There’s no reason to get in to the storied Shaquille O’Neal-Dwight Howard feud because we all know what’s happened betwixt the two. Basically, Dwight wants to be Shaq without anyone calling him on it and Shaq wants to agree with him that Dwight could never be as good as he was and that he invented the Superman nickname/persona. Even if that sentence isn’t entirely accurate, I think it sums up the general sentiments pretty well.

Except never mind, because that’s all a fallacy. The only reason Shaq ever said anything bad about Dwight Howard is because he wants Dwight to be great because he loves Dwight. At least that’s what Shaq says. From the Los Angeles Times:

“I love Dwight and I see his potential. Hopefully when I say these things he gets mad,” O’Neal said in an interview. “Just think about it. At the dunk contest, he dunked on that thing when it was 15 feet. Remember that? OK, so why can’t you back people down [in the post]? Because if you think I didn’t play against great centers, he’s not playing against nobody, you know what I mean?

“So he should be able to back people down and jump-hook them to death. That’s why I envision in him as a player.” [...]

“Same thing Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] did to me, the same thing Wilt [Chamberlain] did to me,” O’Neal said. “I can remember one time reading an article and I’m averaging 37 [points] in the playoffs and we lose and somebody asks Kareem, ‘Hey, what do you think about Shaq? He’s a great player.’ And Kareem says, ‘Yeah, he’s OK, but he hasn’t won any championships.’ I didn’t respond, I didn’t cry, I just stepped up and got to the next level. So I’m always going to stay on [Howard] because I actually see him being one of the best Lakers ever if he steps up.”

First things first, Shaquille O’Neal never averaged 37 points per game during the playoffs in any season of his career. But I think we’ve all learned to accept that any stat Shaq gives about his own career is going to be made-up. Had to mention it, but it’s part of the game at this point, so whatever.

Second things second, this feels like equal parts “being nice” and “covering your tracks so that you’re on the right side of history” from Shaq. I’m sure Shaq does think a lot of what he has said about Dwight should serve as motivation, but it also feels like he’s kind of just saying this now because he wants to be able to have a small piece of whatever legacy Dwight leaves in Los Angeles. I mean, what is motivating about saying that Dwight is worse than Robin Lopez? Or even Brook Lopez? That’s just Shaq saying stuff to make people notice what he said; it doesn’t have anything to do with making Dwight Howard a better basketball player.

So yeah, I guess Shaquille O’Neal is a big Dwight Howard fan now. And I’m sure this has nothing to do with Shaq getting his number retired at the Staples Center tonight. And I’m sure Shaq won’t use this as an excuse to keep trashing Dwight Howard whenever he wants since he’s only doing it to make Dwight better. I’m sure all those things are just as true as the time he averaged 37 a game in the playoffs.

Comments (16)

  1. The second Free Darko book is a great read and the chapter on Shaq’s buffoonery as masked insecurity, petulance is perfect. http://www.amazon.com/FreeDarko-Presents-Undisputed-Basketball-History/dp/1608190838/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364929660&sr=8-2&keywords=free+darko

  2. cav, fo’ sho’.
    thought it was photoshopped.

    • I remember his Cav and Celtic seasons, but that Cavs throwback jersey makes it far weirder than any image of Celtic Shaq my mind can make up.

      Except maybe the image of Shaq eating a trash bag full of popcorn.

  3. also… maybe he was saying 30.7 per game (his highest point avg., which he did in ’99-’00)

  4. Shaq needs to stfu and quit NBA broadcasting, so sick of that retard

  5. He averaged 36 pts and 15 rebs per game in three finals series…

  6. I think Shaq is remembering a point during some playoffs when he *had been* averaging 37 ppg until that time. This isn’t impossible since going into his 3rd game in the 1997 playoffs he was averaging 38 ppg.

    • I was thinking along the same lines as zoax.

      If we take Shaq’s side on this, it seemed more likely that he was referring to having averaged 37 points at the time the comments were made, so he could’ve been in the midst of a playoff campaign when Kareem was quoted. But when I looked up his game logs for the playoffs before he got his first title it only really fit for 1997 when he had 46 then 30 for a 38 average.

      The only other thing that might have been correct would be that before the clinching game against Indiana in the 2000 Finals when he had 41, Shaq was averaging 37.4 ppg in the Finals (not the playoffs). So for this quote to be true, Shaq would’ve had to meant averaging 37 in the Finals and Kareem must’ve commented just before Game 6.

      So there you go, a long winded and semi-scientific way to do as most already did and call shenanigans.

  7. Shaq annoys me.

    Dwight does too. And I actually took Shaq’s side then the Lakers broke up and he was feuding with Kobe.

    But Shaq really annoys me. I especially hate seeing the 90′s Magic on Inside the NBA, and Dennis Scott and Penny Hardaway laughing at his every non-funny joke. I hate the way he makes fun of everyone, but no one can make fun of him. Barkley makes fun of guys too, but at least you can make fun of him back without him taking it personally.

    I don’t mind him on Open Court, where he’s one of like 7 guys, so he’s not so overbearing. But on Inside the NBA, he’s gotta go. The guy is sucking all of the humor out of that show. Replace Shaq with Webber on TNT and throw Shaq and his Magic stooges onto NBATV. You can bring Shaq in for the Open Court shows, but not Inside the NBA.

  8. shaq carried the NBA league for half a decade after jordan retired, he was the biggest star on the court, and he was at least trying (often succeeding) to be funny off the court too. he’s paid his dues and earned his championships. and if he wants to say that he averaged 40, or that he came from outer space, who to hell are trey kirby and random internet nerd #4 to contradict him?!

  9. btw… shaq’s doctoral capstone topic was “The Duality of Humor and Aggression in Leadership Styles” and how a positive vibe is important in leading dudes. (remember shaq’s doctoral degree? did that actually happen?)
    so yeah… way to apply your own thoughts shaq.

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