Sports Outside the Beltway

Phil Jackson: Shaq Lazy, Wade Cheats

LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson reignited the Lakers-Heat feud by calling Shaquille O’Neal lazy and saying that Dwayne Wade gets away with cheating on his patented spin move.

Jackson, who once upon a time seemed to favor his star center over his star shooting guard, on Sunday called out O’Neal, saying he was “the only person I’ve ever had that hasn’t been a worker.”

Shaq, who is rarely at a loss for words, was asked about Jackson’s comments on Monday following Miami’s 101-85 win over O’Neal’s former team. “How can Benedict Arnold be reliable in what he says?” the Big Aristotle was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s edition of The Los Angeles Times. O’Neal declined to elaborate on his statement and, since he was in street clothes for the game, was not required to give a formal post-game interview.

O’Neal and Bryant had been feuding since O’Neal’s trade to Miami following the 2003-04 season. But last year the two superstars stated publicly that they had reconciled their differences.

Then came Jackson’s comments on Sunday.

“He’s the one guy that didn’t really like to work,” said the coach who boasts nine NBA championship rings. “I know Pat [Riley] got him working here in Miami. We had a hard time getting him to work. All the other players — Michael [Jordan], Scottie [Pippen], Dennis Rodman, all those guys that we had, Horace Grant, they’re all hard-working practice and personal work players.”

Of course, O’Neal was not the only player Jackson prodded. Speaking about Dwyane Wade, Shaq’s new partner in crime and last year’s NBA Finals MVP, Jackson said, “He travels on that spin move. He picks up that pivot foot … everybody knows it. Dwyane Wade can cover so much ground when he makes that move. As you know, he can go 20 feet with that spin move and get to the basket.”

It’s really quite bizarre. Shaq did carry the Lakers to three straight NBA championships under Jackson; one doesn’t do that without putting forth some reasonable amount of effort. Conversely, the Kobe-led Lakers have been abysmal without the big, lazy oaf.

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Actually the Kobe-led Lakers are 18-10 right now, which seems to me to be pretty good especially in the Western Conference (they’d be tied for first in the East).

But yeah, not sure what Phil’s trying to do bashing Shaq like that.

Posted by Ugh | December 26, 2006 | 04:29 pm | Permalink

He seems to be making an observation. Why is that bashing? Shaq is known to not work out in the summer and is usually out of shape by the start of the season.

Posted by Sean | December 27, 2006 | 04:53 pm | Permalink

Who gave Shaq the nickname “Big Aristotle?” He doesn’t look Greek, or would anyone mistake him for any kind of philosopher. What, “Kazam!” didn’t stick?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth | December 27, 2006 | 07:19 pm | Permalink

Phil’s just mad that Shaq won another championship without him, proving that Shaq doesn’t need him. I’m glad Shaq showed his worth.
Maybe the Lakers are just realizing what they gave up and what a dumb move it was, trading the most dominant player in the game. Kobe thought he could do it himself so let him try !

Posted by Jeremiah Keller | December 28, 2006 | 02:24 pm | Permalink

One has to the irony in Shaq getting pissed at being called fat and lazy by showing up 30 lbs lighter and in shape to prove he wasn’t fat and lazy with the Lakers?

In all honesty Shaq is on his way down and it will take a minor miracle for him to play 45 games this year. The Lakers were smart to get rid of him when he still had some value and not extend his contract for 30 million a year.

You may also want to note a similarity between the Heat and Lakers Championship, when time was winding down and the game was on the line, the ball wasn’t in Shaq’s hands. Super-star caliber players dominate when it matters most.

Posted by Mister Biggs | December 30, 2006 | 11:55 am | Permalink

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