Shaquille O'Neal Backs Off His Controversial Claims, Disappointingly

Oh Shaq why did you say that?

Normally one never to fray away from the controversy, from confrontation and from justification, Shaq shamelessly sold himself out on ESPN during an interview with long time friend and sparring partner Stephen A Smith.

Shaq’s new book promises to be one of the highest selling sportsman autobiographies in American history, mostly because it is basically a several hundred page tabloid magazine which gives an unedited look into the lives of some of America’s highest profile athletes.

A few excerpts have been leaked over the past month, most notably involving LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Shaq appeared on Sportscenter to respond to the claims he made in the book, and we were expecting another great Shaq moment.

“Even though we had media friction, if you look at another clip that you just showed, when I won my first championship, who jumped in my arms? The second championship, who was on stage laughing at me and Mark Madsen? In the third championship, who hung out and partied together? … We haven’t played together in 10 years, you guys are still talking about it. Twenty years from now, you guys are still going to be talking.

I left because I was traded. Being the businessman, they offered me money, and I thought I deserved more. Being the type of player I was, I knew there was always going to be other teams that wanted me. I made the business decision. I went to Miami, had a great time, and then, toward the end of my career, I went to two or three other teams. But it’s all business, Stephen. Nothing personal.”

That was obviously in response to the claims he has made against Bryant both in the book and ever since their ugly separation nearly 10 years ago. He then continued to decrease book sales as the conversation moved into the subject of LeBron James.

“Basically I was just saying that Delonte was a no-nonsense type of guy. He felt at that time that Mke Brown should be talking to everybody the same way, and everybody has different styles on what they do.”

Shaq seems to have been neutered since he retired.

I guess Bob Barker finally got to him.

Whilst the line about Delonte West is more than likely true, considering he left for Boston not long after their 2009 playoffs failure, it’s really surprising to see Shaq on the defensive like this.

If he truly felt that way about Bryant why would he have made all those blatantly obvious comments, constantly been a contributor to the friction between the two each time they meet and sung all those god awful rap songs dissing Bryant. All the nonsensical drama that has come out of his mouth since he was infamously kicked out of the Lakers at the hands of Bryant and the management, and he tries to cover it up saying it was merely a contract disagreement.

Give us a little more respect, and where has the real Shaq gone?

Perhaps he was worried about making such statements on the international spectre that is Sportscenter, especially considering he is a member of TNT’s NBA crew now. But you still wouldn’t think that would have been enough to muzzle the man of a million (mostly self proclaimed) nicknames.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Shaq. He is one of the most entertaining, dominating and real sportsman out there. But the responses he offered to statements he made were anything but the three superlatives I just labelled him with.

I think it’s fair to say this interview has cost him a fair few book sales.

Tags: Basketball Cleveland Cavaliers ESPN Kobe Bryant LA Lakers Lebron James Los Angeles Lakers Mark Madsen Miami Heat NBA Shaq Shaquille O'neal Sportscenter Stephen A Smith

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