Shaq issues edict: 'I'm a brick wall'

Updated: December 21, 2004, 1:26 AM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal has some advice for former teammate Kobe Bryant when the rivals play against each other for the first time -- stay out of the lane.

Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O'Neal

"If you've got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what's gonna happen," he said in a halftime interview on ABC's "Monday Night Football." "He's a Corvette. I'm a brick wall. So you know what's gonna happen."

O'Neal and his new team, the Miami Heat, play Bryant and the Lakers on Saturday in Los Angeles. The two feuded for most of his time there. O'Neal asked to be traded to Miami in the offseason after the Lakers lost to Detroit in the NBA Finals.

If you've got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what's gonna happen.
Shaquille O'Neal

"A lot of people think you have to have a relationship to play together and win championships. That's not true at all and it was evident. But you have to have respect," O'Neal said. "Were we ever close? Not really. Did I respect his game? Of course I did."

O'Neal said he didn't find out that Lakers coach Phil Jackson had been fired after losing to the Pistons until seeing it on the NBA's Web site.

"Now usually when something like that goes down, I'm either the first or second to know about it," he said. "So when he was fired without my knowledge, I knew some changes were going to be made."

Bryant told ESPN last week that he couldn't reach O'Neal to talk to him before the trade because he didn't have his phone number. O'Neal told ABC's Al Michaels he had no reaction to that.

"Because I know how he really is. I've been trying to say that for eight years. But you have to look at the individuals and see what type of people that they are," he said. "I've always done things the right way, I've always done things the classy way."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press