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#pounditSaturday, June 22, 2024

Shaq makes controversial comments to Nikola Jokic after MVP announcement

Shaq interviewing Nikola Jokic

Shaquille O’Neal managed to steal some of the spotlight away from Nikola Jokic after Wednesday’s MVP announcement.

The Denver Nuggets star Jokic was officially named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2023-24 season, marking the third MVP win of his career. He earned 79 first-place votes to 15 first-place votes for the runner-up, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

For his part, O’Neal was not at all happy with the results. He believed that Gilgeous-Alexander should have won MVP, and let it be known … during his interview with Jokic. Fresh off his MVP win, Jokic was interviewed by TNT during “NBA Tip-Off.” At one point in the interview, O’Neal bluntly said to Jokic, “I want you to hear it from me first. I thought SGA should have won MVP. That’s no disrespect to you.”

Jokic mostly laughed off O’Neal’s comments, saying, “That’s your opinion,” before adding that he was just joking. But O’Neal was still criticized for the comments. Many believed that O’Neal had taken away from Jokic’s moment and should have expessed his opinion at a more appropriate time and place. Others thought that it was just harmless banter, especially since O’Neal and Jokic have historically been friendly with each other.

For what it is worth, Jokic’s Nuggets finished with the exact same record as Gilgeous-Alexander’s Thunder this season (57-25), but the Thunder got the No. 1 seed in the West thanks to a tiebreaker. While Jokic’s numbers were more impressive (26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game), many thought that Gilgeous-Alexander did a better job leading a young, dark-horse Thunder team to the No. 1 seed in the West.

On O’Neal’s end, his reputation probably didn’t do him any favors when it came to the public perception of his comments. He is notorious for hating on today’s NBA big men and has targeted many others besides Jokic before.


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