Shaq's biography dishes on Kobe feud, LeBron James
(CBS) - Shaquille O'Neal's life is defined by bigness. He was a dominant presence on the basketball court, made some hugely unfortunate movies, and now he's a published author. O'Neal's autobiography "Shaq Uncut: My Story" talks about his feud with Kobe Bryant, particularly the Colorado incident when Bryant was accused of sexual assault, and his thoughts on other superstars. Is there dirt in the book? Big Time.
Here's what Shaq has to say about his supposed feud with Lakers teammate Bryant:
So I'm on edge because I don't have a new deal, and Kobe is on edge because he might be going to jail, so we're taking it out on each other. Just before the start of the '03-'04 season the coaching staff called us in and said, "No more public sparring or you'll get fined." ... Phil was tired of it. Karl Malone and Gary Payton were sick of it. ... So what happens? Immediately after that Kobe runs right out to Jim Gray and does this interview where he lets me have it. He said I was fat and out of shape. He said I was milking my toe injury for more time off, and the injury wasn't even that serious. (Yeah, right. It only ended my damn career.) He said I was "lobbying for a contract extension when we have two Hall of Famers playing pretty much for free." I'm sitting there watching this interview and I'm gonna explode. Hours earlier we had just promised our coach we'd stop. It was a truce broken. I let the guys know, "I'm going to kill him."
Shaq's book goes on to talk about the deepening rift between O'Neal and Bryant during Kobe's 2003 sexual assault case:
Kobe stands up and goes face-to-face with me and says, "You always said you're my big brother, you'd do anything for me, and then this Colorado thing happens and you never even called me." I did call him. ... So here we are now, and we find out he really was hurt that we didn't stand behind him. That was something new. I didn't think he gave a rat's ass about us either way. "Well, I thought you'd publicly support me, at least," Kobe said. "You're supposed to be my friend." Brian Shaw chimed in with "Kobe, why would you think that? Shaq had all these parties and you never showed up for any of them. We invited you to dinner on the road and you didn't come. Shaq invited you to his wedding and you weren't there. Then you got married and didn't invite any of us. And now you are in the middle of this problem, this sensitive situation, and now you want all of us to step up for you. We don't even know you." ... Everyone was starting to calm down when I told Kobe, "If you ever say anything like what you said to Jim Gray ever again, I will kill you." Kobe shrugged and said, "Whatever." [...] From that day on, I was done dealing with Kobe. I was done dealing with Jim Gray, too. What goes around, comes around. When he got fired, he actually had the nerve to call me and ask me to help him out. What, did you lose Kobe's number?
In a separate chapter, Shaq talks about his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the way that organization pampered their star, LeBron James:
LeBron was a huge star. He was as big as I was in 2000 in L.A. when I was dominating the league. ... Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy, but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron. Nobody wanted him to leave Cleveland, so he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do. I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn't get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn't say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, "Yo, Mo, we can't have that. You've got to hustle a little more." So Delonte West is sitting there and he's seen enough and he stands up and says, "Hold up, now. You can't be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us." Mike Brown said, "I know, Delonte. I know." Mike knew Delonte was right. ... I'm not sure if Kobe is going to listen to Mike Brown. LeBron never really did. Here's what we do know: Kobe will definitely be in charge.The fact that Cleveland was extra sensitive around the greatest player in their team's history may not be that surprising. But the depths that O'Neal's book goes to in describing the Shaq-Kobe saga in Los Angeles is fascinating. Shaq's book - "Shaq Uncut: My Story" - is in bookstores November 15th.
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