It's rare to discover a candid sports autobiography-- even rare when the author is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. But in Shaq Talks Back, Shaquille O'Neal for the first time talks frankly about his childhood, his life, his rivalries, and his career, culminating in a dramatic, behind-the-scenes account of the Los Angeles Lakers' drive to the NBA Championship.
At seven feet one inch tall and 330 pounds, Shaq has always faced outsized expectations, even as a child when he towered over other kids. Shaq Talks Back is the story of how potential became reality-- how someone expected to be a champion finally learned to become one. Beginning with his memory of crying on the court after the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers, Shaq takes us back to his younger days in Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey, then to Georgia and finally to Germany, where he began to harness some of his height and strength.
From there, he recounts the remarkable progress of his basketball career, changing from a big but inexperienced teenager to a dominant college and professional player. Shaq talks about:
* Playing at Louisiana State University for the unpredictable coach Dale Brown
* Signing the biggest rookie contract ever with the Orlando Magic-- and going to the NBA Finals for the first time
* What happened next: dissention, disappointment, and his decision to leave for Los Angeles
* The dysfunctional Lakers who were never able to win the big games
* Dealing with egos as he finds the right chemistry with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, and new additions to the team
* Rivalries with Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and others
* The trouble with free throws...
* "Bling-bling" and women: the larger-than-life world of NBA players off the court
* Inside the Lakers' comeback from the brink against Portland and the drive to the NBA championship
Funny, insightful, opinionated, and unexpectedly moving, Shaq Talks Back is the true voice of the NBA's best player.