Shaquille O’Neal is siding with Charles Barkley when it comes to Kevin Durant’s legacy outside of his stint with the Golden State Warriors.
In an August 25 appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Barkley said that Durant’s career has been an “abject failure” beyond the two championships that he won with the Warriors. O’Neal agreed, saying in an appearance this week that Durant has always come up short when he’s been called on to be the star and take his team to the next level.
His career legacy has come under sharper scrutiny after the Warriors took down the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, winning their fourth title in the last eight years and second without Durant.
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
O’Neal Takes Aim at Durant
O’Neal discussed Durant’s legacy this week on “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” agreeing with Barkley’s criticism that he joined an already stacked Warriors team and still hasn’t won anything on his own.
“Yeah, if you go back and look at his career,” O’Neal said. “As the best player and being the leader, and all that goes with that. See we were there, we saw it. OKC, up 3-1. One more game, and when you’re the guy, all the pressure goes on you.”
O’Neal recalled some other comments from Barkley that Durant was a “bus rider” with the Warriors.
“A lot of people were talking about the bus driver, Chuck was absolutely right. He was not driving the bus in Golden State,” O’Neal said. “You were on the bus, you were sitting up front.”
The NBA legend acknowledged that Durant is held to a higher standard because of his talent, which also means harsher criticism when he fails to lead a team to a title on his own.
“We talking about, when you the guy, in championship moments, can you take it to the next level? We haven’t seen that yet,” he said. “If you’re the guy and you ain’t get it done, that means you failed.”
Durant Picks His Own Team
Criticism of Durant has intensified since Golden State won a title in June, and the former NBA MVP even entered the debate to defend himself. When a fan claimed that the win meant Durant’s legacy was “dead,” Durant replied that his legacy has been under attack since his decision to first join the Warriors.
Durant still has time to rewrite his NBA legacy, and now has his own team to do it. After asking the Brooklyn Nets for a trade, Durant took back the request and decided to stay with the Nets. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Herring believes that Durant’s stint with the Warriors may have played a role in his decision to ultimately stay in Brooklyn, giving him a chance to be the star of his own team rather than joining an already-built contender.
“In a way, joining the Nets could have been seen as the best of both worlds,” he wrote. “In building a contender with Brooklyn, Durant wouldn’t be seen as a mere bandwagon-jumper the way he was by many with Golden State. Even alongside Irving, no one would struggle to ascertain who was most responsible for Brooklyn’s success.”