Shaq Uncut: Tales of a former Laker

J.M. Poulard —  December 2, 2011

Stop me if you have heard this before: Shaquille O’Neal has always been entertaining. Whether it’s in his press conferences before or after games, or simply being interviewed by reporters, the man never minced words and always found ways to keep the mood light all the while providing good sound bytes.

And thus, when news broke that O’Neal would be releasing his book, titled Shaq Uncut, it only made sense that most people affiliated with basketball would have an interest in giving it a read.

The Diesel is his usual candid self in Shaq Uncut, relaying stories about how tough his father Sergeant Phillip Harrison was on him during his formative years. We also get to see a lighter and slightly more fragile side of O’Neal when he shares just how shaken up he was with the death of his grandmother while playing for the Orlando Magic.

Also, we are treated to Shaq the father; as he shares details about the personalities of his kids and how much he enjoys being a parent.

But where this book hits home with its readers is through the basketball anecdotes. Indeed, we get details on O’Neal’s high school basketball career as well as the decision making process that landed him in Baton Rouge on the campus of LSU to spend his collegiate career.

And as intriguing as Shaquille O’Neal’s career was, there are a few items in his book that would be of great interest to Lakers fans.

For years, Jerry West was known as Mr. Clutch and he was also the face of the franchise during his playing days as well as for a stretch when he was the Lakers’ general manager. And make no mistake, West was a terrific GM; especially in the eyes of O’Neal.

The future Hall of Fame center takes the time to explain his fallout with the Orlando Magic and how Jerry West essentially understood him and thus helped him decide to come to Los Angeles. In addition, the way Shaq tells it, other than his father, no one seemed to be harder on the big man than the Logo and that help mold him into not only a league MVP but also a three-time Finals MVP long before Phil Jackson had arrived in Los Angeles.

Given all the love and loyalty that the former three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP had for the GM at the time, it was only natural that his relationship with the Lakers would change once West left the franchise.

O’Neal goes on to explain that he never trusted Mitch Kupchak and although Shaq himself does not state it, it does make you wonder if the issues Kobe had with management in the summer of 2007 were a result of the same reservations that Shaq had vis-à-vis the new general manager.

Shaq also revisits his relationship with Kobe in the book and explains some of the twists and turns it faced during his time in Los Angeles. Things became truly bad during the 2003-04 season between them as both of their egos clashed head on.

Although the friction between both has never been a secret, the conflict resolution was intriguing to say the least. O’Neal shares with us an unavoidable meeting that both he and Kobe needed to have in order to restore some sort of order in their relationship as well as the Lakers family. Shaq goes on to cite how a former Lakers player put himself front and center between both he and Bryant to help them patch things up.

The ability to confront such issues head on led to Shaq thinking that this former player would become the next Lakers coach (for the upcoming season), but instead the organization chose Mike Brown; a candidate that O’Neal agreed was good but that he had some reservations about given how certain issues were handled in Cleveland when Brown was the team’s head coach.

In Shaq’s eyes, Kobe Bryant will have the control of the team much like LeBron did in Cleveland. Mind you, the Diesel makes it quite clear that the Cavaliers did far too much to placate the Akron native and that the team suffered to some extent because of it.

But the most intriguing aspect of Shaq Uncut from my perspective is his amount of respect for Kobe. Indeed, the former league MVP may have dropped a few lines here and there with the intent of taking a few digs at Kobe, but it’s clear that O’Neal believes that Bryant is one of the all-time greats and then some.

O’Neal is quick to remind readers that he played with star players such as Penny Hardaway, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen; and yet none of them sound even half as good Kobe does in the book.

Shaquille O’Neal explains that Hardaway was soft and also gives some insights on what Wade, James and Nash are missing to truly make it to the next level while he intimates that Kobe is not only there but has been for quite some time.

Ultimately, I would encourage fans of the purple and gold to give Shaq Uncut a read because it gives some clarity on O’Neal’s career as well as his relationships with various NBA related people in each and every stop he has had during his playing days (Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Cleveland and Boston).

Shaq provides details on how his relationship with Jerry Buss deteriorated but yet manages to still find a place in his heart for him and gives the impression that he truly appreciates the Lakers heritage as well as how his legacy is tied to it.

Shaq Uncut will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers, but that’s just it; when a family member shares intimate details about the family, it usually causes a stir but ultimately we accept it because it comes from a relative.

And make no mistake, Shaquille O’Neal is part of the Lakers family.

J.M. Poulard

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58 responses to Shaq Uncut: Tales of a former Laker

  1. All this talk about Shaq, the possible addition of Howard, coupled with that book that West put out had me thinking about the Lakers’ legacy of big men and their relationship with the fans.

    The decision to draft Drew, and now this hoped for trade for Howard, are all a function of how our franchise has approached the game. From Mikan, to Wilt, to Kareem, to Shaq (and then whatever happens from here) our winning has been anchored by one of his era’s best pivot men (often the best of them). Dwight would only further reinforce this Lakers dictum, “Thou shall win Big”. Interestingly, each of those big men, with all the awesome power, size and skill have grown relatively smaller as time has passed, while their significant other, always a guard, has become the focus of fan adoration. With Wilt we got West, with Kareem there is Magic, with Shaq we hold tight to Kobe.

    We don’t know yet if we’ll be getting Howard, but we have Drew and Pau now. We know we are seeing the last couple of seasons of Kobe being able to consistently be the best player on the floor. No matter what happens, the Lakers will have to look to a Kobe-less future and if history is any indication, they will have to find a guard worthy of the big men we have, and capable of overshadowing him as time lends perspective to the coming era. That, as much as having a dominant big man, is the Lakers’ way.

  2. Speaking of dominant big men… We already have one… Read this Ding column…

    http://www.ocregister.com/sports/bynum-329621-lakers-body.html

  3. Aaron,
    You are correct. Even without Howard the Lakers have one of the best big men in the game. We have to remember, during the 60′s it was both Russell and Wilt dominating the big men – and we didn’t have Russell.

    Even if we don’t get Howard, we can continue the tradition. Incidentally, both West and Kobe were – strictly speaking – not designated PGs. Our next co-star may very well come from either 1-2-3 in the lineup.

  4. Love these posts by Mr. Poulard, keep them coming!

  5. I’ve never understood the criticisms about Bynum’s work ethic and love for the game. He’s put in non stop work and showed steady improvement his entire career.

    Yes, question his maturity, composure, lack of filter during interviews and in game decisions. But the kid has always worked hard and not gone off the deep end.

    Name any other young player in his circumstances who have continued to put in that much work and improvement while not being an off court mess?

  6. I’m really liking Darius Morris. Granted this video shows him posting up scrubs and lifting, like his attitude. Here’s to hoping we found a diamond in the rough.

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2011/12/los-angeles-lakers-darius-morris.html

  7. 6)
    Granted I don’t watch college basketball, but getting a solid rotation player in the second round is a 1 in 50 type of thing. So you’re spot on… He would be a diomand in the rough.

  8. Aaron, we need some diamonds in the rough big time!

  9. DY,
    Ha.. Well…we definatley need more than that at PG. We need a below average NBA starting PG whos strengths are defense and spot up shooting to be the favorites this season. Another guy who is a RFA who would fit the bill is Jamall Crawford. He is a 6-5 combo guard who when he does get to defend PGs really excels do to his length and quickness.

  10. If the work Bynum put in can keep his knees stable, I would far prefer keeping him then getting Howard, if only that I would rather have a big, strong, quick, and skilled center with a well rounded post game and some touch out to the FT line then all the great things Howard would bring- and that includes the corny goof-ball posturing. I don’t mind the bit of dirt that Bynum plays with, even if it does cost him 5 games to start the season. With Bynum it’ll always be about the knee.

  11. 10)
    I agree mostly but I don’t mind Dwight’s antics, I love them actually. I find him funny. But I am one of the few who think that Bynum if healthy is a slightly better player but mostly because he is a couple inches taller and much longer than Howard. I think that gives Bynum the very slight edge. I think Howards lack of an offensive game is overblown. I think the reason he sometimes struggles to dominate offensivley in the oaint is because he often goes against guys taller than him. However… If we had to give up Bynum for Howard (I would do everything to acquire Dwight and keep Bynum) I would do it in a second because of the injury history of both players.

  12. I like both Drew and Dwight, but would take D12 over Drew a hundred times out of a hundred. The athleticism and mobility he possesses at his size is astonishing. He has a tremendous impact on every game he plays in; Drew has such an impact once every ten games. Let’s not kid ourselves – Dwight is a certified superstar whereas Drew is just a talented starter.

    Re: post – I’ll be picking up both the Jerry West and the Shaq book. Looking forward to starting a Lakers hard copy book collection.

  13. 12)
    Drew when healthy is a beast every game as well. And you should follow Dwight closer… He is found wanting often. Some games he just doesn’t show up often by committing fouls intentionally when disinterested to take himself out. That being said as I wrote above I would swap the two in a heartbeat. And to call Bynum just a talented starter is a little silly. This is a guy who teams in the past were offering Jason Kidd, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony for his services.

  14. I read a few excerpts from the book and my impression was that Shaq was trying hard to stay relevant and was a bit overly defensive in his book – all signs that tells you things will be somewhat biased.

    Still, if the anecdotes are truthful, it’ll be worth a read… maybe i’ll get it for christmas…

  15. that’s always the catch with Bynum. If he plays up to his potential (a dominant Center who can Rival D Howard for years to come), then the Lakers are better off not trading for Howard. Not only because he can do things Howard can’t, but because we would get to keep Odom in the fold and keep our dynamic frontcourt. Huge “if”, though.

  16. i’d like to pair bynum *with* howard. howard is athletic and fleet of foot enough to defend 4s and anchor the defense in transition, which is an ability drew doesn’t have. at the same time, drew’s offensive polish will help offset dwight’s offensive limitations.

    i believe drew has enough range and touch to space the floor as well.

    defensively, they would terrorize the league.

  17. Shaq “always found ways to keep the mood light”?

    Not always, based on the accounts of many of his former teammates and journalists. Recall the old “Big Moody” nickname he’d acquired around Staples Center?

  18. When thinking about who we will keep, it is always instructive to think two years down the road – when the new CBA really kicks in.

    With Howard we will almost certainly lose Pau (Kobe + Howard make too much), but with Bynum we might be able to keep both Pau and Lamar because they might take a little less to keep playing in LA, with the championship possibilities and outside interests available.

  19. @10 – really interesting comment (@1) about Laker big men in relationship to guards.

    As for Bynum vs. Howard – I prefer Bynum’s size, strength and shooting touch. I have to be honest though, I hold my breath every time he leaves the ground. The way he hauls that brace around worries me. Plus, Howard has that innate rebounding quality that few have.. it’s just the ability to know exactly where the ball’s going to track off the bounce. Andrew’s a good rebounder, Howard’s a great one.

  20. “And make no mistake, Shaquille O’Neal is part of the Lakers family”.

    That is a questionable statement, Shaq is a blatant opportunist who needs the Laker fans to buy his book. Let’s go back in 2004 when he was unhappy with Jerry Buss, trashed our beloved team, trashed the city and its fans and even sold his home at a bargain just to get rid of LA. So now that he’s retired after gallivanting with different teams including the Shamrock team of Russel to work for minimum, why come back to LA? Why not promote the book in Boston or in Phoenix or in Cleveland or sell it in Orlando to maximize tax breaks in avoiding state taxes? Another thing, the issue about those sexy parties that Kobe raised. it turns out that there is truth to it. What happened to the guy who have Shaq’s tapes of racy parties, he was beaten up by gang members and then lost the tapes too. It was published that those gang members were found to be buddies of Shaq. It is possible that Shaq has something to do with the stolen tapes and the beating. Where is the complainant? Is this a moot issue at this time? Are we going to believe with Big Ego on his new twists of events in order to promote his book?

  21. 16,
    Agreed

    19,
    Agreed

  22. @18 – Craig makes an excellent point. If we trade for Howard, we likely lose Bynum and Odom, and then potentially Pau two years down the line. If we keep Bynum, we can also keep Pau and *maybe* Lamar too. Sounds interesting. I’m not a Bynum lover, but I can’t argue with this logic.

    I will say one thing: the fact that there are rumors about any Laker trade only means that it is LESS likely that such a trade will happen. If memory serves me right, every single Laker trade since Shaq has been kept under the radar until the trigger was pulled.

  23. 19,

    Between Bynum and Howard, it is night and day. Of course, most of the NBA games are played at night, still it is questionable whether Bynum would play all those 66 games. I love Socks and rallied for him since he joined the Lakers but it is also proven that he could not carry this team. When Kobe was hopping last season or Pau got too emotional with his personal problems during the playoffs, where is Bynum? A franchise players should always be ready to take the command and go for W at high stakes against Mavs. There are no if’s and but’s during playoffs, it is either swim with the sharks or just clotheslined a lilliputian. He took the latter during waning seconds which surely hurt the team in a 66-game season.

    Having said that, I would take Bynum at any given day than a career player like Luke Walton. I read this morning what Luke Walton said that he will continue his career to the end. What basketball career is he talking about? Is he satisfied with sitting on the bench with $ 11 million more coming?

  24. 23)
    Bynum all but posted on Facebook he wanted more responsibility and more touches but Kobe kept putting him in his place. In the playoffs everyone posted on Facebook Bynum should get more touches as he was the Lakers best playoff performer. Those touches never came as Phil Jackson always coddles his veterans. Why the FaceBook references? I have no idea.

  25. All Howard/Bynum comparisons aside… the last time we had the best 1:1 player in the league (Kobe) and the best center in the league, we had a 3 peat.

    Kobe is still one of the top 3 1:1 players in the league, and if you add Gasol to that mix, we might be able to talk about another 3 peat opportunity… just sayin’

  26. 24,

    That’s true, Bynum was complaining about touches & rants during interviews as well as face book as you said. I belonged to the older generation of fans who is not fond of face books and tweets especially when the game is on the line during playoffs. During playoffs there should be total focus and no monkeying around and sending excuses through social media. If he was that productive and moves around in the post efficiently, do you think Phil Jackson would not want a 12th championship out from Bynum’s presence? If he was truly open and productive when he had the ball, don’t you think Kobe would not want an assist and a W? Kobe would take game in his hands when he sees that his teammates are non-performing. IMO, what I saw in the court was that Bynum was lazy to move around and oftenly outsmarted in the post by the opposing Centers. He was given a playing time for only two quarters because he was unreliable in closing games. PJ was trusting more the team-up of Gasol and LO in the last five minutes of 4th quarter. I hope that will change for the better with the new Coaching staff.

    Do you agree with me that we need a veteran PG, a play maker rather than going again with our oldies or a rookie? Will the GM use the trade exception or stick with the belief Lakers will compete for the Championship by relying on the same set up?

  27. We have the best trio of “big” men in the league right now. The question is Bynum and Odom worth it for DH12 in his prime? Absolutely. Pau @ the 4, DH12 @ the 5, and Barnes @ the 3 will work. DH12 is the modern day Shaq.

  28. I see most of the comments are about a possible trade for DH12. I don’t think there is any question that Bynum has the potential to be a superstar, but I’d pull the trigger on that trade in a heartbeat, if only because Bynum is just too much of a risk.

    But what I really want to comment on is the fact that Shaq seems to think so highly of Kobe. It’s my sense that Kobe will never dethrone MJ as GOAT. But I also think that Kobe is probably the greatest combination of skill and talent as has ever been seen on a basketball court.

    I think its his absurd skill and work ethic that sets him apart from any peer, and Shaq was in a position to have witnessed this first hand.

  29. I agree with 16, especially concerning transition D (although both Drew and Howard stick around to have a chat with the refs a fair bit of the time.. imagine if Kobe, Howard, and Bynum all stayed back to chirp at the ref… hilarious)

    Does the combo of Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum not work at any level? both have shown an improved midrange game (although DH’s involves a jumpshot whereas AB’s is more of a tip-toe shot) and it’s not like our team offense will suffer if the paint is suddenly too clogged for MWP or Fisher to drive into. basically it will only affect Kobe, and he’s looking to drive less every year as it is; clogging the paint with these two big men would be an organic way of achieving that goal.

    If the Nets get to seriously entertain the possibility of Brooks + Nene, should we not also seriously entertain the possibility of Bynum + Howard

    Assuming a Gasol + Odom straight swap, for simplicity purposes.. i’m not inclined to debate the feasibility of such a trade.

    C: Bynum (Howard)
    PF: Howard (Caracter)
    SF: MWP (Barnes, Ebanks)
    SG: Bryant (Blake, Goudluckcharm*)
    PG: Blake (Fisher, Morris)

    (Also, Luke “medically fit to play” Walton)

    So the PG spot still sticks out like a sore cliche, and Barnes fits better with the starting 5 due to his outside shot (assuming he regains it) but that, to me, looks good at both ends of the floor.

    thoughts?

    *I prefer Goodluckcharm to Goldilocks as a nickname for Andrew Goudelock

  30. this isn’t on-topic, but you all might find it fun.

    earlier this week, i was driving to work while listening to sports talk radio. they were talking about how kobe had gone to a Jewish cultural center in irvine to do a little practicing. well, that center is about 2 miles from my house! one of my kids had a music recital there once. i got so excitied i felt like a school girl with a crush, and wanted to go over to the center and kind of try and pick up a kobe vibe.

    go ahead and make fun of me if you want, but damn it, it’s kobe!

  31. http://www.examiner.com/los-angeles-lakers-in-los-angeles/nba-free-agency-lakers-reach-out-to-jamal-crawford

    Any of you optimistic he takes our mini MLE? Doubt it, but would loooooove JCraw.

  32. you really can not know what a player is going to do, in these situations. it’s such a personal decision, and there are a lot of tangenital (as opposed to tan genitals:) factors like weather, post-career plans, family wishes, etc, etc.

    fun to speculate on (sometimes) but until the ink is on the contract — impossible to predict.

  33. 26)

    Edwin, nice to ‘read’ you!

    Agree 100% with you opinion on Bynum.

    Bring Dwight Howard now.

  34. luke walton has no pride and no principles. he should be an agent, not a coach, after his lame ass is run out of the league.

  35. I get the feeling some are over rating Dwight Howard right now. Yes, he is the best center in the league. To be fair, that is not saying much based on this current crop of starting centers. Dwight is an excellent player, but he has some very real flaws in his game. He is not a young Shaq. Shaq is three to four inches taller. And (in his prime) was much stronger and had more post moves.

    Dwight is actually kind of small for a center. He is clearly shorter than his listed 6’11″ height. He doesn’t have the wingspan of either Bynum or Chandler. He makes of for all this with his explosive athleticism. But athleticism wanes. And when it does Howard may look very pedestrian. Howard’s biggest edge on Bynum is his long track record of good health. Maybe that is enough to favor him over Bynum. But lets not fool ourselves into thinking getting Dwight is like getting a young Shaq all over again.

  36. #34. EXACTLY. I mean, why try like hell to play the game you love by working through a debilitating back injury and surgery? Why, even after your hall of fame father warns of the repercussions of how back injuries affect people later in life, would someone still try to play basketball? Surely because they have no pride! Nor any principles like work ethic or commitment to the team that showed commitment to him!

  37. 26)
    Phil Jackson said in the postseason he wanted Bynum to get the ball more but because he will never demand certain things from his veterans as he has always been afraid of creating tension with the leaders of the team he didn’t force the issue. So yes I believe Kobe, Fisher, Artest, Gasol, and Odom were a little uncomfortable in the playoffs with Bynum being the most efficient player. Everyone including Jackson was voicing their wanting for Andrew to get significantly more touches.

    Do I think the Lakers need a new starting PG? Even Derek Fisher thinks they need a new starting PG.

    I was just listening to 710 ESPN and they were discussing the same thing we have on this site… If the Lakers can get Dwight Howard without giving up Bynum. A caller called in and asked that question. He was laughed off :(. Apparently Gasol and Odom don’t have the same trade value I think they do. Would the Magic rather have Bynum? Of course. But I just don’t see the Magic getting anything better than Gasol and Odom.

  38. #34. Also, Walton, like every other athlete wants to do his best in the limited time he has a career. It’s not for others to make that decision for him – unless it’s in the form of being outright told he’s no longer a viable player by being waived. But that’s a management decision, not a fan’s. I always find it funny when people ask athletes to retire because of how that fan perceives the players’ value. These guys are wired to compete; it’s what we ask of them on a nightly basis – to go as hard as they can and never give up. Yet, when a fan wants to throw a player away the expectation is the the player will simply call it quits. Players come to this conclusion on their own time table. I’d argue that, in contrary to your opinion, it’s because players have too much pride, not too little.

  39. Darius,
    I would just ignore comments like that or delete them. Responding only slightly validates such thoughtless rhetoric.

  40. Also, fwiw, I’m going to start killing the Howard speculation from here on forward until there’s something further to discuss. Yes, there’s likely mutual interest. And yes, we know what it would likely take to make a deal. So, at this point, what else is there to discuss? From where I sit, nothing. At least not until there’s actually a deal made. Something that may never happen, by the way.

  41. one more thing, if he was such a pure competitor, he could voluntarily agree to a reduction in pay (like jefferson did in SA). square that circle and you will prove your superior judgement to my full satisfaction.

  42. I think it is fair game for fans to comment on players and the game they play. I do not think any fan has the remotest notion of the financial and business decisions players have to make. IMO – we should all shut the **** up about what we think a player should do with their money or their contracts.

    We scream about the league limiting rookies getting paid less than they are worth, then scream again about veterans getting paid more than they are worth. Like we are the moral arbiters surrounding our favorite sport????

  43. I don’t get why Luke Walton doesn’t just retire and go out with some dignity instead of inevitably being amnestied like a piece of garbage.

    What about the medical waiver? Does anyone know exactly what is required to be able to waive him due to injury/medical reasons?

  44. CJM, regarding Jefferson, that would be the reduction in pay with the wink wink agreement that resulted in a larger longer contract? Huh,,,,,

  45. I’d squash the Luke-is-an-undignified-scumbag before squashing the Howard talk. Absolutely disgusted with some of the comments here. On board with Craig here.

  46. Igor,
    Sometimes I think it’s better to actually let people post their comment so everyone can see them for what they are.

  47. Can’t wait for the season to begin!

  48. One can say whatever one wants about Dwight Howard but his per game rebound totals from 1/21 through 3/3 last season speak for themselves:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/howardw01/gamelog/2011/

    His FG% wasn’t bad either. Note the minutes played as well.

    Lastly, again, one can say what one wants about Howard, except that he put up just over 22 PPG on 59.3% from the field last season. The FG% is better than Shaq put up over the course of any single season during the 3-peat era. Their respective career FG%s are 57.8 (DH) and 58.2 (Shaq). Last season was otherwise Howard’s FGA high at 13.4, whereas from 99-00 through 01-02, Shaq put up 21.1, 19.3 and 18.3. Well and truly lastly, for why I’ll take Howard in a heartbeat, the next season high FGA was 12.4, so he won’t be whining about not getting shots (in reverse chronological order: 13.4, 10.2, 12.4, 11.9, 10.6, 10.7, 8.3). And I call it whining because if Andrew was out there for the minutes that Dwight is, and took shots with the same frequency as in his limited minutes, he have the same or slightly more FGA than Dwight (look at it this way, Dwight’s 10.2 FGA season was on 34.7 minutes, whereas the most that Andrew has played is 30.4 and he’s put up a 10 and 10.6 in 28.9 and 30.4 minutes).

  49. I get a little sick of the Luke-bashing, even here. Luke’s never been complained, never failed to do whatever was asked of him. He’s played the point forward position well and I was always reassured when he was in the game in the last two years because he makes good decisions with the ball although I think at times he is unselfish to a fault. But I think he could play if given a chance. Be careful what you wish for – wish a guy gone and who knows what sort of bad luck might befall the team.

    I don’t think we should change the team by getting Dwight. Our problem is not at the bigs. We need better backup play from 2s, more offense from Ron Ron, and better play from PG position. In addition, as Craig W. said at #18, if we get Dwight, we lose Pau in a couple years.

  50. Luke did what he could while he could, and although he is hindering us now, who can blame him when we all know that this is his last payday, and he may need all the money to live with his back condition for the rest of his life?

    Not to mention that he has earned it, although not without some luck.

    As for Dwight, I would love the guy to replace Bynum, but it still wouldn’t change much. With or without Dwight, we still have the best front in the league (when healthy) and it would only be a marginal upgrade.

    I’d love for us to go either for ‘viable depth’ or somebody who could take advantage of the other teams’ PG for once.

  51. Great post J.M. Poulard, like usual. I wonder what you will be writing when the season is full blown happening? I mean, you seem really good at the articles of present and past players, I wonder what your specialty will be when the action is on. You know Darius, do not change anything you do here, you are running a super duper blog, for the type of audience that it is made for. Heck, I have even stopped adding quotes (mostly) from famous people in my comments, so everyone can change.

  52. I simply cannot fathom how all of you can defend Luke Walton. Are you personal friends of of his or something?

    I want what is best for the Lakers as a team. I don’t root for a single player because he is a “nice guy” or has “never complained”.

    The fact of the matter is Luke is hurting the team. He has a DEBILITATING back injury, but rather than listen to medical experts and his own family that suggest he call it quits, he stubbornly continuities to believe he can play.

    The Lakers have been good to him, have supported him, but rather than retire and go out with dignity, he just wants to keep hurting the team.

    Further, he already has a great coaching opportunity that he is leaving to come bench-warm for the Lakers. He needs to face the facts! He is in denial!

  53. Luke is not hurting the team. He doesn’t even get in the court. And his contract hasn’t stopped the Lakers from getting any free agents or brining in new talent. Don’t get me wrong… I hated when Walton was on the floor. But I hated Mitch for not bringing in a better SF or Phil for playing him. I never hated Walton. The same goes for Derek Fisher. I never hated Derek… I hated the cercumstances that enabled him to be on the floor. The only players I haven’t liked on the Lakers were Shaq and Lamar Odom. Guys that didn’t work hard and wasted a lot of talent.

  54. Furthermore… Why would he retire and leave millions on the table. Now if he left all those millions in Buss’ wallet then I would hate Walton.

  55. “Luke is not hurting the team. He doesn’t even get in the court. ”

    hahahahahaha classic, absolute classic

  56. I don’t understand how you can blame Luke for opting to play.

    He has worked his ENTIRE life to make as much money and enjoyment out of basketball. He worked his butt off when he was a starter and gained his biggest contract ever.

    All he has to do is be disciplined in his conditioning, rehab, and be the best practice player and he earns his contract. Come talk to me when you turn down $12 million dollars because you are principled to a team that is able to bring in $3 billion.

    This is the business of basketball and I don’t blame Luke one bit. He earned his contract and as long as he is professional (as he has been his entire career) I still find no fault in him.

    Harp on something else.

  57. when you add it all up, it’s a wonder they didn’t rename the team the “Lukers”.