Shaquille O'Neal is one of the greatest players of all time, and many people consider him a top-10 player to ever play the game. During his time in the league, Shaquille O'Neal was known for dominating the opposition with his physicality and being an elite scorer near the rim. He averaged 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG throughout his career and notably won four championships during his time in the league, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.
Perhaps due to what he has achieved during his career, Shaquille O'Neal has high standards for modern players. We have seen him criticize players in the past, with O'Neal notably taking shots at Donovan Mitchell after the star was eliminated in the 2022 playoffs in the first round.
“Y’all be giving out a lot of these awards to some of these bums and I’m like, ‘What!?’ For example, what did I say about Donovan Mitchell two years ago? Everybody jumping on me and hating and I be quiet. What’s he doing now?... Is that what superstars do?”
More recently, Shaquille O'Neal took a shot at Ben Simmons, calling the Brooklyn Nets star sensitive. It is clear that Shaquille O'Neal is someone who doesn't hold back when saying what he thinks about the players currently in the league.
Shaquille O'Neal Believes His Criticism Of Modern NBA Players Is Motivation
There is no doubt that some people dislike the way that Shaquille O'Neal talks about modern players. Some people believe that he may be too harsh on them. However, Shaquille O'Neal has recently defended the way he goes about his criticism of modern players, suggesting that it may be a motivational tactic. (28:37)
“Listen, for all you sensitive dummies out there, when I speak, as I try a thousand percent not to be hypocritical, there’s some messaging in my points... I’ve helped mentor. I can help you get to that next level. You forgot I played with Penny? You forgot I play with Kobe? You forgot I played with D-Wade? Ask them about me... Ask them all about my motivational tactics.”
There is no doubt that Shaquille O'Neal believes that the things he says are justified, and it seems as though he is simply giving some tough love to modern players. He mentions that there's "some messaging" in the things that he says, and it looks as though O'Neal truly believes that he is helping players "get to that next level".
Obviously, different players do better with different types of motivation. Some people may appreciate Shaquille O'Neal's attitude, and others might prefer a different approach. Hopefully, though, we see more players appreciate Shaquille O'Neal's way of motivating them in the future.