Shaquille O'Neal Interview
Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal spoke with
the media a few days before the 2004 NBA All-Star game, which is taking place
in Los Angeles. Shaq is coming off the bench for the Western All-Stars. Yao Ming
was voted by fans to start, ahead of him.
Q: Another crazy week in Lakerland. Whatís your take regarding Kobe and Phil Jackson?
Shaq: I really havenít been paying much attention. I know that this is sport first and a business second, and people have to do whatís right for them. There are a lot of guys with a lot of different feelings -- if they want to stay or if they want to leave. Iím sure everyone, at the end or their retirement, are gonna do whatís right for them.
Q: Has this been your most frustrating season, with so much hope in the beginning?
Shaq: I wouldnít really call it frustrating. I kind of expected it a little bit. And when you expect it, you know how to prepare for it. When we lost a couple of games, the reason we were losing had nothing to do with what you guys were writing. So I just donít pay any attention to it. Itís kind of fun, itís a kind of marketing. Because if you talk about us negatively or positively, youíre still talking about us. So thatís a form of marketing.
Q: Did you foresee this (All-Star) as a kind of a break, and now instead youíre going through a lot of what youíve been going through during the season?
Shaq: Everything happens for a reason. Iím used to it, I prepare for it. Like I say, at the end of the day, those in charge of their own destiny are going to do whatís right for them and their family.
Q: You said, like Michael, that you didnít want to play for another coach. Do you still hold to that?
Shaq: I said that, thatís what I said, and my statement still stands.
Q: Do you see Yao Ming as replacing you as the most dominant center in the game?
Shaq: Most dominant? No. Probably one of the greatest? Yeah. Most dominant is a term that, to me, itís all about banging, itís all about how you play and all about getting them to change the rules. Iíve been here 10 years and Iíve made them change the rules two times. Yaoís a great player, heís a great sport. Being dominant is being mean, throwing elbows, talking trash, cursing and all that attitude (laughs). Will he be one of the greatest in terms of playing the game? Definitely.