J. O'Neal makes impact with leadership skills (Baltimore media)
J. O'Neal makes impact with leadership skills
Milton Kent -- On the NBA
Originally published February 29, 2004
Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has seen Jermaine O'Neal come a long way since Carlisle coached O'Neal in the Utah summer league in 1996 when both were with the Portland Trail Blazers.
So, when Carlisle hears that O'Neal believes his leadership is the best part of his game, the coach isn't surprised.
"I believe that Jermaine realizes at this point in time in his career and where this team is, a lot of the most valuable tangible things he can bring to this team are stability and leadership," Carlisle said recently. "To me, this year, he's really helped guys around him become better."
Carlisle says O'Neal, on the short list of candidates for NBA Most Valuable Player, has helped center Jeff Foster develop the confidence that he belongs in the starting lineup, where he landed when the Pacers traded Brad Miller in the offseason.
And O'Neal played a key role in helping Ron Artest control his passions and become an All-Star forward.
"He's been a constant in terms of being the source of encouragement for our younger guys," Carlisle said. "Those types of things don't show up in the stats or in the box score, but ... they are essential if you're going to be a winning team."
For the 6-foot-11 O'Neal, who sat largely unused on the Portland bench for four years until he was traded to Indiana in 2000, becoming the leader of the Pacers, the Eastern Conference's top team, is because Reggie Miller let him lead.
"Once I got to Indiana ... [I] was able to watch Reggie Miller not only talk about it, but he practices what he preaches," said O'Neal, who was 15th in the NBA in scoring and ninth in rebounding before last night's games. "Every day, it's about basketball, and it's about what you do off the court that can make everybody else around you take to you and make everybody else that's around you better.
"Right now, he's kind of passed the torch, and two years ago, before the New Jersey series, he told me that we would go as far as I took them and that meant a lot to me. To hear that from a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players to ever play the game and to have him say that to me at that particular point, that meant a lot to me."
With Artest out of the lineup indefinitely with a wrist injury, the mantle of leadership will likely fall harder on O'Neal. Chances are pretty good that his shoulders will be able to handle it.
Re: J. O'Neal makes impact with leadership skills (Baltimore media)
I was thinking about this topic last night as I sat at Conseco Fieldhouse.
A lot of "superstars" poison their team by doing one of the following
- Not practicing hard
- Being too harsh on teammates, expecting them to be as good as you are
- Shifting leadership responsibilities to others.
J.O has done none of this, he never criticizes his teammates in anything other than a positive way