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Former Lakers Star Reveals Why He Was Unhappy Playing With Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade

Published 02/25/2024, 7:00 AM EST

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You would not expect NBA stars to be unhappy playing for a team like the Miami Heat, especially after they had won their first championship in 2006. A team lined up with players like Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, and Alonzo Mourning. But that was not the case with Smush Parker. However, Parker does not blame anyone or any contract issues leading to his initial misery in South Beach, but his own hard luck.

Appearing on VLAD TV, Parker made the first ever on-air revelation regarding his injury before landing in Miami. “I signed with the Miami Heat, but that summer, I broke a bone in my foot…I fractured a bone in my foot.” He admitted not being truthful about the injury with the franchise. He termed the injury as a high-sprained ankle to Heat officials. “I couldn’t be truthful in that situation. I wouldn’t have got on the team,” Parker said, defending himself.

The former Los Angeles Lakers point guard further mentioned that his fractured bone put him out of play for four months as he needed to heal. “In that time, I was out from playing basketball. I gained 50 pounds,” he said. Parker highlighted that this four months’ time combined with his thoughts of not being able to play again and the contract with the Heat took a heavy mental toll on him. He did stress eating without realizing it and had no workout whatsoever.

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As a result, he showed up at the Miami Heat training camp out of shape. “I show up to training camp of Miami Heat. Pat Riley, training camp, 50 pounds overweight. And anybody who knows Pat Riley knows that’s a cardinal sin,” Parker said. Smush was subsequently not allowed to practice as Riley holds high regard for physical fitness and believes training camps are no place to get into shape but to practice.

Parker then revealed that he was put on a diet routine, doing extra cardio work until he got down to a certain weight level. And it was as if Smush was specifically left out of the practice routine. He mentioned that he was accompanied by two other players on this diet and cardio routine.

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Smush Parker’s bond with Shaquille O’Neal

While the names Smush Parker and Shaquille O’Neal might not conjure images of a close friendship, their shared experiences with Kobe Bryant led to an unlikely bond. Smush was Kobe’s teammate on the LA Lakers from 2005-2007. He faced harsh criticism for his on-court performance from the Black Mamba, who publicly voiced his frustrations, further fueling the negativity surrounding Parker. Meanwhile, Parker also termed playing with Kobe as “overrated”.

Shaq, on the other hand, clashed with Kobe during their Lakers tenure, leading to a well-publicized trade request and their eventual separation. Years after their respective Lakers stints, Parker and Shaq crossed paths unexpectedly at a New York City nightclub. They struck up a conversation, and it wasn’t long before their shared experiences with Kobe became a common ground.

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Irrespective of the basis of the formation of the bond, Parker has expressed high regard for it. So much so that he credits Shaq for his contract with the Miami Heat. “He (Shaq) made a phone call, and the next day I had a contract on the table with the Miami Heat.” That is one way to form a bond!

Read More: 1 Phonecall From Shaquille O’Neal At Fateful Nightclub Encounter Changed NBA Legend’s Fortunes

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Written by:

Khelendra Kumar Yadav

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Khelendra is an NBA writer at Essentially Sports, where he brings insightful analysis and engaging content to basketball enthusiasts worldwide. With a passion for the game cultivated from his own experiences as a basketball player, he has represented his school team in numerous tournaments, honing both skills and an intimate understanding of the sport. Khelendra holds a PG Diploma in Digital Media from a reputed university, providing him with a solid foundation in multimedia storytelling and digital content creation.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth