Early Wednesday morning, the Players’ Tribune dropped a fascinating piece by Darius Miles which was edited by his close friend and former teammate, Quentin Richardson. It details his early days in the league playing for the L.A. Clippers, alongside Richardson, after entering the NBA right out of high school.
There are stories about crashing Alonzo Mourning’s jet ski, getting respect from Michael Jordan and the general craziness of the Clippers franchise in the early 2000’s. Finally, Miles explains his fall from the league and his efforts to work through tragedy and mental health issues. It’s truly an incredible piece, and well worth reading in full.
One of the best stories, though, is worth sharing here. It comes from Miles’ days as a rookie with the Clippers, and he shared it as an example of how they got respect from people, even if the team wasn’t that good. And that included Shaquille O’Neal, who was in the middle of running off a three-peat with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Via the Players’ Tribune:
We only won 31 games that first season, but you would’ve thought we made the Conference Finals. Everybody showed us love.
Editor’s note: Everybody.
I remember one day I was running late for practice, so I was flying down the 405. All of a sudden, I look in the rearview, and I see the flashing lights. This unmarked police truck is right up on me. Tinted windows. Big heavy-duty truck. Woop-woop.
I knew I was speeding. So I pull over, and I roll the window down, and I’m reaching over into the glove compartment to get my papers ….
… Then I hear this voice. Big, booming voice.
“WHERE YOU G’WAN, BOY?”
I’m like, Damn, they got the sergeant on me or something?
I turn to look out the window, and I can’t even see this dude’s face he’s so big. All I see is his chest.
“I SAID WHERE YOU G’WAN BOY?”
Then he bends down and looks in the window.
Big, dumbass grin on his face.
I’m like, “Yo! I’m going to practice! You made me late!”
He don’t miss a beat. He taps side of my truck, turns around and says, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll pay your fine. Just holler at me.”
I’m looking in the rearview mirror, like, How the hell …
Shaq’s got one of those old-school police lights that you put on the hood of your car like you see on C.O.P.S.
He gets in, laughing his ass off, waving at me.
That absolutely seems like something that Shaq would do, and looking back it is pretty funny. Plus, that he would take time out of his day while he was in his prime and running the league just to show some love to a rookie is proof of how popular Miles and the Clippers were back then.
Still, though, the real story we’re missing here is how in the world Shaq knew it was Miles in the car. In any case, this is a fun story.
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