Shaq is trying to win his way into my heart. He said he’d be fine coming off the bench, called Bill Russell the greatest big man ever, and waxed poetic about Kendrick Perkins. Now, the story of how he and the Celtics started contract discussions came out… and Shaq wanted to be a Celtic pretty damn bad. (CSNNE)
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was at the Orlando airport when a message with an 818 area code began buzzing at his hip.
The sender wanted to know if they could meet.
And Rivers’ first thought?
“I texted him, ‘Who the hell is this?’”
It was O’Neal.
Rivers, who had heard rumors prior about O’Neal being interested in Boston, still wasn’t a believer.
He asked O’Neal what he wanted to talk about.
O’Neal told him it was about becoming a Celtic.
“I said, ‘I’d love to,’” Rivers said.
Rivers, still not totally convinced of the intentions of O’Neal, told him he was at the airport.
O’Neal then responded that he could meet Rivers in a half hour, at Rivers’ house.
“That’s how aggressive he was,” Rivers said.
Rivers later told Shaq that he’d probably have to come off the bench and would definitely need to play a smaller role, and Shaq said, “If that’s what it takes for us to win, that’s fine with me.”
I don’t know whether it’s just because we’re in the honeymoon stage, but I’m starting to warm up to Shaq. I really am. I mean, texting Doc and telling him he can meet him at his house in 30 minutes? That’s not what I expected out of a superstar whose ego is supposed to be bigger than he is. It’s more what I expect from my buddy Brandon when he’s sexting some ugly chick at four in the morning. That’s super aggressive, and it shows the same thing about Shaq that it does about Brandon: He wants it pretty damn bad.
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