Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Shaquille O'Neal never asked for help
If only Shaquille O'Neal approached Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and asked him for advice, Cap would have gladly provided it.
That's according to the response the league's all-time leading scorer posted on his Facebook page, after reading O'Neal's comments printed in his book suggesting Abdul-Jabbar seemed unhelpful to him during his 19-year NBA career.
Abdul-Jabbar says he went to Louisiana State and spent time with O'Neal to teach him the skyhook as a favor to Coach Dale Brown. But Brown later told Abdul-Jabbar that O'Neal's father had instructed his son to concentrate on powering his way to the basket.
"As a pro I never approached Shaq because I thought he was pretty successful dunking everything and I assumed he didn't want my help," Abdul-Jabbar said. "Additionally, I was never on the coaching staff of any of his teams. I was never unfriendly to him and I would talk to him, but Shaq was enjoying his success, doing it his way. He never asked me of what I thought he should be doing and he never tried to reach out to me for any instruction and I respected that decision."
In passages of "Shaq Uncut: My Story," it's very clear O'Neal didn't want to approach Abdul-Jabbar right away for advice because he didn't want to appear to be a kiss-up. Instead, O'Neal said he tried to earn the respect of several elite centers by filming a Reebok commercial with Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Bill Walton and ensuring that they received "a nice paycheck." But O'Neal avoided pressing the issue with Abdul-Jabbar, who he contended was barely interested in making small talk during their encounters.
"If I had any idea that Shaq wanted to learn from me, I would have been happy to have worked with him, but all indications that I had received was that he felt he was doing fine and he didn't need or want my help," Abdul-Jabbar said. "I am totally surprised by Shaq's comments as I tried to respect his privacy and never got any indication from anyone that he wanted or needed any input from me with regard to how he played the game. Shaq had a great career, and I, like everyone else, respect what he has achieved."
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared taken aback about Shaquille O'Neal suggesting Cap never reached out to him to offer help. Credit: Carol Francavilla / Associated Press