No need for former All-Star center to keep mentioning Lakers' current star.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
Feuds are good for the NBA. Well, usually. But it’s painful to hear retired players insulting, or downright trashing, greats of today.
That’s what is taking place with the
Lakers, as Shaquille O’Neal spoke his mind about Dwight Howard again -- and Howard again defended himself.
Of course, this is all being blown out of proportion a little, as all O’Neal really said was he feels Andrew Bynum and Brook Lopez are more traditional centers than Howard. Note that O’Neal didn’t say “better.” He just said “more traditional.”
Either way, it wasn't meant as a compliment, resulting in a harsh retort from Howard.
"I don’t care what Shaq says,” Howard told L.A. reporters Thursday. “Shaq played the game; he’s done. He’s done. It’s time to move on. He hated the fact that when he played, the older guys were talking about him and how he played. And now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go.”
As everyone knows, O’Neal manned the middle for the Lakers during their three straight championship runs a decade ago. He often referred to himself as “the CEO” of those teams -- which, of course, led to the clashes with Kobe Bryant.
Now, Howard is the Lakers’ big man with the big name (and big game), and a big reason they’re expected to compete for another title, maybe even to win it.
“There’s no sense for him to be talking trash to me,” Howard said. “He did his thing in the league. He was one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. Sit back and relax. You did yours. Your time is up. So I don’t really care. He can say whatever he wants to say.”
This isn’t O’Neal’s first jab at Howard. When O’Neal played for the Cavaliers, he told reporters he’s the “real Superman,” in reference to Howard’s occasional imitations of the comic book superhero. O’Neal then went out and played perhaps his best game with Cleveland.
When Howard was traded to the Lakers in August, O’Neal analyzed the situation this way: “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.”
Shaq is probably right. Howard needs to win, and a lot. Otherwise, the experiment will have failed. That’s just the way it goes with the Lakers. They expect championships.
But that doesn’t mean O'Neal has to keep bringing it up. Just sit back and relax, Shaq. You did yours, and we respect that. But nobody has to hate Howard to love you.
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