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Shaq doesn’t want to talk Howard until he wins three rings

Sep 10, 2012, 11:52 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard speaks during a press conference at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo, California Reuters

Okay, we get it — Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t really like Dwight Howard.

Maybe it goes back to the Superman nickname, or maybe Shaq disliked all challengers to his status as the best center in the game, but the thing has taken on a Hatfields vs. McCoys level of foolishness.

Especially since Howard is now following a path Shaq blazed from Orlando to Los Angeles. Shaq was asked about it by the New Orleans Times Picayune (hat tip to the Hang Time Blog):

“I don’t have a reaction. You have to care to have a reaction. I’ve got businesses to run. I always tell people that in order to step in my shoes you have big shoes to fill. For him, he’s going to have to at least win three to get people’s respect.”

How do you feel about a big center like Howard following your same path to the Lakers following four years with the Magic?

“I’m flattered, if you want to put it like that.”

While he’s not exactly coming from a place of love, Shaq is right about this at the end of the day. Howard has dug himself one huge public relations hole, he’s followed Shaq in a way his people said he didn’t want to when they were pushing Brooklyn.

The only way out is winning. A lot of winning. That and staying out of other public relations disasters (for example, show up for the youth camps with your name on them). Work with sponsor Adidas to come up with a clever advertising campaign that ties into remaking your image (as Nike did with Kobe Bryant post Colorado).

But winning is the big thing. This is America, we forgive winners a lot of things. Get three titles and you’ll be in a much better place.

  1. joshm5683 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I’m really of Shaq always taking digs at D12. I think D12 is kind of a tool with the way he acted, but as a Lakers fan I want him to stick around. While all signs point to yes he will……..Shaq isn’t making it any easier. The Lakers are giving Shaq the ultimate respect by retiring his number and probably will 1 day have a statute outside Staples. I feel Shaq should know his place in the game and be comfortable with it and at this point help the franchise that is honoring him. Do you feel Magic would ever say he wouldn’t want to speak about Lebron on the Lakers until he has 5 rings?

  2. zacksdad - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    To follow his footsteps he also needs to do the following:

    1. Wait until the season starts before having surgery, get hurt on the job, get fixed during the season.
    2. Come in out of shape and only try hard during the finals to get the final’s MVP.
    3. Cry about hack-a-shaq instead of learning to shoot a free throw (He has started this, he needs to learn to shoot one).
    4. Have 10% the heart of Kobe.

    OK, go Kobe bashers.

  3. charlutes - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    No one loves shaq anymore either, everyone’s tired of his act.

  4. heathater4lifeson - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Hey joshm, dont bring lebron up, leave that to Kurt.

  5. money2long - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Okaaay, Shaq. But you have no issue sitting on the TNT set and yelling JaVale McGee’s name like he just finished bending you over? Quit sounding so vindictive.

  6. lakerluver - Sep 10, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    @zacksdad
    I couldn’t agree with you more!! I love Shaq but he needs to lay off Dwight. Shaq gets a lot of the credit for those 3 titles. He was without question the most dominant LAKER back then but Kobe was the best LAKER. Kobe closed out many of those games because Shaq couldn’t make free throws. By Shaq’s logic we shouldn’t talk about him because he didn’t win more rings than Kareem. The dude has always come off as a bit of a baby. Critics said the LAKERS should’ve kept Shaq instead of Kobe but the LAKERS mngt what they were doing when they traded him to Miami.

    • AlohaMrHand - Sep 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      I was one of the few laker fans who was glad to see Shaq go after 04.I was tired of him bitching about wanting more money every season yet showing up fat and out of shape.And it was a farce that he won 3 Finals MVPs especially in 02.Theres a reason after LA he bounced team to team.

    • thestudiokida - Sep 10, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      I’m willing to entertain the Kareem vs. Shaq debate for best Laker big man.

      Kareem won 5 titles with the Lakers but only 1 NBA Finals MVP award. Not winning 4 of the 5 finals MVPs means he had a lot of help. Shaq obviously had help too, but he was always the best player on the team and court in the Finals. That’s why he earned 3 NBA Finals MVPs. On that alone I’d give him the nod over Kareem as best Laker center; best player on the best team.

      • limonadamas - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:23 AM

        Shaq was definitely dominant in the Finals, but it didn’t hurt that the center position in the Eastern Conference was so anemic on their Finals teams during those years. Indiana? Philly? New Jersey? The real championships during those seasons were in the WCF’s. Kobe played a more integral role in those series than he did in the Finals. It’s all about matchups.

  7. AlohaMrHand - Sep 10, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    People rip Kobe but Shaq had just as much and even more to do with their tension and his eventual exit from LA.Remember Shaq was dealt from the Heat for the same reasons in LA.He didn’t want to share the spotlight plus eventually he whined and complained because he was asked to hustle.I never once heard in his career him take any blame or responsibility when he got hurt or came into camp fat and out of shape.But yet Kobe was the problem…..

  8. misterdreamer119 - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Shaq sucks on TNT.

    • mazblast - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:02 PM

      True, but so does almost everyone. I try to watch their “analysis”, but usually give up and change the channel.

  9. lakerluver - Sep 10, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Dude, I respectfully disagree. Shaq was NOT the best player on those teams. The offense ran through him because he was the most physically dominant player in the world for those 3 years. However, best and dominant are two different things altogether. As for Shaq v. Kareem, again Shaq was more dominant but put his best seasons up against Kareem’s. Kareem was a better all around player than Shaq was. When the debate of who was the greatest center comes up Shaq’s name is rarely mentioned. It’s always Wilt, Russell or Kareem. I would even say Hakeem is mentioned more than Shaq.

  10. congocash - Sep 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Shaq didnt think d12s impression was funny apparently.

  11. vstyle23 - Sep 10, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    How easily people forget!! Shaq wasn’t good he was dominant. He was a beat!!! HackaShaq worked because he was a bad free throw shooter but they had to do it to stop him. D12 is athletic but not a ballet. Super version of rodman or Ben Wallace. But no offense. Just a ball go getter. D12 overrated.
    Ps, Kobe never won a title without a center playing out of his mind. Last year Bynum was average so the team went nowhere. I’ll give Kobe this, he’s the closest one to Jordan I’ve seen but……. He’s no Jordan.

    D12 will throw a fit towards the end of the season because he will not be included in the offense outside of offensive rebounds. Question, when he does will it cost the Lakers?

    • skinsfanwill - Sep 10, 2012 at 10:46 PM

      I agree 100%. Dwight is a tall Ben Wallace that can leap. Other than that he has no game. You can’t call someone a superstar if you can’t give him the ball when the game is close for fear he might get fouled……bum in my opinion.

  12. vstyle23 - Sep 10, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Sorry about that guys, the spell check on my iPad is going crazy. It should have said, d12 is not a baller and…

    • manchestermiracle - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      I thought the “ballet” comment was better than “baller.”

  13. vstyle23 - Sep 10, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    And shaq was a beast

    • mazblast - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM

      Hey, lots of guys are fat and can’t speak English intelligibly.

  14. skinsfanwill - Sep 10, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Sad part of all this is Shaq shot better from the free throw line than Dwight. Dwight can never wear Shaq’s shoes. Shaq was a beast.

  15. 24thesho - Sep 10, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    At this point, Dwight can’t even carry Shaq’s water. Obviously, the people who have been commenting were only about 2 or three when Shaq was “Shaq”. He’s a very big man who was once a DOMINANT player for a long time who won multiple championships with 2 different teams; also a sure first ballot HOFer. Get over it, haters!

  16. manotas211 - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    So many Shaq haters. If it wasn’t for Shaq the Lakers would have -3 banners at Staples Center. As for the Lakers loosing in 04, that was Kobe’s fault. How the heck in the world is Ben Wallace going to stop Shaq? Never!!! Kobe just wanted to be the man and he couldn’t. Because of Kobe’s selfishness the Lakers don’t have a couple more banners. Shaq was the most dominant center in the game. He was the main reason that the league went to zone defenses. Zone defenses came along to stop Shaq. Not Kareem or Hakeem.

  17. jedifriedchicken - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Shaq had amazing natural talent. That’s not being argued. The reason there are so many Shaq haters is because he almost always come into a season out of shape, sometimes he’d coast, and he didn’t take the job very serious at times. Because of this, he most likely squandered the chance to be greater. Now he’s out of the league, and he’s steal people’s thunder because he’s so starved for attention. If we held Shaq to his own standards, would this mean that Magic and Kareem should have no respect for Shaq? For that matter, should Shaq even be the bar to measure Dwight’s success? Shaq’s a short term goal, if anything. I’d be more focus on what Wilt and Kareem accomplished.

    And by the way, Mano, Shaq’s not the only one who’s changed the game. They banned the slam dunk in the NCAA while Kareem was in their league, because their officials felt that he was too dominant a player, one who could dunk the ball at will. They felt he would be unstoppable, so they changed the rules to forbid dunking in college games. This was called the “Alcindor Rule,” named after Kareem. Kareen developed the skyhook because of the rule. They reinstated the slam dunk after he joined the NBA.

  18. omniusprime - Sep 12, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Shaq has it right that Howard will need to win multiple titles to ensure he’s regarded as one of the great centers of the Lakers and thus the NBA. Howard has large shoes to fill if he wants the kind of respect Shaq or Kareem has. Going to enjoy watching the Lakers take back what rightfully belongs to them, the championship banner. Go Lakers!

  19. jimeejohnson - Sep 12, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Dwight Howard is a defensive genius, not as much as Bill Russell was, but still very, very good. Unlike Russell, Howard has not played for a perennial winner, until now. Celtics and Lakers have more in common than any other teams in the league ever had. Wonder if this season will see the two teams competing for an NBA title? Have a feeling teams like the Heat, the Thunder, the Bulls and Spurs, will be in the thick of it. The Knicks: who knows? Any team with Carmelo has a chance.

    • mazblast - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      Yes, a chance to make yet another first-round exit, assuming they get that far. Carmelo is incredibly overrated.

  20. SH4DY - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    On the one hand he is right about what he says, on the other it sounds pretty cocky if you ask me!

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