A new Shaquille O'Neal autobiography delves into the former NBA star's relationship with Kobe Bryant and Pat Riley, according to excerpts posted by Deadspin.
The book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, is written with Boston Globe columnist Jackie McMullen and details O'Neal's playing days in the NBA. O'Neal teamed up with Bryant for three NBA titles, but a feud between the two was rumored to be one of the reasons O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.
In his book, O'Neal says that Bryant's Colorado rape allegations were part of the reason the team failed to win a championship in his last seasons with the Lakers.
An excerpt from Deadspin:
So I'm on edge because I don't have a new deal, and Kobe is on edge because he might be going to jail, so we're taking it out on each other. Just before the start of the '03-'04 season the coaching staff called us in and said, No more public sparring or you'll get fined. ... Phil was tired of it. Karl Malone and Gary Payton were sick of it. ... So what happens? Immediately after that Kobe runs right out to Jim Gray and does this interview where he lets me have it. He said I was fat and out of shape. He said I was milking my toe injury for more time off, and the injury wasn't even that serious. (Yeah, right. It only ended my damn career.) He said I was lobbying for a contract extension when we have two Hall of Famers playing pretty much for free. I'm sitting there watching this interview and I'm gonna explode. Hours earlier we had just promised our coach we'd stop. It was a truce broken. I let the guys know, I'm going to kill him.
O'Neal was traded to the Heat where he teamed up with Dwyane Wade to win a championship in 2006. But while with the Heat, O'Neal's toe issues continue to plague him, as well as issues with coach Pat Riley. When O'Neal saw his production dip considerably in the 2008 season, it led to a major fight with Riley and eventually getting traded to the Phoenix Suns.
My ticket out of Miami was punched in mid-February 2008. There was a lot of tension between Pat and the players. So we're about to start practice and Jason Williams comes in about ten seconds late. Pat being Pat, he starts swearing at him and screaming, Get the hell out of here!...
I tell Pat we're a team and we need to stick together, not throw guys out of the gym. Pat is screaming at me and says if I don't like it, then I should get the hell out of practice, too.
That's when I said, Why don't you make me?
I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then Zo tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll. Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. Noisy, too. He's yelling F--- you! and I'm yelling back, No, f--- you!
Zo is trying to calm us both down and he has this kind of singsong panic in his voice. He keeps saying, Big fella, no big fella, big fella! I finally turn around and tell him, Don't worry, I'm not going to hit the man. Do you think I'm crazy?
O'Neal spent this past season with the Boston Celtics before deciding to retire this summer in June. O'Neal was plagued by injuries all season with the Celtics, which led to his decision to retire.
O'Neal addresses his future in his book writing that Adam Sandler has contacted him about being in some of his upcoming movies.