Bill Walton Takes Shaq to Task

I remember watching Walton’s criticism of Shaq air on ESPN Sunday. I thought it was harsh and poignant, and most of all, accurate. I didn’t think much of it at the time because I was in agreement with Walton’s assessment. Well, come to find that Walton’s comments have created somewhat of a stir that resulted in a response from Shaq. Thankfully Tom Ziller posted the video at FanHouse (via Ballhype) for our viewing pleasure. (If you don’t have time to watch the video, you can read some of the exchange instead).

Walton nails it here. Shaq is in a lose-lose situation if you think about it; he plays well, we all wonder what happened in Miami and think he gave up. He plays poorly, then we were all right that he had nothing left. And Shaq’s defense of attacking Walton’s career is a lame one. Shaq has the right to claim scoreboard on nearly anyone he encounters. Having to resort to that argument means Shaq really had no proper defense for Walton’s comments. I’m surprised after all these years that Shaq hasn’t learned that missing/tanking/being lazy during the regular season leaves him open to public criticism.

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  • http://baseballmastermind.com Alan Hull

    I totally agree with what Walton is saying on Shaq, but isn’t what Shaq is saying also kind of true: how can one injury-plagued player call out another?

    The real question is, is Shaq a baby who sits out when he really doesn’t need to be, a motivation guy? Or is he really hurt? If the former is true, then he’s a bum, but how come no one gives him the benefit of the doubt.

    Thoughts Larry?

  • Jeff

    Au contraire Alan. Walton is the perfect man to be calling out Shaq. He is speaking from experience.

    All kidding aside, there is a big difference between Walton and Shaq. Walton was known for being injured, but Shaq is known for being injured during the long regular season, only to be healthy and get up for the playoffs.

    We all know the regular season is long and grueling, but its not fair for someone to sit out alot of games in the regular season, so they are fresh in the playoffs, while others play their heart out every single game during the year, and still find a way to play hard during the playoffs.

  • http://maxsportz.com maxsportz

    Walton is annoying. I’m sure no other player in the league would have mailed it in in Miami. Not defending a tank job but 95% of players would have faked an injury… hell pat Riley faked a retirement to get outta there a few years back.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    I don’t think you can generalize who’s able to criticize who. Like with Deion, he shouldn’t have criticized LT. With Walton, I think the commentary was accurate. I think Shaq has demonstrated such a hazy past with injuries and made it famous that he gets paid to play in the post-season, he no longer has the benefit. Also that he’ll get paid to have surgery on company time instead of the off-season. That’s all part of his past that make it tough to give him the benefit of the doubt here.


    Bill Walton was in the wrong here. Here is a guy who makes a living criticizing. He is a professional and as such, he could have delivered his views with respect. I agree with Shaq; he has earned the respect and at the end of the day, you must look at results. Whether this is regular season or playoffs, a championship is what matters. He has earned a certain degree of respect and he did not receive it from a so-called professional. After watching those comments, I am not surprised at Walton’s legacy, and by legacy I do not mean his basketball legacy; by legacy I mean one in which he is viewed as a guy who simply makes lame and questionable comments.


    “Shaq’s arrogance is an insult to people who think” – What is the purpose of this statement other than to disrespect someone. How is this “nailing” in?

    Thoughs Larry?