There’s the feud with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James’ special rules in Cleveland, a near-fight with Pat Riley...but let’s focus on Kobe and LeBron.
First, the part about Bryant, who was dealing with assault allegations in Colorado, when both were with the Los Angeles Lakers (via HoopsWorld):
“So I’m on edge because I don’t have a new deal, and Kobe is on edge because he might be going to jail, so we’re taking it out on each other. Just before the start of the ’03-’04 season the coaching staff called us in and said, ‘No more public sparring or you’ll get fined.’ … [Coach Phil Jackson] was tired of it. Karl Malone and Gary Payton were sick of it.
“… So what happens? Immediately after that Kobe runs right out to Jim Gray and does this interview where he lets me have it. He said I was fat and out of shape. He said I was milking my toe injury for more time off, and the injury wasn’t even that serious. (Yeah, right. It only ended my damn career.)
“He said I was ‘lobbying for a contract extension when we have two Hall of Famers playing pretty much for free.’ I’m sitting there watching this interview and I’m gonna explode. Hours earlier we had just promised our coach we’d stop. It was a truce broken. I let the guys know, ‘I’m going to kill him.’ ”
In Cleveland, O’Neal claims that Delonte West called out Cavs coach Mike Brown for letting James slide.
“I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn’t get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn’t say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, ‘Yo Mo, we can’t have that. You’ve got to hustle a little more.
“So Delonte West is sitting there and he’s seen enough and he stands up and says, ‘Hold up, now. You can’t be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us.’ Mike Brown said, ‘I know, Delonte. I know.’ Mike knew Delonte was right.”
“I’m not sure if Kobe is going to listen to Mike Brown [who’s now the Lakers’ coach]. LeBron never really did.”
The book comes out Nov. 15 and, oh, what fun this would be if only there were an NBA season for Shaq to work with TNT.