(via WDVM)

Shaquille O’Neal has been highly critical of today’s NBA stars, often calling them out live on the air of TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”

And while Shaq has been blasted for his harshness already, O’Neal says it’s just another sign of how soft the league (and its players) has become. Here’s what he said in an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show:

“When [Kareem Abdul Jabbar] gave me constructive criticism, I took it, I listened and I brought my game to another level. These guys now are pudding pops.”

The sensitivity of players today compared to years ago has become a big talking point for both fans and former players. The game today punishes contact like never before, and it seems both on the court and off the court, players are protecting themselves and the level of hostility they face.

Years/decades ago, things were different. Players weren’t so easily offended and they had to work harder to do almost anything — whether it was scoring winning, or proving themselves to the naysayers.

O’Neal is absolutely right about the culture shift. Whether or not “pudding pops” is the right word, though, is up for debate.

Needless to say, we shouldn’t expect any kind of retraction from Shaq. He said what he said.

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