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Friday , Jun , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers to retire Shaq’s number

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to honor their former self-proclaimed Superman, Shaquille O'Neal, by raising his No. 34 jersey to the rafters. "We don't have any specific timetable on this, but you can be assured we will retire Shaq's jersey," said Lakers spokesman John Black in an email on Wednesday.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: His career is over. So are his feuds.

It appears Shaquille O`Neal has called it a day, announcing his retirement via twitter on Wednesday.  Everyone is caught up in the good vibes –even those who had beef with O`Neal.

Remember, O`Neal`s relationship with teams usually soured after he left. Like the Los Angeles Lakers. Like the Miami Heat. Or like the Phoenix Suns. 

The purple-and-gold have moved on and announced they`ll retire O`Neal`s number. This is a well deserved honour. The massive five-man won three consecutive championships in Hollywood.

Championships only tell part of the story. While manning the middle for the Lakers, O`Neal was, perhaps, the most dominating force the NBA ever saw.

So the Lakers and their former franchise face let the past die. Hopefully, others do the same and O`Neal gets his due.

--Oly Sandor.

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Shaquille O’Neal: Greatest Center Ever
Friday , Jun , 03 , 2011 Paul Eide

Shaquille O’Neal: Greatest Center Ever

Fours year ago when Shaq’s production started to decline and he couldn’t stay healthy the “Shaq is done” and “he wasn’t that good” chatter began to commence amongst the haters. And in that four year period more and more people suddenly couldn’t wait to see him gone. People that once marveled at his size and power now used those same traits as a reason to discredit him.

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Farewell 1990s Basketball.
Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Farewell 1990s Basketball.

Tough to hear, but it is time. The stars, for anyone 26 years or older, drafted from the 1990s are fading away. Let’s use the present to say our goodbyes.   Father time usually corresponds with age and decline in play. This is it. We have been following these guys since middle school. Some of you guys must have been following them since elementary days. Do not feel old. Age is merely a number. Longevity in anything is actually a state of mind, but not in sports. For anyone living under a rock, Macho Man just died. With that said, let's appreciate these players while they are still alive.

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Sunday , Apr , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Big Shamrock Down: Shaquille O’Neal out for Boston Celtics

Shaquille O'Neal failed a conditioning test this morning, and has been ruled out indefinitely by the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, made the announcement this afternoon with team physician, Dr. Brian McKeon.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Shamrock is down. And the Boston Celtics have a problem.

Word is Shaquille O’Neal won’t be ready for the playoffs because of nagging calf and Achilles injuries.

Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Nenad Krstic, and Jermaine O’Neal will split time at the 4-5 spots, while Jeff Green will get significant minutes as a stretch-4.

The Celtics struggled down the stretch without a legitimate 5-man. Whether they can make do with this platoon of players remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, this puts the spotlight on GM Danny Ainge. He traded defensive anchor Kendrick Perkins for Green mid-season, in part, because he expected O’Neal to be healthy.

Green may pay dividends in the future. Right now, he’s the Celtics’ 7th man. And Ainge is believed to have sacrificed 2011 for a piece to rebuild around when The Big Three calls it a day.

Only time will tell if this is true. Dark clouds seem to be hovering over the green-and-white.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Magic to deal Howard this summer?

"I would expect a Dwight trade this summer or before the next season starts, from what I'm hearing. Rose likes his core because it's the core he has. He's not opposed to the Bulls improving it." (Ric Bucher, ESPN)

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Teams who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

So the Orlando Magic must give serious consideration to trading Dwight Howard or they risk losing another once-in-a-generation-center via free agency.

In the late nineties, Shaquille O’Neal, the Magic’s franchise face and the game’s most dominating player, left Orlando to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As a Laker, he won three straight championships. The Magic were forced to start over.

Howard, a free agent next summer, is rumored to be looking at bigger markets. He’s been linked to those same Lakers. He’s also been linked to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets.

The Magic were in the mix to keep their smiling superstar until they blinked this year and changed their roster mid-season with a pair of questionable trades.

Hedo Turkoglu has been decent; however, GM Otis Smith’s gamble on Gilbert Arenas has failed. The Hibachi is out of propane, struggling with shot knees, high expectations that come with a big-ticket contract, and low confidence.

Smith has failed to find Howard a co-star. So Howard, if he wants a championship, will likely find his own co-stars elsewhere.

Smith, despite his denials, will have to be open to a trade. Unless he wants to repeat the past and lose Howard for nothing as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

No excuses: Paul Pierce tells Celtics to forget Kendrick Perkins

"It was even worse last year when we went through our struggle," Pierce said. "Definitely Kendrick had his impact, but you’ve got to remember he missed a big portion of the season and, during that portion, we were able to beat a lot of the good teams also.

"I think that’s just an excuse at this point. I think that it’s time for us to move on from that. It hurts when you lose a teammate … but at the end of the day, the guys that are in this locker room are the guys you’ve got to go to war with." Pierce said a healthy Shaquille O’Neal is capable of filling the void on both ends.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to The Truth to speak The Truth -at least, as he sees it.

Paul Pierce, the captain and star swing of the Boston Celtics, feels his club is using the Kendrick Perkins trade as an excuse not to play their best. And he’s right.

Sure, Perkins, not Kevin Garnett, was their defensive anchor. And sure, Perkins was great on the defensive and offensive glass, getting points through tips and effort.

However, Perk’s contract was up at season’s end and his knees are wonky, so GM Danny Ainge swapped him for Jeff Green to better match up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Now Pierce may be frustrated. With Perkins, he won a championship and advanced to two NBA Finals. Yet the Celtics still changed a winning formula at mid-season.

What’s done is done, though. Pierce is keeping his thoughts private and challenging teammates to play better, especially if Shaquille O’Neal gets healthy.

Perhaps O’Neal comes to the rescue. If fit and healthy –these are big ifs- the legendary five could theoretically turn back the clock and hold his own over a seven-game series.

This may be wishful thinking, as O’Neal has missed three months. His conditioning will be suspect, and he’ll struggle to defend pick-and-rolls.

Just don’t tell Pierce. He’s having none of it. No excuses.

--Oly Sandor

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Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

What does Shaq’s latest injury mean for struggling Celtics?

O'Neal missed 27 games with foot and Achilles' tendon injuries and was making his first appearance since Feb. 1. "The update is that it's not the same injury," Rivers said. "Had nothing to do with the Achilles; it's a calf strain. It's not a bad strain, but it's a strain. So similar to the one Von [Wafer] had but not even close to the severity. Well, 'I don't know [when he will be back]' is the answer."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Just when you thought 'The Big Shamrock' was back, he’s out –again.

Shaquille O’Neal finally returned to the Boston Celtics’ line-up yesterday after missing 27 games with an Achilles injury. His good health appears short-lived, though.

O’Neal left in the second quarter of last night’s game with a calf injury. He did not return.

While the injury isn’t serious, the fact O’Neal has missed months of action is. The future Hall of Fame center has never been known for fitness, and this is magnified by his age.

Here’s the question: what can O’Neal provide the green-and-white in the playoffs?

Well, nobody knows. But O’Neal must perform because the Celtics’ other fives like Jermaine O’Neal and Nenad Krstic are hurt. And there’s no Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder for combo forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Shaq’, when he returns, needs to anchor the middle, allowing Kevin Garnett to play the majority of his minutes at power forward. It wouldn’t hurt if he provided a target for point guard Rajon Rondo, too.

Bottom line: the sliding Celtics need O’Neal. A return to the NBA Finals is unlikely without him holding his own down low. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard ’won’t dare play me one-on-one’

Shaquille O'Neal had a lot to say in a little time during a recent Q&A. Q: How much do you look forward to the opportunity to go up against guys like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum in the playoffs? A: Excuse me? Don't ask me a question like that. Q: But that's what people want to know. Those guys are playing so well and everyone wants to see if you can match up with them one-on-one. A: First of all, they won't dare play me one-on-one, even at the tender age of 39. And you know what? Playin' those teams, it ain't gonna be about the [center] matchup, so I don't really worry about that.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His age doesn’t matter. Neither do his injuries. Shaquille O’Neal, never lacking in confidence, just called out the game’s best centers.

Why the confidence?

O’Neal, even at 39, thinks he can still hold his own against premier fives like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. For one game, he’s fine. In a seven game series, he probably doesn’t get embarrassed.

O’Neal’s wear-and-tear does show during the regular season. He gets nicked up. His lack of fitness and age becomes a problem.

Credit Boston Celtics Coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers for limiting O’Neal’s minutes, knowing his size and experience will be needed against, say, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum in the playoffs.

This brings us back to O’Neal comments. Consider the timing: He’s returning from injury and the playoffs are fast approaching.
 
Clearly, the veteran is anticipating a match-up against Howard’s Magic and Bynum’s Lakers. He’s playing the role of angry mentor, and once again trashing both to the media.

There’s a method to his madness. Spouting off to the press has provided O’Neal with a mental advantage in the past, especially when facing Howard.

But Bynum has no reason to take the bait. Not this time around, at least. He’s been brilliant since February’s All-Star game, helping the two-time defending champion Lakers regain their form.

So O’Neal still talks-the-talk. Can he still walk-the-walk on-court? We’ll find out come playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics, not Heat, sign Troy Murphy

Troy Murphy has decided to sign with the Boston Celtics.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The rich just got richer. Today, the Boston Celtics won the first round of the veteran’s buyout war, signing free agent Troy Murphy to a pro-rated one year contract.

Translation: Murphy is a short-term rental. 

The left-handed post was dealt from the New Jersey Nets to the Golden State Warriors at the trade deadline. The Warriors then bought Murphy out, giving him the opportunity to choose his next team.  

Murphy will add depth off the bench for the Celtics and can start if Shaquille O’Neal and/or Jermaine O’Neal aren’t healthy.

Whatever his role, Murphy will rebound and extend opposing defences with his deadly three-point range.  

Most importantly, the green-and-white prevented Murphy from signing with the rival Miami Heat. And such a signing could be the difference between winning and losing the Eastern Conference championship.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Feb , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lamar Odom: Kobe Bryant wants to be better than Michael Jordan

He wants to be better than Michael Jordan. Most people would be scared to admit that because that guy was that good and did that much. So you have to understand that what Kobe’s trying to get as a basketball player and what it takes to get there, a lot of us don’t even have the gall, the balls, the will.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Put the blame on Lamar Odom.

In a recent interview, the Los Angeles Lakers’ renaissance forward re-opened the Pandora’s Box known as Kobe-versus-Mike.

Odom states that Kobe Bryant’s goal is to be better than Michael Jordan, and the Black Mamba believes he can achieve this by passing His Airness’ total of six championships.

If only it were so simple.

Championships are one measure of a player’s greatness. The other has to be how that player performed during those championship series. In the other words, when the chips were on the line, what did the player do?

In this respect, Jordan has Bryant beat. It’s not even close.

After all, Jordan went six and zero in the NBA Finals. He never lost; nobody could touch him, as he won six Most Valuable Player awards.

Bryant is 5-2 in the NBA Finals. His Lakers have lost to the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. For his first three championships, Bryant was a co-star next to the ‘Most Dominant Ever’ in Shaquille O’Neal.

Bryant wants to be better than Jordan; however, he can’t touch The Greatest of All Time. Not now; not ever.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jan , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant calls Chris Bosh ‘a fake tough guy’

"I was talking to my teammate and he decided he wanted to put his 2 cents into it. I'm a quiet guy, a laid-back guy, but I'm not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He's on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit," Durant said. "There's a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he's one of them," Durant added.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Chris Bosh isn’t exactly respected by his NBA peers.

Shaquille O’Neal once branded him the ‘RuPaul’ of big men. Amar’e Stoudemire boasted to the world that he was better than Bosh. Today, Kevin Durant called him a ‘fake tough guy’.

Durant’s comments came after his Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a close game to Bosh’s Miami Heat on national television. The lanky three-man missed a fade-away jumper in the closing seconds which would have sent the game to overtime.

However, the tough loss wasn’t the reason for Durant’s outburst. Earlier in the game, he and Bosh bumped into each other and exchanged words. Both were given technical fouls.

Clearly, Durant doesn’t believe Bosh can back-up the tough talk. And he isn’t the only one.  

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Sunday , Jan , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Shaq wearing Celtic green: ‘I don’t think it’s too weird’

"I don't think it's too weird," said guard Kobe Bryant, who had a contentious relationship with Shaq during the center's time with the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. "I don't really hold too much significance to the fact that he's playing with the Celtics. I don't think Laker fans as a whole are. I don't think it's that big of a deal."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not weird. Really, it’s not.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant doesn’t believe there’s anything unusual about former teammate and partner-in-crime Shaquille O’Neal being a member of the Boston Celtics.

Bryant and O’Neal won three consecutive championships with the purple-and-gold. And O’Neal was the face of the Lakers before their feuds forced him east to the Miami Heat.

I’m not buying Bryant’s no-comment. Neither should you.

Bryant and O’Neal are still rivals. Tension still exists from the World Wars. It’s just under the surface and can manifest itself at any moment.

For instance, right after winning his fifth championship last spring, Bryant boasted to the throngs of reporters that ‘he now had one more than Shaq’.

Perhaps that comment drove O’Neal to sign a two-year deal with the Celtics last summer, even though it meant accepting less minutes, shots, and spotlight.

O’Neal probably believes he could’ve been the difference in last year’s NBA Finals when the Lakers needed seven-games to beat, you guessed it, the Celtics.

So Bryant and O’Neal are rivals. These Lakers and Celtics are rivals. And historically, the Lakers and Celtics have always been great rivals.

But hey, Shaq on the Celtics isn’t weird. Really, it’s not.

--Oly Sandor.


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Thursday , Dec , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Paul Pierce steals Pacers fan’s water

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics are having fun.

Reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson are always up to something, while new addition Shaquille O’Neal loves the punchline.

Even Paul Pierce is getting in on the action. During Tuesday’s 93-85 win over the Boston Celtics, Pierce, after chasing a loose ball out of bounds, suddenly took a swig out of a fan’s water bottle.

The fan, even though she supported the Pacers, didn’t seem to mind. Anyway, watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Pierce’s antics.
 


--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need healthy Bynum, not ‘pissed off’ Bryant

Now as for the loss to the Spurs, Kobe said, "I'm just pissed." "That doesn't mean you're going to play mad [against New Orleans] does it?" I said with just the right amount of concern. "I don't know," Kobe said. "I've been playing mad as long as you have been writing mad."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant pissed off. They do need Andrew Bynum healthy and playing well.

The giant post missed the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, and he has struggled to find his form since returning.

Simply put, Bynum, when on his game, makes the Lakers unstoppable. His height (7-1) and wingspan were the difference between winning and losing game-seven of last year’s NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, as several teams added size to battle Bynum in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics signed Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler and re-upped with Brendan Haywood; the San Antonio Spurs brought Tiago Splitter from Europe and developed the powerful DeJuan Blair.

Of course, Bryant will be better than yesterday’s game against the Spurs, where he missed 13 straight shots.

However, the purple-and-gold needs a healthy Bynum, not a pissed off Bryant, to win their third consecutive championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Nov , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Older, wiser Shaq the NBA’s best bargain?

Shaquille O'Neal is averaging 22.7 minutes per game and has provided the Celtics everything they could have hoped through 16 games. A key to his resurgence is that he arrived without his Shaq-Fu attitude. While every superstar's impact eventually fades, it is up to the star to determine how he wants his career to conclude. Some never recognize that their skills have eroded, while others decide to reinvent themselves as someone who can help their team despite diminishing talents. O'Neal said he decided to move to Sudbury to avoid the allure of the Boston nightlife and concentrate fully on basketball. During his postgame interview, two of his sons were milling around the locker room, soaking in the new environment. In his younger days, O'Neal said he would have capitalized on the Friday nightlife after a victory, especially with the weekend off. Not now.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Older and wiser.

In the twilight of his career, Shaquille O’Neal appears to be avoiding the pitfalls of his youth. No nightclubs. No attitude; just a team-first approach to helping the Boston Celtics.

It’s working, too. O’Neal is averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes. He’s also hitting a scorching 69% of his attempts from the floor.

Best of all, O’Neal has bought into Coach Doc Rivers’ get-stops philosophy. The Big Shamrock isn’t doing his typical defense-is-a-contagious-disease routine.

Instead, O’Neal is clogging the lane; showing effectively on pick-and-rolls; and taking the pressure off veteran defensive anchor Kevin Garnett.

At $1.5 million per season, he’s the best bargain in the NBA.  Who would have thought that after O’Neal’s mediocre 2010 with the Cleveland Cavaliers?

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Oct , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Shaquille O’Neal becoming an ‘adult’ for Boston Celtics?

Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal isn't interested in potentially winning the Sixth Man of the Year award this season. "No," he said. "About four years ago, I gave up on the concept of winning individual awards. I'm focusing on the big one at the end of the year."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If I hadn`t seen his duet with preteen monstrosity Justin Beiber, I’d say Shaquille O’Neal is sounding like an adult.

The powers that be with the Boston Celtics must like the signs. The future Hall of Fame center is gelling with teammates, doesn’t care for individual awards, and will apparently sacrifice to win.

This represents progress for The Big Shamrock, right? Hold on folks. Proceed with caution. For every team, October is filled with promise and promises.

The proof will come in January when O’Neal plays limited minutes during a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat.

Or during the playoffs when Coach Doc Rivers plays the defensive Kendrick Perkins (if healthy) because he can guard the pick and roll.

O’Neal will be upset. The media will circle. The media will question. And the media won’t stop until they get their controversial quote.

O’Neal must respond carefully. One wrong move, one wrong statement, or one off-putting joke could compromise his time with the green-and-white.

The year will be an exercise in maturity. So O’Neal better do more than sound like an adult. He better be one.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq’s advice to Glen Davis: ‘Jambalaya, Barbecue Chicken, and Chimichangas’

After chipping in six points, three rebounds, and two assists over 13:38 in his first action since sitting out the past three preseason games, O'Neal retreated to the bench and cheered on fellow LSU big man Glen Davis. Those words of encouragement?

"Jambalaya, barbecue chicken, and chimichangas," O'Neal said with a straight face after the game. "It's an LSU thing. I can't tell you, it's all secret society code."


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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Move on people. Avoid the obvious zingers about two ‘larger than life’ posts using a buffet spread as their secret code.

The one-liners are too easy –like picking on a fat kid at a candy store (see what I mean). Here’s the important thing: Shaquille O’Neal and Glen Davis are clicking.

After all, chemistry is a fickle thing. Last year, the Boston Celtics had it, and rode their team-first, get-stops style to the seventh game of the NBA Finals.

With their championship window closing, the green-and-white signed O’Neal, an aging superstar who struggles when playing a role. Of  course, Davis – a talented, but temperamental youngster - recently complained about not knowing his role.

There was the potential for problems between these two –big, big problems.

 O’Neal and Davis have bonded. How they bonded is irrelevant. What matters is they have bonded.

The Celtics can breathe a little easier. Instead of clashing like heavyweight sumo wrestlers, O’Neal and Davis have formed their 'secret society'.

Who are we to judge, or mock, them?

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq on his beef with Pat Riley: ‘I wasn`t with five hour practices’

Question: While with the Miami Heat, you appeared to have a strained relationship with former Heat coach Pat Riley. What happened?

Shaquille O’Neal (answer): I wasn’t with the five-hour practices. Some people have different mentalities, but I was just coming off three out of four (NBA Finals MVP awards). With the Lakers, Phil (Jackson) treated us like men with 1 ½ -hour practices. I’m a businessman, and I don’t know how other men view me personally, nor do I care. I know what I do and what I have to do.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once again, Shaquille O’Neal has stuffed his massive foot into his massive mouth. 

Currently, Pat Riley is the architect/lead executive for the Miami Heat. With Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade on the Heat roster, he may fire Coach Erik Spoelstra and return to the sideline.

As Stan Van Gundy can attest, Riles has `un-retired` from coaching once before.

Whatever Riley’s role with the Heat in 2011, O’Neal’s comments have provided The Oil Slick with extra motivation and incentive to defeat the Boston Celtics.

This isn’t wise. A rivalry is already brewing between the Heat and Celtics. And O’Neal is giving the green-and-white’s opponents extra clippings to put on their bulletin board.

So, why is Shaq re-hashing old wounds from his time with Riley in Miami?

If O’Neal really wants to help the Celtics, if he really wants to make an impact, he’ll button his big mouth and focus on filling-in effectively while Kendrick Perkins recovers from injury.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal: Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I’m only taking four?

"I like that they play together and nobody really worries about shots, " O'Neal said. "When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn't even play were worried about shots. Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I'm only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that's cool.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’ll never learn.

At nearly 40, Shaquille O’Neal is still bad-mouthing former teammates and foes, expecting the NBA community to tolerate his questionable behaviour because he was once a superstar.

Well, Shaq doesn’t dominate. Not anymore. It’s been five years since The Big Diesel, The Big Aristotle, or The Most Dominant Ever co-starred for the championship winning Miami Heat.

Since 2006, he’s been injured, overweight, and a shade of his former self. This wouldn’t be an issue except O’Neal has gone on the offensive, routinely slamming his peers.

His latest victim: former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Mo Williams.

The optics of throwing Williams under the bus isn’t good, especially since O’Neal missed his usual quota of 31 games last season, with a variety of bumps, bruises, and injuries.

Of course, Williams’ Cavaliers can’t hang with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. However, the streaky gunner now has extra motivation to go off each time he faces O’Neal and the Celtics.

So what was the point in Shaq calling out Williams? Why provide him an incentive?

O’Neal must start living in the now. His mouth is talking smack that his game can no longer back-up.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Aug , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal now The Big Realist for Boston Celtics

"I'm much older now," he said. "This team is good with or without me. Sometimes, in order to win, you have to sacrifice. I don't mind sacrificing. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning."

"I'm going to do what I'm told to do. Whatever they need me to do. I'm not in a position to cause trouble or cause a ruckus. The reason why younger in my career I acted a fool is because they made me the CEO. If I'm the CEO and I'm getting all the blame, we're going to start doing it my way."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It seems age, weight, and getting engaged to a woman named Hoopz has turned Shaquille O’Neal into The Big Realist.

Instead of demanding minutes, instead of demanding adulation, instead of demanding to be the star or co-star, O’Neal realizes – and more importantly accepts - he’s a bit part for the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

They’ve already got their Big Four. They’ve already established a formula for success.

However, O’Neal can still play an important role. Starting center Kendrick Perkins is out until mid season because of a knee injury sustained in game six of the NBA Finals.

While Perkins is recovering, O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal are expected to plug the middle. If Shaq can defend, rebound, and score, he’ll have fulfilled his role for the Celtics.

And maybe he’ll get rewarded with a fifth and final NBA Championship before finally retiring.
     
--Oly Sandor.

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