Shaquille O’Neal: “Chris Paul is not better than Rajon Rondo. Rajon Rondo is the true definition of a point guard, period.”December 1, 2011 – 5:45 am by Steven Cuce
With the NBA season starting up in less than a month on Christmas day now that the lockout has finally been lifted, let’s check in with Shaquille O’Neal. The Diesel is now a full-time media personality, which should be quite entertaining itself aside from the fact that he just published a book with the help of writer Jackie MacMullan called “Shaq Uncut: My Story.” The duo of Charles Barkley and Shaq Fu for TNT basketball broadcasts this season should be one for the ages.
Shaquille O’Neal joined 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston with Toucher & Rich to discuss his new book breaking the sacredness of the locker room, the environment of the Celtics locker room when Kendrick Perkins was traded, LeBron James not being hung over during game two of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009, the rumors of the Celtics trading Rajon Rondo and getting Chris Paul, why he doesn’t think Paul is better than Rondo as a pure point guard, working for TNT this season, being critical of NBA players as an analyst and who will be in the NBA Finals this season.
You tell it all in your new book. Is there a part of you that if you were a player currently playing and a veteran released a book telling what happened in the locker room and things that you would of had an issue with that kind of breaking some sort of sacredness of the locker room?
“No. Listen the rule is when you put someone’s life or family in jeopardy then it is breaking rules. All the stuff I said in the book has already been talked about by the media and you guys. I know the rules. I didn’t jeopardize anyone’s family. I didn’t embarrass anybody. I was just telling stories.”
What was the environment in the locker room like when you guys found out Kendrick Perkins was gone?
“It was very sad and I was even said also because Kendrick Perkins was a great guy. We had great battles. He was just a great guy, but that’s the business of basketball. It was sad. He was like the heart and soul of our team. When he got traded and that just took all the air out of us.”
In 2009 game two of the Eastern Conference Finals was LeBron James hung over? That was the rumor:
“No he don’t drink, so he doesn’t drink. No way. [Host: Not at all?] No he doesn’t drink at all. No drinks.”
What are your thoughts on the rumors circulating that Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is open to trading point guard Rajon Rondo and getting Chris Paul?
“I said to myself a long time ago from sitting here watching…I saw Patrick Ewing get traded. I saw Dominique Wilkins get traded. Everyone is tradeable, you could probably get a lot for Rajon Rondo but he is the heart and soul of the team. I don’t think that would be a good idea. If I was the general manager, I wouldn’t do it. [Hosts: You would not do it?] No. [Hosts: Even if it was for Chris Paul?] Chris Paul is not better than Rajon Rondo… Rajon Rondo is the true definition of a point guard, period. He gets everybody involved and he scores when he has to. Chris Paul scores a lot of points, but when was the last time they made it to the playoffs? Thank you very much.”
So you are going to be working for TNT now?
“Yes I am.”
Are you looking to be the “tell as it is” guy like a Charles Barkley or not afraid to step on toes?
“I am just going to tell the truth. I am not going to bash anybody. I don’t like what you did in a particular game…I am gonna say it. I am not going to try to embarrass anybody, but you know just tell it like it is.”
Who’s the biggest fraud in the NBA this year?
“There’s a lot of frauds. There’s always going to be a lot of frauds, but it should be an interesting year. I really look for Boston [Celtics] and the [San Antonio] Spurs to really come on strong. They were banged up towards the end of the year and there’s been a lot of rest this summer. I really look for Tim Duncan to have a great year and Mr.Garnett.”