Shaq once had some strong words for opposing centers -- Vlade Divac to Jason Collins -- who preferred to take a dive rather than face him man-to-monster: "They're all the same. They all have their flop fraternity. A flopternity is what I call them. Flop, flop, flop." He also once complained that: "Bill Russell and Bill Walton would be ashamed to watch this game, big men flopping around."
So, d'you suppose the two Bills were ashamed to see this?
That, my friends, is a flop of Divacian proportions. And that fact wasn't lost on his former coach and current Magic head man Stan Van Gundy: "Note this: Shaq played for me and helped me win games, but I got to needle Shaq. He talks a lot about people flopping and he did it. When he came over to the sideline, I asked him how he can flop when he says, 'Let's play straight up and play like men.'"
I wonder what Shaq had to say to that?
Update! This is what Shaq had to say about that: "One thing I really despise is a frontrunner. I know for a fact he's a master of panic and when it gets time for his team to go into the postseason and do certain things, he will let them down because of his panic. I've been there before. I've played for him." ME-OW! Saucer of milk, table two, please!
Notice that instead of addressing the subject, Shaq simply resorted to blasting his critic on an unrelated subject. But once he was done laying waste to a good man's reputation, he did find a moment to address the flopping incident: "Flopping is playing like that your whole career. I was trying to take a charge, trying to get a call. Yeah, it probably was a flop, but flopping is wrong. Flopping would describe his coaching."
So to recap: After years of publically expressing vehement disgust for players who flop, Shaq commits an obvious and egregious flop against a guy he's gone out of his way to insult this year. Then, Van Gundy correctly calls him out for it, he defends himself by taking personal shots at Stan's ability to coach. Man, just when he wins you over for doing something super cool, he negates it by acting like a big baby. (Or even the Big Baby.)
Update again! Wow. The first source only provided a partial quote. What follows is the full version. And, uh, it shows that Shaq has officially gone postal over this flopping incident. I haven't seen this kind of needless wrath unleashed since Hollywood Hogan ran over the Rock (who was inside an ambulance) with a semi truck. Thanks to Brandon from BallerBlogger for sending the link.
"He (Howard) came with the same old, stale Patrick Ewing move so I tried to stand there and take the charge. The new rules say if you come through, you fall. But as I fell, I realized that it was a flop and it reminded me of Coach Van Gundy's whole coaching career. The one thing I despise is a frontrunner. First of all, none of his players like him. When it gets tough, he will become the master of panic like he did before and he will quit like he did before. The one thing I despise is frontrunners. Yeah, he’s got a young team playing good but don’t be a frontrunner. Him and his brother and even the legend on the bench ain't done what I've done in my whole career. So flopping would be the wrong choice of words."
"I just tried to take a charge. The (expletive) rules say you can’t stand there and get hit. You've got to fall. The (expletive) got the same old stinking move that Patrick Ewing has been doing his whole career. I went down, got up and didn’t complain. I see him and Stan complaining the whole game because they've got to. Remember, I've done more than him, his brother and Patrick Ewing."
"Stan Van Gundy reminds me of a broke navigational system. He knows everything about everything but ain't never been nowhere. Think about that. If I'm right here and I type in the address of where you're going, I know where it's at but I'm not going there."
"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?"
"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."
"I ain't going to let no bum like him rip me and not say anything back. You can cancel that (expletive) all the way. Usually, I let (expletive) go. Not that. Not him. Hell no."
"The rules say when a guy goes through your chest you’ve got to fall to get the call. It was a flop. You’ve watched me play for 17 years. I don’t play like that."
"I'm not going to sit around and let nobodies take a shot at me and he is a nobody to me. And if he thinks he can get in a little press conference and take shots at me like I’m not going to (say) something back, he's got another thing coming."
Needless. Classless. Completely uncalled for. Shaq's reponse was like running somebody down with a monster truck because they bumped into you on the sidewalk. And the thing is, Shaq was the guy in the wrong here. He blatantly did something he's spent YEARS complaining about, but instead of just owing up to it, he had to get personal and go after not only Stan, but his brother Jeff and Patrick Ewing too. And, naturally, Shaq's last (and, to be honest, only) line of defense is that he's won more championships than the people he's laying waste to. Of course, his "He Who Has The Most Championships Is Always Right" rule didn't apply when he was giving Pat Riley the business last year or when he ripped into Phil Jackson.
Let's face it, this is Shaq's "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" world, and we're just living in it.
"Every time a defender player is on the ground, even if he just wants to sit down and have a rest, it's my offensive foul," Yao said. "That's unfair."
Yao took one more verbal jab at the Jazz, saying he was looking forward to Friday's game against Shaquille O'Neal and the Phoenix Suns.
"I guess I don't need to worry about (a) flopper next game. I don't think Shaq's that type of player," Yao said.
And isn't that ironic...don'tcha think?
Last update! At least, I think so. An anonymous commenter sent in the link to Stan Van Gundy's response to his Shaq-blasting: "Whatever. I don't know...that's his estimation of my coaching. I'm not going to worry about it too much. Actually, that [Shaq's criticism] puts me in good company, very good company. He's taken shots at Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, so maybe I should consider it an honor." And see, that's how Shaq should have responded to Van Gundy's comments, if he didn't like them. By saying "whatever" and making a joke. But The Big Little Girl is far to touchy and insecure for that. And if Shaq was as unquestionably great as we wants us all to believe, he would have shrugged off the whole flopping flap like he was swatting a gnat. Instead, he just added to his (still growing) legacy of boneheaded tantrums.