Once upon a time, Shaquille O’Neal was the NBA’s only Superman, a nickname he gave himself because he really loves superheroes who have connections to steel. Years later, another physically dominant center joined the Orlando Magic and started calling himself Superman, making a comic book nickname story actually have a comic book feel to it. This did not sit well with Shaquille O’Neal, just like when the original Undertaker returned to fight the Underfaker.

Now that he’s retired, you’d think Shaq would cede the nickname to Dwight Howard because he’s not really using it anymore. Think again. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

What can you say about Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard. Are you friends or foes?

His mom and my mom are good friends. I don’t have a problem. But my thing is if you want to call yourself me (Superman), then you’ve got big shoes to fill. I’m not in the Superman this, and Superman that. He won a dunk contest with a cape. If you want to be called Superman because of that, it’s fine with me. I’m Superman for other reasons. I don’t envy him; he’s a great young player. But I’ve never seen him dog another center out. I tried to dog centers out. I went at David Robinson. If Dwight doesn’t win two or three championships, I’m going to be disappointed. He doesn’t have nobody. When I came in the league, I had to go through Alonzo Mourning, Arvydas Sabonis, Kevin Duckworth, Rik Smits. Now I can’t name any other centers besides Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bynum. Who else is there? That’s it.

What “other reasons” does Shaq have for being Superman? I am going to guess that he doesn’t have x-ray vision, the ability to fly or superbreath. Obviously he is super strong, but so is Dwight Howard, and Dwight jumps better than Shaq ever did. Perhaps he can emit solar energy from his eyes? Seems fishy.

But whatever, this is just some more classic Shaq history. Saying Dwight Howard hasn’t dogged out other centers is inaccurate, but that is fine because these are the sort of things that Shaq will always say. Expecting him to just give Dwight some love and let him enjoy his nickname is like expecting him to not be on television for the next 20 years. Even if Dwight might be a better fit for the not-that-great-anyway nickname, Shaq will always resent him for “stealing” it.

But still, he’s kind of right about Dwight winning championships. A huge, talented big guy like that should win a few titles, assuming he ends up on teams that can back him up. If he doesn’t, it’d be a disappointment on par with, I don’t know, Shaq only winning one MVP and never taking home a rebounding crown. Something like that.

(via EOB)

Comments (34)

  1. Shaq won championships because he had help from Kobe and Wade. When the Magic made the Finals in 2009, the second-best player on that squad was Jameer freakin’ Nelson. This whole “using rings to measure individual greatness” thing is complete garbage.

    Edit: I completely forgot about Jameer’s injury, but that actually strengthens my point.

  2. Scott jameer was injured a majority of that run. Rafer Alston was the starting pg. Hedo was the second best player.

  3. I think questioning Shaq’s credentials is a little off-topic here. He was obviously being petty and stupid in what he said but going after him for only winning one MVP is a little ridiculous, in the same way that saying he only won with help from kobe and wade is definitely exaggerating. Pretending that Dwight losing to the lakers in five in the finals is equal to a three-peat plus miami is also ridiculous. I don’t understand why every time Shaq or another player makes a stupid comment everyone goes after their game and their credentials instead of their character.

  4. Even though the three commenters above me don’t agree with one another, I found myself nodding in agreement to each one. I’m gonna go out on a limb and declare that these are the three best consecutive comments to ever lead off the comments section of a Trey Kerby post. Well done guys!

  5. Watch out for Kevin Duckworth.

  6. I also want to go ahead and remind Shaq (who I believe has very likely googled himself and wound up here reading this post) that other than Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard has had to face the likes of Tim Duncan (yes he’s a center) and Pau Gasol (when Bynum is on the bench or injured).

    And during the first few years of his career, he had to face Yao Ming and Shaq!

    Of lesser note (but no less noteworthy than Kevin freaking Duckworth) there is also Nene, Al Horford, Marc Gasol, and Andrew Bogut.

  7. Just another reason Shaq is a fat douche.

  8. I agree that the ring thing is overrated (Robert Horry has 11), it is important, but there is so much more that goes into winning a championship than having one great player. Coach, supporting cast, injuries, fans, match ups and so much more. I don’t even know why they care but shouldn’t whoever has more athleticism be the “winner” of this debate? Dwight Howard id definitely more muscular, jumps higher, runs faster etc. and thats if you wanted to keep it to centers. there are shooting guards (Shannon brown), and small forward (LeBron James) who would seem more “super”. LeBron has strength, speed, hops, the whole package! I just don’t understand the criteria and neither do Shaq or Dwight thats why this doesn’t make sense. why does there even have to be one superman? maybe shaq is superman of the mid 1990s until 2007 when Dwight really became a superstar. Shaq is acting like a kid its so stupid! and pretty creepy!

  9. Yoni, Robert Horry may have11 rings, but we’re talking championships…

  10. Come on guy’s, it’s just Shaq being Shaq. The guy is a clown…….him dogging Dwight, is like those Verizon commercials with Chuck and Wade…….

    I’m not a huge Rob Horry fan, but the man NEVER missed the playoffs in his career, and he’s hit some BIGTIME shots, so say what you will, the man contributed to his teams.

    And to go back to Scott’s comment; agreed. Jameer Nelson (as well as the rest of the Magic squad) is GARBAGE.

    Here’s to hoping Dwight teams up with someone that can help him….would LOVE to see something crazy like him in CHI with DRose and Joah…….

  11. As a Celtic fan, i would be willing to trade Shaq for Howard then we could see how far the magic would go with a “real” Superman. :-)

  12. shaq played outside the nba rules elbowing men 100 pounds less than him; I don’t call that a superman i call that a super coward. Basketball is about position and speed not who is willing to play the dirtiest. Besides Shaq your on wife played out on you with your trainer you sissy.

  13. Shaq why don’t you go some where and hide you big dummy; Barkley should have finished you off along time ago you sissy. Oh yeah tell misses superman I got next ;) skeet skeet skeet

  14. when did rob horry get 11 rings lol

  15. Shaq if you want to fight why not get in the octagon? instead of running off at your pie hoe . you sissy.

  16. Robert Horry was on seven title teams in his 16 years, not 11. Bill Russell won 11 championships in 13 seasons.

  17. Dwight and Shaq still have to bow down the greatest center of all time! Dream Htown baby

  18. Shaq, did you dog Hakeem “The Dream”…. um no you got dogged over and over and over. You weren’t so super when you came into the league!!

  19. In my opinion Shaq is one of the most ddominant centets ever to play the game. Along with oother centers mentioned he also faced Patricl Ewing Hakeem Olajowon and jermaine oneal Shaq has 4 chips and had a greatet impact on the league than D. Howard. Theres no comparison in my book and Shaq will.always.be superman.

  20. Shaq has a great point. Shaq played during the golden age of the big man: Hakeem, Ewing, Robinson, Alonzo…later Duncan in his prime.

    Now we have what? Erick Dampier?

  21. I question shaq’s greatness for 1 reason. Where was he in every nba finals. Riding the bench at the end of the games. Why? b/c of hack-a-shaq. He couldn’t even finish the damn games. Kobe deserves most of the credit for the 3 titles. He was the one on the court doing the impossible, while shaq hoped and prayed. Superman has no flaws, and if he discovered one he corrected it. Shaq never learned how to make a freethrow. Keep that in mind before anyone puts him ahead of other all time great centers.

  22. hey shaq I know U wont read this but I gotta say U point of lack of centers is true but has far has winning championships…why didn’t U win one in Orlando (lack of surrouning talent ?) its never UR fualt it was when U scuddle but to LA where U had a KOBE and then a WADE……point being see Leb@!@ too no matter who U are U need surrounding talent and the right mix of it so U really cant judge a mans career/worth by championships I mean just cuz u got like four doesnt mean uR not afat bastard who only pushed people off the block with his wait oh and dont get mad but D12 is already better than U weere in your whole career

  23. Are you guys serious? Are you really underselling Kobe and Wade’s roles in landing Shaq all of those titles. Look, don’t ge me wrong, on the Laker squad that three-peated Shaq was clearly the better player for the first two, the third being a toss-up. But if he could have done it without Kobe, then why the hell didn’t he do it in Orlando with Penny?

    And with Wade, Wade was the MVP, not Shaq. Shaq is awesome, I love the guy to death and he is possibly the greatest center to play the game… but if Dwight stays in Orlando and doesn’t win titles, it’s not going to be because of him, rather, the garbage team around him. Not to mention 2 overpaid, overhyped players in Hedo and Arenas taking up almost $50 mil of the Magic’s cap next year.

  24. The fans started calling Dwight Superman because of of the song my Soljaboi… He never labeled himself that. Shaq knows D12 is on his way and is just bitter. Beside who really cares what Shaq thinks? He ditched O-town fans for LA. screw him.

  25. I like Shaq, but he goes off the reservation at times, and he’s just full of ish. First of all, he won nothing at Orlando. He got to L.A., and they put the right talent around him. Also, there’s only one real Superman, the tv character. Lastly, Wilt could arguably be called the greatest big man of all times, and he only had two title; Philly and L.A.
    As far as Shaq ‘destroying” centers, I never licked how he was able to just put his shoulder down and run over players. He’d have been a much better all around center if the NBA hadn’t allowed him to “charge” all the time.

  26. To all you talent scouts, I’ve watched basketball religiously since 1963, there I’ve seen lots of great players to come through the market. During that time span Shaq is without a doubt one of the better players of all times, better than both Kuttie and Dewit. For the record the two mentioned does not fall within the top ten greatest players to have played since the 60′s. Excuse me for saying but Shaq does.

    To the guys/girls that called Shaq a sissy, I dare you to challenge him in anything, I am sure he would show you who the real sissy is..

    Much love

  27. To the young buck’s that called Shaq a sissy , in my days a sissy was one who took all the punishments dished out and did not do a dam thing about it.

  28. A lot of college freshman chiming in here. Hakeem was dogged many times. Did he get off some great games? Of course, it’s HOF Hakeem. I don’t get the Shaquille hate. He dominated and learned how to win. His stats are awesome, but he was about winning. I’ll take a young over a young D12 any day. Both are nasty players but todiss to most dominant center since Wilt is ignorant. And, center play back the day was a mans game and he was the man

  29. I’m really sad to see people starting arguing over hte best center of all-time, and no mention of Jabbar. Really shocking.

    Yeah, I’m sure having him average 30 and 15 was completely useless. Who needs a top 10 player of all.time anyway?

  30. A nickname is just what someone calls themselves. A lot of you are tripping ok, when Shaq was young he was a freak. You gotta remember when he was like 270 lbs, and would get up in the air like a small forward of his feet. Dwight is as dominant as Shaq was in his prime, and I’d love to see him win one in Orlando. Dwight reminds me more of Alonzo Mourning in his prime than Shaq.

  31. Can’t help it, I still love Shaq. The man self-promotes like Motley Crue on speed, but I always found that kinda endearing. Much love to Dwight, he’s easily the best center in the league (and the undisputable fact that isn’t saying much shouldn’t take away from his obvious talent), but Shaq makes a good, if flawed point. If Dwight doesn’t take home a few rings with the opposing big men out there today, that’s definitely a failure. However, he’s on a magic team that will never, ever get there, especially with the 60 some million bucks they owe two declining players in Turkoglu and Arenas over the next three years.

    I really hope dwight makes it to a better team that he can win with. The Lakers are a great candidate, as are a few other teams, but I think the Celtics are a darkhorse in the “Lets get superman” contest. When Howards contract is up, I’m pretty sure the only players they will have on the payroll with be Rondo and Paul Pierce, so they could definitely have the cap room to pursue him, assuming he isn’t traded before hand. As a celtics fan, I would definitely love to see Superman in green :). It’s a decided long shot, but an exciting one

  32. Shaq sucks Dwight’s is a beast compared to him he’s more athletic than Shaq and has better D and has a better shooting %

  33. I read that shaq said everything dwights done he’s invented that BS everything shaq can do MJ can do better

  34. also Shaq sucks compared to Dwight sure Dwight hasn’t won a championship, but thats because he’s the only good person on the magic. On the other hand Shaq only won because of Kobe and D wade

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