Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal have never had anything nice to say about one another. Comparisons between the two because of their career paths come naturally, and neither big man seems to like being compared to his counterpart. Most recently, Shaq called Howard out for not being mean enough on the floor.
“He’s too nice,” O’Neal told The Max and Marcellus Show on ESPNLA 710 Tuesday. “I’m a connoisseur of giggling and playing and all that and making you laugh and playing with the fans, but when I cross that line, I’m ready to tear your face off. I don’t care who it is. You could put one of my aunts or uncles out there, and I’m going to give him these elbows in their chest and I’m going to throw it down in their face. That’s what you have to do. … He’s just too nice. If I was him, I would get into the same mood I was in.”
Kobe Bryant said something very similar about Howard during the season when he mentioned how Shaq used to be a goofball off the court but an a-hole on it. Shaq has been critical of Howard in the past on numerous occasions, but he insists he only does it to inspire Dwight to become a better player.
“I think it’s my duty to help this young man become one of the best big men in the league,” O’Neal said. “I’m from the old school. I’m not doing it nicely. I’m pushing buttons, I’m talking about you and I’m doing it like this. … I think it’s my job as a former big man to get him to play up to par.
“When I was in L.A., Kareem and Wilt never spoke to me. They never said two things to me. I took that as a, ‘OK, you all don’t think I’m as good as you yet. Well, watch this.’ That’s what it was — motivation. Everything I say should be taken as motivation. He’s the best big man in the league, and it’s my job to make sure he plays that way. Period.”
Howard does like to goof around a lot, which can give off the impression that he doesn’t take the game seriously enough. Some players just prefer to approach the game with a looser attitude, but Howard would look a lot better doing so with a championship ring on his finger.