Earlier this week, there were some alleged remarks from Shaquille O'Neal about his days in Los Angeles that quickly became national news. In an interview with the Sacramento Bee's Scott Howard-Cooper, Shaq was quoted as saying that Phil Jackson had basically orchestrated the feud that developed between him and Kobe Bryant. Cooper provided the entire transcript of the interview on the paper's Kings Blog, but of course the most potentially controversial statements were the ones that were picked up nationally:
"I think it was all designed by Phil," he said. "Because, if you think about it, Phil never called us into the office and said, `Both of you, shut the (heck) up.' Never did that in four years. He knew that when I read something, I was going to get upset. And he knew Kobe was going to always come out and play hard. So I think it was all done by design."
Shaq denied ever making those statements, and it turns out the interview was conducted in the preseason, but just made it online when the Suns played the Kings last week. Whether he did or didn't say anything negative about Phil, Shaq wanted to make sure that he let his former coach know how he truly feels about him.
During Jackson's pre-game media session, he was in the middle of answering questions when a very sweaty Shaq emerged from the practice court door across the hall. Shaq immediately walked through the group of reporters and gave Phil a huge hug (essentially "sliming" him with sweat), and embraced him for a few seconds while whispering something in his ear. Phil was smiling the entire time, and the only thing audible as the two broke the embrace was Shaq saying as he left, "I would never do that to you."
It was a great scene, and should put to rest any theories that there might be even an ounce of friction between Shaq and Phil Jackson.