Rudy Gobert is one of the best defensive players of the modern era. There's no doubt that he has shown that he is an elite rim protector, to the point where players are often scared to drive into the paint when he is present there.
Despite his ability on the defensive end, many people have criticized him. One of those people is Shaquille O'Neal, who recently roasted Rudy Gobert for saying that he'd be able to guard him.
“I wonder what French Barbecue Chicken tastes like. That’s going to be good. I’m not shooting no jump hooks, like I said, I’m backing his little skinny a** down and knocking the elbow and dunking. Stop it, Chuck.”
However, in a recent interview with Taylor Rooks, Shaquille O'Neal revealed that he actually respected Rudy Gobert for saying that he'd be able to guard him. He pointed out that a lot of times when he takes jabs at people, he's actually trying to motivate them to be better.
You know what Rudy, let me tell you something. I respect that. I do. A lot of times when I throw jabs, people think its hate or whatever. But really, I'm just challenging them.
Shaquille O'Neal is definitely someone that employs the "tough love" method when it comes to trying to motivate players. That definitely works on some people, but to others, it comes off as an insult. It is definitely good to see that he respects Rudy Gobert for being confident in his defensive abilities.
As far as a 1-on-1 between Shaquille O'Neal and Rudy Gobert, it is difficult to imagine anyone stopping Shaquille O'Neal in his prime. He required double coverage from almost every team. However, since Rudy Gobert is one of the best defensive players in the league currently, he'd definitely be up for the challenge of guarding someone like Shaquille O'Neal.