Monday, November 12, 2007

Shaquille: "I don't need earthlings respect"

Despite averaging less than 20 ppg for the first time in his 14-year NBA career, nothing can be said of the effort that Shaquille O'Neal brings every night.

Let's face it folks, we've all been spoiled.

With career averages (including the 6 games he has played in this season) of 25.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game; a lot is expected out of the man who calls himself, "The Diesel."

True, he has slowed down (in 6 games he is averaging career lows in points (15.0 ppg) and assists(1.8 apg). And to some extent--dunks--of which, he only has two as of the recently concluded match up with the San Antonio Spurs) but his presence alone still commands a double-team or two. And let's not forget, even at his depleted state, Shaq is still better than half the starting centers out there in the NBA.

Miami's new starting small forward and former Orlando Magic teammate Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway had this to say about the Big Aristotle.

ESPN's Marc Stein wrote:

"He didn't play in a lot of preseason games. He got injured twice with little injuries to his leg [in October]. And he really didn't practice that much. So I don't see him in any kind of rhythm right now. People on the outside can look at it and say, 'Maybe he getting slower, maybe he's getting older.' But when you're on the inside, you know what's really going on.

"I think [the criticism] hurts him, because he's a guy that's won championships and has been at the top of this game for a long time," Hardaway continued. "But I know he's going to do something about it."

Stein added:

"I'm still the baddest [expletive] in the world," Shaquille O'Neal said. "Yeah, I'm getting older, but Kareem got older. Hakeem got older.

"I don't need earthlings' respect. When it's all said and done, my name will be there and it will be mentioned ... unless you earthlings try to erase it."

That's telling them Shaq!

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