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#pounditMonday, November 29, 2021

Shaq

Shaq, Charles Barkley get into it over worse defender

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley got into it on Sunday regarding their respective defensive abilities.

The two analysts were talking ahead of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. Barkley talked up his Bucks, saying the Hawks only won Game 1 because Milwaukee’s defense was terrible. He said Milwaukee’s defensive changes were the reason Trae Young struggled in Game 2.

Shaq disagreed. The disagreement led to some classic lines.

“You don’t know nothing about D,” Shaq said to Chuck.

“You were an awful defensive player on the pick-and-roll. They were playing defense like you did. You can’t play defense like that in the modern NBA,” Barkley said in response. “I wasn’t a great defender, but I was a better defender than you!”

Shaq then noted how Barkley was getting personal with him. That’s a touchy subject and area for Barkley, who is always razzed by his coworkers about not having won an NBA championship.

Shaq has hilarious comment about Kevin Huerter nickname

Shaquille O'Neal

Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter has one of the most entertaining nicknames in the NBA, but Shaquille O’Neal is not going to use it.

Huerter helped the Hawks steal Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Wednesday night. As the “Inside the NBA” crew was recapping the game, Ernie Johnson made reference to Huerter’s “Red Velvet” nickname. Shaq said he is not going to call another grown man by that name.

Shaq and the TNT crew are no strangers to nicknames. Charles Barkley even came up with a funny nickname for Shaq earlier this year, but apparently the four-time NBA champion feels “Red Velvet” crosses the line.

Shaq hilariously exposes Charles Barkley for sleeping during 76ers-Wizards game

Charles Barkley sleeping

The Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers played an extremely close first half in Game 1 of their playoff series on Sunday, but it apparently was not exciting enough to keep Charles Barkley awake.

During TNT’s halftime coverage of the game, Barkley was about to give his first-half analysis when Shaquille O’Neal interrupted. Shaq said he knows “snitches get stitches” but he wanted to let everyone know that Chuck fell asleep at one point during the first half. And in case Barkley tried to deny it, Shaq shared video evidence.

Very few NBA analysts would be able to get away with falling asleep during a game they’re covering, but Barkley and the TNT guys play by their own rules. That’s what makes the show so great and why fans love it.

We’re not surprised Shaq didn’t pass up an opportunity to embarrass Sir Charles. Perhaps it was payback for when Barkley shared the funny nickname that the TNT crew has for Shaq.

‘Cake walk’ – Shaq thinks Nets will dominate Celtics

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq and Charles Barkley do not think the Boston Celtics will pose much of a challenge for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA playoffs.

The Celtics beat the Washington Wizards 118-110 on Tuesday night to clinch the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference. They will face the No. 2 seeded Nets in the first round. The Wizards will face the Indiana Pacers to determine who will get the No. 8 spot and face the Philadelphia 76ers.

As for the 2-7 matchup, Shaq and Chuck don’t think it will be too close.

“I’m going to agree with Chuck: cake walk,” Shaq said on TNT’s postgame show Tuesday.

The Nets went 3-0 against the Celtics in the regular season. They did so despite not having their top three players (James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving) for any of those games. Brooklyn will have all three available in the playoffs, which will make it a tougher series.

Video: Shaq makes hilarious blunder with Julius Randle’s name

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal loves his old-school big men. Sometimes he probably loves them a little too much.

Speaking on TNT’s NBA pregame show Tuesday, O’Neal shouted out New York Knicks forward Julius Randle for MVP-caliber play this season. The problem however was that O’Neal referred to Randle as “Zach Randolph.”

Take a look at the funny clip:

Randolph has not played since the 2017-18 season. But it’s not the worst mistake on O’Neal’s part. Randolph, in fairness, was a 6-foot-9 lefty with a bully-ball style of play who once played for the Knicks. That makes him pretty darn similar to Randle.

That said though, O’Neal consistently gets names wrong when it comes to the Knicks. The screw-up he had earlier this year was even worse.

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.

Shaq has hot take about how many more rings he could have won with Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O'Neal

The Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers were easily one of the greatest teams in NBA history, winning three straight championships. But O’Neal believes they could have won more than double that if they had stayed together longer.

O’Neal appeared this week on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” podcast. During the episode, the Hall of Fame big man was asked how many more rings he could have won with Bryant had they stayed together in Los Angeles.

“Seven,” O’Neal replied. “The reason why I got traded, it wasn’t about me and Kobe beef. It was that they wanted me to take less money. I’m not doing that. I got money, I had money. I just should’ve been like, ‘Alright, I raised you enough. It’s your team now.’ I know what I’m gonna do. I’m still gonna do my 28 [points] and ten [rebounds].

“But I was like, “Nah, I want 150 [million dollars],” added O’Neal. “If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have had a meeting with the [Buss] family. ‘What y’all wanna do? Want me to take less money, take a lesser role, and stay here? Or you still want me to be Shaq?’ See, it’s that ego. The ego still got me what I wanted. I still went to Miami. Pat [Riley] took care of me, and I still won one. But I would’ve liked to stay there the rest of my career.”

Indeed, O’Neal won another NBA title with the Heat and dynamic guard Dwyane Wade in 2006 after being traded there. Bryant would also go on to win two more rings with the Lakers once they acquired another dominant big man in Pau Gasol. But winning another four championships together probably would have been a stretch.

The Lakers’ supporting cast around O’Neal and Bryant was aging after they came up short in the 2004 Finals with Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Head coach Phil Jackson also left the team after that season, though he did later return for another six seasons of coaching the Lakers. Finally, rivals in the Western Conference like the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks were only getting stronger in the mid-2000s.

The O’Neal-Bryant partnership was always somewhat precarious as well. But it is definitely often fun to wonder what more could have been there.

Joel Embiid grateful for Shaq’s criticism of him

Joel Embiid

Shaquille O’Neal now has another player to whom he can say, “you’re welcome.”

Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid spoke this week with Shams Charania of The Athletic. During the interview, Embiid credited O’Neal’s criticism for providing him with motivation.

“When all those guys, Shaq, Charles [Barkley], they just kept talking about how dominant I could be, I understood,” said Embiid. “They saw the talent. They saw what I could really do. But I wasn’t using it. I wasn’t doing it. So when they were criticizing me, I just saw it as a way to kinda open my eyes and actually be better.

“So instead of using it as criticism, I just took it to want to be better,” added Embiid. “So when I look back, when that was going on, I have nothing but love for Shaq. Because whatever they were saying, it just opened my eyes to actually realize that I can be that guy.”

The 27-year-old also said that he has “no doubt” that he should be the NBA MVP this season.

O’Neal has been on Embiid’s case for a couple of years now (like this). Shaq also tends to be especially tough on big men in today’s game. But Embiid is currently having his best NBA season yet, averaging career-highs with 30.1 points per game on 51.5 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from deep. The Sixers also have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 39-19.

Sometimes, O’Neal’s words can border on unnecessarily petty. But Embiid is at least one example of a player whom the criticisms have worked on.

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.

Shaq re-lists Florida mansion after sale falls through

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal appeared to be on his way to selling his massive lakefront estate in Florida earlier this year, but the property has gone back on the market after being under contract.

O’Neal listed the 31,000-square-foot mansion late last year for $19.5 million. The price was reduced to $16.5 million before it went under contract in January. As James Leggate of FOX Business discovered, the home is now back on the market.

Shaq’s house is still listed at $16.5 million, though some updates have been made since it was last on the market.

The home is located in Isleworth, which a gated golf and country club. It has a massive resort-like pool and 700 feet of lake frontage. There are 12 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, an NBA regulation-sized basketball court, a garage that can fit 17 cars, and much more.

Shaq bought the mansion for $4 million in 1993 after he was drafted by the Orlando Magic. Assuming it sells for anything close to what it is listed for, it seems like it was a pretty wise investment for the Hall of Famer. It’s unclear if Shaq was living in the house at the time of his now-infamous first experience with IcyHot.