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Thread: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved {IndyStar}

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    Member Frank Slade's Avatar
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    Default O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved {IndyStar}

    Sunday February 18, 2007

    O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved

    Pacers' 6-time All-Star remains frustrated by his team's dearth of NBA championship runs

    By Mike Wells
    mike.wells@indystar.com

    His 6-11, still-developing frame towered over most fans attending the 2000 NBA All-Star Game in Oakland, Calif.

    Jermaine O'Neal was 21, a bench-warmer in Portland, yes, but one with stars in his eyes. He wanted to see the show, though he was no ordinary spectator, a fact not lost on those who stopped him at every turn.

    Scottie Pippen told him the sky was the limit. Fans promised him that, some day soon, he would be an All-Star, too. Isiah Thomas met O'Neal for the first time and told him, "Your time will come."

    And so it did.

    Six months later, O'Neal was traded to Indiana, where he immediately began to lay the foundation of a potential Hall of Fame career.

    Today in Las Vegas, the face of the franchise will make his team-record sixth All-Star appearance, one more than Pacers icon Reggie Miller.

    "You can't say you're fully surprised because they traded Dale (Davis) for him," said center Jeff Foster, the only remaining Pacer from when O'Neal was acquired. "I'm not saying Dale was the cornerstone, but with Rik (Smits) leaving and Mark (Jackson) leaving, he was an important piece to our team. For (CEO) Donnie Walsh to trade him for a young kid that hadn't played very much, you knew he had potential. It was just a matter of getting to play, which he hadn't done much of in Portland."

    At 28 and in his 11th season, O'Neal now is a veteran in a youth-laden All-Star Game that includes young pups LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.

    They represent the league's future. Yet O'Neal still likes his, even if he isn't exactly sure where it will be.

    His seven-year, $127 million contract officially expires after the 2009-10 season. He can opt out after the 2007-08 season but has said he might ask to be traded if he can't lead this team deep into the playoffs. O'Neal plans to discuss his future with Walsh and team president Larry Bird after the season.

    "Whatever happens after the season happens," O'Neal said. "My preference is to be here, but if the situation ain't right, it ain't right."
    Delivering on promise
    "If I can't get the job done and I don't have the year (I expect), I shouldn't be here," O'Neal said that day. "We have to cut ties."
    O'Neal was frustrated with the team's underachieving season.

    Frustrated with injuries that limited him the previous two seasons.

    Frustrated to the point where he didn't enjoy walking in the locker room every day.
    O'Neal vowed to return in top shape and have a career year.

    At first glance, his statistics (19.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 blocks) don't scream "career year," but his supporters do, particularly in how he has emerged as a defensive force.

    "Without a doubt, it is (his best season)," Walsh said. "There might be years where he's put up better numbers and all that, but I judge it by the fact of what you expect out of an All-Star, either on the defensive or offensive end. He's carried the load for us."

    Said coach Rick Carlisle: "He has struck a balance in carrying the offensive load and keeping other guys involved from a game and confidence standpoint. One of the signs of a high-level player in this league is his ability to not only play the game at a high level, but raise the level of his teammates. He's doing that."

    O'Neal insists it's only the beginning.

    "I've only shown flashes of who I am," he said. "The final product has yet to be seen. People always say you lose a step the older you get. Even though my body has taken a beating the past two years from wear and tear, I feel good mentally. I haven't tapped into the area that's going to take me over the top."

    O'Neal likely will add to his All-Star appearances -- here or elsewhere. He has led the Pacers in scoring average the past five seasons. He is the franchise's all-time leader in blocked shots.

    But there's something missing. He wants to step outside Miller's shadow and provide the city the one thing Miller didn't.

    "All those things that I've done are good, but my ultimate goal is to do something nobody has done in a Pacers uniform: that's win a championship," O'Neal said. "I look at the trials and tribulations we've been through the past three years. We have to go through those to get to the ultimate goal."

    Will it happen as a Pacer?

    Bird has been around the NBA as a player, coach or decision-maker for 20 years, and he understands O'Neal's frustration with the constant inconsistency.O'Neal's frustrations spilled out last summer as he sat inside an empty Conseco Fieldhouse practice court.

    What Bird doesn't understand is why O'Neal went public about his future for the second time in seven months last month after a loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

    "I've seen this stuff happen before. He's having a heck of a year, but if he wants to sit down at the end of the season still, we'll sit down with him," Bird said. "Guys get frustrated, but they don't understand what it does to the perception of our fans when they see that stuff."

    Questions surrounding O'Neal's future will likely continue to arise as long as the Pacers stay around the .500 mark. He said he doesn't plan to spend what could be his final 30 games here constantly answering questions about it.

    "I don't have time for that," O'Neal said. "My concern is what I have to deal with now, and that's winning games. We're trying to get back to where we were before. We can do that. At the end of the day when I hang up my shoes and jersey, I want to be talked about as a champion, not just a great player."

    Whether that happens -- and where it might happen -- remains to be seen.
    IndyStar

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  2. #2
    Grumpy Old Man (PD host) able's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Trust "enquirer-Mike" to write something like this.
    So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.

    If you've done 6 impossible things today?
    Then why not have Breakfast at Milliways!


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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Is it just me or does it seem like Mike Wells is always writing something negative about the Pacers? I always thought Montieth had/has positive things to say about the Pacers without being too much of a homer. It just seems like Wells is always the bringer of bad news or spins thing in a negative way. Just my impression.

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    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Quote Originally Posted by able View Post
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    Trust "enquirer-Mike" to write something like this.
    I didn't see anything wrong with it.

  5. #5
    Grumpy Old Man (PD host) able's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    I didn't see anything wrong with it.
    Hick more nad more Mike Wells articles are becoming articles like the ones you see here daliy in the tabloids.
    There's nothing really wrong with it, but they are not really what it is either.

    This article is based upon a lot of old quotes and shows nothing new, just tries to stir things up a bit, not in a positive sense, but in a negative way.

    He has not just interviewed JO in LV, nor has he recently spoken to DW but he uses old quotes to "remind" people of what he wants to bring across.

    It is how tabloid journalist write their pieces, they take a little bit of interviews of others, throw them together and suggest there is something there that aint there.

    I have not seen Wells write anything positive about the Pacers in ages.

    This is not different from that.
    So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.

    If you've done 6 impossible things today?
    Then why not have Breakfast at Milliways!


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    Say it out loud. Graham Mernatsi's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Quote Originally Posted by Title
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    O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}
    Come on, throw me a bone here.


  7. #7
    How u imawhat's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Quote Originally Posted by able View Post
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    Hick more nad more Mike Wells articles are becoming articles like the ones you see here daliy in the tabloids.
    There's nothing really wrong with it, but they are not really what it is either.

    This article is based upon a lot of old quotes and shows nothing new, just tries to stir things up a bit, not in a positive sense, but in a negative way.

    He has not just interviewed JO in LV, nor has he recently spoken to DW but he uses old quotes to "remind" people of what he wants to bring across.

    It is how tabloid journalist write their pieces, they take a little bit of interviews of others, throw them together and suggest there is something there that aint there.

    I have not seen Wells write anything positive about the Pacers in ages.

    This is not different from that.



    Exactly. I've never seen someone use the same old quotes as a point of emphasis for so many articles.


    To put it in perspective, it would be like Mike Chappell writing an article tomorrow titled "Manning calls Vanderjagt an idiot kicker".


    The article is nothing more than stirring the kool-aid. MW never has anything productive to say, and now he's stuck on repeating his story. I wonder if Jermaine quit talking to him after the last couple of times he used those quotes (props to him if he did).


    BTW, I'm not quite sure that Jermaine re-iterated those comments after the Dallas loss and only said them before the season started. I have yet to find a source saying those quotes are new, even though Larry seems to think they were.

  8. #8
    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    I didn't see anything wrong with it.
    I didn't see anything wrong with this one either. ...or maybe I did. It was benign and boring. That's his other problem. If he's not being negative, his articles are not a good read anyway. JMO.

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    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Maybe niether side (JO-TPTB) are all that happy with one another these days (or in a very introspective place) and Wells is just reporting the general mood from this inside?

    Like it or not, it is his job to be accurate.

    Does anyone know he's not being accurate in reporting the mood?


    -Bball
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    "O'Neal Shines in All-Star 2007" - Did anyone on Pacers.com actually watch the game? Or check the box score?

    Although he did have a pair of nice blocks, I wouldn't say he...shone, shined??

  11. #11
    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved [IndyStar}

    Today in Las Vegas, the face of the franchise will make his team-record sixth All-Star appearance, one more than Pacers icon Reggie Miller.

    "You can't say you're fully surprised because they traded Dale (Davis) for him," said center Jeff Foster, the only remaining Pacer from when O'Neal was acquired. "I'm not saying Dale was the cornerstone, but with Rik (Smits) leaving and Mark (Jackson) leaving, he was an important piece to our team. For (CEO) Donnie Walsh to trade him for a young kid that hadn't played very much, you knew he had potential. It was just a matter of getting to play, which he hadn't done much of in Portland."
    On another note, I like Jeff complementing both Dale and JO in the same quote. Now that is being a positive teammate and improving the waters, more than responding to a "you hustle and work hard, why is that" question.

    It's just that touch of respect for your teammates that carries a lot of weight IMO.

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    Administrator Roaming Gnome's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved {IndyStar}

    To me, the timing didn't make much sense for Well to roll this article out.
    There is nothing newsworthy in the article, just a few old quotes that can draw a crowd. Maybe he is taking lessons from the head "Bomb Thrower" at The Star.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I didn't see anything wrong with this one either. ...or maybe I did. It was benign and boring. That's his other problem. If he's not being negative, his articles are not a good read anyway. JMO.
    I was rather bored reading it, too!
    ...Still "flying casual"
    @roaminggnome74

  13. #13
    Intuition over Integers McKeyFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: O'Neal's legacy yet unresolved {IndyStar}

    Maybe TPTB is laying the groundwork for a trade.
    .

    .

    .

    .


    “People talk about how quiet he [McKey] is, but he’s really been helpful. He gives a lot of insight to players in how to guard certain teams and what their weaknesses are. The whole team listens to him, and it makes my job a lot easier. Having players like him is what pro basketball is all about for me.” —Larry Brown

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