Shaq details beef with Kobe in book
Shaquille O’Neal certainly doesn’t hold back in his new autobiography.
O’Neal addressed his feud with former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant as well as his brief time with then-Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in “Shaq Uncut: My Story”.
The mammoth center detailed how tensions were high after Bryant was accused of sexual assault.
“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,” O’Neal wrote. “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.’ … (Coach Phil Jackson) was tired of it. (Veteran players) 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.’”
O’Neal also took issue with the way the Cavaliers reportedly pampered James.
“Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy, but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron,” O’Neal wrote. “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.”
O’Neal’s book will be released to stores on Nov. 15.