigue. Vitti laid me down on the same training table used to treat his multimillion-dollar players. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, scared and angry. Vitti took my blood pressure. It was very low, 90 over 59.

When the paramedics arrived, I said I did not want to go to the hospital. I wanted to interview O'Neal, go back to the hotel and rest.

Shaq gave me an ultimatum.

''I'll give you an interview, Lacy,'' he said. ''But only after you go to the hospital to get yourself checked out. You mean too much to too many people. Your life is more important that an interview or basketball game.''

That probably helped prevent a heart attack. Bucks team physician Dr. Steven Port speedily met me at Mt. Sinai Hospital and determined I had not suffered a heart attack but needed to have my heart and arteries examined.

At my request, Port arranged for me to go to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago the next day for an angiogram, in which doctors inserted a rodded camera through a major artery into my heart and injected dye to highlight coronary arteries.

This process revealed two 90-percent blockages in a major artery feeding my heart. Dr. Mark Ricciardi performed an angioplasty, inserting steel stents to open each blockage and slowly secrete medicine to prevent future blockages.

Thanks to the help of everyone involved, I finally was able to get my Shaq interview this week before a Lakers-Detroit Pistons game in Auburn Hills, Mich.

''Get on Dick Gregory's diet,'' O'Neal advised me, referring to the regimen that stresses fruit, water and brown rice. ''I lost 20 pounds in a couple of weeks.''

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Shaq Attack2
11-22-2003, 02:11 AM
If Shaq wasn't so disrespectful to other teams he'd be considered a really nice person. I'm sure he is a good guy, he's just got a big mouth.

Murphy3
11-22-2003, 02:13 AM
Shaq's just a misunderstood big man.
The NBA could use more players like him.

ReDIRKulous
11-22-2003, 10:08 AM
My problem with Shaq is that he tries to turn the game intop WWF wrestling or something. He lacks respect for the game. He is basically classless.

But off the court I like him, oddly enough.