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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Shaquille O'Neal Reflects on a Title


John Schuhmann of NBA.com caught up with Shaquille O'Neal for a long-ish Q&A. Plenty of good stuff. Here are some of my favorite moments:



On intensity, or lack thereof, in the regular season:

We let about nine or 10 games slip away by not focusing or just by being lazy. The NBA is all about winning a certain amount of games and sitting in position for the playoffs. We wanted anywhere from one to four, those spots, any type of home-court advantage. Pat is a perfectionist, you know. He wanted us to be in first all year. But I was telling the guys, "Don't worry about it. Don't get down on yourselves. The No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 spot is fine, because I've won at every spot." So we got the No. 2 and our playoff record was set. We just had dinners. We just had meetings. We just hung out.
On Pat Riley's motivation:

Mark Cuban had already set the parade route. It was in the paper and Pat just put it on the board and said, "Take the day off. Take tomorrow off and I'll see you for the game." And we didn't practice for two days. A lot of people don't know that. We didn't even practice. Because everybody was counting us out, Mark had the parade route and he just taped it up there, handed out fliers and said, "We know what we gotta do in Game 3. I'll see you later."
On what makes Dwyane Wade so relentless:

...everybody always talks about Carmelo and LeBron and they kinda leave him out. That kinda pisses him off a little bit. It really does. It pisses him off. And I remind him all the time.
On Yao Ming's language skills:

...you know what's crazy about Yao? He speaks perfect English. A lot of people don't know that. Perfect English. When I was over there, I called him. He's like, "Whassup big fella?" Perfect English!