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Shaq says the pressure is on Howard to win in L.A.. Related: Obvious former Lakers center is obvious.

Aug 11, 2012, 4:25 PM EDT

Dwight Howard Shaquille O'Neal Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal, ever the critic of Dwight Howard since Howard “stole” his Superman moniker, had some strong words for Howard coming to L.A.. It’s not going to be a cakewalk, indeed it’s going to be a huge challenge. From USA Today:

“The pressure that he has been feeling in Orlando has just multiplied by three now,” O’Neal said in comments released by TNT. “The first thing the great Jerry West did when I signed with the Lakers is he walked me into the Forum and told me to look up. He showed me all the great big men that played before me and how many championships they won. The Lakers have a tradition of having great big men. He has a lot of work ahead of him. If he thinks the Orlando Sentinel was on his case when he didn’t perform, guys like (Los Angeles Times columnist) Bill Plaschke, they don’t play.”

via Shaq, Barkley talk Dwight Howard – USATODAY.com.

O’Neal knows something of the pressure to win and has always been proud of the success he had in L.A. winning three titles. It certifies him, validates him. Howard stands in position to challenge that with the core he’s surrounded by. O’Neal was also a hugely popular cultural figure, far more than Howard, and was able to woo reporters with his charm and quotes. Howard faces a tougher approach in getting the public back on his side, but if you peruse the L.A. Times this morning, you’re going to find a whole lot of softball yogurt about the Lakers’ acquisition of Howard. It’s only if they struggle that things would turn.

Watching O’Neal cover this development on TNT will be interesting, if only because of how much he’s following in O’Neal’s footsteps, whether he likes it or not.

  1. mrlitl - Aug 11, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    D12 = Diet Shaq

    • joshm5683 - Aug 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      Diet Shaq as in less fat than Shaq or not as good? I agree on both accounts though!

      As a Lakers fan I’m pretty excited for this season coming up obviously. I’d love to send Kobe out with a few more titles. I’m really nervous about his back though. With Bynum’s knees he was never the crazy athlete D12 is/was so I was ok with him not being super athletic since he has legit post moves. D12 relies 95% on athleticism and 5% skill it seems…….so that really worries me. A back injury isn’t like the guy stubbed his toe or something, back injuries are generally pretty serious.

  2. dls612 - Aug 11, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Got drafted by Orlando like shaq- left Orlando for LA like shaq-has the same nickname like shaq- but won’t win a title like Shaq!

    • 6thsense79 - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      Let’s continue on with the similarities…….Lead Orlando to the NBA championship and lost like Shaq. But unlike Shaq he did not have a great team mate like Penny Hardaway at the time. Don’t laugh Penny was considered to be one of the best young point gaurds in the league back then. Only time will tell if Howard wins a title or 3 like Shaq. Despite the comparisons Shaq and D12 have two very different styles. Shaq was a great offensive force, good but not great rebounder for his size and athleticism, and a decent defender in his younger days but turn extremely lazy on defense as he moved on to the mid to later stages of his career.

      D12 is one of the greatest defensive and rebounding center in the NBA in the past 20 years. He’s a rich man’s Ben Wallace and even that comparison dosen’t do him justice. Offensively he is very limited but due to his relentless and athleticism he still managed to efficiently throw up about 20pts/game. I think his impact on games are much more greater than Bynums and he has proven he can take a team to the finals as a team’s best player. With teammates like Kobe and Nash I will be suprised if he doesn’t help lead the Lakers to a championship within the next 3 years. (That’s most likely Nash’s career window anyways).

  3. rmf3hof - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    this is not a done deal by any means kobe is an old 33 nash is 38 with back issues Howard has back issues already and combine him with world peace and you have dumb and dumberoh and it’s mike brown coaching not Phil Jackson not much of a bench either remember when the lakers had jabbar
    ,worthy,magic and Scott with Riley coaching they didn’t win every year either. the possibilities are there but this is far from being written in stone

  4. cbking05 - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Shaq was a Laker? Wow, I thought he was a bad guy on the Gummi Bears…

  5. ksctychiefs - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    march 12:…….lakers visit ORL…….bring the earplugs dh!!!

    • sourcesclosetothesituation - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM

      Lakers could sit their starting 5 and still win. Well as long as Blake dosen’t get much playing time.

  6. lakerluver - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Shaq is correct, the pressure will be on D12 to win titles in L.A. Because in L.A. that’s all that matters. However, he’s set up nicely to do exactly that. Miami, according to Vegas, is the favorites next season. L.A. is next. I like the LAKERS chances if they meet the Heat in the Finals. In fact, I think the LAKERS will win two titles over the next 2-3 seasons. Furthermore, the salaries of Kobe, Nash, Metta and Pau will be gone in 3 years, at which time Howard will only be 29. With all the money freed up from those contracts the franchise will be positioned to add a top free agent, or two, around Howard. The LAKERS have proven that they know how to build championship rosters around dominant centers (unlike Orlando). Every great center the LAKERS have had has won at least one title.

    • miamatt - Aug 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Miami’s gonna have something to say about it before it is said and done, but I actually agree with just about everything you say. If you think about the way last offseason ended with David Stern veto-ing that CP3 trade and then look at what the Lakers have done this summer, you really have to give Jerry Buss and the entire Lakers front office credit. They ended the season a team with an aging core, no draft picks, and no cap space, and they end the offseason with the best center in the game as well as one of this era’s premier point guards. Even the Jamison signing was solid, diminished he may be.

      Heat-Lakers would be a scintilating finals and an intrigueing chess match between the coaches. Miami’s versatiility and speed versus the Laker’s size and incredible starting backcourt.

      Let the new national nightmare (dwightmare?) begin!!!

  7. lakerluver - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    @6thsense79, I couldn’t have said it any better myself, bro.

  8. magicbucs - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    @lakerluvr… Orlando has only been a franchise since ’89. Lakers been around a lot longer and have been able to sign big names. A lot of these players going back to the 1960s had dreams as kids to play in LA, bright lights, hollywood etc.. It feeds their ego.
    Don’t say the magic can’t build around centers. They actually have. With shaq that ’95 team starters were ALL DRAFTED BY THE MAGIC except horace grant
    ~ nick anderson
    ~ dennis scott aka 3D
    ~ penny via Chris webber draft night trade
    ~ shaq

    It took them 5-6 seasons to build a contender. All except grant were under 25, younger and better than the ’09 magic starters. Magic franchise made the finals twice and conference finals twice with YOUNG dominant centers. Not groomed with experience like the Fakers have. Take a look, all their big name centers came to them with experience from other teams. LA can sign big names they just can’t build a traditional team through draft and player development = FAKERS

    • blueintown - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      Stupid incompetent Lakers. If they had any clue what they were doing they’d have at least 17 NBA titles by now. Instead of..you know..sixteen.

    • 6thsense79 - Aug 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      I would think part of building a championship team is being able to not only draft but keep your franchise players. Dwight Howard was willing to ditch the Magic for the Nets. The Nets. Shaq took a one way ticket out of Orlando the first chance he got.

    • mytthor - Aug 12, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Why does drafting Bynum and making a smart trade for Howard after developing Bynum not count as building a team the traditional way? How about a draft night trade for Kobe Bryant. How about drafting Marc Gasol and using him to get Pau? How about drafting guys like Jerry West, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Vlade Divac (who was later traded to get Kobe)? In fact, Shaq was really the only big, crucial free-agent signing that comes to mind. And guess what? Free agency is part of the game. ANY other team that claims they wouldn’t use free agency to build a contender if they had the Lakers resources is full of it.

      And even with Shaq, it’s not like they signed him and won a championship. Shaq came to LA with power and athleticism, and developed (there’s that word again) into a great passer who could score without pure power. If they can do the same thing with Dwight he’ll end up one of the top 5 centers of all time, possibly. When the Lakers did try and buy a championship, 2004, it didn’t work.

      The Lakers are the best organization in basketball, and yes, they’re also one of the richest, but if that was all that mattered, New York would be swimming in banners, too.

  9. kvanhorn87 - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Wilt shouldn’t count as a laker great. He is our own. Raised in Philly, scored a 100 for Philly, became a legend in Philly. Just a mercenary for lakers

    • cosanostra71 - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      Wilt played five years for us, won a title with us, averaged 17.7 PPG on 60% shooting and 19 RPG for us while he was here (including a 20/20 season)… when you think of the greatest players to play for the Lakers, how do you not think of him?

  10. rickyspanish - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    It’s nice that the Lakers have become the NBA’s lightning rod, a little break for my beloved Heat. I’ve said this in the past: the NBA is a lot more fun when the Lakers are good, even if you hate them, and they sure look good this year. I feel awful for Orlando fans, not because of anything Howard did, but how the management let him go for nothing. Every team in the deal got better but the Magic. Hopefully their new GM knows how to draft well in the high twenties because that’s where Denver’s, Philadelphia’s and L.A.’s picks are going to be.

    • monkeyhateclean - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      Don’t feel bad for Orlando. Like the other small-market NBA teams, their fans realize that they are simply a “farm club” for the 8 or so “real” NBA teams who will systematically get the best FA’s, and compete for championships.

      It may not make for a competitive league, but at least the TV ratings will be good.

      • manchestermiracle - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        It’s still better than when the Celtics won the title every year, year in and year out.

      • itsthemelman82 - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:10 PM

        I wouldn’t say small markets are farm clubs, not when San Antonio has been winning or competing for titles, OKC will be in contention, Cleveland would’ve been if somebody didn’t skip town. However, most of the big markets have rich legacies full of championships & winning. Portland is the best example of reality as a small market, they won in the 70’s, were contenders in the late 80’s & early 90’s as well as in the early 00’s. You just gotta have management that knows when to pick its spots.

      • monkeyhateclean - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:40 PM

        @itsthemelman82

        San Antonio is a rare exception. The Spurs star player David Robinson happened to become injured, allowing SA to win the “Tim Duncan lottery”. not unlike OKC winning the Durant lottery, than hitting on draft picks Westbrook and HArden.

        In each case, small market teams beat the odds by assembling a collection of talent around their key player, and faced substantial pressure when those contacts came time to re-up…

  11. magicbucs - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    @rickyspanish… Hennigan worked 4 years with the spurs team management as a player scout then the last 4 years as OKC asst gm. Hmmm yea I think he knows how to draft. He was a big part of both teams draft picks since early 2000. Even selecting solid late 1st rounders and 2nd rounders. THE GUY CAN DRAFT. The only way the magic will get better is to get worse and rebuild. That’s what Hennigan will do.

  12. bigdeuceuno - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Who really gives a f@@k what Shaq has to say he has always hated on Kobe since he left cuz he saw kobe out shining him and now he’s gonna hate on D12 cuz he’s faster down court more athletic and has a better team around him then when he was in LA and last I thought his name was The Diesel laker fans let’s not forget how Shaq acted when Boston best us F@@k Shaq !

  13. manchestermiracle - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Another filler article and the title says all you need to know: Pretty damn obvious. When has there not been pressure to win in L.A.? You don’t get 16 titles (and counting) with low expectations. It happens to be one of the reasons high-quality players want to go there, to prove themselves worthy while playing under those banners.

  14. lakerluver - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    @magicbucs, all I’m saying is the Magic had two of the most physically dominant centers in the last 20 years and they won ZERO titles. The Shaq led Magic were good but lacked experience. Right when he was poised to dominate they let him sign with the LAKERS. Shaq has gone on record to say he never wanted to leave Orlando. As for Dwight, the Magic never put the right players around him, though I’m sure they tried to.

    • raidmagic - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Yeah he really wanted to when he left a more lucrative contract on the table in Orlando to go to LA because Orlando was a “little pond”. Shaq has stated he wishes he’d have stayed in Orlando but at the time he was getting the hell out regardless of what happened.

      • manchestermiracle - Aug 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        raidmagic: Funny. Your handle says “Magic,” yet you seem to be clueless about what went down in ’96. Have you forgotten the polls that the team ran asking fans if Coach Hill should be fired if Shaq wanted it? 82% said no. How about the follow-up poll asking fans if Shaq was worth the $115M it would take to re-sign him? 91% said no. Shaq’s “teammates” in Orlando rode him pretty hard about those “polls.”

        Hardaway considered it his team, not Shaq’s. The fans obviously didn’t think Shaq was worth keeping. The Lakers offered $121M. Last time I looked 121 was more than 115, not less. L.A. wanted Shaq, Orlando did not. L.A. thought he would help them win titles, Orlando was preoccupied with thinking Shaq was a poor role model because he (gasp!) had a child out of wedlock with his girlfriend. And didn’t plan to marry her! For shame!

        Not much has changed in 15 years. The parochial pukes running the Magic are still clueless and the Lakers are still taking advantage of them. L.A.-16 titles and counting. Orlando-0 and no chance in the foreseeable future.

    • monkeyhateclean - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:42 PM

      As you have never heard of David Robinson or Tim Duncan, no one needs to hear your worthless opinion on anything related to basketball…

  15. lakerluver - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    @magicbucs, oh, btw, the LAKERS did draft Magic Johnson and James Worthy. And if I’m correct Magic led the 79-80 team to a title WITHOUT Kareem.

  16. nolakrlvr - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Odds are good that D12 will turn out to be a rentacenter, they won’t tolerate someone who quits on his team two years in a row, especially in the playoffs.

  17. lakerluver - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    I understand the angst towards the LAKERS. I’ve often felt the same way about the Yankees. I hate them!! But the biggest difference in the two franchises is, because there is not salary cap in baseball, the Yanks have literally bought their titles. The LAKERS, on the other hand, have the best ownership in sports and have simply made shrewd moves. Sucks for the rest of the league but for LAKERS fans it’s a beautiful thing!!

    • monkeyhateclean - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      As you have demonstrated zero functional understanding of NBA history. It would be better for all of us if you’d confine your opinions to message boards about knitting, basket-weaving and recipes for meatloaf. It will be less embarrassing for you.

    • scalfor3 - Aug 12, 2012 at 12:39 AM

      lakers front office has obviously done a good job, but dont be so delusional to act as if they operate on a level playing field as other franchises. it takes so much more for a small market team to build a contender (ex: okc needing to get and nail three top 5 picks in a row, san antonio somehow getting and keeping duncan for over a decade, etc)

    • scalfor3 - Aug 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM

      also you really need to stop capitalizing “lakers” every time you type it. its probably the douchiest thing on the planet

  18. davincizsp - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    So LA got a super center from Orlando AGAIN. History’s been circle all the time… Another thee-peat LOL

  19. timb12 - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    I’m just glad someone had the guts to call out Bill Plaschke. That two timing, Fred flintstone lookin, glasses wearin, goatee havin, wet sandwich smellin piece of crap.

  20. shzastl - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Unnecessary (and not funny) snark in the headline

  21. magicbucs - Aug 12, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    @lakerluvr… Yes you’re correct that was a veteran LA team with “magic” (which is ironic) as a rookie that won….
    thats why I said the magic franchise started in ’89. A lot less experienced franchise trying to win titles and build championship teams. Rookie management mistakes you can say.
    Otis downgraded the team every year since ’09. Should of been fired for even thinking about trading for Gilbert arenas. We lost 2 years with dwight cause of him and that falls on front office.

    • kinggw - Aug 12, 2012 at 2:44 AM

      Otis downgraded the team? Your delusional. The Magic would’ve never made it to the Finals without the moves Smith made. He made moves for Glen Davis and Gilbert Arenas at the request of Howard. Orlando’s main problem was that Howard was and is best served as being the number two guy on the team. He is not the dominant center that Shaq was in his prime and he’s not a team leader type. He doesnt have the chops to be the man.

      Please stop referencing the fact that the franchise was started in ’89. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The Heat were started in ’88 and have two titles whats your excuse for that?

  22. anarchopurplism - Aug 12, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Shaq gave himself 100 nicknames. Yeah it was funny, but is he really going to claim them all?

  23. omniusprime - Aug 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Shaq knows what the pressure is like in LA to win titles and now Howard will have to step his game up to be favorably compared to Mikan, Chamberlain, Jabbar and O’Neal. Of course the Lakers manage to put a great team together, something the Orlando Tragic never did with Shaq or Howard.

    The Tragic fans only have the upper mismanagement to blame for Howard leaving without a title, just like with Shaq. So which future great center will the Tragic draft next as they become a cellar dweller again?

    Go Lakers!

  24. cantonbound13 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Howard will win not 1, not 2, not 3…..

  25. shockexchange - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Of course the pressure is on Pau Gasol / Dwight Howard at the same ____ time, Mike Brown, MWP, and Nash. Because when the Lakers lose, everybody gets thrown under the bus except Horry Jr. When the Lakers underachieve again this year, the media and fans should point the finger where it belongs – at the guy shooting 30 times/game at a 40% clip.

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