“I would not characterize it as unfair because like I said, it happened to everyone. It happened to (Michael) Jordan when he went to Atlantic City to get away from the game. It happened to Barkley. It happened to (Dennis) Rodman. It happened to Magic (Johnson). It happens to everybody. If it just started this year I would call it unfair, but I’ve been in the game for 20 years and I’ve seen similar stories.” (Shaquille O'Neal on CNNSI podcast)
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal has offered his first pearl of wisdom while gainfully employed as a TNT analyst.
‘The Big Broadcaster’ weighed-in on the scrutiny LeBron James faced after announcing he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers on national television last July.
One the one hand, Shaq is right. Almost every superstar learned to win by losing. And almost every superstar faced a backlash for decisions on-or-off court.
On the other hand, Shaq is underestimating what James went through. Last season, he and the Miami Heat had a bulls-eye on their backs the size of, well, Shaq.
Yes, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley, and Magic Johnson dealt with criticism. But no, it was nothing compared to the burnt jerseys, backstabbing, and letter from a former owner that were thrown James' way.
Of course, James dug his grave. He empowered friends who had little business being empowered. He isolated himself. And he, or his wrongfully empowered friends, approved The Decision and The Pre-Emptive Championship Party.
Rather than learn, change, and hire a PR firm, he spent the 2010-11 season fighting upstream against the media. And he seems determined to continue putting himself out there, regardless of the consequences.
Shaq’s first take on James is open to interpretation. He did, however, succeed in getting us to talk, debate, and discuss.
And isn’t that the job of a broadcaster?
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