After fouling out with more than nine minutes left in the Celtics Christmas Day loss to Orlando, Shaquille O’Neal took aim at the officials, and for his comments the league docked him $35,000.
His initial reaction?
“Whoopdie-freaking-do,” he said.
Then, he thought it over.
“In 20 years of playing in the NBA,” he said, “I’ve paid over $90 million in federal tax, $40 million in FICA tax, and $1 million in David Stern tax.”
It was the second time this month that O’Neal fouled out of a game, and afterwards he laid into longtime referee Bob Delaney, saying sarcastically that No. 26 — Delaney’s referee number — had a great game.
“[The fans] paid all that money to watch No. 26 play,” O’Neal said. “If I was a fan, I would be [upset]. You pay all that money for good seats, you have two of the best guys in the league sitting on the bench out of the game. That is what happens when you have control freaks out there.”
It’s the first fine of the season for the Celtics, who racked up $175,000 in league fines as a team last season. Most of that was rung up by Rasheed Wallace ($100,000), who had a strained relationship with officials. But the Celtics are coming to find out the refs have some hard feelings about O’Neal as well.
“It’s interesting,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “You can see the relationships he has with certain guys for sure.”