Pat Riley Laughs Off Shaquille O’Neal’s Criticism

Shaq, as the kids might say, went in on Pat Riley in the writing of his heavily-promoted book, but O’Neal’s former coach took the harsh criticism in stride. From the Sun-Sentinel: “Monday, at a Miami Heat Thanksgiving event at the Miami Rescue Mission, Riley took a moment from assisting to address some of what recently has come his way from his former star center. ‘He’s marketing. He’s a marketer. He’s just marketing right now,’ Riley told the Sun Sentinel with a dismissive laugh. ‘That’s all he’s doing.’ Riley then was asked specifically about the use of the term ‘Gestapo.’ ‘I’m trying to figure out whether or not Hannibal Lecter, the Gestapo or John Gotti, I don’t know which one is worse,’ Riley said of the characterizations he’s received from O’Neal over the years. ‘They’re all equally insulting.’ He smiled, then paused, ‘but Coach is good enough for me.’ O’Neal’s book chronicles the deterioration of their relationship after Riley coached O’Neal and the Heat to the 2006 NBA championship. At one point in the book, O’Neal writes of Riley, ‘He had cameras everywhere. Cameras on the practice court, cameras in the locker room, probably even cameras in the bathroom. He wanted to know everything.’ Of Heat employees, O’Neal wrote, ‘They were all scared of Pat.’ And at another point, he wrote, ‘You can’t stand up to Pat. If you do, you’re gone.’ Aware of what O’Neal has circulated amid the media tour that accompanied the book’s release last week, Riley joked to the assembled media at Monday’s event that they should wish O’Neal a happy Thanksgiving.”