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Thread: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

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    Default Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/warrior...t-championship

    Warriors' Jermaine O'Neal takes last shot at championship

    By Diamond Leung

    dleung@bayareanewsgroup.com


    Jermaine O'Neal believes he'll know when it's time for him to retire.

    The Warriors big man can envision a scenario this offseason in which he can't get into the proper frame of mind to start training for another season. That's a telling sign that an 18-year career that has seen stardom and 13 playoff appearances is near its end.
    "This could be it," said O'Neal, 35. "So this is my last chance to try to win a championship. That's how I view it right now, whether it is or not.

    "It affects all the way to how you view your pregame meal to your nap to your bus ride to the arena. Those things are a little more intense than they would normally be."

    O'Neal, who has averaged 11.3 points and eight rebounds in his first six games after the All-Star break, desperately wants his first NBA title. He knows opportunities to win one can be fleeting.

    On Tuesday, O'Neal -- for possibly the final time -- returns to Indiana. While with the Pacers from 2000-08, he garnered six All-Star selections. He still believes that Indiana would have won it all in 2005 had it not been for the Malice at the Palace brawl with Detroit fans.

    "That's one of those situations where it's always going to linger with me, always going to linger with me, 'What if?' O'Neal said last week after the Warriors' shootaround at The Palace. "What if that doesn't happen? Where would we be?"
    He let out a long sigh.

    "Things happen, man."

    The Nov. 19, 2004, incident during the Pacers-Pistons game began as an altercation between players before Indiana's Ron Artest charged into the stands after having a drink thrown on him by a fan.

    At one point in the chaos, O'Neal punched a fan who had trespassed onto the court near the Pacers bench to confront Artest. O'Neal had to be restrained from going after another fan near the tunnel as he was dragged to the locker room while fans hurled drinks.
    "It was a very regretful situation in general," O'Neal said. "I've been on record as saying what I did was in the flow of helping my teammates and in a situation where it wasn't about basketball. It wasn't about anything but survival. Now if I had an opportunity to take it back and it never happened, absolutely, because it changed the concept of a city."

    Then-NBA commissioner David Stern suspended O'Neal for 25 games. The penalty was reduced to 15 games by an arbitrator in a decision the NBA unsuccessfully challenged in federal court. Arbitrator Robert Kaplan cited O'Neal's "character, community involvement and citizenship" in reducing the suspension for a punch that "was clearly out of character."

    O'Neal, Artest and Stephen Jackson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges and were sentenced to probation, community service and fined.

    A dominant post player in the middle of a seven-year, $126 million contract, O'Neal was worn down mentally in the aftermath of the brawl and welcomed a 2008 trade that sent him to Toronto.

    O'Neal never did experience another playoff series win with Indiana after the Pacers lost to Detroit in the 2005 Eastern Conference semifinals. O'Neal still believes Indiana would have won the NBA championship that year had the brawl not derailed the season with suspensions and what he described as a cloud hanging over the franchise.

    "Here I'm into my 18th year, and I still haven't won a championship," O'Neal said. "I'm always going to believe, no matter if I win a championship or not, that was our time."

    The Warriors, his fifth team in the past six seasons, offered O'Neal not only an opportunity for contention but also a locker room in need of the vocal leadership he has provided.

    O'Neal has missed 33 games because of injuries this season, but being sidelined for seven weeks recovering from right wrist surgery might have been a blessing in disguise because it gave him time to have his body ready for the stretch run, according to coach Mark Jackson.
    "To go out playing at this high of a level is a heck of an accomplishment about who he is, how he conducts himself, and the type of professional that he is," Jackson said.

    "He's going to be able to say whether he wants to play anymore because the question will not be, 'Can he do it?' "
    O'Neal noted that his former Pacers teammate Artest, now named Metta World Peace, went won on to win a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    "Hopefully this year I can join the party," O'Neal said.

    For more on the Warriors, see the Inside the Warriors blog at ibabuzz.com/warriors. Follow Diamond Leung on Twitter at twitter.com/diamond83.

    Tuesday's game
    Warriors (36-24) at Indiana (46-13), 4 p.m. CSNBA

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    It's not looking so good JO. Golden State's train has fallen off the tracks. JO is one of my favorite Pacers players behind only Reggie, Chuck, and Detlef but I hope the Pacers blowout the Warriors tonight and that the Pacers win a championship this year.
    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81
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    Larry is not coming back, he didn't have a meeting with Orlando for not reason, yeah he is coming back to the NBA but not to the Pacers, the notion that he is a taking a year off and then come back is absurd.
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    GOOD GOD THAT'S LARRY BIRD'S MUSIC!

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    I can't wait until JO, Artest, and Jackson are out of the league for good so we can stop being reminded of the brawl multiple times a season

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
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    I can't wait until JO, Artest, and Jackson are out of the league for good so we can stop being reminded of the brawl multiple times a season
    The ten year anniversary of the event is coming up this fall. it will be discussed then.

    It will never go away completely. Just like the Rudy T and Kermit Washington fight. it will always be brought up

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    The ten year anniversary of the event is coming up this fall. it will be discussed then.

    It will never go away completely. Just like the Rudy T and Kermit Washington fight. it will always be brought up
    A bit like Godwins law?
    Yay, I don't know if we're going back to the play-offs!

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    JO was always one of my favorites, but as stated before, GSW just isn't that complete to be the best in the West. Especially with JO starting.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    JO was a beast physically, but could never back up what he said on the court. Part of that was injuries, but I am not sure he ever had the makeup to be a true #1 guy on a title contending team.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    My opinion of JO over the years went way up, way down, and now it's back to mostly up again. Loved him in his prime here, soured on him as I heard unflattering things about him behind the scenes (prima donna stuff, fighting with Artest, though the latter point I don't entirely blame him, really), and of course as his health and game declined, but looking back, I don't blame him for his body betraying him, and I think his other issues, if you put them on THIS team rather than THAT team, would seem far, far less of a problem than they seemed at the time, so I don't really care much about that stuff, either.

    I think overall Jermaine O'Neal was a nice, good person who gave us some great years in his prime as a Pacer, someone who loved BEING a Pacer, someone who cared about legacy and about this franchise, and he honored and respected the Pacer legend he got to play with (Reggie Miller), and I wish him the best, honestly.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    The ten year anniversary of the event is coming up this fall. it will be discussed then.

    It will never go away completely. Just like the Rudy T and Kermit Washington fight. it will always be brought up


    Yep its unrealistic for anyone to think otherwise especially when it was such an ugly moment not only in Pacers history but the history of American Sports in general. Hopefully we will never witness something like this again.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    J O will always be my guy. He went out the way to allow me to meet him on his honey moon here in Anguilla. He's a class act and a professional. I wish him the utmost best
    Impossible Is Nothing

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    I think all of us Pacer fans wonder what could have been if the brawl didn't happen. We might have won one, maybe even two, championships. But I believe it's a double-sided issue. Our current team, in my opinion, is better than the early 2000's teams. And if the brawl didn't happen, then today's team would look much different. Yes, there was a period of mediocrity, but I think the wait was worth it.

    As this pertains to Jermaine, he deserves a championship. But I hope he doesn't get it, because that means he'd beat the Pacers

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    He better hope Toronto doesn't pull off a Miracle.
    You can't get champagne from a garden hose.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    The ten year anniversary of the event is coming up this fall. it will be discussed then.

    It will never go away completely. Just like the Rudy T and Kermit Washington fight. it will always be brought up
    I don't expect it to ever be forgotten. I'm just tired of seeing it brought up whenever Joe Schmoe reporter gets to talk to any of the guys involved.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    I have a lot of mixed opinions on him. Until PG, I thought JO was the most talented player the Pacers have ever had. But his injuries changed him over the years. Also Mark Boyle who is around the players a lot was really only critical of 1 player during the early 00's and that was JO. Boyle was not critical of Stephen Jackson, Artest or even Tinsley, but he was of JO.

    Also a lot of the behind the scene stuff I heard about him soured me on JO. None of it matters now, but it was there.

    What I often saw on the court was what I labeled a lazy player. He failed to block out on rebounds a good percentage of the time, he failed to play with energy as often as he should have. His man-to-man one-on-one defense was not very good. His helpside defense was excellent.

    I'll leave it at that.


    As to whether the 2005 team would have won the championship. They would have been a contender, but the '04 team couldn't beat the Pistons so I doubt the '05 could have. But they would have had a chance to. But I also figured if it wasn't the brawl something else would have torn that team apart. So I doubt that team ever would have won a championship.
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 03-04-2014 at 04:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    My opinion of JO over the years went way up, way down, and now it's back to mostly up again. Loved him in his prime here, soured on him as I heard unflattering things about him behind the scenes (prima donna stuff, fighting with Artest, though the latter point I don't entirely blame him, really), and of course as his health and game declined, but looking back, I don't blame him for his body betraying him, and I think his other issues, if you put them on THIS team rather than THAT team, would seem far, far less of a problem than they seemed at the time, so I don't really care much about that stuff, either.

    I think overall Jermaine O'Neal was a nice, good person who gave us some great years in his prime as a Pacer, someone who loved BEING a Pacer, someone who cared about legacy and about this franchise, and he honored and respected the Pacer legend he got to play with (Reggie Miller), and I wish him the best, honestly.
    Couldn't say it better myself.

    JO remains my second favorite Pacer of all time behind Reggie.

    I suppose I understand all the hate he gets from some fans. Just wish it was different. I think most of it is completely undeserved.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    JO is easily the 2nd best Pacer in the NBA era right now. That's going to change very soon, but he's mostly been really under appreciated, as a player, by the majority of Pacers' fans.

    That six season stretch when he made the All-Star Game every year was incredible.

    Edit: I looked it up because I was curious: He averaged 18.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.5 blocks in his 8 seasons with the Pacers. Not too shabby.
    Last edited by Mackey_Rose; 03-04-2014 at 04:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    I think JO gets a worse rap around these parts, then in all honesty, he should. Was he perfect? No. Were there times where he acted like a diva and not the bonafide leader he was paid and supposed to be? Absolutely. However, it's never easy replacing a legend (Reggie), and while JO never quite took over the team the way he should've. He's probably one of the best and most talented big men the Pacers ever had. He put up a string of terrific seasons and at least in the public spotlight, was well spoken and did the right things.

    It's a shame that he lost his knees because when he could "lift" when he was younger, he was a really fun player to watch. He suffered some odd injuries to that knee, but he also bulked up and placed a lot of unnecessary weight on those knees so that he could play center for the Pacers, which I think a lot of people forget about. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake. Either way, it would be nice if he could finish his career with the Pacers in some capacity, whether that is some ceremony or one day deal. However, I think he's a reminder of the The Brawl, so the Pacers may just avoid the issue entirely and let him fade away.
    Last edited by PR07; 03-04-2014 at 05:22 PM. Reason: bc

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    I would have LOVED to see him as a backup big off the bench for us and see him win a title here.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnar View Post
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    I would have LOVED to see him as a backup big off the bench for us and see him win a title here.
    I never want to see that bum in blue and gold ever again. He had his shot here for a title yet he chose (along with Jackson, Tinsley and Artest) to derail Reggie's last shot at a ring.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    My opinion of JO over the years went way up, way down, and now it's back to mostly up again. Loved him in his prime here, soured on him as I heard unflattering things about him behind the scenes (prima donna stuff, fighting with Artest, though the latter point I don't entirely blame him, really), and of course as his health and game declined, but looking back, I don't blame him for his body betraying him, and I think his other issues, if you put them on THIS team rather than THAT team, would seem far, far less of a problem than they seemed at the time, so I don't really care much about that stuff, either.

    I think overall Jermaine O'Neal was a nice, good person who gave us some great years in his prime as a Pacer, someone who loved BEING a Pacer, someone who cared about legacy and about this franchise, and he honored and respected the Pacer legend he got to play with (Reggie Miller), and I wish him the best, honestly.
    Great post Hicks.

    I don't really think he was a huge part of the problem as many make him out to be. He was on a team with a bunch of selfish players that only cared about the lifestyle and money that the NBA brought them. I feel like had he been on a TEAM like we have now, most would look at him in a completely different light.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    I read all of these testimonials to JO and all I know about the guy is when they played those Pistons in the years we had a chance, Rasheed would have him over for dinner the night before the game and then just eat JO up on the court on game day.
    Seemed JO was easily intimidated by his "friends."

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Fawn Lebowitz View Post
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    I never want to see that bum in blue and gold ever again. He had his shot here for a title yet he chose (along with Jackson, Tinsley and Artest) to derail Reggie's last shot at a ring.
    These are the posts that I hate so damn much. JO isn't the one that went into the stands. Artest is. Artest is the one who ****ed it all up. Yeah, there was some locker room **** with JO, no doubt about it. But that isn't what cost up our best shot at the title. It was Artest. And then once again it was Artest who demanded a trade the next year.

    So many people look at JO and just see him as the one who failed to bring a Championship to Indy. No one looks at Reggie, or anyone from the 90s teams like that. Artest ruined the mid 00's team. Not JO, not Jackson, not even Tinsley.

    "That bum" was one of the best Pacers of all time and at his peak, was arguably the best Pacer of all time.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by ilive4sports View Post
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    These are the posts that I hate so damn much. JO isn't the one that went into the stands. Artest is. Artest is the one who ****ed it all up. Yeah, there was some locker room **** with JO, no doubt about it. But that isn't what cost up our best shot at the title. It was Artest. And then once again it was Artest who demanded a trade the next year.

    So many people look at JO and just see him as the one who failed to bring a Championship to Indy. No one looks at Reggie, or anyone from the 90s teams like that. Artest ruined the mid 00's team. Not JO, not Jackson, not even Tinsley.

    "That bum" was one of the best Pacers of all time and at his peak, was arguably the best Pacer of all time.
    I am not going to go that far with my comments about JO, but I can see why some have a sour taste in their mouth about him. JO always talked a big game, but in crunch time he was nowhere to be found. He signed the big contract and never lived up to it. Yes, part of it was injuries, but part of it was that he was just never a #1.

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    Default Re: Jermaoine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    My opinion of JO over the years went way up, way down, and now it's back to mostly up again. Loved him in his prime here, soured on him as I heard unflattering things about him behind the scenes (prima donna stuff, fighting with Artest, though the latter point I don't entirely blame him, really), and of course as his health and game declined, but looking back, I don't blame him for his body betraying him, and I think his other issues, if you put them on THIS team rather than THAT team, would seem far, far less of a problem than they seemed at the time, so I don't really care much about that stuff, either.

    I think overall Jermaine O'Neal was a nice, good person who gave us some great years in his prime as a Pacer, someone who loved BEING a Pacer, someone who cared about legacy and about this franchise, and he honored and respected the Pacer legend he got to play with (Reggie Miller), and I wish him the best, honestly.
    Thanking this post is not enough. This is one of the best descriptions of JO I have read on this board. I had his bobblehead and he was my favorite player for awhile. Things changed over time very much as Hicks described.

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    Default Re: Jermaine O'Neal going for a championship. Some of his comments on the brawl in Detroit

    http://www.indystar.com/story/sports...-good/6049823/

    Bob Kravitz: Former Pacer Jermaine O'Neal was (and is) oh-so-good
    Bob Kravitz, IndyStar 9:46 a.m. EST March 5, 2014
    For someone who produced for Pacers and city, he got a bum rap after the brawl

    If we're going to be honest about this, the chance that Jermaine O'Neal's No. 7 Pacers jersey will hang in the Banker's Life Fieldhouse rafters someday is the longest of long shots. For better or worse — mostly worse — he got caught in the wash of The Brawl and the post-Brawl hysterics, unfairly becoming a representative of everything that had gone wrong with the Indiana Pacers in 2003-04 and beyond.

    And that's a shame. Because O'Neal is not only one of the best players ever to don a Pacers' uniform, but one of the very best people to come through this town. From the time he arrived in 2000 as a skinny kid to the time he was dealt for the rights to draft Roy Hibbert, O'Neal gave body and soul to this organization. And if the Brawl hadn't happened, if Ron Artest hadn't gone up into the stands in Detroit, there's a pretty good chance O'Neal could have delivered a championship.

    "I would appreciate (having the jersey hang in Bankers Life),'' O'Neal said before Tuesday night's 98-96 last-second Pacers loss to the Golden State Warriors. "Funny, I was talking to some people earlier today about the perception of some people in the city, like I gave up on them. I don't know what was said after I was gone, but there was one meeting I had with Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh and Herb Simon, and we all mutually agreed we wanted to put the team in the best position to move on to the next chapter.

    "You're talking about a situation that just wore on everybody. And until you clean the shelves you just can't move on. But my love for this city, I think I proved that. The amount of money I put into this city, the food drives, the Christmas gifts — I didn't get sponsorships for any of that. My love for this organization to this day is still the same. I'll always be considered a Pacer. People ask me who I want to retire as, it'll be as a Pacer, there's no doubt.''

    In the end, it's unlikely O'Neal's jersey will join the likes of Mel Daniels and Reggie Miller. The harsh memories of that day in Detroit are still too fresh, still too recent having happened nine years ago. He was the marquee player on that team, and when that team fell apart — and it fell apart the year after the Brawl with several off-court incidents and Artest's trade request — it somehow shone a negative light on O'Neal.

    Which was hugely unfair.

    Statistically, O'Neal rates as one of the best Pacers ever. players ever to don a Pacers jersey. He was a six-time All Star. He was the 2001-02 Most Improved Player. He was three-time all-NBA. He finished third in the MVP voting in 2004. He's the franchise leader in blocked shots and third in all-time scoring average, ahead of even Reggie Miller.

    "I would like to think I'd be considered one of the best Pacers who ever played,'' O'Neal said. "Numbers don't lie. If that's the case (the Pacers retire his jersey), great, and if not, I promise you I won't be bitter about it because that experience, that situation got me to where I am now.''

    For all his excellence, though, he is remembered for being the centerpiece of a team that imploded.

    Did he play a role in the Brawl? Absolutely. When two idiot fans walked onto the floor looking for trouble, O'Neal took a running start, thankfully slipped (or he would have killed somebody) and punched the interlopers in the head. His actions, though, were forgivable. By then the whole thing had gotten treacherously out of hand, and two fans had taken it upon themselves to walk onto the floor in front of the Pacers bench.

    "It's not something I like to talk about,'' O'Neal said. "…The Brawl divided the whole city. It became a cultural issue. That's the biggest issue I had with the whole thing. And remember, people made bad decisions after that. But you can't condemn a culture for what happened. A person for what they did, yes, but the problem was it became a cultural issue, it became a big conversation piece. Then the tattoos, the headbands and the braids became too much. That's the issue I had.

    "But I completely understood a change was needed. And you've got to accept whatever role you played in it.''

    Now he was back in town with the Golden State Warriors, taking a victory tour of the NBA in what will likely (not surely, but likely) his 18th and final season. And Tuesday, he wasn't just taking up a spot on the bench, playing more minutes (30) than all but two Golden State starters while scoring seven points, grabbing four offensive rebounds and blocking two shots.

    It's strange to think about the skinny kid who came here in 2000, the spindly guy with the impossibly long arms and legs, only to see him now, a man in full, the father of two, a wizened sage of a player.

    He was asked if he was looking at this as his last game at Bankers Life, which was Conseco back during O'Neal's days.

    "Absolutely,'' he said. "I look at every arena different now, (Madison Square) Garden the other night, every bus ride is different. It's like having a girlfriend you've loved so much for so long. Then when you're coming to the end, it becomes very emotional and you tend to slow down and appreciate everything a little bit more. The opportunity to play this game has been fantastic, the good, the bad and the ugly.''

    O'Neal will not always be a uniformly beloved figure in this town — he got appreciative but lukewarm applause when he entered Tuesday night's game — and that's kind of a shame.

    He was always one of my favorites, even when we had our occasional verbal sparring sessions.

    Still is.

    Always will be.

    Bob Kravitz is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star. Call him at (317) 444-6643 or email bob.kravitz@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BKravitz.
    I know I'm in the minority about this, but I absolutely think #7 should be up there.

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