Shaquille O’Neal is (mostly) beloved by the public. Alongside Penny Hardaway, he helped turn the Magic into one of the most exciting NBA teams just as the Bulls rose to power. Shaq became a pop culture sensation, starring in films and video games along the way. But his time as a beloved figure may be running out.
O’Neal’s personality can turn from affable to downright mean. Take his one-sided late-career feud with fellow big man Yao Ming, for example. There was also the bad blood between Shaq and his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. In 2021, though, many of the biggest active NBA players are growing tired of Shaq’s schtick.
Donovan Mitchell has had enough of Shaquille O’Neal
When Donovan Mitchell spoke with O’Neal recently on NBA on TNT, his facial expression said it all. After the Utah Jazz crushed the New Orleans pelicans 129-118, O’Neal stated, “I’ve said it before, you are one of my favorite players, but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level.” Mitchell took a moment to simply smirk at Shaq.
In the end, the Jazz shooting guard had exactly two words for Shaq: “I know.” He refused to give in to what amounts to years of criticism from the former NBA star. The show was stuck in neutral for a moment. O’Neal clearly didn’t get the response he hoped for. Mitchell refused to give it to him.
Shaq’s pattern has defined his run on NBA on TNT. He’s usually an enjoyable presence with pithy observations and fun takes on the game. But he has a habit of pivoting swiftly to genuine bullying. This has been especially notable since the global pandemic hit. It’s an increasingly bad habit that hasn’t escaped some of the biggest NBA names.
Rudy Gobert is one of Shaq’s favorite targets
Mitchell’s reaction probably isn’t just about O’Neal’s trash talk focused on him alone. It likely doesn’t help that Mitchell’s teammate Rudy Gobert is one of Shaq’s more one-sided ongoing beefs. The media personality tends to target big men, openly insulting them in personal ways. Gobert, in light of his big contract renewal, is one O’Neal’s favorite targets of verbal abuse.
Much like Mitchell, Gobert hasn’t taken the bait, details CBS Sports. “There is no beef,” Gobert said. “If people want to keep speaking negatively about me, or keep discrediting what I do, it’s on them. And all that does is show who they are.” That’s as close as Gobert has come to taking Shaq to task. It seems like the Jazz star simply wants Shaq to leave him alone.
Shaq’s behavior got bad enough that Kevin Durant and LeBron James
— Rod Bridgers (@rod_bridgers) January 22, 2021
Dustin Johnson highlights | Round 3 | Genesis | 2021
In the third round of The Genesis Invitational 2021, Dustin Johnson recorded three birdies against 3 bogeys to remain even through 13 holes before play was suspended due to darkness. Johnson is 7-under-par for the tournament. The PGA TOUR returns to iconic Riviera Country Club for The Genesis Invitational. Tournament host Tiger Woods will be in attendance but won’t play as he is still recovering from a back procedure last month. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and defending champion Adam Scott are among the headliners. Notables in the invitation-only field include major champions Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, and Francesco Molinari, plus world No. 2 Jon Rahm. Two-time FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy looks to finally lift the trophy at Riviera after holding a piece of the lead Sunday a year ago only to fall to T5. In addition to reigning champ Johnson, FedExCup winners in the field include Justin Thomas, Brandt Snedeker, and Jim Furyk. Here you can find everything you need to stay up to date with the world’s foremost golf tour. Check in for highlights from every tournament plus player profiles, swing analysis and all the greatest shots and amazing moments. Teryn Gregson presents the craziest moments from around the world of golf in ‘Good, Bad & Unusual'.