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#pounditMonday, November 29, 2021

Shaq admits to being jealous of current NBA salaries

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal’s recent criticisms of NBA salaries has been interpreted by some as jealousy on his part. In a recent interview, Shaq admitted they’re right.

Appearing on “The Rex Chapman Show,” Shaq made clear that he was happy for modern players, but that he is simply assessing it from the financial expectations of his own era.

“I’m jealous, but I’m happy [for them],” Shaq said, via Alex Kennedy of Basketball News. “I’m jealous because I always thought that you had to have Michael Jordan, superb-type numbers to get that type of money. That’s what it was in my era, but I’m happy for the kids.”

Shaq has used Utah’s Rudy Gobert, who signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the Jazz in December, as an example of what he sees as a shockingly high salary. He clarified that he does so because of Gobert’s skillset.

“Rudy Gobert is not the average-type, big-guy NBA player anymore,” Shaq said. “The average big they’re looking for now is a guy that can pick-and-pop and do whatever. Rudy Gobert is big, tall, plays hard, plays great defense, a Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s making $200 million. … I think there’s a lot of big guys even today that can do the things that he can do. When I tell the story, people think, ‘Oh you’re just jealous!’ Yeah, I am jealous that he’s making $250 [million]. Yeah, I’ll say I’m jealous. However, for this game of ours, it can motivate a young kid today.”

Shaq hasn’t always gotten along with Utah Jazz players, so there’s other angles to look at his Gobert remarks. Still, props to him for at least admitting that he’d have loved to make the kind of money today’s players are earning.

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