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Shaq: Dwight Howard is too nice

Dwight-Howard-LakersDwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal have never had anything nice to say about one another. Comparisons between the two because of their career paths come naturally, and neither big man seems to like being compared to his counterpart. Most recently, Shaq called Howard out for not being mean enough on the floor.

“He’s too nice,” O’Neal told The Max and Marcellus Show on ESPNLA 710 Tuesday. “I’m a connoisseur of giggling and playing and all that and making you laugh and playing with the fans, but when I cross that line, I’m ready to tear your face off. I don’t care who it is. You could put one of my aunts or uncles out there, and I’m going to give him these elbows in their chest and I’m going to throw it down in their face. That’s what you have to do. … He’s just too nice. If I was him, I would get into the same mood I was in.”

Kobe Bryant said something very similar about Howard during the season when he mentioned how Shaq used to be a goofball off the court but an a-hole on it. Shaq has been critical of Howard in the past on numerous occasions, but he insists he only does it to inspire Dwight to become a better player.

“I think it’s my duty to help this young man become one of the best big men in the league,” O’Neal said. “I’m from the old school. I’m not doing it nicely. I’m pushing buttons, I’m talking about you and I’m doing it like this. … I think it’s my job as a former big man to get him to play up to par.

“When I was in L.A., Kareem and Wilt never spoke to me. They never said two things to me. I took that as a, ‘OK, you all don’t think I’m as good as you yet. Well, watch this.’ That’s what it was — motivation. Everything I say should be taken as motivation. He’s the best big man in the league, and it’s my job to make sure he plays that way. Period.”

Howard does like to goof around a lot, which can give off the impression that he doesn’t take the game seriously enough. Some players just prefer to approach the game with a looser attitude, but Howard would look a lot better doing so with a championship ring on his finger.

Charles Barkley rips Skip Bayless, fat women of San Antonio, Kazaam (Video)

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Charles Barkley had himself quite a night on Monday and made the last episode of “Inside the NBA” this season a memorable one. The excitement of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals had Chuck in rare form before the game, and he continued to deliver the goods in the postgame show after the Miami Heat dominated the Indiana Pacers to advance to the NBA Finals.

For starters, there was the shot Barkley took at Skip Bayless during TNT’s pregame show. Sir Charles was making the point that there are going to be people who blame LeBron James if the Heat lose, despite the fact that Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others have played so poorly. Barkley said Bayless, who he called “the idiot,” would be one of those people.

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LeBron James tries to save ball, lands in Shaq’s lap (Video)

LeBron James tried to save a ball that was going out of bounds during the third quarter of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers on Saturday, and he ended up in the crowd, where he was saved by none other than Shaquille O’Neal.

Heat guard Mario Chalmers missed a transition layup after getting a steal, and there was a scramble for the rebound. James tried to tip the ball to himself, but he tipped it out of bounds and tried to save it by throwing the ball off George Hill, who was battling him by the sideline. As James went into the crowd, he ended up in the first row of the seats, where his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate was sitting. He ended up in the Shaq’s lap, and the Big Fella put his arms around James to make sure he was OK.

Then, Steve Kerr, who boldly acquired Shaq in a trade from the Miami Heat and later dealt him to the Cavs in 2009 when he was GM of the Phoenix Suns, chimed in with a zinger.

“LeBron’s saying, ‘I wish you’d giving me that much support when you were in Cleveland with me, Big Fella.'”

Reggie Miller couldn’t believe Kerr went there with the shot at his TNT colleague, but Kerr answered, “Just taking a little shot, just having a little fun.”

Here’s another look at Shaq and LeBron’s Sonny and Cher “I got you babe” moment:

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Video: Shaq’s jersey retirement speech and ceremony was entertaining, touching

Shaq became the ninth player in Los Angeles Lakers history to have his jersey retired.

Signed by the team in the summer of 1996, Shaq spent eight seasons with the purple and gold, winning three NBA championships while reaching four finals. Shaq won his fourth championship after being traded to the Miami Heat, but it was with the Lakers that he had his best years.

His jersey retirement ceremony, which took place during halftime of Tuesday’s Dallas Mavericks-Los Angeles Lakers game, was excellent. A video montage showed many clips of Shaq’s entertaining personality and funny moments. After that, there was an extremely touching and personal recorded video message from Kobe Bryant. Kobe made it clear in his speech that there no longer is any animosity between him and Shaq.

Phil Jackson, who coached Shaq for five seasons, spoke next. He regaled the crowd with funny stories about the bubbly big man. Jeanie Buss then took the microphone and honored Shaq on behalf of the team and the fans. She said the two words that best describe Shaq are “Laker” and “champion.”

Shaq’s jersey was then unveiled next to eight other former Laker greats — or nine if you include the jersey for announcer Chick Hearn. Shaq proceeded to speak, giving recognition to Kobe for helping him form the best 1-2 punch in history, Jackson for coaching the team to championships, Jerry West for signing him, late Lakers owner Jerry Buss, and many of the team’s prominent fans, including Jack Nicholson.

One of the messages Shaq stressed is that his once contentious relationship with Bryant has been mended.

“Kobe, we had a million great times and a thousand bad times,” said Shaq. “But as a doctor, I know that a million outweighs a thousand, and the positive always outweighs the negative.

“You are my teammate and my brother, and I’m proud to call you both.”

Several notable athletes sent their congratulations to Shaq over Twitter:

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Reggie Miller looks like a little kid in Shaq’s suit jacket (Picture)

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Reggie Miller and Shaquille O’Neal were both NBA superstars in their day, but Miller gave us a reminder on Thursday that superstars can come in all different shapes and sizes.

What do you get when you put a three-point specialist in the suit coat of one of the most dominant post players of all time? You get a Reggie Miller that looks like he’s a 6-year-old playing dress-up with his old man’s clothes.

“Getting ready to shoot more Open Court shows, had to put on Shaq’s suit jacket, it makes me look like I’m 8!!!!” Miller tweeted along with the hilarious photo.

Reggie Miller may be 6-foot-7, but Shaq can make any grown man not named Yao Ming look small.

Gossip report says Shaq was ‘canoodling’ with TV host Rocsi Diaz

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Shaquille O’Neal joined in on some of the Super Bowl festivities in New Orleans over the weekend, but from the sound of it he didn’t feel the need to hit any strip clubs or stroll down Bourbon Street looking for women. Instead, Shaq reportedly had his sights set on “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Rocsi Diaz.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Shaq attended a private party at the Hookah Lounge on Saturday night where he had his “complete attention” on Diaz.

“Shaq and Rocsi were holding hands at this private party and at a private table,” a source reportedly told Page Six. “They looked like an odd couple, but they seemed really into each other.”

They may have looked odd to outsiders, but it sounds like Diaz is just Shaq’s type. Like his former fiancee Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander, Diaz is 5 feet 2. She is a former host of BET’s “106 & Park” and was in New Orleans reporting for “Entertainment Tonight.” Diaz’s rep confirmed to Page Six that she was at the party and said Diaz and Shaq are very good friends. If she’s into guys who like taking their shirts off, it could be a match made in heaven.

Rick Pitino on Louisville loss: We shot free throws like Shaq and Dwight Howard

Louisville lost its second straight tough game in a row on Tuesday night, this time at the hands of Villanova. Over the weekend, the Cardinals lost a tough home game to No. 6-ranked Syracuse. However, the Wildcats are a team they should have beaten. Had they been more successful from the charity stripe, Rick Pitino’s team may have come away with a win.

Louisville hit only 12 of its 24 free throw attempts, and Pitino was livid about it after the game. So livid, in fact, that he decided to take it out on Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.

“It was really a simple answer to why we lost,” Pitino told reporters, via the Courier-Journal. “Basically we were Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal. We came down we had a six-point lead and it could have been eight. Could have kept coming down and extending it but our free throws were a turnover. Very simple answer for why we lost. Our foul shooting was despicable.”

The final score was 73-64, so obviously the free throws the Cardinals missed were crucial. Louisville missed the front end of a one-and-one on two occasions down the stretch, which made it incredibly difficult to close out a game that they led in the second half. At one point, forward Chane Behanan missed five free throws in a row.

The Cardinals has lost two games since being ranked No. 1 in the nation, and they have not gotten off to a good start in Big East play. If they don’t solve their free-throw shooting woes going forward, they’ll be in danger of falling even further.

Chest bump to The Dagger