LeBron James has been a vocal opponent of the NBA’s packed schedule and historically short offseason, but Shaquille O’Neal thinks the Los Angeles Lakers star and those complaining need to take a step back.
O’Neal — a Hall of Famer with his jersey retired by the Lakers — made his opinion known during an interview with CNBC this week.
“When you’re living in a world where 40 million people have been laid off and I’m making $200 million, you won’t get no complaining from me,” the former Los Angeles Lakers star and TNT broadcaster said. “I’d play back to back to back to back to back.
“I’m not knocking what anybody said, but me personally, I don’t complain and make excuses, because real people are working their tail off and all we gotta do is train two hours a day and then play a game for two hours at night and make a lot of money. … So my thought process is a little different.”
LeBron James Has Point About Injuries
Shaq had a point, but it’s easy for him to have that opinion well after his playing days. It’s fairly obvious the condensed year played some role in the injury spike, both in the regular and postseason. All-stars who have suffered significant injuries include Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, Mike Conley, Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young and, most recently, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Lakers were one of the teams most affected by the injuries, with James and Davis both dealing with issues — albeit James’ was more of a freak accident than anything, with Solomon Hill of the Hawks sliding into his ankle.
James snapped last month with a Twitter rant directed at the NBA over the flurry of injuries.
Stephen A. Smith: LeBron James ‘Ringleader’ of Complainers
James is the league’s biggest star and embraces the power that comes with that. He hasn’t been shy to share his opinion on most topics, which rubs some people the wrong way.
ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith thinks the standard set by James — who he calls the “ringleader” — has created a bad culture for when players are criticized. Smith said the players complain “too damn much” in a segment generated by discussing Clippers star Paul George.
“We can’t even analyze basketball anymore without dudes being caught up in their feelings,” Smith said on First Take. “And who’s the ringleader with that stuff? It’s LeBron. Because LeBron, he can drop 50, he can drop 60, and we all know we love and respect this phenomenal role model that is LeBron James.
“But let’s call a spade a spade. He can drop 50 or 60, you can praise him till the cows come home, he’s got a big, glowing smile on his face and he’ll talk with the media for hours. But, let him have a bad game and you point that out [and LeBron goes into] ‘You know I’m just trying to be a role model to the kids out there, I’m a champion in life. I came from Akron.’ What the hell does that have to do with the fact you struggled in this game.”