Shaquille O’Neal recently had some Heat-ed words for his ex-Miami coach and teammates, criticizing Pat Riley’s running of the franchise and scoffing at the notion of playing with Chris Quinn and Ricky Davis.
Now, it’s the Heat’s turn to fire back.
The SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL records the reactions from Riley & crew about Shaq’s slams at his former South Beach buds.
Davis didn’t initially think much of Shaq’s comments, saying, “You can’t take stuff personally in the NBA. You’d go crazy.” But he thought about it, and later added, “It shows his true colors.”
Meanwhile, Quinn kept cool about the critiquing, replying, “To be honest with you, I don’t have too much to say about it. I don’t know. But it didn’t hurt me.”
But Riley was obviously wounded about Shaq’s smacks:
“It’s sad that he says those things. We shared so much here, together, for three years, good and bad, three and a half years. I just think it’s sad that he’s got to do that.”
Pat then turned the tables on his ex-player, saying the Big Cactus spent his final days in Miami acting like the Big Baby:
“He didn’t want to be there,” Riley said of when the Heat found itself trapped at the bottom of the standings. “He didn’t want to play for that kind of situation. He’s 35 years old and he wanted to go to a contender. And we sent him there. We sent him to Utopia and we’re here left with the carnage. And I don’t know why he’s not happy.”
And Riley took offense at O’Neal’s claims that he didn’t get the best treatment for his injured hip until he was traded to Phoenix:
“It’s really a shame that he would insult those people like that,” Riley said of the Heat medical staff. “Because they gave him care. They cared. They didn’t kiss his butt. They cared about trying to get him well. I don’t think that is the right thing for him to do. He can do whatever he wants to me. I don’t care. What upsets me is that those men sort of get tainted.”
Despite the harsh comments, Pat says he has no ill will toward O’Neal, saying, “I wish him nothing but the best. I don’t have anything but good feeling for Shaq. I mean it. I don’t care what he’s saying right now.”
And he shouldn’t, as the Heat coach has a lot to worry about at the moment. Like flights & hotels for this weekend’s NCAA Tournament.