Shaquille O’Neal has shed light on his exchange with Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in recent weeks. The 4x NBA champion starred in some controversial moments when talking about other players, even saying little kids could get $200 million if they averaged 11 points per game, mocking Rudy Gobert’s contract extension with the Utah Jazz.
He also talked with Donovan Mitchell and told him to his face he doesn’t have what it takes to win in the NBA, which raised a lot of eyebrows around the league.
“I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level. I said it on purpose. I wanted you to hear it,” O’Neal told Mitchell. “What do you have to say about that?”
“Aight,” the guard replied.
“That’s it?” O’Neal asked.
“That’s it,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been hearing that since my rookie year. You know, I’m just going to get better and do what I do.”
It’s not the first time Shaq has talked bad about other players but everybody wants to know why he went after the Utah Jazz duo. During a recent edition of TNT’s “Inside the NBA”, O’Neal was inquired about what led him to make those comments by Dwyane Wade and Candace Parker about his comments, with Shaq revealing he was just testing them.
“I was just testing his temperature, that’s all. Listen, ain’t nothing personal with me, trust me. Never. It ain’t never personal with me.”
Moreover, he talked about his controversial moment with Gobert and how he went after the French player on social media. Shaq was very polite and explained that when he was a player, he used to take the bad comments as motivation and he’s trying to do the same with the young players.
“I was always overshadowed by the guards — Kenny Anderson, Jimmy Jackson, whatever. I was putting up big numbers, but I was 6-7 or taller. So when I thought about doing something else, my father brought me an article one day and said, ‘hey man, keep going, Jon Koncak, who was okay, made $15 million over three years.’ So I’m saying to all the little big guys that don’t have the followings like Mikey and all those guys, just keep doing what you do, and then, if you can come in and average this, this is the type of numbers you can get.”
He also admitted that he wanted Gobert and Mitchell to come at him with anger, but Wade explained they don’t have the accolades to attack Shaq. The big man said, though, that he knows what he does when he talks about other players, even crediting himself for the way they are playing right now.
“First of all, this is not about respect. I know what I’m doing when I’m trying to get my guys to play a certain way. The way they’re playing right now — you’re welcome, ’cause they wanna shut me up. Please shut me up,” O’Neal finished.
He gave a big response to this whole situation explaining he somehow motivates players this way. The Jazz have been one of the best teams in the league for the past couple of weeks and even though it’s a reach that it’s all because of Shaq, they have extra motivation now.