Narratives can build and destroy careers in the blink of an eye. Whatever the media says about you can affect the way people think of you, especially if you're an NBA player.
That was the case with JaVale McGee earlier in his career.
While an athletic freak, his bizarre mistakes, and erratic movements from time to time made people think that he wasn't good to be in the league, mostly because he was constantly mocked and ridiculized by Shaquille O'Neal in Shaqtin' a Fool.
McGee eventually stood up and called Shaq out. O'Neal stopped making fun of him, and he proved to be a valuable big man off the bench but still, his fame preceded him:
“The thing about that whole Shaqtin’ a Fool era of when I was on there is I didn’t realize what it was doing to my career until I got started to move on to other teams,” McGee said on Shannon Sharpes' Club Shay Shay, as quoted by Essentially Sports.
“And I would talk to other coaches and middle of the year they’d be like ‘I’ve always seen that Shaqtin’ a Fool stuff and had a different mental review and I never knew like you’re a smart kid. You’re extremely vocal, you’re a great basketball player.’ It was slowly chipping away at my reputation. As a young 24-year-old athletic basketball player, young, excited, it was just slowly chipping away," he added.
People mocked the Warriors when Steve Kerr gave JaVale a chance but he proved all of his haters wrong. He gave them a lot of energy on both ends of the floor and took his career back from the ground.
Now, JaVale McGee is a multiple-time NBA champion and an Olympic gold medalist, some accolades that suit him better than just "Shaqtin' a Fool MVP".