Shaquille O’Neal Says Dwight Howard’s Pressure to Perform ‘Multiplied by Three Now’ With Lakers

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Dwight Howard may see his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers as the way he finally escaped the Orlando Magic. But someone who has made that move before says the challenge is just beginning.

"The pressure that he has been feeling in Orlando has just multiplied by three now," said Shaquille O'Neal, now a TNT analyst and formerly the Magic's young star until he went to the Lakers, where he won three titles. "The first thing the great Jerry West did when I signed with the Lakers is he walked me into the Forum and told me to look up. He showed me all the great big men that played before me and how many championships they won."

O'Neal has shared disapproval of Howard before. He has scoffed at Howard's production, called his play inferior to that of Andrew Bynum — the big man Howard is replacing in Los Angeles — and shown displeasure with Howard taking his "Superman" mantle.

But O'Neal's advice on joining the Lakers may not be all bad blood, as O'Neal did make the same transition from small-market Orlando to the high expectations of Los Angeles, where he played for eight years.

"The Lakers have a tradition of having great big men," O'Neal said. "[Howard] has a lot of work ahead of him. If he thinks the Orlando Sentinel was on his case when he didn't perform, guys like [Los Angeles Times columnist] Bill Plaschke, they don't play."

O'Neal said Lakers fans will be just as demanding.

"The first year they are going to love him," O'Neal said, "but the second and third year, if they don't win, he will be back to square one."

It looks like this game is just getting started.

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Shaquille O'Neal Says Dwight Howard's Pressure to Perform 'Multiplied by Three Now' With Lakers

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