With Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and head coach Tyronn Lue, the Los Angeles Clippers are viewed by most as major contenders for the 2022 NBA Championship.
On talent, alone, they should certainly not be overlooked.
For 4x NBA Champion Shaquille O'Neal, however, he doesn't want to hear about them at all. In a recent appearance on 'First Take,' O'Neal refused to name the Clippers as a potential threat to L.A., telling Stephen A. Smith not to talk about teams that "ain't make it yet."
(start at 3:30)
"Don't bring up the Clippers. Do not do that. Do not do that.
Golden State, yes, you can bring them up. My favorite player, Steph Curry. Klay is coming back, my man Draymond. The young fella, they got some interesting pieces.
Listen, don’t talk about teams that ain’t make it yet."
The Clippers are rather infamous for their track record of disappointment. Over the years, they have fallen short time and time again, becoming the laughing stock of the league.
When Kawhi Leonard first signed in L.A., there were those who believe it to be a big mistake, like Ice Cube.
“Kawhi was a winner and now he wants to be a loser," Ice Cube said. "That's all I could say. You know, he was a winner at Toronto. Now, you want to be a Clipper? (then) you must wanna be a loser 'cause they haven't done anything in their whole career. So, I don't think he's the savior for the Clippers."
The Clippers are trying their best to re-make their identity. The arrival of Kawhi and Paul George was step one. Their brand new arena in Inglewood is step two. But, until the Clippers can capture an NBA Championship, they will never gain the respect of the community.
Certainly, for Shaquille O'Neal, he needs to see them do more before he even puts them in the same breath as his former club.