“I pledge to faithfully uphold the office of Boob Inspector…”
There’s something inherently interesting to us about athletes playing against teams coached by former teammates. For some reason (quicker transition from player to coach?) the NBA seems to be ripe with these reunions. New Orleans coach Byron Scott played a season with the Shaq/Kobe Lakers, Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson won a championship with Tim Duncan’s 1999 Spurs, Raptors coach Sam Mitchell played 7 seasons in Minnesota with Kevin Garnett. And then there’s Bulls coach Scott Skiles and the Heat’s Shaqille O’Neal, currently matched up in the first round of the playoffs, who played together in Orlando (from Chris Sheridan’s ESPN article):
“Tell me, Shaquille, what do you remember most about being teammates with Scott Skiles? What’s your best Skiles anecdote?”
I asked the Big Behemoth that question in the visiting locker room at the United Center on Saturday prior to Game 1 of the Heat-Bulls series, wondering whether he’d recount the story of the day he tried to kill his former teammate. But with time short and the locker room about to close, O’Neal did not have the opportunity to spill all the details, instead going cryptic on me (“What does anecdote mean?”) before throwing me the smallest of bones.
“He always got under my skin. He was like a little gnat,” O’Neal said. “He just used to talk too much. Talk about nothing.”
What does anecdote mean? Seriously: we can’t stand Shaq on some level, but you can’t deny that he gives great quote. Maybe he actually doesn’t know the meaning of that word. We wouldn’t be shocked. Anyway, apparently Skiles and Shaq have gotten over their beef and are now big admirers of one another, which sort of makes this story less interesting. Still, we like the quote.