Thanks NBA lockout! Instead of thinking about team previews, the second year of the Heatles, and which team out of a dozen or so contenders can win a title, we get to relive this decade-old story between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal again and again.
Deadspin found the excerpts from O'Neal's new autobiography, Shaq Uncut. Here's the best one.
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."
Kobe sounds like a petulant brat from some of these excerpts. Shaq sounds like a big lug who would never take the kid seriously and did whatever he felt like. So it's pretty much like every other story we've heard about the two. Incompatible always, but still winners together for the brief period they managed to coalesce.
Tomorrow, we'll hopefully have a story about how Bryant hogs the ball and takes too many shots in clutch time, and the day after we'll talk about Shaq's daily ten meal offseason plan.