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Category: Shaquille O'Neal

Is Kobe Bryant the greatest Laker of all time? [Poll]

Kobe Bryant

When Kobe Bryant surpassed Shaquille O'Neal as the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history, O'Neal responded via Twitter: "Congrats to Kobe for being the greatest laker ever."

It's an interesting assessment, considering three of the four players still ahead of Bryant on the scoring list (No. 4 Wilt Chamberlain, No. 2 Karl Malone and No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) are former Lakers.

But as far as points scored as a member of the Lakers, Bryant is at the top of the list with 28,601. And considering he probably will spend his entire career in purple and gold, chances are pretty good he will end up being the all-time leader in many other categories as well.

Of course, there are some other local legends to consider. When The Times conducted an online survey about the greatest Lakers of all time in 2010, Bryant finished fourth behind Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Abdul-Jabbar. The rest of the top 10 was rounded out by Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, Chick Hearn, Chamberlain, O'Neal and Jerry Buss.

Bryant is one of seven players to have won five NBA championships with the Lakers. Abdul-Jabbar won a sixth with the Milwaukee Bucks and Robert Horry won a total of seven, but only three as a member of the Lakers.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss Shaq's comments about Bryant being the greatest Laker ever. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

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Shaquille O'Neal performs Temptations classic in TNT's NBA promo

Only Shaquille O'Neal can pull off lip-sync the Temptations hit "Get Ready," bust a few dance moves and look good doing it.

The Big Fella is entertaining after all, so it shouldn't be surprising he pulled that stunt off in TNT's promotional ad for the 2011-2012 NBA season. But it just makes me wonder why he couldn't squeeze in a performance on "Dancing With the Stars" instead of Lakers forward Metta World Peace.

RELATED:

Shaquille O'Neal says Kobe Bryant among greatest ever

Shaquille O'Neal says he admires Kobe Bryant's work ethic

Shaquille O'Neal's book blames exit from Lakers on Mitch Kupchak

— Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Shaquille O'Neal says Kobe Bryant among greatest ever [Video]

 

Shaquille O'Neal isn't called the Big Aristotle for nothing. 

After all, it is a wise man who can forgive and forget.

Even though Kobe Bryant said O'Neal was fat and out of shape during their playing days with the Lakers, O'Neal was quick to praise his former foe at a book signing Tuesday evening at a Barnes & Noble store in Santa Monica for his new autobiography, "Shaq Uncut."

"He's by far the best Laker," O'Neal said of Bryant.

Is he the greatest NBA player of all time?

"He's up there," he added.

As for O'Neal's legacy, the big man thinks of himself on a completely different scale.

"I just like to make people laugh and have a good time," he said.

That's for sure.

In between signing books and posing for photographs, O'Neal found the time to tell a "yo' mama" joke to ESNews' Elie Seckbach.

"Your mother is so dumb, she thought Taco Bell was a Mexican phone company," O'Neal said while surrounded by journalists.

O'Neal made it clear that he has a huge amount of respect for Bryant, but that doesn't mean No. 24 is his favorite player. Another superstar seems to have stolen his heart -- a man named Blake Griffin.

He apparently has even given the Clippers forward a nickname: Earthquake.

Why earthquake?

Don't question the ways of the Big Aristotle.

He can't be stopped. Seriously. Remember Hack-a-Shaq, when 6-foot-(insert very large number) men would be flung around like flies while trying to thwart the 7-foot-1, 325-pound O'Neal? I take that back. Apparently one man could stunt the beast --and it's probably not who you think. Mark Madsen.

"He used to beat me up in practice," O'Neal said.

But O'Neal has moved on from all of that. He's retired. As for which nickname best suits O'Neal at this stage in his life -- and there are so many to choose from (Wilt Chamberneezy, the Hobo Master, Shaqtus, etc.) -- O'Neal said each of those may soon be obsolete.

"Once I graduate from receiving my Ph.D, I'll only answer to Doctor O'Neal," he said.

-- Melissa Rohlin

Shaquille O'Neal calls Kobe Bryant 'greatest Laker of all time'

Here's one area of disagreement between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant that won't further fuel the divide between them: debating who deserves to be named the all-time greatest Laker.

Bryant has long insisted that Jerry West holds that honor for his role as both a player and a general manager. But O'Neal counters that the recognition should go to Bryant himself. 

"Based on what he's done, he's probably the greatest Laker of all time,'" O'Neal said of Bryant on KTLA Monday to promote his book, "Shaq Uncut." "If he gets another championship, he'll tie with Kareem. That will put him up there."

Over the years, Shaq may have questioned Bryant's shot selection and taken digs at his personality, and the two sometimes have behaved too much like children. But even if Shaq's book details some of their well-documented spats, the Big Fella has never wavered in his admiration for Bryant's talent and work ethic.

"It's a different kind of great," O'Neal said of Bryant, who has five NBA titles and remains in sixth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list (27,868). "He had the skills to be an all-around player. I'm just a big man so I just do big-man stuff. I'm just in the big-man category."

RELATED:

Kobe Bryant considers Jerry West the greatest all-time Laker

Shaquille O'Neal says he admires Kobe Bryant's work ethic

Shaquille O'Neal's book blames exit from Lakers on Mitch Kupchak

— Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Shaquille O'Neal says he admires Kobe Bryant's work ethic

In his book, Shaquille O'Nealmakes it clear that he never doubted Kobe Bryant's abilities
Shaquille O'Neal may still feel animosity toward Kobe Bryant for not passing the ball to him, questioning his work ethic and exposing his infidelities to law enforcement. He may take digs at Bryant's introverted nature or -- as detailed in his book, "Shaq Uncut" -- the Lakers star's "freestyle" rhymes on the team bus that sounded well-rehearsed. 

But throughout the 281-page book, co-written by Jackie MacMullan, O'Neal also makes it clear that he never doubted Bryant's abilities or overlooked the work ethic that defined a storied 15-year NBA career. 

"Even with all the back-and-forth crap between us, we understood we needed each other to win," O'Neal wrote. "Go back and look at any criticism I ever had of Kobe. Never once did I say the kid couldn't play. It was never about that."

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Shaquille O'Neal believes Phil Jackson will coach the Knicks

Shaquille O'Neal

Just when it appeared Phil Jackson would fully enjoy his Montana lakeside home, there's at least one person who believes his retirement will prove to be short-lived.

Shaquille O'Neal believes Jackson will coach again in the NBA, specifically to replace New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.

"He may come back," O’Neal said to a handful of New York writers of Jackson, a member of the Knicks’ 1970 and 73 teams. "Phil says he’s never coming back but he changed my NBA career. His focus and the way he did things and the way he taught us how to do things, he did it on a cool, calm respectable level. Then I went to Miami and we had problems with all the [yelling]. I’m like, ‘We just won three out of four with this guy [Jackson] so why would I do it this way?’ That’s why we had problems."

Of course, everyone always takes what Shaq says with a grain of salt these days. After all, there's plenty of excerpts in his new book, "Shaq Uncut," that paint a one-sided and often incomplete portrayal of various events. Lakers Executive Vice President Jeanie Buss, Jackson's longtime companion, has always said the Zen Master finds the Knicks job intriguing because it would bring his playing and coaching career full circle. There have also been numerous instances in which Jackson believed he was through teaching his Zen philosophy, such as when the Chicago Bulls captured their sixth NBA title and when he was let go from the Lakers in 2004. 

But in fairness to Jackson, he long maintained throughout the 2010-2011 season that he no longer has any interest in coaching. Despite his insatiable competitiveness, Jackson's has long professed he doesn't want to remain bogged down in the game. He lamented the grinding travel schedule. He pointed to his numerous health concerns, including a surgically repaired hip and wobbly knees.  He even considered leaving after the Lakers' 2010 title run until insistence from the Lakers' front office, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher convinced him otherwise.

But as we've learned from Jackson throughout his storied coaching career, it's pretty hard to predict the Zen Master's next move. Unless, of course, you're Shaquille O'Neal.

RELATED:

Is this really Phil Jackson's last season?

Phil Jackson downplays sentiments regarding retirement

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Former Lakers Center Shaquille O'Neal and Coach Phil Jackson prepare for the start of Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs in 2002, when the two would lead the team to its third consecutive NBA title and Jackson's third three-peat. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Shaquille O'Neal never asked for help

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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."

RELATED:

Shaquille O'Neal wishes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a better mentor

Shaquille O'Neal still admires Jerry West and Phil Jackson

Shaquille O'Neal's book blames exit from Lakers on Mitch Kupchak

-- Mark Medina

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

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

Shaquille O'Neal wishes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a better mentor

It turns out Andrew Bynum has already accomplished something that Shaquille O'Neal never will.

The current Lakers center received personal instruction from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, while the former Lakers center wishes he could have benefited from such teaching. Although he notes in his book that LSU Coach Dale Brown once brought Abdul-Jabbar onto campus to teach O'Neal the sky hook, the Big Fella believes Cap didn't offer much support as a pro.

"Kareem was never around," O'Neal wrote in "Shaq Uncut: My Story," co-written by Jackie MacMullan. "And, whenever I did see him, he usually ignored me. The disappointing thing to me was, being in LA all those years and trying to fill those shoes, I would have liked to have a conversation with him."

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Shaquille O'Neal still admires Jerry West and Phil Jackson

Shaquille O'Neal and Phil Jackson prepare for the start of Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs in 2002.

The initial excerpts suggest otherwise, but don't think Shaquille O'Neal's book solely casts blame toward everyone but himself. 

O'Neal reopened old wounds detailing his clashes with Kobe Bryant. He criticized the Lakers' decision to pass over Brian Shaw as the head coach. O'Neal wrongfully pinpointed Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak behind trading him to Miami. But Shaq's 281-page book titled "Shaq Uncut: My Story," co-written by Jackie MacMullan, slated for a Nov. 15 release, highly praises both former Coach Phil Jackson and former General Manager Jerry West. 

Jackson and West differ on what mainly constitutes a championship team, with Jackson touting his triangle offense and Zen-like principles and West arguing talent supersedes everything. They may not have a good relationship, as West indicated in his autobiography when he told of Jackson's kicking him out of the locker room. Shaq conceded as much when he alluded to their relationship problems as a "power thing." Nonetheless, Shaq loved both West and Jackson because they showed him respect while holding him accountable, but in different ways. 

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Shaquille O'Neal's book blames exit from Lakers on Mitch Kupchak

Shaquille O'Neal

The name-calling continues. 

Most of the excerpts surrounding Shaquille O'Neal's book focused on his clashing with Kobe Bryant. It followed with brutally honest remarks about LeBron James' playoff struggles and belittling comments about Dwight Howard. O'Neal reserves the harshest criticism, however, for Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

O'Neal speaks of Kupchak in only six pages of the 281-page "Shaq Uncut: My Story," co-written by Jackie MacMullan, slated for a Nov. 15 release. But that's enough prose to label Kupchak as the main culprit behind Shaq's hasty departure from the Lakers.

According to the book, Kupchak promised to grant Shaq a contract extension following the 2003-04 season and not to discuss their contract negotiations publicly. Once the 2003-04 season ended, however, O'Neal was disturbed by an apparent interview in which Kupchak revealed the Lakers' plan to hold onto Bryant while keeping their options open with O'Neal.

"That was it. That was the end of me in a Lakers uniform. Mitch broke our agreement. How could I trust him again?" Shaq writes in the book. "For months, I kept waiting for Mitch to come to me and say, 'Shaq, you're getting older, we need some new players. Mr. Buss doesn't want to pay you and Kobe doesn't want you here.' But that conversation never happened. So that was when I demanded a trade. I couldn't trust Mitch anymore and it was clear Kobe was now the one with all the power."

That sounds both simplistic and inaccurate. O'Neal's trade to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a first-round draft pick wasn't the result of just one interview by Kupchak. O'Neal's clashes with Bryant were inescapable. Phil Jackson, whom Shaq writes about in a respectful tone in the book, was let go after the Lakers' 2004 NBA Finals loss to Detroit. And Shaq didn't exactly remain on Buss' good side. During an exhibition game in Honolulu, Shaq loudly yelled to Buss to "pay me." Skeptical of O'Neal's injury history, work ethic and $30-million-a-year asking price, Buss also remained reluctant to grant him an extension. 

Still, Shaq says, he no longer felt any support from the Lakers' front office once Kupchak succeeded Jerry West  after the 1999-2000 season.

"Once you deal with someone like Jerry West, you better come up with someone pretty special to keep my attention," O'Neal writes. "Unfortunately, Mitch wasn't that guy for me. We never got along. Mitch looked out for two people: himself and Jerry Buss. The rest of us were afterthoughts."

RELATED:

Shaquille O'Neal book details mistrust with Kobe Bryant

Shaq answers Kobe Bryant: 'I don’t need to work out'

— Mark Medina

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

Photo: Shaquille O'Neal writes that he never felt any support from Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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