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LAKER REPORT / NOTES

Shaq Shows He Has Heart

November 22, 2003|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Shaquille O'Neal, often considered a carrier in Laker circles, has been credited with preventing a heart attack.

Of a reporter, no less.

Lacy Banks, longtime basketball columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, thanked O'Neal in Friday's editions for insisting Banks go to a hospital rather than ignore his exhaustion in order to interview O'Neal.

Before a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 4, O'Neal told Banks, "I'll give you an interview, Lacy, but only after you go to the hospital to get yourself checked out. You mean too much to too many people. Your life is more important than an interview or basketball game."

Banks was found to have 90% blockage in an artery and the following day underwent an angioplasty procedure in Chicago.

Appearing healthy and eager again two weeks later, Banks was in Detroit on Tuesday night for the interview, which O'Neal granted.

Feeling quite wise now, O'Neal offered Banks further advice.

"Get on Dick Gregory's diet," he told him. "I lost 20 pounds in a couple of weeks."

Asked Friday evening if he had seen Banks' column, O'Neal said, "No. Why? Did he kill me?"

Told the nature of the article, O'Neal nodded his head and grinned.

"I could tell he was about to have a heart attack," he said.

*

On the Gregory plan this summer, O'Neal said he lost weight on a diet of fruit, brown rice and water.

The chef, he said, was Gregory himself.

"I killed Krispy Kreme a couple years ago," O'Neal said. "He's dead."

During a discussion about Karl Malone's physique, O'Neal volunteered Malone's body fat percentage, which he said is 4.5. O'Neal's?

"Twelve," he said. "Plus six. Naw, 14. About 14."

*

Kurt Rambis was resting at home Friday after what he believed to be successful surgery to reposition and repair a fraying tendon in his left foot and to remove bone spurs around the joint in his left big toe.

He will be in a cast from four to six weeks.

*

If Slava Medvedenko (bruised left heel) is able to run and practice today, he could be activated by Sunday.

*

When Chicago Bull forward Jalen Rose awoke from his pregame nap Friday and saw the red message light on his phone, he didn't think much about it.

Then he heard there were 20 voice messages, all of the calls revolving around one question: Have you been traded to the Toronto Raptors? That was the hot rumor Friday, that Rose and either Donyell Marshall or Eddie Robinson were on their way to Canada for Antonio Davis and several others.

Finally, Rose got a call from the one man who could quell the rumors, Bull director of basketball operations John Paxson.

"He assured me a trade to Toronto was not going to happen," Rose said.

Any trade? "To Toronto."

End of story?

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it, I didn't analyze it, I didn't think about their roster, I didn't look at their schedule," Rose said.

*

Times staff writer Steve Springer contributed to this report.

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