“He makes a phone call…” Exchanging Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O’Neal earned NBA vet first-ever guaranteed contract with Miami Heat

Shaquille O'Neal won three championships with the Lakers.


“He makes a phone call…” Exchanging Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O’Neal earned NBA vet first-ever guaranteed contract with Miami Heat

Smush Parker, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant (Credits: Los Angeles Time, NBA Basketball Wiki)

After spending one season at Fordham, Smush Parker played six seasons in the NBA. In four of his six NBA seasons, Parker’s average was less than 6.5 points per game. Following his two-year tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, Smush Parker joined the Miami Heat as a player. He just shared a great story about how Shaquille O’Neal was crucial in getting him a deal with the Heat.

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Parker claims that the unanticipated course of events started when he ran into Shaquille at the 40/40 club in New York. Parker clarified that he made a phone call in response to Shaquille’s question about his plans, which enabled Parker’s agent to negotiate a two-year deal with the Miami Heat. For Parker, this was a huge turning point in his six-year NBA career—his first contract that came with guarantees.

Smush Parker said via Pablo Torre Finds Out:

He asked me where I was playing at next, and I said, 'I'm a free agent. Still shopping around.' And he makes a phone call. The very next day my agent had a two-year contract with the Miami Heat. My first guaranteed contract out of the six-year career that I had in the NBA.
Smush Parker on landing a contract with Miami Heat

Although Pat Riley is usually the Heat’s decision-maker, the timing of Shaq’s call and Parker’s following contract may be questioned, but the story offers an interesting perspective on the relationships between NBA players. Parker demonstrated how a seasoned guard could give depth to the team during his brief stay with the Heat in the 2007–08 campaign.

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Shaquille O’Neal and Smush Parker shared the same experience with Kobe Bryant

Parker’s and Kobe Bryant’s arguments weren’t entirely pointless. He related to Torre how, in July 2007, he was alone at the 40/40 Club in New York City, watching a fight, when Shaquille O’Neal entered. After exchanging a few words, Parker and O’Neal found themselves telling each other stories about Bryant. Parker’s story is pretty amazing because Shaquille seemed to click with him during their conversation, to the point where O’Neal wanted to play with the guard.

Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant
Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant (Credits: Rolling Stone)

Despite being one of the best teams in NBA history, Shaquille and Bryant broke up after the former moved to Miami. Bryant’s unwavering work ethic caused him to occasionally challenge Shaquille, and Parker and Shaquille probably experienced similar things while playing alongside the Lakers icon.

Shaquille won three championships with the Lakers and one with the Heat. He also started the 2007–08 season with Miami but finished up with a different team. During the 2007–08 season, they traded him to the Phoenix Suns, one of the three teams he performed for in his last few seasons.

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