Shaquille O'Neal is Shaq's autobiography continues to lob hand grenades at everyone, everywhere. This is the latest except from the Los Angeles Times where Shaq takes shots at a fellow basketball great, this one taking aim at the greatest Laker center ever. And O'Neal comes off as unusually needy.
"Kareem was never around," O'Neal wrote in "Shaq Uncut: My Story," co-written by Jackie MacMullan. "And, whenever I did see him, he usually ignored me. The disappointing thing to me was, being in LA all those years and trying to fill those shoes, I would have liked to have a conversation with him."
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar seemed a little shocked by the complaints, and issued this statement on his Facebook.
I went down to LSU and worked with Shaq on the fundamentals of the Skyhook as a favor to Coach Dale Brown. I spent time with Shaq in the gym and gave him some drills he could use to develop the hook shot. But when I followed up with his Coach, Dale Brown, I was told that Shaq's father told his son he didn't need to develop a hook shot and all he needed to do was smash everything into the basket. Shaq's fathers felt that he was so overpowering physically that he should just dunk everything and not worry about developing a finesse shot like the Skyhook.
As a pro I never approached Shaq because I thought he was pretty successful dunking everything and I assumed he didn't want my help. Additionally, I was never on the coaching staff of any of his teams. I was never unfriendly to him and I would talk to him, but Shaq was enjoying his success, doing it his way. He never asked me of what I thought he should be doing and he never tried to reach out to me for any instruction and I respected that decision.
If I had any idea that Shaq wanted to learn from me, I would have been happy to have worked with him, but all indications that I had received was that he felt he was doing fine and he didn't need or want my help. I am totally surprised by Shaq's comments as I tried to respect his privacy and never got any indication from anyone that he wanted or needed any input from me with regard to how he played the game. Shaq had a great career, and I like everyone else, respect what he has achieved.
Nice of Kareem to take the high road here. He has nothing to win getting into a war of words with the Big Aristotle. Hopefully this will be the last of Shaq's Laker targets and we can all move on.