O'Neal suspended 3 games for Shaq attack

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

NEW YORK -- For once, Shaquille O'Neal can be thankful for his poor aim.

The Los Angeles Lakers star drew a three-game suspension Monday from the NBA for throwing a punch and fighting with Chicago center Brad Miller.

O'Neal actually threw at least two punches, the first of which barely missed the side of Miller's head. Had the roundhouse right from the 340-pound, 7-foot center connected with full force, it's safe to assume that Miller would have been injured and O'Neal would have been facing a much longer suspension.

NBA vice president Stu Jackson, who issued the suspension and a $15,000 fine, would not comment.

"Shaq feels embarrassed about it, I'm sure," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "(But) the nature of a man is to defend himself. He told me he was sorry it happened and he would keep it under control. I told him I don't condone what he did, he hurt the team."

The suspension will cost O'Neal about $800,000 in lost salary. He will be eligible to return Jan. 22 against Denver.

The NBA also suspended Miller for one game for committing the flagrant foul that led to the fight. Bulls forward Charles Oakley was suspended for two games -- one for accumulating too many flagrant foul points; the other for his simultaneous flagrant foul against O'Neal.

Oakley was fined $10,000, and Miller was fined $7,500.

Magic on the block

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic are for sale after being stymied in efforts to get a new arena and failing to fully recover from the loss of Shaquille O'Neal in 1996.

The Magic are losing about $10 million annually, team officials said.

The buyer also would get the Miracle of the WNBA.

Leon Smith signs with Hawks

ATLANTA -- Leon Smith, the troubled first-round draft pick who has yet to play an NBA game after making the jump from high school in 1999, signed with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

The 21-year-old Smith signed a 10-day contract with the injury-plagued Hawks.

Smith will make his return to the NBA tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, the team that traded for him in 1999 shortly after he was picked 29th overall by San Antonio.

Smith, raised in a series of group and foster homes, never played a game for the Mavericks after attempting to make the jump from Martin Luther King High School in Chicago.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: