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Top 5 Shaq moments as a Laker

1. Lakers' three-peat. Regardless of whether some believe Shaquille O'Neal's eight-year tenure with the Lakers could've gone better had his relationship with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and Jerry Buss didn't sour, he didn't always report to training camp out of shape and demanded Buss to "pay me" during a preseason game, the Lakers' owner rightfully released a statement thanking O'Neal for his contributions to the Lakers after he announced his retirement Wednesday. He played a significantly large part in the Lakers' three peat from 2000-2002, averaging 35.9 points, 15.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks during the Lakers' Final victories over the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets. The top moments during that run includes his legendary dunk off Bryant's alley oop lob in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers and his near quadruple-double in Game 2 of the 2001 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers  

2. Shaq signs with the Lakers. In a move that former Lakers General Manager Jerry West compared to the birth of his children, O'Neal signed with the Lakers as a free agent to a seven-year, $120  million deal. Although it would take three seasons filled with early playoff exits before returning to the championship, O'Neal instantly breathed new life into the franchise after it lacked much of a star-power identity following the Showtime Era. The Lakers' ability to grab O'Neal from Orlando speaks to West's skill as an executive.

The Lakers dumped three players to make enough room under the salary cap. West shipped Vlade Divac to Charlotte for the rights to the team's 13th pick, which resulted in grabbing an 18-year-old named Kobe Bryant, and sent Anthony Peeler and George Lynch to clear up space. As with anything regarding West, the process wasn't an enjoyable one for him because of continuous unfounded speculation that the Lakers tampered with O'Neal.

"I couldn't sleep, continued to lose weight, which was probably the best thing about it, but emotionally I was spent," West told The Times' Scott Howard-Cooper. "There were times, even after it was over with that I just didn't think I had this in me any more. But getting away from it, and with so many very, very encouraging letters from fans and people that makes you feel better about yourself. You're appreciative of those things. That somewhat has, I think, put that to rest, for a while anyway."

Meanwhile, O'Neal addressed criticism that he was just chasing dollar signs.

"I'm tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money," O'Neal told reporters before following up with a tongue-in-cheek barb. "I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok."

3. Taking digs at Sacramento.

He had already nicknamed the Sacramento Kings the Queens, so there was no reason O'Neal wouldn't take a shot at them again, after the Western Conference rivals had slugged it out to a seven-game West finals that featured Robert Horry's buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 4. Said Shaq: "Sacramento will never be the capital of California. Los Angeles is the new capital of California." I couldn't find his speech on YouTube, but here's a reasonable alternative. Shaq raps to the theme song from "Cheers" on why then-Kings center and former Laker Vlade Divac isn't a big deal.

4. Shaq curses on live television. Upset over the officiating of a regular-season game against Toronto on Super Bowl Sunday in 2004, O'Neal didn't mince words in a post-game interview with Lakers' sideline reporter John Ireland.

O'Neal: David Stern wonders why the league is losing money, that's why. People pay good money to watch over these athletes player and [the referees] try to take over the ... game.

Ireland: We're on live

O'Neal: I don't give a ...

5. Endlessly memorable quotes. This website proves to be a very good resource and there's no use regurgitating them. 

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (11)

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Hey we're going to chat a chat around 3:30

Regarding the debate about retiring Shaq's jersey I have a very good compromise solution.

Shaq's jersey to be retired but only after two conditions have been met:

1) Shaq be inducted into HOF

2) Kobe's jersey be retired before his

Voila, everybody should be happy! LOL!

@BAY TO LA. You raised a good point that it is likely that Pau Gasol will become more of a finesse player as he gets older and teams and defenders get more and more physical with him. To me, Pau’s aggressiveness is a double-sided sword, which is why I continually waffle about trading him.
...
On the one hand, every team needs guys who play team basketball and are just as willing to pass the rock as shoot it. Players like Pau and Lamar are critical fits on a team with more alpha players like Kobe and Drew. On the other hand, the Lakers need a #2 scorer that they can count on when Kobe is off. Pau was to be that guy. The combo of Kobe and Pau or Drew and Pau have been able to work because Pau is not the kind of player to demand the ball. Were he, inevitable conflicts would occur.
...
Long term, the Lakers would be better off trading Pau for a point guard who could eventually join with Drew to lead the Lakers in the post-Kobe era. Chris Paul or Deron Williams would be perfect to fulfill that role. I especially like the idea of Pau and Blake for CP3 and Trevor Ariza. The move would dramatically change the speed and quickness of the Lakers starting unit. Kobe, Chris, Trevor, Lamar, and Drew would be a dynamite starting five-some.
.............................................
TOM


I think Pau's decision to play this summer is a good one. Keep in mind that the championship starts at the end of August, so Pau will be rested enough this summer to mentally and physically recharge. Pau obviously has lots of motivation and I expect him to be more aggressive. I don't think he'll ever be a physical force, but he improved after the 08 loss to Boston in not shying away from absorbing contact and being aggressive. Muscling up might not hurt, but the biggest need for Pau to improve involves his mental toughness. His frustration really distracted him and made him more passive. If Pau sharpens that with Spain this offseason, I expect he'll benefit from playing overseas much like Lamar did with Team USA in the FIBA games last summer.

Amazing article! He's the most dominant big man since Wilt.

Did anyone see the story on the Laker's pick-up game?

http://milkthebull.com/2011/05/09/lakers-self-destruct-in-pick-up-game/

Oh man, that's the first time I've heard Shaq's ode to Vlade. PRICELESS!

Shaq is probably the most entertaining and funny players to ever play in the NBA. We'll all miss him.

My favorite Shaq moment was the John Ireland interview where Shaq just let loose. I loved it because I remember being so frustrated after that game. He made me laugh and the sting of the defeat was lessened quite a bit.

This was another great one(his dancoff with LeBron and Howard):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9LmHXXWiJs&feature=related

Gather round people, we need to have a heart to heart.

I sincerely hope that long time Laker fans are 100% ready to welcome Shaq back into the fold. He deserves to not only have a jersey on the wall, but a place in LA fans' hearts-- and an eventual statue somewhere beside Kareem's on Laker ave.

The guy did far more good in LA than bad and I don't care how stupid the Kobe/Buss/Shaq fued got, none it amounts to a mole hill beside that huge, 3 ring mountain that Shaq built in downtown LA.

Welcome back....welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

Wes

My favorite Shaq moment was when every time he dunked the ball or got an alley-oop pass, he would smash the ball in the net and then run back, hold out his freakishly huge Palm and start to stare at it in amuzement!

also, his parade antics and rap's about Sactown

oh yeah can't forget the name he gave them " Sacramento Queens " I use that till this day lol

Thank you Shaq Diesel for giving 3 to LA!!
no matter how much people will say they hate you, they will always have a place for you in Laker Land,

hope this retirement sticks or maybe you'r like Brett Favre who know's, this is not the first time!

Bay to LA – I would be very surprised if DFish caused any problems for the coach. Of course, he won’t be happy going to the bench, but he’ll accept it.

@LT – Thanks for posting the list of PG available. Maybe we can get some people here that follow college bball to let us know if they’re familiar with any on the list. Since I'm in Big 10 country here's my take on the guys I saw from the list.

Demetri McCamey (Illinois) – Good NBA body/powerful built like DWill. Good playmaker, above average shooter. Also good defender. Below average quickness/athleticism.

Kalin Lucas (MSU) – Extremely quick, good scorer with left/right layups and floaters. Very good in up-tempo and likes to take big shots. Average but willing defender. Only 5-11 so size is a concern. Plus he doesn’t think pass first and his outside shot is iffy. Was recovering from Achilles injury last season so he should be fully recovered now.

Taylor Battle (Penn State) – Lights out shooter with deep range. Clutch player. Decent ball handler. Below average defender and athleticism. Size is a concern only 5-11.

I like Isaiah Thomas. Although I only saw him play a few times so I’m sure some of you Pac-10 guys can give more info on him. But from what I saw he has the quickness and athleticism that the Lakers need.

I think Shaq is retired for good. He wanted to play longer but his Achilles wouldn't let him. But he's not going to be able to stay out of the limelight. He'll be doing something even if it's just filming Kazaam 2

Also we have a chat up. Everyone join in!


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