Foul or funny? Analyzing Shaquille O'Neal's recent antics with Phoenix
Unfortunately, Shaquille O'Neal's fine on-court play has again been eclipsed by more questionable behaviour. After spending the last month slamming his peers, the veteran turned on fellow Sun Robin Lopez, publicly dressing-down the rookie for conceding a breakaway dunk. Declaring verbal jihad on opponents and former coaches is one thing. But showing up a teammate is far worse ... Each week, HoopsVibe The Blog drops a basketball related list for fans to weigh-in on. We call it ‘Listed’ …
'The Big Renaissance' has once again been overshadowed by more questionable behaviour. After spending the last month slamming his peers, Shaquille O'Neal turned on fellow Sun Robin Lopez, publicly dressing-down the rookie for conceding a breakaway dunk.
Declaring verbal jihad on opponents and former coaches is one thing. But showing up a teammate is far worse.
Did O’Neal go too far on Thursday with Lopez? Is he getting to be too much? That’s for you to decide. In this edition of ‘Listed’, HoopsVibe The Blog is counting down the legend’s five most colourful moments this season.
So read the post, form an opinion, and let us know if O’Neal has been foul or funny in 2008-09?
#5) Calling out CB4 …
The Issue: “I heard what Chris Bosh said (about O’Neal violating the three in the key rule) and that’s strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men,” O’Neal said. “I’m going to do the same thing (in their next meeting) I did before - make him quit. Make ‘em quit and complain. It’s what I do.” Arizona Republic
Foul or Funny: Funny. However, O’Neal certainly overreacted to Bosh’s comment. Interestingly enough, Toronto’s franchise face has mostly struggled since getting compared to the infamous drag queen.
#4) No love for his old coach …
The Issue: The All-Star didn’t appreciate current Magic and former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy accusing him of flopping.
"And one thing I really despise is a front-runner, so I know for a fact that he's a master of panic, and when it gets time for his team to go in the postseason and do certain things, he will let them down because of his panic. I've been there before, I've played for him." (ESPN)
Foul or Funny: Foul. Van Gundy started this beef, but O’Neal got highly personal when labelling his ex sideline boss a choke artist.
#3) He’s no Superman …
The Issue: O’Neal took offence to up-and-coming star Dwight Howard using his Superman nickname.
"No. Not at all. He's a good player. He can jump. But no," he said. "I was the type of player that they had to have secret meetings and change the rules and do all that. Probably never be another me. He's a good player, but everything he's done, I've invented. So I'm not impressed."
"Doesn't bother me. I can't be impressed by something I invented in '92 [his first year in Orlando]. I mean, you look at what he is doing, I've been there and done that," O'Neal said. "Every street he is driving down in Orlando, I have been on that street. Every nightclub, every restaurant. ... I have been there and done that.
"Until he wins three, four championships, then we can talk about him. But right now, he is just like every other big guy: 'You can run and jump, but you haven't won yet."
Foul or Funny: Foul. These comments had no purpose, especially when considering that Howard idolized the former Magic five-man growing up. Let the record show, O’Neal, just like Howard, never won anything in Orlando.
#2) The Stare-down …
The Issue: On Thursday night, Portland was hammering Phoenix. Late in the game, Lopez appeared to give-up on a Rudy Fernandez breakaway, which led to a confrontation during the next stoppage in play.
Foul or Funny: Foul. Nothing is achieved by O'Neal publicly embarrassing a teammate, even if the former Stanford star rolled out the welcome mat for Fernandez’s jam. This should’ve been dealt with privately in the locker room.
#1) The Dance …
The Issue: The 2008-09 All-Star game was in Phoenix, so O’Neal, who wasn’t even starting, dropped an impressive dance routine with JabbaWockeeZ Crew.
Foul or Funny: Funny. More like priceless, in fact. O’Neal gave fans exactly what they wanted –entertainment.
Bottom Line: On the whole, because of his breaking and return to form, O’Neal’s 2008-09 antics have been a little more funny than foul. His good guy image has taken a hit with his recent comments and treatment of Lopez, though
O’Neal’s four NBA Titles and individual awards give him the credibility to cross the line. But the NBA is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. Last I checked big fella hadn’t won a playoff game in three years.
Most importantly, O’Neal’s career should be remembered positively. For that to happen he needs to continue his strong play and tone things down a bit.Funny or foul? How do you view O’Neal’s behaviour in 2008-09? Let us know in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Maryann R.