After bringing the Los Angeles Lakers their first championship in a decade, players were understandably overjoyed with the feat. The celebrations could even still be going on behind the scenes. However, one Lakers legend isn’t stoked on how some players have gone about things.
There were a number of players who never played important minutes during the NBA Finals or in the playoffs but those guys still celebrated as heavily as everybody else. Shaquille O’Neal laid it into those players.
“You know what I don’t like as a player? It’s a lot of [Laker] players on their little Instagram bragging like they were the reasons they got the championship. I ain’t gon’ say no names.” O’Neal said on The Big Podcast With Shaq.
He wasn’t done there and got even more aggressive.
“I know you know who I’m talking about. Stop it. Frontrunner. Bandwagon jumper. Stop it.” he added. “Post one pic and sit your a** down … shut yo a** up. You ain’t do nothing.”
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Who Is Shaq Directing This Rant At?
Those are some pretty blistering words for the Hall of Famer but it’s not entirely clear who he’s directing it at. Some believe it’s Dwight Howard, who rejoined the Lakers last offseason and won his first title.
That wouldn’t really make sense as Howard started most of the games in the Finals and played a really big role against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. That said, one of Shaq’s co-host mocked Howard so it’s possible he was talking about the big man.
He could also be talking about players like JR Smith and Dion Waiters, who really didn’t do anything in the Finals or the playoffs. Most appear to believe that Shaq is directing his ire at Howard so that’s likely what happened. It would make sense as the two men have had beef in the past. The two don’t seem to have a great relationship.
Is Howard Going to Stay in Los Angeles?
Whether O’Neal thinks so or not, Howard was actually an important player for the Lakers this season. He shot 73% from the field during the regular season and averaged 7.3 rebounds a game mostly coming off the bench. Those are really good numbers from a role player.
However, it remains to be seen if the Lakers and Howard are interested in continuing their relationship. The former All-Star has earned a reputation of being rather difficult to work with at times. He clearly can still play ball but he could also cause headaches. There’s also the fact that teams desperate for a big man could pay him more than the Lakers would. They showed this year that teams are going to have to get bigger if they hope to beat them. It’s very possible a team offers Howard a starting role. It’s hard to imagine he’s willing to take on a reduced role again this year now that he has a ring.