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Monday, January 6
 
Shaq says two medals are enough

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Shaquille O'Neal, the most dominant center in the world, says he definitely won't be joining Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant on Team USA in the 2004 Olympics.

"No way, I already have two medals,'' O'Neal told Fox Sports Net.

He was referring to the gold medal-winning teams of 1994 at the World Championships in Toronto and of 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.

"We were 55-0 when I played, and I don't want to tarnish that,'' O'Neal said.

The 30-year-old O'Neal, who led the Lakers to the past three NBA championships under coach Phil Jackson, had said he would only play for the Team USA in 2004 if Jackson coached the team. That honor went instead to Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown.

"Larry Brown's the coach? There's a pain on the outside of my knee in 2004,'' O'Neal said in mid-November -- just before it became official that Brown had been chosen for the job. "So, if Phil's not the coach, I probably will not play through the pain. However, Larry Brown's a great guy. He's done a lot in basketball. I wish him well. I love Larry Brown to death.

"It's kind of too far to really think about it, but my knee will be hurting in 2004.''

Bryant said last week he had accepted an invitation from Team USA officials to play in the Olympics as well as the qualifying tournament next summer.






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