Shaquille O’Neal is a fantastic personality and a legend not only of the NBA but also of basketball in general.
That’s not to say, however, that every word he utters is gospel, which jazz star Donovan Mitchell pointedly reminded him early on Friday.
After Utah’s 129-118 win over New Orleans – a game in which Mitchell scored 36 points on 11 of 18 (6 of 8 of 3) shots, five assists and seven rebounds – Shaq revealed that he had said that Mittchell “didn’t have” I don’t have what it takes to reach that next level. “In the next breath he said he wanted him to hear this criticism and asked for an answer.
Mitchell said: “Aight.” Then, after a moment of silence: “This is it.”
The look on Shaq’s face as Mitchell refused to please him only made the interview much better. To his credit, Mitchell added a bit more in the 29-second clip, saying he had heard the same thing since being a rookie in 2017-18 and would continue to do what he was doing.
This isn’t the only time that Shaq has been roasted recently. Friday’s interaction with Mitchell came just over a week after Houston’s Christian Wood called Shaq laid back because he was not “familiar with your game.”
A few moments of humility for Shaq, but something tells us that “The Big Aristotle” will pull it off – even after Twitter roasted him over his remarks:
No disrespect to Shaq but he makes all these demands on the young players to get better, but not once have I seen him spread the olive branch and offer to help a guy work on their game. It’s always “I expect domination (or unrealistic statistic)”
– Anonymous person (@el_budget) January 22, 2021
Conflicting Shaq schtick aside, the biggest issue is that the NBA cultivates an environment where every talking head character is Toxic Boomer.
– Ben Detrick (@bdetrick) January 22, 2021
If former TV gamers showed us that they paid special attention, cited specific areas of the game where a star could grow up, and bundled those challenges / critiques together in the form of a thoughtful question etc, that would be cool
the rudeness and timing of what Shaq did was ridiculous
– J. Kyle Mann (@jkylemann) January 22, 2021