Former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal recently finished an autobiography that he worked on with ESPN.com columnist Jackie MacMullan titled Shaq Uncut: My Story.
In the book O’Neal talks about everything from his college days at LSU to his retirement from the NBA, and everything in between. According to Deadspin, who got an advanced copy of the book, O’Neal takes several shots at former teammate and current Laker guard Kobe Bryant.
So I’m on edge because I don’t have 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. Just before the start of the ’03-’04 season the coach staff called us in and said, “No more public sparring or you’ll get fined.” … Phil was tired of it. 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.”
That wasn’t it from Shaq, who went on to take several more shots at Bryant. Once again, thanks to Deadspin for the quote.
He was so young and so immature in some ways, but I can tell you this: everything Kobe is doing now, he told me all the way back then he was going to do it. We were sitting on the bus once and he told me, “I’m going to be the number one scorer for the Lakers, I’m going to win five or six championships, and I’m going to be the best player in the game.” I was like, “Okay, whatever.” Then he looked me right in the eye and said, “I’m going to be the Will Smith of the NBA.”
My first Lakers season we had a couple of rookies, and we hazed them pretty badly. We were dogging them out constantly. It was “Go get my bags, go get me something to eat.” It was kind of a rite of passage in the NBA that a lot of teams do, but we probably went a little too far with it. One of the rookies—Derek Fisher—just took it. The other rookie—Kobe Bryant—ratted us out to Jerry West.
Needless to say this will be a very interesting read. Shaq Uncut: My Story is available for pre-order via Amazon.