How Does Shaq Get Away With This Stuff?

I already got irked once this week over Shaquille O'Neal's tremendously good manners. But hey, don't listen to my opinion. Check out what he said about former coach Stan Van Gundy, after SVG expressed surprise, and some disappointment, that Shaq had flopped against heir apparent Dwight Howard on Tuesday. ↵
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↵From The Arizona Republic, here's the best part of the column-length outburst: ↵
↵⇥"When a bum says some (stuff) about it and I respond, you can (expletive) cancel that cuz I know how he is in real life. We’ll see when the playoffs start and he (expletive) panics and quits like he did when he was here (in Miami). And you (expletive) print it just like that. Do I look soft to you like you can say something and I’m not going to say something?" ↵⇥
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↵⇥"Notice they didn’t play me straight up. We’ll see how far they go cuz I know Stan. I said this a long time ago but I was actually talking about him: 'When the general panics, the troops will panic. Like in business, when the head panics and takes out all his stock, what happens? . . . All the players hate him. The players don’t even like him. I hate frontrunners. I really do. I don’t like any frontrunners. There’s a pecking order involved. I’ve been there six times." ↵
↵Is it just me, or has Shaq gotten a lot cockier since he made the All-Star Game and was pronounced "back"? If you had to draw some sort of Ziller-esque chart, I'd say Shaq's most mature moment came when, upon his arrival in Phoenix, he vowed to mentor Amare and do what he could. That's part of the same trajectory that started in Miami, when it became clear his leadership was worth as much as his on-court capability. But now, dude has two big games, strong first-half numbers, and no young buck to contend with ...  suddenly, he's acting like it's 1999. ↵
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↵I hate to get all blogger-y, and I guess I could just call the Big Papadopoulos out on his Twitter. But at the risk of sounding like one of them skippin' compact discs, I don't know why O'Neal's allowed to get away with this stuff. If Iverson did it, he'd be suspended, or blackballed. Forget unprofessional, it's crass, stupid, and harmful to the children. But whatever, he's a historic figure, crapping on everyone, just like Ben Franklin did in his day. ↵
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↵Or, if anyone's wondering, Howard's Magic, and Howard as an individual, won the match-up with the Shaq and his Suns. Though like that matters to A MOTHER-FLIPPIN' GIANT OF INDUSTRY.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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