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#pounditFriday, June 25, 2021

Shaq responds to being left off Jeanie Buss’ list of most important Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal usually does not take too kindly to perceived slights. But he actually seems to be handling Jeanie Buss’ recent comments pretty well.

In a podcast appearance last month, the Los Angeles Lakers controlling owner Buss provided her list of the most important Lakers in franchise history. Buss named Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Phil Jackson, and LeBron James.

Speaking this week on his show “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” O’Neal responded to being left off Buss’ list.

“I’m 49 years old,” said O’Neal. “For the past ten years, [I’ve learned] you have to respect people’s opinion, even if their opinion is not [the same as] yours. I love Jeanie Buss. I have never, would never say anything negative about Jeanie Buss. She gave me $120 million, $100 million, another $80 million. I would never, ever in my life say anything negative about Jeanie Buss and the Buss family. That is her opinion. I respect her opinion.

“I don’t wanna have a fight about this,” O’Neal went on. “I’m glad my name is mentioned, period. I’m glad my statue is in front of Staples Center. I’m glad my jersey is hanging over there. That’s her opinion. I love it. Look, I’m not mad about that. Listen, she’s Jeanie Buss. That’s her opinion. You ask other people, the names will vary. At 49, I’m a lot more peaceful than I was. If I was 29, I’d say, ‘Hold on, LeBron’s only been there 720 days. How you gonna put him before me?’ But look, I’m 49. I respect people’s opinions.”

O’Neal does have a strong argument for being one of the most important Lakers ever. In eight seasons with the team, O’Neal led the Lakers to three straight championships, which has only been done by two other franchises in all of NBA history (the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics). O’Neal also won Finals MVP in each of those years on top of winning league MVP in 2000 and earning All-NBA honors in every single season he was a Laker.

But as O’Neal hinted at, reasonable minds can differ on such a list. Many people questioned Buss leaving another all-time great Laker off her list.

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