Photo by Jay Westcott | Getty Images
Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: USA Today

Normally, being viewed as a nice person is a good thing. Opening doors for people, being very courteous, or even picking someone up when they are down are all examples of being a nice person.

Except for when your name is Dwight Howard. In that case being too nice can make you one of, if not the, most disliked player on your team. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal took to the airwaves this morning on  The Max and Marcellus Show on ESPNLA 710, via Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, to talk about how Dwight being “too nice” could land him somewhere he does not want to be.

“I’m a connoisseur of giggling and playing and all that and making you laugh and playing with the fans, but when I cross that line, I’m ready to tear your face off. I don’t care who it is. You could put one of my aunts or uncles out there, and I’m going to give him these elbows in their chest and I’m going to throw it down in their face. That’s what you have to do… He’s just too nice. If I was him, I would get into the same mood I was in.”

It is no secret that Shaq has always been very critical of Howard. From his days in Orlando to now he has always provided his input on what Dwight should be doing. However I cannot bring myself to disagree with Shaquille. Howard has reached a point in his career where he must decide on who he wants to be and what he wants to accomplish. He cannot allow the expectations of fans, media, and the rest of the outside world control him.

“I just know when it comes to pressure, you either run away from it or you handle it,” O’Neal said. “The first day I got to the Forum, the great Jerry Westsaid, ‘Son, look up.’ And I saw Kareem’s jersey, Wilt’s jersey and all the great jerseys. He said, ‘Shaq, I know you do movies, I know you do albums, but you need to get at least two or three championships while you’re here or this move will be considered a bust.’ So for me, it was a lot of pressure but I like the pressure. Especially when you see other greats say that he’s like a Wilt or he’s like a Kareem. I knew I had to step up.”

“He should have known all of this when he signed with L.A. He should have known what he was getting into. My advice to him is to look pressure in the face and give it the one-two combination and knock it out.”

O’Neal did not stop there. As he also spoke about how he wants Howard to put fear into his opponents. He said:

“The fact that he’s the so-called best big man in the league and doesn’t get doubled every time, that’s telling me something. That’s telling me teams respect him but they don’t fear him. I would rather be feared than respected.”

When asked why he has been so hard on Howard he replied by saying that it’s his job. He has to be the way that the great centers before him were. It’s not to be mean to Howard but instead to push him to the greatness in which everyone can see within him.

“I think it’s my duty to help this young man become one of the best big men in the league,” O’Neal said. “I’m from the old school. I’m not doing it nicely. I’m pushing buttons, I’m talking about you and I’m doing it like this. … I think it’s my job as a former big man to get him to play up to par.

“When I was in L.A., Kareem and Wilt never spoke to me. They never said two things to me. I took that as a, OK, you all don’t think I’m as good as you yet. Well, watch this. That’s what it was — motivation. Everything I say should be taken as motivation. He’s the best big man in the league, and it’s my job to make sure he plays that way. Period.”

Even with the back surgery, the torn labrum and all else that bothered Howard was still seen as one of, if not the, best center in the NBA this season. With the type of mindset that Shaq is pushing for him to obtain he would not only become the best center in the league  but become on of the greatest ever to play the position. All that is left for Dwight to do is make up his mind and have a mean streak.

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