Shaquille O’Neal has chimed in on the ‘beef’ between Russell Westbrook and ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith after the latter had a couple of things to say about the Washington Wizards point guard after he recorded the third 30/20/10 triple-double in NBA history.
Westbrook and his wife replied to the controversial analyst, reminding him of all the things he did both on and off the court. Stephen A. didn’t stay quiet and he replied to Westbrook, reminding him of all the times he fell short in the postseason since Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer of 2016. Now O’Neal has given his two pennies on this situation, stating that every great player in the NBA has gone through that and Russ isn’t the exception.
“A lot of people say certain things, and that’s just an unfortunate part of this business,” O’Neal said on Inside the NBA, via Yahoo Sports. “When you’re a great player and you’re putting up great numbers, people are always gonna say, ‘Wait until you have a championship.’ If you don’t get a championship, that’s not a knock.”
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Shaq made it clear that a lot of great players haven’t won a championship but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve all the love and admiration they got during their careers.
“You can’t tell me Allen Iverson is not one of the greatest point guards, you can’t tell me that John Stockton is not one of the greatest point guards,” O’Neal said. “You can’t tell me Karl Malone or Charles Barkley are not some of the greatest power forwards. That’s just the unfortunate thing [about the NBA].”
The Big Diesel made it clear that Russ wasn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last to suffer this criticism.
“Everybody had to go through it,” O’Neal said. “It’s not like we’re just picking on [Westbrook], all the greats, and we look at him as a great player, everybody had to go through this.”
This is a very common situation in the NBA and Shaq himself has starred in some of them in recent times, criticizing Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert for their lack of winnings with the Utah Jazz. Just like Shaq, Smith did the same with Westbrook but players aren’t having any of those comments.