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War of words with Shaq proves Magic are soft

March 08, 2009|Mike Bianchi | Mike Bianchi can be reached at .

Shaquille O'Neal -- the Big Flopping Crybaby -- has spent the last several days absolutely trashing the Orlando Magic.

He trashed the team's franchise center. He trashed the team's head coach. He minimized and mocked everything the Orlando Magic are built upon.

And you want to know how the Orlando Mollycoddlers responded to Shaq's venomous, vitriolic verbal barrage?

By laughing and joking about it.

Before Thursday's practice, Mollycoddler players teased Coach Stan Van Gundy about Shaq's now-famous diatribe. And at his post-practice news powwow, Van Gundy made light of the flap over the flop. Nobody acted as if they were even slightly insulted by the Big Infant's assault on the Mollycoddlers.

"It's fun and games," Rashard Lewis said.

"Shaq's a practical joker," point guard Rafer Alston said. "He's having fun." Fun?

Really.

I don't recall Shaq laughing when he called Van Gundy a "bum." Or a "nobody." Or a choking "master of panic." Or when he claimed "every player who's ever played for [Van Gundy] doesn't like him." Ha. Ha. Ha. What a prankster.

Now we know why the Mollycoddlers get bullied every time they play the Pistons. They can't even verbally defend themselves against an out-of-shape, over-the-hill 37-year-old narcissist.

In this war of words, Shaq dropped a nuclear bomb, and the Mollycoddlers defended themselves with a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

Where's the fire? The passion? The backbone?

How can the Mollycoddlers give the Big Brat a free pass on his bitter outburst?

What about it, Dwight Howard? You going to let Shaq talk about your coach like that?

"We're not really worried about whatever anybody says about Coach," Howard said. "Why fight with somebody about words? I don't believe deep down in his heart, he [Shaq] thinks anything bad about me or Coach Van Gundy." Awww, how sweet. Dwight thinks Shaq still has a good heart. Good grief, why not just cue up the Barney song? . . . I love you, you love me; we're a happy fam-i-ly.

Dwight is a great athlete and a dynamic center, but is there any question he needs to get nastier?

Exhibit A: The Big Jerk spent much of this week and this season publicly scoffing at the idea of Dwight becoming his heir apparent. And, so, after Dwight's Magic whipped Shaq's Suns 111-99 Tuesday, how did Dwight respond to the denigration?

By giving Shaq a big, fat hug, that's how.

Gag.

Am I missing something? An opposing player ridicules you, and you hug him afterward? Puh-leeze.

This is the problem with pro sports: There are no real rivalries between players anymore. They're too close and cozy because they all have the same agents, go to the same nightclubs, even vacation together during the off season.

What's it say when the biggest blood rivalry in the NBA is now between a dumpy 5-foot-9 coach and an aging 7-foot-1 center?

Van Gundy says he has thick skin and isn't bothered by Shaq's tirade. Get a new plan, Stan, because I'm not buying it. Shaq's words had to cut deep, especially when Van Gundy knows Shaq wasn't kidding.

Yes, Shaq has ripped other coaches, but he's never been quite so personal. Van Gundy may have started it by "needling" Shaq about his pathetic flop late in Tuesday's game, but Shaq's response was over the top.

"No, these are not his normal comments," Van Gundy said when asked if he thought Shaq was joking. "He usually tries to fake like he's being humorous so he can back away from the comments at a later time. But he didn't do it this time. Obviously, Shaq is a very sensitive guy. I struck a nerve and hurt his feelings, and I'm sorry." See what I mean?

Van Gundy gets shredded by the Big Egomaniac, yet he's the one who ends up apologizing. It's no wonder the Mollycoddlers have a reputation around the league for being softer than a roll of floral-scented Charmin.

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