Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear Shaq,

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An open letter to former Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, in lieu of these comments he made to the Boston Globe:

I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys," said
O'Neal yesterday. "We have professionals who know what to do. No one is
me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a

Dear Shaq,

I say this with all due respect. Please shut the fuck up.
When you left LA and came to Miami, I chalked up your churlishness to them wronging you, to the situation with Kobe, to them not giving you your exhorbitant extension and thereby disrespecting what you did for them. You came here, and were a model citizen for the first season. You finished 2nd in MVP voting, then ragged on the winner, remember him? Your current teammate Steve Nash.

I kept my mouth shut and still cheered for you even when you disrespected Stan Van Gundy and weakened his position in the locker room and made it so uncomfortable for him that it strained his marriage (reportedly) and forced him to resign from a team he led to the playoffs his first two years, and was a Dwyane Wade rib injury away from going to the Finals.

I was shocked the Heat gave you a 5 year contract for $100 million, even as you played it off as taking a hometown discount. I mean you were obviously on the decline, but that money was also for services rendered, you brought relevancy to Miami, no one can deny that

I didn't complain when your numbers were abysmal in the Finals because Wade bailed your increasingly broken body out time and time again. You were The Big Decoy in that series and I made rationalizations why you scored less than half of your career scoring average and were 3rd on the team in scoring behind Antoine Frigging Walker.

It was obvious that your theory of turning it on when it matters poisoned the Heat locker room. Not that you were the sole reason, but the Heat became incredibly satiated after winning the ring, and the blowout loss to the opening game against the Bulls set the tone for the entire 2007 season.

When the going got tough, you got complaining. Ouch my hip. Oh, my knees. You stopped trying for rebounds. You were unable to finish around the basket. When Wade was playing hurt, you were mailing it in. For $20 million a year.

So what did the Heat do for you? Merely send your ass to the team who at the time had the best record in the West. Did Riley or Wade or anyone else air dirty laundry on you? Did anyone explicitly say what the fans suspected? That you didn't care? That your injuries weren't severe enough to impair you as much as you acted (and were proven true, since you suddenly became healthy and spry in Phoenix?) NO. They were classy. They wished you well. They said all the right things.

Even now, weeks later, when your team is on a roll, when the Heat is down to playing D-League fodder and yes, Chris Quinn & Ricky Davis, no one was blaming you for this abomination of a year. It was out of sight, out of mind. The papers and sports talk stations never mentioned you. So why did you feel the need to come out and throw former teammates under the bus? Why did you go out of your way to insult Pat Riley who kissed your ass so much he needs chapstick and who walked on eggshells so not to upset your delicate ego and surprisingly fragile self image? The Heat KNOW they made a Faustian deal to win the 2006 title -- they sold their soul to the devil to get that ring -- in the $100 million in guaranteed money they knew you would deserve less and less as the years went on, in having to massage your ego even at the expense of subverting Wade's true status as leader of the team, they put a phony face on to their fans who they made buy 3 year guarantees for season tickets.

If you played with the heart and hustle of Chris Quinn, you know, you're displaying almost as much for your NEW team as Quinn does for your old one, or if you played every game this season without complaint like Ricky Davis has, the Heat would not have traded you this season and they probably would not be a team contending for the #1 overall pick.

You're a superstar. More than a superstar, a legend. More than a legend, a bona fide international icon that transcends your sport. I don't say this lightly, but SHUT THE FUCK UP. As an ambassador to the world, you have NO RIGHT throwing any players under the bus. Were you wrong in your assessment of the team's plight or construction, no. But you ARE wrong to open your mouth about it.

Everyone loved the childlike joy you brought to the city. It seems you also brought the snide self centered point of view of a spoiled brat as well.

From a former fan and someone who held you with respect,



salqaddoumi said...

Excellent blog post, you summed up everything very well.

Anonymous said...

Bro, I couldn't agree with you more. I am ashamed at Shaq's behavior right now. It's truly a pathetic thing to see. That ungrateful son of a bitch really needs a lesson taught to him. A part of me could understand the situation in LA, but I was a witness to the goodness and class of the Miami Heat Organization. I mean honestly, who has bad things to say about Pat Freaking Riley!?!? Ugh...this guy really sickens me. He has some nerve... Anyways I hope Shaq ends his career on a bottom-dweller with a GM that doesn't give a shit about what he thinks anymore. That'll show him. Maybe finally give the big baby a real reason to complain.

P.S. - How dare he talk down towards the savior of this franchise (Chris Quinn)? Disgusting.


MrEvans said...

This was spot-on, but I think it's hilarious Shaq used to call 'Toine "Ruben Studdard" in practice.