Shaq: Howard Will Face Immense Pressure
In earlier comments, (Shaq) O’Neal referenced Howard having to follow in the footsteps of the big men who have been a big part of the Lakers’ legacy. Of course, the Lakers are the team of George Mikan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and, well, Shaq.
“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.”
That same attitude extends to Lakers fans, O’Neal said: “The first year they are going to love him, but the second and third year, if they don’t win, he will be back to square one.”