The reaction to Shaq's comments have been swift and uniformly negative. It's not surprising that his game has worn thin with NBA fans and commentators. Shaq did not endure himself to Phoenix fans who rightfully take pride in a Jerry Colango built culture of class and professionalism.
What has been surprising is how much of the coverage has focused on Shaq's calling out of the Spurs "cowardly" tactics. I don't fault Popovich for doing everything he can to win but there's little doubt that the hack-a-Shaq was a display of unmanly play. Fair yes. Cowardly perhaps.
There's also no doubt though that Shaq is better served, and serves his team better, by leaving such hyperbole to the likes of me. Shaq should let his game do his talking and focus his pie hole on pies.
Still, in the long history of Shaq's vocal diarrhea it doesn't rank that high.
What I do find utterly unacceptable is throwing your team mates under the bus in such an obvious and blatant manner. Calling out your guards for not staying in front of their man? Call out your mates for not rotating to cover your back?
This is the same guy that hurt his team repeatedly by not being able to move quickly enough to cover mobile big men and who teams attack constantly with pick and rolls.
Real or not, and I certainly think the Suns needed to make defensive improvements, Shaq did not do himself or his team any favors by airing these issues in such a public manner. How does this possibly help a Suns team trying to adjust to a new coach and new defensive philosophy?
Is that the Shaq locker room leadership we've heard so much about?
Is this what we replaced the Marion "cancer" with?