Shaquille O'Neal gave us a behind-the-scenes look at his short stint with the Boston Celtics in his new tell-all book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, which was co-authored by ESPN Boston columnist Jackie MacMullan and will hit stores on November 15.
Portions of the book have already been leaked, including parts about his infamous feud with former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. Today, we learned a little bit about Shaq's time in Boston thanks to the latest book leak.
Among the topics that Shaq covers are a YouTube video made with Nate Robinson, Glen Davis and Kevin Garnett, Robinson's self-centered, attention seeking nature, Rajon Rondo's apparently fragile psyche and more on Davis and his ball hog mentality. In addition, O'Neal also shared how he didn't want the blame for things going south with the C's.
I had been blamed so many times in so many places when things went wrong I didn't want that to happen again. Not there. Not in Boston. I didn't want it to be my fault if the Celtics lost. In fact, because I've turned into one of those conspiracy guys, I actually put my call with Danny on speakerphone so everyone who was there with me, including Danny Garcia, my massage therapist, and Nikki, my girlfriend, could hear me say, "I don't know if I'm coming back, bro." (via Boston Globe)
O'Neal talked about a YouTube video that he and his teammates made, one that Celtics GM Danny Ainge didn't look upon kindly. Ainge apparently had talked to Davis and Robinson days before making the video, which featured swears and obscene gestures, and reminded them that they are representatives of the Celtics and should act responsibly.
When we were in training camp, I heard Danny talking to Nate and Glen Davis about tweeting. He was trying to tell them to be careful and to remember they were representing the Celtics and the team had certain guidelines they were going to expect them to follow. I'm listening to all this and I go up to Danny and say, "You know, everything you said is right, but you're not speaking their language." Danny is looking at me kind of funny and I said, "If you really want them to get the message you say this: ‘If you are irresponsible tweeting, I'm going to fine you twenty thousand dollars.' They'll understand that.
One day later, the Celtics had a speaker come in and talk about social media to the players. As a result of Shaq's talk with Ainge, at the end of the talk Ainge told the players the following: "Okay, let me make this clear. It will cost you twenty thousand bucks if there is profanity, nudity or bad language. Use the F word and it's going to cost you." As Shaq pointed out, the video was made about five days after that session. So much for that.
O'Neal also touched on Nate Robinson and his time with the Celtics, saying that Robinson was more concerned with how many Twitter followers he had and punking his teammates than he should have been. It was for that reason that O'Neal wasn't too surprised when Robinson was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Some people are a little too focused on Twitter and Nate was one of them. He was too worried about how many followers he had. He kept saying, "Shaq, I need more people. Help me out."
One of the more interesting tidbits from Shaq's book about the Celtics was the revelation about Rondo. According to O'Neal, Rondo was actually shaken up by President Barack Obama's comments about his shooting game.
Remember that stretch right after Perk got traded and Rondo was struggling so badly? He definitely was nicked up and fighting some injuries, but something else happened that I think affected him. In early March some of the guys went to the Museum of Fine Arts for a fundraiser and got to hang out with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The president turns to Ray, points to Rondo and says, "Hey Ray, why don't you teach this kid how to shoot." Everyone starts laughing, and Rays says, "Nah, that's why he's got to give the ball to me. I'll take care of the shooting."
KG told me he saw the look on Rondo's face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the president, even though I'm sure Obama didn't mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could sit it in his eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him.
If this is true, that is not good at all. If Rondo was rattled, and furthermore let his play be affected by Obama's comments, that spells trouble. Could he be the John Lackey of the Celtics? Right now, the burden of the scrutiny the C's receive goes to the Big Three. But when they're gone and it's just Rondo to receive blame, how will he react? Hopefully a few more years of emotional growth will help Rondo.
Finally, O'Neal wrote about the times he wanted to punch "Big Baby" Davis in the face (and really, haven't we all wanted to at different points?). The reason? Big Baby was being a big ball hog and not getting the ball to Shaq in the post.
"Big Baby" Davis kept looking me off and taking it himself. Doc is shouting at him to go inside, but he won't. So Doc calls timeout and draws up a play for me. I go out there, and I back Andrew Bynum way under the rim. I'm loose, I'm ready. I've got Bynum under the basket and again, Baby won't give me the ball. So I go up to him and say, "If you ever miss me again I'm going to punch you in the face." I was hot.
Shaq said it didn't stop there. A couple of nights later in Sacramento, the same thing was happening, and O'Neal eventually lost it, telling Davis to "pass the [expletive] ball inside" and that he was a "selfish player" and that everyone knew it. Can anyone disagree? I certainly can't.
At any rate, Shaq's book should be an interesting read for Celtics fans, Lakers fans, Shaq fans and just NBA fans in general. Even if this is a cash grab from the Diesel, it's definitely worth your time and money.